TGSA Famous Ancestors of Northeastern Mexico Series

Descendants of Santos ROJO and Beatriz RUELAS NAVARRO


DNA: Beatriz Ruelas Navarro’s mt-DNA haplogroup is B2g2.

Santos Rojo was born about 1535 in Nueva Galicia in the Guanajuato-San Luis Potosí area known as El Bajío. which made him a criollo (creole). A criollo is one born in Mexico of parents from Spain. Not much is known about him which gives rise to some uncertainties. It is not definitive whether he was of Portuguese or Basque or Italian stock as he at times used Roxo instead of Rojo. His father was listed as Sicilian though both his parents had old Castilian names. Santos was the son of Captain Francisco Rojo and of an unknown mother. Captain Francisco Rojo was the son of Sebastián Rojo and Inés Acosta and came to Mexico in 1521 with Pedro de Alvarado. Francisco was in Honduras in 1523, was part of the Coronado Expedition, and was a conquistador of Central America. He settled in Compostela, Nueva Galicia and by 1547 was a landowner and encomendero.

Santos Rojo was involved in the discovery and founding of mining towns from Zacatecas northward. He was one of the sixteen founders of Saltillo under Captain Alberto del Canto in 1577. By this time, Santos had married Beatriz Ruelas Navarro who was born about 1580. Crispín has that this couple had five daughters (Beatriz, Juana, Estefana, Catalina, María). Others claim the couple had two sons and four daughters: Juan Roxo de las Ruelas, Esteban Roxo de las Ruelas, Juana Navarro, María (Mariana), Estefanía de las Ruelas, and Beatriz de las Roelas. Not much is known of the sons. Some believe that Beatriz was Juan Navarro's sister.

As one of the original founders, Santos was awarded two grants, with 262 acres of irrigation, as confirmed on 29 Jan 1580 by the first Alcalde of Saltillo, Captain Alberto del Canto. Santos Rojo built a mill, named it Belén, which to this day can be found in ruins east of Saltillo. In the 1604 census he is listed as having an hacienda and as a horse breeder. As a successful merchant he had lands that extended to el Valle de las Labores and had two haciendas: San Juan Bautista, the main one, and San Lucas. San Juan Bautista, located north of Saltillo and next to Juan Navarro's hacienda, was built between 1577 -1578. He expanded his hacienda to encompassed about 378 hectares. One hectare is equal to 2.471054 acres which equals to about 934 acres.

As a merchant, Santos Rojo traveled to Jalapa to buy merchandise for his commercial business. On one of his trips to a fair in Jalapa, Veracruz, he bought an image of the crucified Christ and brought it to Saltillo. In March of 1608 he arrived with it and placed it in the Capilla de las Ánimas (Chapel of Souls) which he, himself had built.

That crucifix to this day is venerated and is known as the Señor de la Capilla (Lord of the Chapel). Santos Rojo died about 1610 and was buried in the Capilla de las Ánimas.

His descendants later moved the crucifix to a new chapel which they had built and named it Capilla del Santo Cristo. In 1614, Beatriz and her descendants were given space for burial at the Capilla de las Ánimas chapel.

After his death, his wife continued his commercial business and running the haciendas with help from her daughters. It is documented that doña Beatriz and her son-in-law Ochoa de Elizalde went on shopping trips to Zacatecas and Jalapa and bought a considerable amount of clothing, tools and other wares. She also added another hacienda when she bought San Diego del Mezquital from Captain Diego Nuñez de Miranda whose 2nd wife was María Rodríguez, widow of Juan Navarro. Beatriz controlled the family holdings, and her name was one of prestige.

Beatriz Ruelas Navarro died about 1650 and is buried in the interior of the church.

While Santos Rojo and Beatriz Ruelas Navarro's descendants are numerous, none carry his name.

The Rojo Coat of Arms consists of a divided vertical shield; left side, in a field of blue, five stars in gold; right side, in a field of red, a castle in silver over waves in blue and silver.

This Descendant Report extracted by Crispín Rendón from his personal database in September 2022 consists of 9 generations and 40,555 descendants and spouses.

With All Arms by Carl Laurence Duaine, revised and edited by his son Laurence A. Duaine.

Diccionario Biográfico de Saltillo by Martha Durón Jiménez and Ignacio Narro Etchegaray.

Historia del Nuevo Reino de León (1577-1723) by Eugenio Del Hoyo.

The Genealogy of Mexico, Gateway to the Past from our Ancestors Forward by Gary Felix (The Genealogy of Mexico (

The Sixteen Founders of Villa de Santiago del Saltillo by Moises Garza.

Aquellos Primeros Saltillenses (an eBook) by María Elena SantosCoy Flores.

Intro by TGSA
DNA association & Descendant Report by Crispín Rendón

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