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.
- 1 Federal Government Records Relating to Idaho
- 2 Idaho State Archives
- 3 County Courthouses and City Offices
- 4 Historical and Genealogical Societies
- 5 Libraries
- 5.1 Mountain West Digital Library
- 5.2 Idaho State University Library in Pocatello
- 5.3 Brigham Young University - Idaho Library in Rexburg
- 5.4 Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah
- 5.5 Library of Congress in Washington, DC
- 5.6 University of Idaho Library in Moscow
- 5.7 Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library in Washington, DC
- 5.8 Other Idaho Libraries
- 5.9 Federal Repository Libraries
- 6 Idaho Online Records
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.
National Archives—Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)
6125 Sand Point Way, N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115-7999
Idaho State Archives
The Idaho State Archives in Boise has a unique blend of records. They have collected many of the government records of the state and of 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.
Idaho State Archives
2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712
Click here for a map.
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday 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: Rod House, Archivist
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.) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 973 D24bena.)
- The Handy Book for Genealogists: United States of America. Tenth edition. (Logan, Utah: Everton Publishing, 2006.) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL 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 council, 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 the 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 Historical Society
2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, Idaho 83712
- Idaho Genealogical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 1854
Boise, Idaho 83701-1854
Email Us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local historical and genealogical societies are listed under the Wiki page for the county in which they are located.
Mountain West Digital Library
The Mountain West Digital Library is a search portal for an aggregation of digital collections from more than 50 universities, colleges, public libraries, museums, and historical societies in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho.
Idaho State University Library in Pocatello
Idaho State University
Department of Special Collections and University Archives Manuscript Collection
850 S. 9th Ave.
Pocatello, ID 83209
Brigham Young University - Idaho Library in Rexburg
Brigham Young University - Idaho
525 South Center St.
Rexburg, Idaho 84440-0405
Website: BYU-Idaho Library
The Library and its Special Collections Department provide access to a large collection of original research material on Utah and Eastern Idaho settlers. It is especially comprehensive for materials relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The Upper Snake River Family History Center is hosted in the Library.
Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah
Family History Library
35 N. West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
Internet address: www.familysearch.org
For more details click here.
Library of Congress in Washington, DC
Library of Congress
Genealogy and Local History Section
101 Independence Ave. at First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20504
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.
University of Idaho Library in Moscow
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library in Washington, DC
National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution Library
1776 “D” Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-5392
Other Idaho Libraries
Your local public library can help you locate records of local interest, such as newspaper clippings files, publications about local events, etc. Generally, a "google search" for a County or City library in the area of interest will reveal current contact information. Directories of such libraries include:
- American Library Directory. 53rd Edition. (New Providence, New Jersey: R. R. Bowker, 2000-2001.) At various libraries (WorldCat), 2011-2012; FHL book 973 J54a 2001/2002. 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 : state and local resources, with special resources including ethnic and religious organizations. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009.) At various libaries (WorldCat); FHL book 973.D24ben 2009 Includes national, state, ethnic, religious, historical, adoption,9computer interest group, and vendor addresses with telephone numbers, E-mail addresses, supervisors, and repository hours.
- A list of public libraries in the larger towns of Idaho, including many school libraries, is available online at Public Libraries.com.
Federal Repository Libraries
The federal government has designated at least one library in each state 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. The Regional Depository for the State of Idaho is:
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-2350
Idaho Online Records
The Mountain West Digital Library is a search portal for an aggregation of digital collections from more than 50 universities, colleges, public libraries, museums, and historical societies in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. It is in partnership with 60 academic libraries, public libraries, museums, historical societies, cities, counties, and state agencies from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii (coming soon: over 60 new partners in Arizona!)