Latter-day Saint Family and Local History SourcesDigital and Web Sources

    Digital and Web Sources

    Latter-day Saint Family and Local History Sources Research Guide

    The first issue of the Church’s Millennial Star, which began publication in England in May 1840 and ceased in 1970, when Church magazines were consolidated.

    Church Periodicals

    The Church History Library has digitized many early periodicals published by the Church. Often, these early publications contain information on specific individuals or Church units.

    Mormon Migration

    Outward Bound, The Goconda, Leaving Liverpool, January 17th 1853 by George Ottinger.

    The Mormon Migration database indexes Latter-day Saint emigration records and ship rosters from 1840 to 1932. It contains biographical and historical information, including the names, ages, and origins of travelers as well as ports of departure and arrival; the known number of Latter-day Saints aboard the various ships; and the names of their leaders. It also includes narrative accounts of ship voyages from those who participated and links to scholarly articles about the Mormon migration experience. This database is hosted by Brigham Young University.

    Pioneer Database

    Down-and-back wagon train headed through Echo Canyon on its way east to meet Mormon emigrants at the Missouri River and transport them to Utah, circa 1866. Photograph by Charles W. Carter.

    The Pioneer database is the most complete listing of individuals and companies that traveled west to Utah from 1847 through 1868. It lists approximately 60,000 of the estimated 70,000–75,000 individuals who crossed the plains. It contains biographical information, dates, and personal accounts when available. New information is added as it is discovered.

    Missionary Database

    The Missionary database records the service of approximately 40,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries for the century following the organization of the Church. Individual missionary pages contain personal information, where and when they served, and photographs when available. Profiles may also contain links to digitized journals, letters, etc., made available by the Church History Library, the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, and FamilySearch.

    Mormons and Their Neighbors

    The Mormons and Their Neighbors database is an index listing more than 100,000 life sketches published in over 200 local and regional history books relating to Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Southern California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, northern Mexico, and southwestern Canada. The people indexed lived primarily between 1820 and 1981, and many non-Latter-day Saint pioneers and settlers are included. Index entries state whether a photograph accompanies the person’s life sketch and where to find the publication. This digital index is hosted by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. (Many of the publications in the index can be found there or at the Church History Library).

    Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia 

    Compiled by Andrew Jenson, this four-volume set includes a large collection of life sketches and photographs of early members of the Church. The volumes include a few selected entries about women in the early church. The first volume was published in 1901 and the last in 1936. The index found in volume 4 covers the entire set. The digitized copies are hosted by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

    Encyclopedic History of the Church 

    Compiled by Andrew Jenson and published in 1941, this volume contains brief histories of branches, wards, stakes, conferences, districts, missions, selected localities, and Church publications as well as entries on miscellaneous subjects. A digitized copy is hosted by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

    Church Chronology 

    Compiled by Andrew Jenson, this volume gives brief chronological entries of Church-related historical events from 1805 through 1898. The digital copy is hosted on the Internet Archive.

    Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah

    Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Letter to President Brigham Young from Sarah Cooper of Richmond, Utah, in 1866, asking for money to help members of her family immigrate.

    Compiled by Frank Esshom and published in 1913, this volume contains about 5,900 photographs and 5,700 brief life sketches of pioneers and settlers in early Utah and the Intermountain West. This digital copy is hosted on the Internet Archive.

    Brigham Young Office Files 

    This collection includes approximately 15,000 letters from Church members and others who were seeking personal guidance, spiritual advice, financial help, LDS literature, and autographs from President Brigham Young. These letters can be searched by name, location or topic. For detailed information on how to search this collection, visit the Church History Library blog post “Searching the Brigham Young Office Files.” Digital images of the original letters are available through the Church History Catalog. For replies to letters, consult the letterbooks series.

    Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    The Journal History is a daily history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1830 to 2008. It is a scrapbook created from newspapers, minutes, diary entries, and other sources. Parts of the Journal History have been indexed, and it is available online up through 1923. The link above connects to the research guide on the Journal History for more specific information and help in navigating the collection.