Lesson Plan

Investigate Mission 2000 Records

Mission record
Actual mission record (not yet translated or digitized)

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Twelfth Grade
American Indian History and Culture, Anthropology, Family Life, Hispanic or Latino American History and Culture, Historic Preservation, History, Language Arts, Social Studies
30 minutes (plus homework)
Group Size:
Up to 36
computer lab
National/State Standards:
English Language Arts


Original, primary source text from mission records have been translated and digitized into a searchable database.  Trace a person's life events, family members, occupation, and tribe.


Students will  

1. Research a historical figure while learning to use the Mission 2000 database.

2. Use the Mission 2000 search engine to determine whether they have family in the database.

3. Write a short fictional story using a real piece of the Mission 2000 records.


Mission 2000 is a searchable database of Spanish mission records of the Pimería Alta (southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico) containing baptisms, marriages, and burials from the late seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. Names of persons associated with each event (i.e., priest, baptized, parents, godparents, husband, wife, witnesses, deceased, etc.) and personal information about each person are included. The ethnicity of names include O'odham, Yaqui, Apache, Seri, Opata, Yuma, Mexican, Spanish, Basque, Catalán, Gallego, Andalusian, Valencian, German, Swiss, Austrian, Bohemian, Italian, and others.

Mission 2000 is an on-going project taken from the original mission records and updated weekly online. As of the fifteenth of April, 2004 it contained 7582 events and 20,014 names of people and their known personal information. A majority of the present information comes from the Guevavi, Tumacácori, Cocóspera, and Suamca Mission registers and the Tubac Presidio register, but watch for more information in the future from Arizpe, Átil, Bisanig, Caborca, Cieneguilla, Cucurpe, Horcasitas, Magdalena, Oquitoa, Pitiquito, San Ignacio, Santa Ana, and Tubutama. The search is based on names in the database. If you do not find what you are interested in, try a different spelling, or type only the first few letters of the name. Since ancient spellings varied greatly, a partial spelling will list all entries with those particular letters.


Computer with Internet connection, On This Day form



Investigate the quagmire of surname spellings.

1. Type in Alviso into the Surname field and hit enter or click on the Search bar. What happened? The reason why you found no records is that the name may be spelled differently in the database. Check the name in the Help section to see how the computer spells it by double-clicking on Surname. Scroll down until you find it listed under Albizu. Surnames were often spelled in many different ways by the priest or scribe recording them. Since a surname can appear with several different spellings for a single person, it is necessary to standardize the spelling. Following is a list, in bold type, of some of the surnames in Mission 2000 as they are spelled in the system. Albizu – Albiso, Albisso, Albisu, Albissu, Arbiso, Arbisso, Arbisu, Arbissu, Arbizo, Arbizu, Alviso, Alvisso, Alvisu, Alvissu, Arviso, Arvisso, Arvisu, Arvissu, Arvizo, Arvizu

EXERCISE 1 Catalina Ozuna had another last name. What was it? Hint: Make sure you have the right spelling of Ozuna. How many children did she have? Hint: Check the events in which she is listed as "mother" or "mother of the deceased."

EXERCISE 2 Find an ox driver named Tomás who lived at Guevavi. Hint: Use both the Given Name and the Title Field. Be sure to use the Spanish word for ox driver. If you do not know how to make an accent mark over the "a" you can type just the letters "tom." How many wives did he have? What were their names?

EXERCISE 3 How many people did Father Keller baptize at Casa Grande in the summer of 1743? Hint: Use the Special Searches field in the Help Area for this and the next two questions. How many people were killed in the Pima uprising of 1751? Nine people died in the awful epidemic at Tumacácori in 1805. How many were Apaches?

EXERCISE 4 How many captains of the Tubac Presidio are listed in Mission 2000? Hint: You will want to use the Spanish words for "Captain of Tubac" in the title field to find them. What were their names? Who was the first Captain and where is he buried?

EXERCISE 5 How many women were named José? Hint: Type <josé> in the Given Name field and <F> in the Gender field. (Remember the accent mark.) How many women were named Jesús? Hint: Remember to use the accent mark. How many men were named María? Hint: Remember to use the accent mark.

EXERCISE 6 Who is most responsible for our State having the name "Arizona?" Hint: His son was buried in the old Jesuit church at Tumacácori by Franciscan Father Ximeno in 1772. (It will take at least 12 clicks with the mouse and at least 2 words typed into search fields.) Hint: Begin by finding out which Father Ximeno was a Franciscan.



Use the On This Day form to collect some notable events. Assign each student to pick a day from the list, perhaps their own birthday, or you can have every student use the same event. The assignment is write a fictional story with the true event (the marriage, the burial, etc.) at its core.


Pimería Alta, surname, database

Last updated: February 24, 2015