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Document signed by Abraham Lincoln

Civil War Document signed by Abraham

Photo Credit: Idaho State Archives

The Idaho State Historical Society preserves and provides access to a wide number of resources and materials related to Idaho History.  On-line indexes are available for the following collections:

Biographical Index

The Idaho Biographical Index (IBI) is an index of persons named in state, county and community histories, regional periodicals, and selected newspaper articles from around the state and throughout its history. Once the index loads use the tabs along the bottom to find sheets organized by first letter of the individual's last name and then use the scrollbars at the right and bottom of the screen to navigate to individual names and view full citation information. 

Census 1890: Reconstructed Idaho Information

Most of the 1890 US Federal Census was destroyed by fire in 1921. The Idaho State Historical Society created the Reconstructed 1890 Idaho Census with the goal to fill that gap for researchers. We have attempted to identify as many persons as possible who resided in Idaho from 1885-1894 using federal, state and local government records, local newspapers and nationally distributed genealogical publications.

Records from Ada, Alturas, Bannock, Bear Lake, Boise, Cassia, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Latah, Logan, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Shoshone and Washington counties have been indexed using births, marriages, deaths, wills, land and tax records, court records, mining and water rights, naturalizations and citizenship. Also includes information from Boise city directories, Boise County money orders and our Century Farms records. Persons residing in Idaho between the years 1885 and 1894 are listed by last and first names. A name listed more than once indicate more than one type of record exists.When the first names of men, women, or children are not provided, the unknown names are indicated by bracketed question marks, "[–?–]."  

Census Schedules: 1870 and 1880 Agricultural, Industrial, Mortality

Index of "non-population" schedules including 1870 and 1880 agricultural, industrial, mortality, and other schedules compiled between 1850 and 1910.  These special schedules are rich with historical and genealogical information.

Civil War Veterans

After the War, thousands of Civil War veterans of the Confederate and Union Armies and their families migrated westward. Veterans' organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) created posts throughout Idaho with hundreds of members.

Over two thousand Civil War veterans who lived or died in Idaho have been identified from a variety of records. Records are indexed alphabetically by surname and wherever possible dates of births and deaths, the states from which they served, and the Idaho counties where they resided are included. For many veterans more than one record has been uncovered. We invite you to contact us with any additional information you may have about a discovered or undiscovered Idaho veteran of the Civil War. Search the index!

Inmate Catalog

The inmate catalog is chronological and the indexed catalog provides a comprehensive list of Idaho territorial and state penitentiary prisoners- men, women, and children- between the years 1864 and 1947.  The catalog provides access to inmate files in the custody of the Idaho State Historical Society by names, aliases, register number, crime, county or jurisdiction, age, year of birth, and year of incarceration.  The catalog also provides cross-references to establish the identities of inmates for whom individual case files do not survive.

Naturalization Records

Naturalization records are a rich source of immigration and family history information. They can provide names of family members, indicate where a family came from, and give important dates and locations. In Idaho, beginning in 1863, the process of naturalization generally began when the applicant filed a declaration of intention with the local court of record (federal, state, or local), followed by a naturalization petition, and ended when a certificate or record of naturalization was issued. Each step required a period of residency, although that residency didn't have to take place in the same location throughout. The Basic Naturalization Act of 1906 imposed standardization on the process and, happily for researchers, also provided for the gathering of more biographical information about applicants. Selected records from Ada, Alturas, Bingham, Boise, Canyon, Clearwater, Elmore, Idaho, Nez Perce, Oneida, Teton, and Twin Falls counties, and the Idaho Supreme Court have been indexed where the Idaho State Archives holds the original record.

Pension Records: Mothers’

In 1913, the State of Idaho approved a program to provide a small monthly payment to mothers and orphans under certain circumstances.  The Mothers' Pension Records includes material transferred from Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Blaine, Caribou, Clearwater, Minidoka, Oneida, Power, Teton, and Twin Falls counties.  The majority of these records date to the 1920s.

Pension Records: Old Age

The Old Age Pension Act of the State of Idaho was first introduced by the House of Representatives in 1929. It became official in the legislative session of February 12, 1931. The bill provided a monthly payment of up to $25 to qualified residents of Idaho. Recipients were required to be over 65 years of age, a county resident for the three years immediately prior to the date of application, and a resident of the state for fifteen years, five of which had to be immediately preceding the application. Old Age Pension Records includes information on over 1,400 program applications from Ada, Kootenai, Twin Falls, Jerome, Clearwater, Bannock, Boundary, and Teton counties, ranging from 1931 to 1936.

About the Indexes

Please remember, creating a database index is not exact science. When the information on records is first compiled, there is room for error. It is not unusual to find misspellings in all types of older records. These indexes were compiled using original records, many of which are in poor condition and difficult to read.

While the Idaho State Historical Society is greatly concerned with the quality of these indexes, not all errors can be corrected. Information in original records, even when erroneous, cannot be changed. To help make your searches successful, you should be aware of the possibilities of misspellings and different spellings.  Consider all the possible variations in a name when doing a search (e.g., Johnson, Johnsen or Jonson).  Many names are listed more than once; this is simply an indication that more than one type of record exists for that individual.

Our staff is happy to help with research questions, special fees may apply. 

Please be advised that these online indexes are intended for personal research purposes only and should not be copied or distributed to others in any format, including paper or electronic versions.  For more information contact (208) 334-2620 or e-mail