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Do you plan to seek your genealogical fortune at next week’s
Genealogical Society 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas?
The conference, May 8-11, offers opportunities to take classes; shop
for genealogy books, software, subscriptionwebsites and more; collaborate with
other researchers; and take local
Nearly all of present-day Nevada was in Utah territory from after the Mexican-American
War until 1861. The discovery of gold
in California in 1848, and silver in Virginia City’s Comstock
Lode in 1859, sent miners rushing through the area, leading to the formation of
Nevada Territory in 1861. Nevada became a state three years later.
As the Comstock Lode dwindled during the 1880s, Nevada entered a depression that lasted
until new mineral deposits were found in 1900. The railroad and federally funded irrigation
projects helped, too.
Nevada legalized gambling in 1931. The
Las Vegas Sun has more local history here.
If you plan to play the genealogy odds during your trip to the NGS conference (or
from home), improve your chances with these Las Vegas research tips.
Local repositories you can visit in person and/or online include:
Clark County Genealogical
Society: One of several local
NGS conference hosts, this society houses its research materials and provides
volunteers at the Heritage
Room of the Paseo Verde Library in nearby Henderson, Nev.
FamilySearch Library at 509 South 9th Street: This large branch of the Salt
lake City Family History Library has a vast collection of local research books
and microfilm, in addition to helpful volunteers and 50 computers with access to subscription
databases. It’ll be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday of the conference,
and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that Saturday.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Department of Special Collections at 4505 S. Maryland Parkway: Find manuscripts,
maps, photographs, oral histories and more related to local history, plus the Nevada
These tips and resources also will help you find Las Vegas and Nevada ancestors:
Statewide birth and death certificates begin in 1911, and marriages and divorces don’t
start until 1969. These, of course, document many couples from other states who wed
in Vegas (and perhaps then changed their minds about too-hasty vows). Many counties
have marriage and divorce records back as far as 1862; nearly all began birth and
death registration in 1887.
The free Nevada
Online Census Database indexes about 310,000 US census entries from 1860 through
Find data from 1862 and 1863 Nevada Territory censuses, plus maps, state land patents
and more online in the Nevada State Library
and Archives’ (NSLA’s) digital archives. In addition to those partial territorial
censuses, NSLA has an 1875 state census
on microfilm (you also can search
the 1875 Nevada state census on Ancestry.com).
Got miners in your family tree? The Nevada
Historical Society in Reno has mining company records including payrolls, customer
lists and an “accident file” of miners killed in work-related mishaps before 1900.
For purchases of Federal land, patents issued after 1908 are searchable online through
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) General
Land Office record search. Records of earlier transactions are at the BLM’s
Nevada office in Reno.
Research your genealogy across the USA with Family Tree Magazine‘s newly updated State
Research Guides e-book.