Idaho Biography

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Idaho Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Idaho Background
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Local Research Resources
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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

Idaho State Archives[edit | edit source]

The best collection and index of biographical materials of Idaho residents is at the Idaho State Archives, formerly known as the Idaho State Historical Society Public Archives and Research Library (PARL). The Idaho Biographical Index (IBI) is available online and is an index of persons named in state, county and community histories, regional periodicals, and selected newspaper articles from around the state and throughout its history.

Statewide histories include Elliott's History of Idaho Territory (1884) and multi-volume histories by French (1914), Hawley (1920), Defenbach (1933), and Beal and Wells (1959), among others. Also indexed are biographical compendia such as Illustrated History of the State of Idaho (1899), Illustrated History of North Idaho (1903), and Progressive Men of Southern Idaho (1904). Please note that more recent histories and compendia are being indexed daily, and the IBI is growing all the time.

Family History Library Collection[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


  • IDAHO - BIOGRAPHY
  • IDAHO, [COUNTY] - BIOGRAPHY
  • IDAHO, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - BIOGRAPHY

Brigham Young University Collection[edit | edit source]

  • Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869, which includes information about many Idaho families is searchable on the BYU internet site at Overland Trails
  • Brigham Young University - Idaho has a project, Upper Snake River Valley Idaho Histories, in which many diaries and biographical sketches have been collected. These are indexed on their Internet site.