Tracing Mormon Pioneers

Resources for Tracing Pioneers

All of these are available at the main library in Salt Lake City, but are often digitized to viewing at remote family history centers.

For a larger selection of reference books including many on handcart companies see the Family History Catalog under Utah/Emigration and Immigration. Another great place to look is under your ancestor's native land and Emigration and Immigration e.g. Denmark, Emigration and Immigration or Norway, Emigration and Immigration.

The Ship Resources page has some specific information related to the voyage across the ocean and finding ship rosters.

Special resources are available for those who emigrated from England, Scandinavia, Australia, or South Africa.

Mormon Pioneer Companies Crossing the Plains (1847-1868) by Melvin Lee Bashmore and Linda L. Halsam
US/CAN Book Area 289.3016 B29/m, US/CAN Fiche Area 6105191, US/CAN Film 1592752 item 6

A digital version is available at BYU

1) List of Pioneer Companies
2) Names of company leaders
3) Size of company
4) Date/Location of Departure
5) Arrival date in Salt Lake City
6) Bibliography of trip from Midwest to Salt Lake e.g. references to journals, diaries, accounts, etc.

Utah Immigration Card Index a.k.a. Crossing the Plains Index

Contains names of those who traveled as part of a pioneer company 1847-1868.

A digital version is also available for viewing from the Family History Library or one of it branch centers.


Aagard-Ek US/CAN Film 0298440
Eldredge-Mo US/CAN Film 0298441
Muhlstein-Z US/CAN Film 0298442

Note: These films are on permanent loan to many branch libraries.

1) Names (alphabetically listed by surname) of individuals and families who crossed the plains as part of a Church sponsored group
2) Name of company they traveled with e.g. Robert F. Neslen company
3) Arrival date to Salt Lake City
4) The following are sometimes on the index
Note: Keep in mind that not all families traveled together, so you may only see part of a family listed on a given index entry. Also be aware of name variations in both first name and surname.

European emigration index

An online version for viewing is available while visiting the Family History Library or one of it branch centers.

Surname Microfilm
A-Bri British Film 0298431
Bro-Dy British Film 0298432
E-Ha British Film 0298433
Ha-Jones British Film 0298434
Jones-Mh British Film 0298435
Mi-Peteersen British Film 0298436
Petersen-Smith, O. British Film 0298437
Smith, P. - Wh British Film 0298438
Whi-Z British Film 0298439

Contents: Alphabetic card index of many LDS Church members who emigrated from European countries to the United States. Contains names, ages, nationality of emigrant; number of persons in group; name of ship; date and place of departure and arrival.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. European Mission. Emigration records, European Mission; 1849 - 1874. See the Family History Catalog for additional years beyond 1874.

Years Microfilm
1849-1855 British Film 25690
1855-1863 British Film 25691
1863-1874 British Film 25692

Contents: Record of departures from the Liverpool Office. Includes name, age, sex, occupation, marital status, and nationality of the emigrant, conference, address, or residence, name of ship, departure date, and destination. Partially indexed by European Emigration Card Index.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Emigration from the Scandinavian Mission.
INTL Film 25696

See also Scandinavia Book Area 948 w2ca vol 1. and 2., which is a printed transcript of the above film.

This microfilm has been
transcribed by Auerelia Clemons and is available online in two parts

Emigration from Scandinavian Mission - LDS - 1852-1866
Emigration from Scandinavian Mission - LDS - 1867-1881

Contents: Lists of LDS Church Members who emigrated from the Scandinavian Mission between 1853 and 1881; organized by conference under each year. Sometimes the ship the people were eventually on is also listed.

The years of 1854-1868 are on their own page and are in alphabetical order. See the Emigration from the Scandinavian Mission page to search on this page. The people are listed by surname, first name.   Middle names matter here so keep that in mind when search.

History of the Scandinavian Mission by Andrew Jenson.
Scandinavia Book Area 948 k2j; INTL Film 896938 Item 2 ; INTL Fiche 6030136

A digital copy is also available.

