Abogado – attorney

Abuela(o) – grandmother (grandfather)

Acreedor(a) – creditor

Adulta(o) – adult female (adult male)

Adulta(o) de rescate ransomed adult

Advenediza(o) – literally “immigrant” but in this instance an Indian gathered to or visiting the mission from a neighboring ranchería

Agregada(o) – a person who was relocated to the mission from an outlying ranchería; recien agregada(o)” – recently relocated

Agrimensor – land surveyor

Ahijada – goddaughter

Ahijado – godson

Alcalde – mayor; over economic and political affairs of the mission or town

Alcalde Mayor – Spanish governor of the province; had no fixed residence so he could live wherever he could best administer to his jurisdiction

Alférez – second lieutenant

Alguacil – constable; punished petty crime

Ama cría – foster mother

Amo - foster father; plural: foster parents

Apoderado – attorney, agent, proxy

Arriero – mule packer

Asistente – assistant

Atenador – guardian

Avenediza(o)see advenediza(o)

Bachiller – bachelor (one holding the lowest academic degree; before inginiero and doctor)

Barretero – a person who used a crowbar in the mines to scale off and break rock into manageable sized pieces which could then be carried to the surface

Bolsero – cashier; treasurer; maker of purses

Boyero – ox driver

Burrero – donkey keeper



Cabo – corporal

Cabrera(o) – goatherd

Campista – livestock raisor, cowboy, cattleman

Cantor(a) – singer (most likely choir singer)

Capitán – captain of either the Pima auxiliaries or presidial soldiers; assumed responsibility for offences committed during all campaigns against the hostiles; formed  expeditions and had field authority to punish criminals for any legal charges, dissension, robbery or disobedience

Capellan – chaplain

Caporal(a) – foreman

Cargador – freighter

Carito – little loved one

Carpintero – carpenter

Casada(o)  married woman (married man)

Casique – headman; chief; a Nahuatl word used throughout New Spain by the missionaries

Castigo – a person being punished

Castrense – having to do with the military; for example “Capellan Castrense” - military chaplain

Catecumena(o) – catechumen; one receiving catechism

Cautivo – captive

Ciega(o) – blind woman (man)

Chiquilla(o) – small child

Chivato – little goat

Cochera(o) – coach woman (coachman)

Cocinera(o) – cook

Cogido – joined to (usually an orphan or other child being raised by someone other than his parents)

Cogidor – one who captures or gathers someone into a group

Coja(o) – crippled person

Comisario – commissary

Corcovada(o) – hump-backed

Coyote – offspring of a mestizo male and Indian female

Criada(o)    a person raised by someone other than their parents; foster child; a paid servant

Cuadrilla – a group of armed men sent in pursuit robbers in fields and on the roads by La Santa Hermandad, a type of justice court for trying and punishing such highwaymen

Cuadrilleromember of a cuadrilla


Cuñada(o) – sister-in-law (brother-in-law)

Cura – priest

Curtidor – tanner; leather dresser

De Pecho – (a child) at (its mother’s) breast

Difunta(o) – a dead person; the term most often used is “ya difunto” -- already dead.

Donado – lay brother

Doncella – unmarried young lady

Encerradera(o)cloistered person

Enferma(o)sick person

Entenada(o)stepdaughter (stepson)


Escopleadorchisler; stone cutter

Estanquero – retailer of “géneros estancados,” or privileged goods under monopoly, such as tobacco, playing cards, and gun powder.

Ético – person who studies and/or teaches morality

Explorador – scout

Exposito – a baby abandoned on the church or some family's doorstep at birth

Fideicomisario – trustee; one who holds anything in trust for another

Fiscal  – official church secretary; administrative officer; saw to it that the Indians attended Mass; visited the sick with the mador to assure that no one died without receiving the holy sacraments and assisted in burying the dead

Flojo – a lazy person

Forastera(o) – stranger; one who does not live in the town or area spoken of


Fugitiva(o) – fugitive

Fulano – so-and-so; what’s his name

Fundidor – founder

Garzón – adjutant; assistant

Gemela(o) – twin

Gentil – a non-Christian Indian

Gobernador  – governor; like the mayor he was concerned with economic and political   affairs of the mission; he oversaw labors of the community, assigned jobs and saw to it that law and order were maintained

