Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors

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The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints

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Beginning Research
Record Types
By Country
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Background Information
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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

The purpose of this page is to review different record types needed to help those researching ancestors who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The types of records to search depends on when the ancestor joined The Church.

Tracing Early Members of the Church[edit | edit source]

Prior to the organization of the Church in 1830 and the arrival of the first Latter-day Saints in Utah in 1847, membership records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are few and scattered. Early membership records contain very little information, but became progressively better after the Saints settled in Utah. A good online resource is the Early Church Information File (ECIF). This file is an alphabetical card index of early Latter-day Saints focusing on the years from 1830 to 1914. This file indexes over 1,200 sources which have an abundance of entries for Latter-day Saints.

More resources and information on early membership records can be found on the Membership Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wiki page.

Tracing Mormon Pioneers to Utah before 1868[edit | edit source]

There are many records relating to members of the Church moving to Utah, whether they were coming from Nauvoo, Illinois, or from a European country. Databases have been created to track the migration of the Latter-day Saints. Listed below are a few of these databases.

Mormon Pioneers Crossing the Plains[edit | edit source]

The Church’s movement to the valley of the Great Salt Lake is the largest organized migration movement in American history spanning from 1846 until 1925. Below are some online databases regarding early Mormon Pioneers coming to Utah. More resources can be found on the Latter-day Siant Emigration and Immigration Wiki page

Go to Latter-day Saint Emigration and Immigration Wiki page for more information.

Crossing the Ocean - Immigration From Europe[edit | edit source]

Go to Latter-day Saint Emigration and Immigration for more information.

Tracing Latter-day Saint Polygamists[edit | edit source]

Many early members of The Church practiced plural marriage. There are specific research tips and records that can help you research them.

Membership Records[edit | edit source]

There have been several different types of membership records created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After settlement in Utah, membership records improved over time and usually include information about births, marriages, deaths, and Church ordinances. The type of membership records that exist are the journal type (1830-1877), long book form (1877-1900), three-part form (1900-1920), box type (1920-1941) and card type (1941 to present). For more details and examples of what these membership records contain, visit the Membership Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wiki page.

Unfortunately, membership records are only available on microfilm and are not digitized. You must visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah to see these records. Some Family History Centers may have copies of membership records for selected wards and branches.

Latter-day Saint Record Finder[edit | edit source]

Go to the Latter-day Saint Record Finder table to see a list of possible information you may wish to find about your Latter-day Saint ancestor and the corresponding records that may contain the information you seek.

Caution Regarding Genealogies and Life Sketches[edit | edit source]

Many genealogies and life sketches of members of the Church have been handed down for several generations. Some of these genealogies, family stories, and life sketches were compiled from oral histories and can contain many errors mixed in with factual information. If you are the recipient of one of these genealogies, it is suggested to document this information. Family group records should have sources supporting the information on it. Do not rely on someone else's research, but instead cite sources and find evidence. Careful documentation reduces errors, unwanted duplication, and may help uncover an overlooked ordinance, a missing family members, and other important family events.