Idaho Archives and Libraries

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Idaho > Idaho Archives and Libraries

The records of the events in the lives of our ancestors generally fall into three categories -- those kept by government offices, those kept by churches, and those kept by individuals, businesses, or organizations.

Government records are normally kept in archives at various levels of government -- city, county, state, or national. Church records are usually housed at the local church congregation level, although some may have been collected to a denominational archives. Private records often remain in the possession of the business or organization or with the descendants of the ancestor. Some private records have been collected by historical or genealogical societies.

Federal Government Records Relating to Idaho

Most of the records generated by the federal government relating to Idaho are housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC, or in their Regional Archives in Seattle, Washington. Microfilm copies of some of these records are also available at the Idaho State Historical Society and Archives in Boise or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives

The Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives in Boise has a unique blend of records. They have collected many of the government records of the state and the counties of Idaho. They also house records collected by the Idaho State Historical Society and the Idaho State Genealogical Society. Records of business, organizations, and private individuals are also part of their collection. Many oral histories of individuals have also been gathered. An excellent guide to their holdings is available online at their web site.

Public Archives and Research Library
2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712
Click here for a map.

Library Hours:
Wednesday through Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday through Tuesday and major State holidays.

Telephone 208-334-3356 - History
Genealogy 208-334-3863 - Oral History
208-334-2620 - Public Archives
208-334-2626 - Fax (for Public Archives)

Contact: Linda Morton-Keithley, Administrator

County Courthouses and City Offices

Many of the key records essential for genealogical research were created by local county or city governments. County records include court, land and property, naturalization and citizenship, probate, taxation, and vital records. The county courthouses are the primary repositories of these valuable records. Some courthouse records have been destroyed. Many have been microflimed and/or transferred to the state archives. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of many of the earlier records of the counties.

Easy-to-use sources that list the various county offices in each state and the types of records at each office are:

  • Bentley, Elizabeth Petty.County Courthouse Book. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1995. (Family History Library book 973 D24bena.)
  • The Handy Book for Genealogists: United States of America. Tenth edition. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishing, 2006. (Family History Library book 973 D27e.) The Handy Book also lists the county seat and zip code.

City offices have records of the minutes of the mayor's office, city councils, and other records relative to the government on the local level. While they may not contain a large amount of genealogical information, they are a valuable source of personal history of the officers and residents of these smaller localities. Most of these records remain in the local offices.

Historical and Genealogical Societies

Historical and genealogical societies have been organized in each state, most counties, and some towns. These societies collect many valuable records and offer various helpful services to researchers.


Idaho State University Library in Pocatello

Brigham Young University - Idaho Library in Rexburg

Family History Library

35 N. West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
Telephone: 801-240-2331
Fax: 801-240-1584
Internet address:

For more details click here.

Library of Congress

Genealogy and Local History Section
101 Independence Ave. at First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20504
Telephone: 202-707-5000
Fax: 202-707-5844
Internet address:

The Genealogical and Local History Section of the Library of Congress has a very large collection of published genealogies, manuscripts, histories, directories, maps, and newspapers.

The Library of Congress site has a wonderful American Memory page that links to more 60 collections, searchable by keyword or time period in a variety of media.

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution

1776 “D” Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-5392
Telephone: 202-879-3229
Fax: 202-879-3227
Internet address:

Other Idaho Libraries

Your local public library can help you locate these records of local interest, such as newspaper clippings files, publications about local events, etc. Directories of such libraries include:

  • American Library Directory. 53rd Edition. New Providence, New Jersey: R. R. Bowker, 2000-2001. (Family History Library book 973 J54a 2000, 2 vol.) Alphabetical by state and town. Lists addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and describes each library's holdings and special interests.
  • Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. The Genealogist's Address Book. Fifth Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005. (Family History Library book 973 D24ben 2005.) Includes national, state, ethnic, religious, historical, adoption, computer interest group, and vendor addresses with telephone numbers, E-mail addresses, supervisors, and repository hours.

Federal Repository Libraries

The federal government has designated at least one library in each state (generally a major university library) to receive a copy of published federal records. These include a wide variety of information, such as pension lists, private land claims, veterans' burial lists, and individuals' petitions to Congress.