His ancestors came to South America from the north of Spain around 1790.
Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Pérez Rulfo was born in Apulco, Jalisco on May 16, 1918, to a wealthy land owning family on the rural countryside. At a very young age, his family moved to San Gabriel, Jalisco. His ancestors originally came from the north of Spain in the late 1700s. The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and the cristero rebellion had serious repercussions on Rulfo's family. As a result of the revolution, his family underwent financial ruin, his father and two uncles were assassinated in the turmoil, and his mother died in 1927 of a heart attack. Since nobody adopted Rulfo after these incidents, he was sent to an orphanage.
In an interview conducted by Joseph Sommers in 1978, Rulfo described his childhood as very rough for him. He told Sommers about how difficult it was to live in such a devastated area of the country, where destruction was widespread and took its toll on human lives as well as on the geography of the region. Rulfo admitted to never finding the logic behind the series of assassinations and other acts of cruelty that happened during the Revolution that led to the death of all key members of his family.