As a counterpoint to the accounts of official visitors and military conquests, details of the lives of the settlers who established the five "villas de norte" of Nuevo Santander in 1749-1757 provide valuable insights into the people who made and defended their homes on the frontier. The town of Mier was founded in 1753 by 19 families from Cerralvo, who were soon joined by others. In 1767 the settlers were granted offical title to porciones, narrow strips of land along the Rio Grande and other rivers that were used as ranches. This project is a database of the town's residents during the first 50 years that compiles data from birth, marriage, and death records; church padrones; wills; and official censuses to address questions that only detailed demographic studies can answer. Of particular interest is the relationship of town and ranch and the role of their respective settlement patterns and building types in the formation of local identity.