Nevada History

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United States Gotoarrow.png Nevada Gotoarrow.png Nevada History


The following important events in the history of Nevada affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping

Dates Events
1821 Mexico claimed the area after a successful revolt against Spain.
1840's Americans on the way to California traveled through the region.
1847-1848 Mexican War
1848 Nevada was part of the area ceded by Mexico to the United States.
1848 First settlement - Mormon trading post near Genoa.
1849 The first non-Indian settlement was made at Mormon Station (Genoa).
1850 When Utah Territory was organized, almost all of present-day Nevada was included except the southern tip, which was then part of the New Mexico Territory.
1859 The Comstock Lode of gold and silver was discovered at Virginia City, and many miners began coming from California.
1859 Comstock Lode (Silver)
1860 Pyramid Lake Indian Battle
1860-1861 April 3, - October 24 - Pony Express
1861 March 2 - Congress created Nevada Territory
1864 October 31 - Nevada became a state.
1866-1867 Eastern land was gained from Utah Territory, and the southern tip was acquired from Arizona Territory.
1880-1890 As the Comstock Lode declined, the states population fell from 62,000 to 47,000.
1898 Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
1900 The discovery of silver at Tonopah, soon followed by gold strikes at Goldfield and the discovery of copper at Ely, led to a new mining boom that lasted until after World War I.
1917–1918 More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
1930's The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
1940–1945 Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
1950–1953 Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
1964–1972 Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.

Historical Content

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories

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 History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of Nevada. The following sources are helpful for identifying local histories:

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 Nevada are:

  • Elliott, Russell R. History of Nevada, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. book 979.3 H2eL.

United States History

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [1][2]This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [3] [4]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.
  • The Pony Express
    Pony Express riders carried the U.S. Mail on horseback. There were approximately 80 of them. There were support personnel as well that numbered over 400. The Pony Express Route Covered Parts of: California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.
    Pony Express Riders Biographies:
    By Name Include Some Photos
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [5][6][7]This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Nevada 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Nevada history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:


Web Sites

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Nevada Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)


  1. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
  2. Worldcat
  3. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
  4. Worldcat
  5. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
  6. Limited view at Google Books
  7. Worldcat
  8. 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
  9. Worldcat