It appears Bernalillo County was named for the town of Bernalillo, the original county seat.  Records show that in 1849 the town of Bernalillo was one of the largest in the territory and housed the Circuit Court.   The origin of the name Bernalillo is believed to be from the family name Bernal, original settlers of the village. The Territorial Legislature moved the Bernalillo County seat to Ranchos de Albuquerque in 1851 and required District Court to be held there. An 1853 recorded Oath of Office shows Lorenzo Montaño as the first Justice of the Peace (October 17, 1853),  Henry Winslow as the County Clerk and Rafael Armijo as Probate Judge and Prefect.  At that time the Prefect was the highest ranking County official. Albuquerque did not become the permanent County Seat until 1883.