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Nevada: 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 Nevada.


Grafton Tyler Brown, publisher. Map of the State of Nevada. 1866. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Nevada was home to the Paiute, Shoshone, Washoe, Goshute and Mohave people before Spanish explorers came to the Americas. Then it was known as part of Alta California and was ruled by the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The LDS State of Deseret claimed all of Nevada in the Great Basin. The United States annexed Nevada in 1848, and it became part of Utah Territory before splitting off into Nevada Territory in 1861. Statehood came in 1864, making Nevada the 36th state in the United States.

Nevada is the driest state in the United States, and its wealth comes from tourism, ranching, and mining. Gambling is legal, as is prostitution in many parts of the state. Lenient marriage and divorce laws have made it a sort of Gretna Green for the whole country.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Nevada 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 Battle Born State, also known as the Silver State, the Sagebrush State, and the Sage Hen 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.