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Idaho: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as state, county and municipal historical research, for the state of Idaho.


George Wharton James, Alan H. Burgoyne, and Elmore Elliott Peake. Idaho. 1905. Library of Congress Geography & Maps Division.

The land we call Idaho was historically inhabited by the Shoshone and Nez Perce Native Americans, then claimed by Spain, France, Britain, and the U.S. It was part of the Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, Dakota Territory, and then Idaho Territory before statehood was granted in 1890.  The discovery of gold and silver spurred mining and immigration in the mid 19th century. Ethnic groups that immigrated to Idaho include Mormons, who sought religious freedom, Chinese, Japanese, Basque, Scandinavian and Welsh people, seeking wealth and land.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Idaho local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the Gem State.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.