Graduado brevit; a commission giving a military officer a higher nominal rank that for which he receives pay

Granadino – a person from either Granada, in Spain, or New Granada (Columbia)

Guacinque  carpenter

Hachero – torch bearer or one who is appointed to make signals from a tower

Harpero – harpist

Hechicero – witch; witch doctor

Herrero – blacksmith

Hija(o) – daughter (son)

Hija(o) de la Iglesia – daughter (son) of the church – orphan of unknown parents

Hilador – spinner



Huido – a “run-away”

Infante – infant; male child under seven years of age

Intérprete – interpreter; translator

Interventor – comptroller

Inválido – retired soldier

Jabonero – soap maker

Juez Eclesiastico – ecclesiastic judge

Justicia  an official; any of the official Indian titles (i.e., alcalde, gobernador, etc.)

Justicia Mayor – chief justice (Spaniard); responsible for investigations of major crimes  and pronouncing sentences; responsible to the alcalde mayor

Mador  teacher of religious doctrine; instructed children of both sexes in the   afternoon or morning in the church; also instructed parents to send their children at the assigned hours for instruction; on holy days he taught the adults; visited the sick with the fiscal to assure that no one died without receiving the holy sacraments and assisted in burying the dead

Madrastro – stepmother

Madre – mother

Madrina – godmother

Maestro de Escuela    school teacher

Malvivir – malcontent; someone living badly

Manceba(o) – young person under 40 years of age


Mariscal del Campo field marshall

Mayordomo  superintendent or foreman, generally a Spaniard or Mestizo

Medio hermana(o)  – step sister (brother)

Mego – gentile; mild; meek; peaceful

Mercader – dealer, trader, shop keeper

Mercante   merchant

Mesteña(o) – keeper of the unbroken horses; transhumant herder; Indian unassociated with a ranchería; gentile; shy person

Minero – miner

Misionero   missionary

Mocetón(a)– robust young person

Mocetoncilla(o) – little robust young person

Molinero – miller

Mortua(o)dead person

Moza(o)unmarried person

Muchachon(a) – a youth who is not yet considered to be an adult but is of sufficient age not to be called a boy or girl.

Mudo – mute

Mujer – wife (literally “woman”)

Nijora   an Indian of an unknown tribe

Niña(o) – female child (male child)

Padrastro – stepfather

Padre – father

Padre cría – foster father

Padres no conocidos – unknown parents

Padrino – godfather

Paje  a personal servant of the priest (also spelled “page” and “paque”)

Panadero  bread baker

Papadero  – ?

Parador    traveler

Parvula(o) – young child, generally an infant

Pastor – shepherd

Patrón(a) – boss, employer

Peón – day laborer

Pintor   painter

Poseedor – owner or posessor

Pregonero – one who announces a public sale or event; common cryer

Presa(o) – prisoner

Presbítero   priest

Puerco – a brutish, ill-bred man

Puta – harlot

Rancheador – a person living at a ranchería, or village, not in a mission

Recien Bautizado  recently baptized

Rector – curate, rector

Regador – irrigator

Rescatín – one who purchases (redeems) Indian (Nijora) children taken captive by other Indian tribes


Sabanero  herdsman



Sirviente  a personal servant of a Spaniard

Soldado  soldier

Soltera(o) – unmarried woman (unmarried man)

Suegra(o) – mother-in-law (father-in-law)


Tejedor – weaver

Temastian    catechist; cared for ecclesiastical ornaments, cleaned the church, cared    for the altars, and otherwise aided the priest

Teniente – lieutenant

Topil  peace officer; served under the governor and mayor; imprisoned those    who committed major crimes while the chief justice conducted the investigation

Tortillera    tortilla maker

Traidor(a) – traitor (traitress)

Tuerta(o) – one eyed person or person blind in one eye

Vaquerillo – little cowboy

Vaquero  cowboy

Vazinque – probably a variation of “guacinque

Vicario – vicar

Vieja(o) – old woman (old man)

Viuda(o)  – widow (widower)

Yeguera – keeper of the broodmare herd

Yerna(o)  – daughter-in-law (son-in-law)

Zapatero – shoemaker