Contents: Contains a history of the mission beginning in the 1850's.

What is of use to many researchers are details that are given about emigration trips sponsored by the mission and the church. The sub-page
Narratives of the Emigration from the Scandinavian Mission 1852-1868 contains all the information contained in the table below.

Emigration Year Pages Ship Name
1852 46-48; 70-72 Italy; Forest Monarch
1853-54 87-89 Jesse Munn; Benjamin Adams
1854-55 97-99 James Nesmith
1855 106-107 John J. Boyd
1856 112-113 Thorton
1857 120-122 Westmoreland; Tuscarora
1858 129-131 John Bright
1859 139-142 William Tapscott
1860 148-150 William Tapscott
1861 154-156 Monarch of the Sea
1862 161-167 Humboldt; Franklin; Electric; Athena
1863 174-179 John J. Boyd; B.S. Kimball; Consignment
1864 181-182 Monarch of the Sea
1865 183-187 B.S. Kimball
1866 191-195 Kenilworth; Cavour; Humboldt
1867 198-199 Manhattan
1868 200-203 John Bright; Emerald Isle

World-wide LDS Ship Registers 1840-1913
US/CAN 973 W33-t; US/CAN Film 1592753 Item 1
Contents: Lists ships by name, company leader, departure date/port, arrival date/port, number LDS passengers on the ship and lists microfilm numbers where to find an LDS and/or US roster of those on the ship.

Millennial Star: an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Great Britain.
Contents: News from the states and abroad along with explanations of church doctrine, policy and gospel principles along with letters from members abroad and in Salt Lake City. These letters can illustrate many details of a particular voyage. Keep in mind that it may be many weeks or months after the actual voyage before a particular letter is printed. Also occasionally you will see a little paragraph or two about preparing for upcoming emigration or mentions of a particular company arriving in the states or Salt Lake City. Be patient in searching this resource by glancing over all the letters and correspondence after the date of an emigration and you will be well rewarded. A
cross reference table is available for emigration during 1848-1860 showing years of a voyage and references in the Millennial Star.

The Millennial Star
Volumes Time Period Microfilm
1-9 1840-1847 US/CAN Film 1402725
10-13 1848-1851 US/CAN Film 1402726
14-15 1852-1853 US/CAN Film 1402727
16-17 1854-1855 US/CAN Film 1402728
18-20 1856-1858 US/CAN Film 1402729
21-22 1859-1860 US/CAN Film 1402730
23-25 1861-1863 US/CAN Film 1402731
26-28 1864-1866 US/CAN Film 1402732
29-30 1867-1868 US/CAN Film 1402733

Swedish Mormon Pioneers by Roy Albert Spjut
Scandinavia 948.5 w2s, Microfilm 1059483
Contents: Swedish Mormons who emigrated to America. One page per person with some or all of the following information: birth date, birth place, marriage date and place, death date, information extracted from Emigration from the Scandinavia and British Missions (some of this information includes dates of departure and which ship they were on) and the arrival port in the U.S. Each page is typed with handwritten annotations for many entries. There are 10 volumes to this great resource. The volumes are in alphabetical surname sequence. Volume 1 (A); Volume 2 (B-C); Volume 3 (D-G); Volume 4 (H); Volume 5 (J-K); Volume 6 (L); Volume 7 (M-N); Volume 8 (O-P); Volume 9 (Q-S) and Volume 10 (T-Z).

Mormons on the High Seas: Ocean Voyage Narratives to America (1840-1890) by Melvin L. Bashore and Linda L. Haslam, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1990.
Microfilm 1592752 item 5.

Digital Verison at BYU

Contents: At the front it lists LDS emigrant ships by year from 1840-1890
along with departure date/port and arrival date/port. The bulk of the book is a bibliography of the ocean voyage. The book is arranged alphabetically and by year of the voyage. This book is useful in learning about what happened along the voyage including the day-to-day activities.

