Effective family history research requires some understanding of the historical events that affected your family and the records about them. Learning about wars, governments, laws, migrations, and religious trends can help you understand political boundaries, family movements, and settlement patterns.
State, county, and local histories often contain biographical sketches of local citizens, including important genealogical information. This may be one of the best sources of information for some families.
County and local histories often contain biographical and historical information about residents and their families. They may provide the occupation, previous residences, birth date, or birthplace (city, county, and state or country).
Information about a family may be found in a history under the married name of a daughter or sister. Relatives or clues are often found by studying the pages that have biographies of residents or that tell the history of the town or township where an ancestor lived.
Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:
The following important events in the history of Arizona affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.
- 1539: Marcos de Niza a Spanish Franciscan Friar was first to explore Arizona.
- 1776: The Spanish established a garrison at Tucson.
- 1821: Mexico took control over the land now included in Arizona. Apache troubles restricted white settlement to Tucson.
- 1846: The Mormon Battalion built Cooke's Wagon Road, south of the Gila River. The road became a favorite route across Arizona and into California for early prospectors and pioneers.
- 1846: U.S. Military under command of Col. Alexander W. Doniphan engaged the Navajo at Bear Springs.
- 1848-1853: Mexico ceded land north of the Gila River, including a major portion of Arizona, to the United States. This became the New Mexico Territory in 1850. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase added the area south of the Gila.
- 1850: First Federal Census taken as a part of Territory of New Mexico.
- 1 August 1861: The Confederate States of America declared Arizona territory separated from New Mexico territory which they also claimed. But the confederacy soon lost control over all Arizona and New Mexico land.
- 1862: Indian battle of Apache Pass.
- Battle of Picacho Pass (Confederate & Union troops)
- 24 February 1863: Territory of Arizona created by US, split from New Mexico Territory. The first four counties organized.
- 1864: Kit Carson, led a U.S. army against the Navajo Indians. The army killed the sheep and burned their crops forcing the tribe to surrender or face starvation. The Navajo were marched to Fort Sumner at Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. The march became known as "The Long Walk". Eight thousand survived the march but many others died.
- 1866: The northwestern part of Arizona Territory was transferred by the US government to the State of Nevada, thought Arizona resisted until 1871.
- Battle of Skull Cave (Indian & federal troops)
- 1871: Camp Grant Massacre
- 1873: Apache removal by U.S. Army under direction of Kit Carson.
- 1882: Battle of Big Dry Wash
- 4 September 1886: Apache Indian Chief, Geronimo, captured by Federal Troops under General Miles in Arizona, ending the last major Indian War. Geronimo had led his band on a six month escape from San Carlos reservation in Arizona.
- 1870-1910: The non-Indian population of Arizona increased from fewer than 10,000 to over 200,000 as settlers moved in from many states and countries.
- 14 February 1912: Arizona became a state.
Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. The United States Research "History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of Arizona.
- A bibliography that includes some local histories is Arizona Gathering II, 1950-1969: An Annotated Bibliography. 
State Histories Useful to Genealogists
Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Arizona are:
- History of Arizona. 
- Arizona: The History of a Frontier State 
United States History
The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:
- The Almanac of American History, This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
- Dictionary of American History, Revised ed  This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
- Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.
To find more books and articles about Arizona 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Arizona history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:
- ARIZONA - HISTORY
- ARIZONA, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- ARIZONA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
- ARIZONA, BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Donald M. Powell, Arizona Gathering II, 1950-1969: An Annotated Bibliography. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1973. (Family History Library book 979.1 A3pa).
- Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
- Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
- Farish, Thomas Edwin. History of Arizona. Eight Volumes, San Francisco, California: Filmer Brothers Electrotype Company, 19--? Reprint of Phoenix, Arizona: N.p., 1915-18. ( Family History Library book 979.1 H2f; v. 1-4; on film 934825 items 1-4.)
- Wyllys, Rufus Kay. Arizona: The History of a Frontier State. Phoenix, Arizona: Hobson and Herr, 1950. ( Family History Library book 979.1 H2w.)
- Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
- Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
- Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&amp;amp;amp;C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
- Limited view at Google Books
- Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w