Perpetual Emigration Fund
The Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company was organized in October 1849. The "donations to the fund" helped outfit members "for the trek west" from 1850 to 1887. It also funded voyages to America starting in 1856. The fund was dis-incorporated in 1887 under the provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker Act. Approximately 30,000 people were assisted with all or part of their transportation expenses during the thirty-seven years of the Fund's operation. (Mormon Historical Studies, Fall 2000, p142)
There is no complete list of members who used PEF. Many members used the fund, and paid their debt; enabling other members to emigrate. However, in 1877 a list called Names of Persons and Sureties Indebted to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company from 1850 to 1877 was created. This was a list of everyone who used PEF but had not paid their debt. Then as part of the Jubilee year of the Church, the "Worthy Poor" were forgiven their debt.
The book PERSONS AND SURETIES INDEBTED TO THE PERPETUAL EMIGRATING FUND COMPANY 1850 TO 1877 INCLUSIVE, has been digitized and may be downloaded at www.archive.org.
Two sites that will be helpful in searching for your ancestors who participated in the Perpetual Emigration Fund include the following:
- Mormon Historic Sites Foundation - http://www.mormonhistoricsites.org
- The foundation's Fall 2000 issue of "Mormon Historical Studies” included a reprint of a report that was published in 1877 titled, Names of Persons and Sureties Indebted to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company from 1850 to 1877 Inclusive." The authors were Richard L. Jensen and Maurine Carr Ward.
- Tracing Mormon Pioneers- http://www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/pioneer.htm
- The index of LDS pioneer ancestors on this website includes the pioneer names from the original 1877 publication in addition to many other records that document LDS pioneers.
Family History Library Sources
Perpetual Emigration Fund by Grant Davis.
- Individuals who benefited from the Perpetual Emigration Fund are presented in two sections: First, by alphabetical order; Second, by families. The book is available at the Family History Library: US/CAN Film 2055500 item 3 or book 973 W23p
Names of Persons and Sureties Indebted to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company from 1850 to 1877 Inclusive by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company and published in 1877.
- There are 18,000 names in this publication. The record is on microfilm at the Family History Library, US and Canada Film number 25686.
- The names in this record were also published in an article by the same title, by Richard L. Jensen and Maurine Carr Ward. The article was published in the Fall 2000 issue of “Mormon Historical Studies” by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation. The publication is available in PDF format on their Website http://www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org
- The Tracing Mormon Pioneers website has included the names from the original 1877 publication in their online index of pioneer immigration records http://www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/pioneer.htm
Church History Library and Archives Sources
The original financial ledgers of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company are available at the Church History Library and Archives. Every person who benefited from the PEF were not included in the ledgers. The information that was included in the ledgers includes:
- Name of the person who emigrated from Britain.
- The amount they were loaned.
- Interest charged.
- The amount repaid.
An index to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company ledgers is available at the Church History Library and Archives reference room in Salt Lake City. If you do not live near the Library, you can write and ask if your ancestor's names are in the PEF Ledgers Index. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Numerous sites on the Internet provide some historical background about the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Perpetual Education Fund,” April 2001 Conference Talk
Wikipedia article, "Perpetual Emigration Fund"
The Emigrating Fund in Europe (Source: Prelude to the Kingdom by Gustive O. Larson, Pages 155-167)
Mode of Conducting the Migration - This article by church historian Andrew Jenson first appeared in the LDS periodical, The Contributor, Volume 13 (1892) pages 181-185.