Daughters of the Utah Pioneers various publications
Contents: Contains information concerning immigration to Utah from 1847 to 1868 including personal histories, first hand accounts, dates of emigrant ship crossings, dates of plain crossings, and sometimes names of pioneers in companies, etc. that were submitted by members of the organization. This resource is useful for getting an overview of pioneer immigration for a given year.

To see a reference of most volumes see the newly created
index of DUP publications, which lists topics covered in the various volumes.

The entire set of Our Pioneer Heritage volumes are available on microfiche.

Title/Book/Pages Reference
"They came in '47", Heart Throbs of the West, pages 401-448 (includes rosters) US/CAN 979.2, H2cah, Vol. 8
"They Came in '48", Heart Throbs of the West, pages 453-524 (includes rosters) US/CAN 979.2, H2cah, Vol. 9
"They Came in '49", Heart Throbs of the West, pages 429-472 (includes rosters) US/CAN 979.2, H2cah, Vol. 10
"They Came in '50", Heart Throbs of the West, pages 377-454 (includes rosters) US/CAN 979.2, H2cah, Vol. 11
"They Came in '51", Heart Throbs of the West, pages 405-462 (includes rosters). US/CAN 979.2, H2cah, Vol. 12
"They Came in 1852", Treasures of Pioneer History, pages 437-492 US/CAN 979.2, H2ca, Vol. 1, Microfiche 6101567
"They Came in 1853", Treasures of Pioneer History, pages 1-52 US/CAN 979.2, H2ca, Vol. 3, Microfiche 6101569
"They Came in 1854", Treasures of Pioneer History, pages 1-64 US/CAN 979.2, H2ca, Vol. 4, Microfiche 6101570
"They Came in 1855", Treasures of Pioneer History, pages 1-68; "Price of Pioneering" [Some names of those who died], pages 433-484 US/CAN 979.2, H2ca, Vol. 5, Microfiche 6101571
"They Came in 1856", Treasures of Pioneer History, pages 1-68 US/CAN 979.2, H2ca, Vol. 6, Microfiche 6101572
"They Came in '57", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-56 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 1, Microfiche 6049775
"They Came in '58", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-56 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 2, Microfiche 6049776
"They Came in '59", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-52 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 3, Microfiche 6049777
"Recollections of 1860", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-52 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 4, Microfiche 6049778
"They Came in 1861", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-60 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 5, Microfiche 6049779
"They Came in 1862", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-72 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 6, Microfiche 6049780
"They Came in 1863", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-68 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 7, Microfiche 6049781
"The Year of 1864", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-60 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 8, Microfiche 6049782
"The Year of 1865", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-84 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 9, Microfiche 6049783
"They Came in 1866", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-64 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 10, Microfiche 6049784
"They Came in 1867", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-68 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 11, Microfiche 6049785
"The Year of 1868", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 1-56 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 12, Microfiche 6049786
"Records of the Handcart Companies", Our Pioneer Heritage, pages 257-328 US/CAN 979.2, H2bh, Vol. 14, Microfiche 6049788

Journal History (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Contents: Daily events of the Church arrange chronologically and compiled by Andrew Jenson, Joseph Fielding Smith, other members of the Church Historian's Office staff, and the staff of the Historical Department. It is a diary of sorts of the day to day activities in the church. It is useful to researchers as it gives a day by day account of the original 1847 pioneer trek and contains the names of the pioneer companies that came to Salt Lake City. It is invaluable for researching the 1847 to 1850 period prior to the creation of the Deseret News. Only the years for 1844-1868 are listed here. Many more years are covered not shown here and there are 248 total microfilms. See the Family History Catalog for film numbers for years beyond 1868.

Index to Journal History is available.

You can view the Journal History online, however have a date in mind when searching to save time.

