Category Archives: Websites

Mountain State Resources: Montana

by Claire V. Brisson-Banks

This is the upper end of St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park in Montana, we have Ken Thomas for providing such a beautiful picture of this area. It looks so peaceful and inviting.

Historically, Montana was home to various indigenous peoples for thousands of years throughout the area. A map showing each of these tribes, their locations and locations to the their reservations is available on the American Indians in Montana website. This would be very helpful if any of your ancestry is from one of these tribes.

Montana territory was part of other states and territories as well as being disputed by the British. Carefully map out who owned what part of Montana and the matching dates to know where records may be located. We have Montana as part of the Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, United States and Washington Territory.

Between the homestead act, the desert land act, gold, railroads, farming and the wild life Montana had a lot to offer but still didn’t become a state until 1889 and became the 41st state in the union.

Land records from the US Bureau of Land Management can provide some great information on those who settled in this area through the land patents and tract books and counties have recorders who kept their records too.

According to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, 1878 is the earliest date for birth records and many vital records are available online on various websites.

Military records are a good source of information for those researching Montana. From wars with the Indians, like Custer’s last stand and many others, to all the wars throughout the years, there are enlistment records, casualty lists, pensions and  memorials for those who died in the war. Besides the Family Search Research Wiki one can also check out the New Horizons Genealogy and the National Archives.

There are many more records available to help you as you search for your Montana ancestors. Checking out the Montana Research Tips and Strategies to provide you with a lot of guidance as you continue your research in this beautiful state.





Mountain States Resources: Idaho


Claire V. Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS, AG®

When conducting research in Idaho one can’t but stop and admire the landscape wherever you go, it is breathtaking. Originally it was part of the Oregon Territory and became a state in 1890. There are 44 counties and four Indian reservations, the Coeur d’Alene, Duck Valley, Nez Perce and Fort Hall. Idaho is one of the states included in the Mountain States Region for testing.

With most of the 1890 US census destroyed in 1921 by fire, The Idaho State Historical Society reconstructed the Idaho 1890 Census. According to their website, “The Idaho State Archives holds both the only original hard-copies and copies on microfilm of the 1870 and 1880 Agricultural, Industrial, Mortality, Prison, Social Statistical and Supplemental Schedules for Idaho.” Additional collections available from the Idaho State Historical Society are Biographical Index, Civil War Veterans Index, Inmate Catalog, Naturalization Records, Mothers’ Pension Records and Old Age Pension Records.

Special Collections at BYU-Idaho contains an index of the Japanese Immigrants to Utah, Idaho and Wyoming from 1887-1924, the Western States Marriage Record Index, Idaho State Death Index 1911-1956, Eastern Idaho Death Records, Progressive Men of Southeast Idaho, and Upper Snake River Valley Histories.

The IdahoGenWeb Project also contributes with additional resources. Their Idaho Mysteries are where unsolved events, incidents, and family stories can be located, additional resources are found by the county of residence. For those Black Sheep that show up or disappear in your tree, check out, this site also includes those who were institutionalized for a wide variety of things.

Additional research tips and strategies can be found on the FamilySearch Research Wiki, Cyndi’s List and Facebook groups. There are many other Facebook groups listed either by the area and Family History or Genealogy, they are easy to find. Each of these groups help one another through various research problems.

Enjoy these resources as you search for your ancestors from Idaho.