Mormons and Their Neighbors is a two-volume index of biographical entries on Latter-day Saints and other individuals not affiliated with the Church—the titular “neighbors”—who lived in Arizona, Southern California, Idaho, northern Mexico, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and southwestern Canada. These entries are brief, listing bibliographic references to sources in which the individual’s name appears.
The publication was compiled by Marvin E. Wiggins, a Brigham Young University librarian. Since its initial publication, the two volumes of Mormons and Their Neighbors have been updated, resulting in an online version containing over 100,000 entries that is now available through the BYU Library.
Using the Online Version of Mormons and Their Neighbors
The online version of Mormons and Their Neighbors makes it easy to search its biographical entries. Users can then use the bibliographic references included in the entries—including a source’s title, its call number, and the referenced page number within the source—to track down the source in a library and access the specific page referenced.
Many of the sources indexed in Mormons and Their Neighbors are available for viewing online through the Family History Library’s catalog.1 Sometimes, the catalog’s full-text search feature may even be able to indicate a name within a source. For example, searching for “Andrew L. Thorpe” in Mormons and Their Neighbors shows that he appears in History of the Scandinavian Mission by Andrew Jenson; in turn, searching for History of the Scandinavian Mission in the Family History Library shows us that the source is viewable online. When we search for “Thorpe” inside the source using the full-text search feature, it generates a red rectangle, which appears here:
Note that the red rectangle is not always perfectly aligned with the search term.
This example is representative of many entries indexed in Mormons and Their Neighbors—a small mention of someone in connection with a date and location. Minor though they may be, when considered in aggregate, these small snippets can provide valuable insights.
Using the print editions of Mormons and Their Neighbors
In the print editions of Mormons and Their Neighbors, biographical entries are listed alphabetically by last name; birth and death dates also appear, when known:
Underneath a person’s name will be one or more four-to-five-letter abbreviations representing the published source(s) in which the person is mentioned, along with the page in each source where the person’s name appears. There is a wide variety of sources, including locally produced histories from towns, counties, geographical regions, and states. The volumes only index published sources, though; they do not include manuscript materials, such as personal journals.
A key to the abbreviations is found in the front of the first volume:
As with the online version of Mormons and Their Neighbors, the individual’s biographical information—aside from birth and death dates—is not included in the print editions; once a source is identified, it is necessary to find it in a library.