Arizona, United States Genealogy

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This article is about the southwestern U.S. state. For other uses, see Arizona (disambiguation).

United States Gotoarrow.png Arizona

Welcome to Arizona

The Grand Canyon State

Arizona.png Arizona flag.png

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Arizona

Historians disagree about the meaning and derivation of the place name Arizona.[1]  What is now southern Arizona and northern México was known by the Spanish as the Pimería Alta, or Upper Pima Country after the natives of the area whom the Spanish called Pima. Within this area was a place that the Spanish called Arisona, Arissona or Arizona.

Historian James H. McClintock in Arizona, Prehistoric, Aboriginal, Pioneer, Modern: The Nation’s Youngest Commonwealth within a Land of Ancient Culture (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916) and in other works noted that the name was probably derived from a native place name that sounded like Aleh-zon or Ali-Shonak which meant small spring or place of the small spring. The Dictionary: Tohono O'odham/Pima to English, English to Tohono O'odham/Pima indicates that Al Shon, translated as Place of Little Spring, is the place name Arizona.

However, the current State Historian, Marshall Trimble, agrees with Donald T. Garate, Chief of Interpretation/Historian at Tumacácori National Historical Park, who studied the early documents referencing the place name Arizona while researching Juan Bautista de Anza: Basque Explorer in the New World, 1693-1740 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003) that Arizona is a Basque word meaning The Good Oak Tree.
Garate argues that early missionaries to the area did not note Arizona as a native settlement. The ranchería Arizona was established between 1734 and 1736 by Bernardo de Urrea, of Basque heritage born in Mexico. It is south of the international border in Sonora, México about forty miles southwest of Tumacácori. The ranchería Arizona quickly became a place of note when silver (Planchas de Plata) was discovered nearby. In "Arizona (Never Arizonac)," Garate records a 1737 report by Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (father of the Anza trail explorer), that a slab of silver weighing more that 2,500 pounds had been discovered "between the Guevavi Mission and the ranchería called Arizona (entre la Miss.n de Guebabi, y la ranchería del Arissona)." Garate also notes that the place name Arizona can be found in Central and South America where the Spanish, including the Basque, settled and where Tohono O'odham/Pima names are unlikely to be found.


  • Barnes, Will C. Arizona Place Names. Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1988, pp. 26-27 WorldCat 479862
  • Dean, Saxton, et al. Dictionary: Tohono O'odham/Pima to English, English to Tohono O'odham/Pima. Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1983, p. 138
  • Garate, Donald T. "Arizona (Never Arizonac).
  • Granger, Byrd Howell. Arizona’s Names: X Marks the Place. Tucson, Arizona: Falconer Pub. Co., 1983, pp. 30-31.
  • Thompson, Clay. "A Sorry State of Affairs When Views Change." The Aizona Republic, February 25, 2007, p. B10.

Featured Content

Official Guide of the Arizona Office of Tourism

Did You Know?

  • American Indians. There are 21 reservations in the state. In addition to the Navajo—the largest tribe—important groups are the Mohave, Apache, Hopi, Paiute, Tohono O'odham, Ak-Chin, Yuma, Yavapai, Hualapai, and Havasupai. For more information see Indians of Arizona. Histories of Arizona Indians are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under ARIZONA - MINORITIES, as well as under ARIZONA - NATIVE RACES. Other records of American Indians are listed in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the names of the tribes.
  • Prison Records. Arizona Department of Corrections has a searchable online database of 100 years of Inmate Admissions (1872 - 1972).
  • Gretna Greens. When an eloping Arizona couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, or Yuma, Yuma, Arizona.[2]


Extinct or Renamed Counties:  Bernalillo · Castle Dome · Doña Ana · Ewell · Mesilla · Pah-Ute · Rio Arriba · Rio Virgin · Santa Ana · Socorro · Taos · Valencia

Arizona County Creation Dates and Parent Counties showing dates they were created or renamed and counties created from older counties. Details will assist you in determining which county would have the records you are seeking. Arizona currently has 15 counties.


