In the mid-1980s a number of people with Spanish surnames began stealing into an office in Santa Fe, peering over their shoulders, shutting the door behind them, and whispering that their neighbors were engaging in strange customs that were decidedly out of place in the region's overwhelmingly Catholic culture.
Soon those reports would lead to proud testimonials from southwesterners of Iberian descent claiming kinship with Jewish victims of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.
The phenomenon's first elaborations can be traced to Stanley Hordes, who in the early 1980s was New Mexico's state historian.
New Mexico is a state in which history matters more visibly than in most.
The truth of the matter may turn out to be vastly different, and nearly as improbable.
THE telling has become almost stylized through repetition.
But historians have traditionally considered their survival an exception.