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The Idaho State Historical Society preserves and provides access to a wide number of resources and materials related to Idaho History. Online indexes are available for the collections below.
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.
Staff is happy to help with research questions, special fees may apply.
Click here to review procedures for submitting a research request.
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.
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. Click here to view the index.
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, “[?].” Click here to view the index.
***edit, short*** Many researchers are familiar with the population schedules of the federal censuses. Much less well known are the “non-population” schedules, the agricultural, industrial, mortality, and other schedules compiled between 1850 and 1910. These special schedules are rich with historical and genealogical information, but because the Census Bureau returned the originals to the states before the creation of the National Archives, copies are harder to come by and those that do exist are often not indexed.
The Idaho State Archives holds both the only original hard-copies and one of only a handful of microfilm copies of the 1870 and 1880 Agricultural, Industrial, Mortality, Prison, Social Statistical and Supplemental Schedules for Idaho. The information in these schedules goes well beyond that found in the more familiar population schedules. For instance, agricultural schedules contain the following data for each farm enumerated: landowner; number of laborers hired; acreage owned (tilled, untilled, leased); livestock owned; crops, produce, and timber raised; orchards, nurseries and vineyards owned; structures and fences erected or maintained; and more.
Similarly, industrial schedules contain name of owner, name of business, capital (real and personal) invested, number of employees (both highest and average numbers), hours and wages of employees, value of materials used, value of products manufactured, and types and amounts of power used (water, steam, horse). Separate industrial schedules were required for general manufacturing, lumber mills, saw mills, brick yards, tile works, flour and grist mills, cheese, butter and condensed milk factories, slaughtering and meat-packing works, and salt works, among other industries.
For persons who died between June 1, 1869 and May 31, 1870, the 1870 Mortality Schedule contains name, place of birth and occupation of the deceased, birthplaces of the parents of the deceased, month, year and cause of death, length of residence (in months or years) at place of death, and name of the attending physician. The historical and genealogical potential of information like this cannot be overstated. Other schedules enumerate prisoners, and persons considered “defective, dependent or delinquent.”
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. Click here to search the index.
After a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973 destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files, the Idaho State Archives is happy to provide the public with an index of the WWI Idaho Adjutant General Records that are held in our collection.
The following types of records included in this index are Discharge Cards, Applications for Victory Medal, Nurses and Those Who Lost Their Lives, as well as a few others. The following information (if available) has been included in this index: Name, Age or Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Residence, Service Dates, Race (if other than white), Awards, Date of Death, Cause of Death, Person Notified of Death, as well as other information. Not all of the information contained in these records are found on this index. Click here to search the index.
The Idaho State Archives services the Idaho Adjutant General records of the Idaho National Guard. There are numerous record types under the office of the Adjutant General and these records are useful for historical, genealogical, and other research needs. Part of the Adjutant General’s Collection (AR11) contains the WWII Idaho Guard Enlistment & Service Records. Information that may be found in these records include: name; rank; age; organization (to company level); physical description, biographical information; date of enrollment; length of service, campaigns; length of service; mustering out date, and discharge data. The personnel listings and service records cover men who served between 1940 and 1946. Click here to search the index.
and indexed catalog provides a comprehensive list of Idaho territorial and
state penitentiary prisoners including 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.
Inmate files commonly include:
Crime and incarceration data
City, county, and state government documents
Sentencing and release information
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. Click here to search the index
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. Click here to search the index
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. Click here to search the index.