  • Arizona State Genealogical Society
  • The Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. 2nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85719 520-617-1169
  • Arizona State Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 42075, Tucson, AZ 85733-2075; (520) 275-2747
  • Arizona State University Libraries
  • Family History Society of Arizona, P.O. Box 63094, Phoenix, AZ 85082-3094
  • Genealogical Society of Arizona, P.O. Box 27237, Tempe, AZ 85282
  • Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, 7739 East Broadway, Suite 195, Tucson, AZ 85710
  • Arizona First Families, 4813 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018
  • Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board, P.O. Box 5641, Mesa, AZ 85211-5641
  • Arizona Genealogical Computer Interest Group, P.O. Box 51498, Phoenix, AZ 85076-1498
  • Arizona Society of Genealogists, 6565 East Grant Road, Tucson, AZ 85715
  • Black Family History Society, P.O. Box 1515, Gilbert, AZ 85299-1515
  • Camp Verde Historical Society, P.O. Box 182, Rimrock, AZ 86335
  • Cherokee Family Ties, 516 North 38th Street, Mesa, AZ 85208
  • Genealogical Society of Yuma Arizona, P.O. Box 2905, Yuma, AZ 85366-2905
  • Arizona Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, 2622 Papago Trail, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
  • National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution,
  • Arizona Society of Sons of the American Revolution,
  • National Society of Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203; (502) 589-1776
  • Cochise Genealogical Society Douglas-Williams House, 1001 Ave D, Douglas, Arizona 85608
  • Coconino County Genealogical Society, 649 E. Edison, Williams, AZ 86046
  • Genealogical Workshop of Mesa, P.O. Box 6052, Mesa, AZ 85216-6052
  • Genealogy Society of Pinal County, 1128 North Kaduta Ave., Casa Grande, AZ 85222
  • Green Valley Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1009, Green Valley, AZ 85622-1009
  • Hispanic Family History Society, 3607 S. Kenneth Place, Tempe, AZ 85282
  • Lake Havasu Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 953, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405-0953
  • Mohave County Genealogical Society, 400 West Beale Street, Kingman, AZ 86401
  • Monte Vista Genies, Monte Vista Village Resort, Pueblo Room, 8865 E. Baseline Rd., Mesa, AZ 85208-5309
    * Navajo County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1403, Winslow, AZ 86047
  • Northern Arizona Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 695, Prescott, AZ 86302
  • Northern Gila County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 952, Payson, AZ 85547
  • Ohio Genealogical Society, Arizona Chapter, P.O. Box 677, Gilbert, AZ 85299-0677
  • Phoenix Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 38703, Phoenix, AZ 85069-8703
  • Polish Genealogical Interest Group of Arizona, 2015 E. Redmon Dr., Tempe, AZ 85283
  • Saddlebrooke Genealogy Club, 38418 S. Golf Course Dr., Tucson, AZ 85739-1113
  • Sedona Genealogy Club, P.O. Box 4258, Sedona, AZ 86340
  • Sierra Vista Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1084, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636-1084
  • Sun City Vistoso Genealogical Society, 13763 N. Buster Spring Way, Tucson AZ 85737-4717
  • Tri-States Genealogical Society, PO Box 21902, Bullhead City, AZ 86439; Email TSGS
  • West Valley Genealogical Society,12222 N. 111th Ave. Youngtown, Arizona 85363; 623-933-4945
  • FHSA. A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the activities of the Family History Society of Arizona (FHSA). Additional information can be found on the FHSA web site. To subscribe send "subscribe" to (mail mode) or (digest mode).
  • FHSA-BOARD. A mailing list, restricted to the members of the Board of Directors of the Family History Society of Arizona (FHSA) to discuss the activities and future plans of the FHSA. Additional information can be found on the FHSA web site. If you are a member of the Board and desire to subscribe to the list, send "subscribe" to (mail mode) or (digest mode).

Research Tools


Wiki articles describing these collections are at:                    

Things You Can Do

In order to make this wiki a better research tool, we need your help! Many tasks need to be done. You can help by:


  1. Arizona State Library, Archives and Records, "The Meaning of Arizona" at Arizona State Library, Archives and Records ( : accessed 25 August 2008)
  2. Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at (accessed 8 January 2011).
The Moderator for Arizona is James Tanner
If you are interested in being one of the moderators for Arizona, Please contact the Support Team.



Look for Information in the future about the 2012 Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona. Visit Family History Expos for more details.