Journal History
Time Period Microfilm
Nov. 23, 1844 - July 31, 1846 US/CAN Film 1259734
Aug. 1, 1846 - July 21, 1847 US/CAN Film 1259735
July 22, 1847 - Oct. 8, 1848 US/CAN Film 1259736
9 Aug. 1848, p. 4 in with 22 Aug. 1848
Oct. 9, 1848 - June 1, 1850 US/CAN Film 1259737
June 2, 1850 - Jan. 24, 1852 US/CAN Film 1259738
Jan. 25, 1852 - Mar. 19, 1853 US/CAN Film 1259739
Mar. 20, 1853 - Oct. 1, 1854 US/CAN Film 1259740
Oct. 2, 1854 - Sept. 30, 1855 US/CAN Film 1259741
Oct. 1, 1855 - Nov. 29, 1856 US/CAN Film 1259742
Nov. 30, 1856 - Nov. 16, 1857 US/CAN Film 1259743
Nov. 17, 1857 - Mar. 9, 1859 US/CAN Film 1259744
Mar. 10, 1859 - June 20, 1860 US/CAN Film 1259745
July 1, 1860 - Nov. 11, 1861 US/CAN Film 1259746
Nov. 12, 1861 - Nov. 30, 1862 US/CAN Film 1259747
Dec. 1, 1862 - Apr. 11, 1864 US/CAN Film 1259748
Apr. 12, 1864 - Oct. 20, 1865 US/CAN Film 1259749
Oct. 21, 1865 - Jan. 31, 1867 US/CAN Film 1259750
Feb. 1, 1867 - Mar. 31, 1868 US/CAN Film 1259751
Apr. 1, 1868 - Feb. 11, 1869 US/CAN Film 1259752

Deseret News. This newspaper was published weekly, but sometimes it was published two or three times in a week and during some time periods it was not printed at all.

Contents: Day to day events in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area that was settled by Mormon pioneers. Some national and international news was also printed, however it was often weeks or months after the events took place. The most interesting thing that is of interest to researchers looking for Mormon pioneers that it contained the following items

I have learned that not all companies had a roster, so some may have came to Salt Lake City unaccounted for. The rosters sometimes just said something like "John Smith and family", so if you had a child in the family that was your ancestor you need to do additional research to see if he traveled with the family.

The Journal History is the main source for rosters of pioneer companies, however you should know that many entries were just newspaper clippings of rosters that were printed in the Deseret News. To find an entry of a pioneer company roster in the Deseret News first look in Mormon Pioneer Companies Crossing the Plains and then look for it. Most known printed rosters have been included in
Mormon Pioneer Search.

The table below only shows microfilm numbers up to 1870. See the Family History Catalog for film numbers beyond this time period.

Deseret News
Time Period Start Time Period End Microfilm
Vol. 1 (15 July 1850) Vol. 3 (22 Dec. 1853) US/CAN Film 26586 items 2-4
Vol. 4 (5 Jan. 1854) Vol. 6 (4 Mar. 1857) US/CAN Film 26587
Vol. 8 (11 Mar. 1857) Vol. 9 (29 Feb. 1860) US/CAN Film 26588
Vol. 10 (7 Mar. 1860) Vol. 12 (24 June 1863) US/CAN Film 26589
Vol. 13 (1 July 1863) Vol. 15 (28 Nov. 1866) US/CAN Film 26590
Vol. 16 (2 Jan. 1867) Vol. 18 (Feb. 1870) US/CAN Film 26591

The Deseret News is available and searchable online.

A index of 1850-1900 to the Deseret News weekly edition has been created, which is useful when looking for a reference to a particular pioneer. The microfilm number for that is US/CAN Film 26586 item 1.

Church Chronology : A record of important events pertaining to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Andrew Jenson created this volume which gives a very high level month to month day to day diary of events in the LDS church starting in 1805 to about 1899. An index at the back is useful when looking for small references to names of people.

The call number for this book is US/CAN Book 289.309 J453c 1899
The book is also comes on four microfiche with a number of US/CAN Fiche 6053255.

A digital version is also available at the Digital Archive.

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Last updated: March 11, 2018