Probably the biggest challenge for Wyoming genealogists, according to Suzanne Leonard, Sheridan County coordinator for Wyoming GenWeb http://wygenweb.org, is the lack of early records. There are a few early census enumerations: Fort Bridger was included in Utah Territory in the 1850 US count, some Wyoming inhabitants were counted with Nebraska Territory in 1860, and a First Wyoming Territorial Census in 1869 preceded the territory’s inclusion in the 1870 federal tally. A 1905 state census with information on entire households is available at the state archives. Keep in mind that Wyoming’s counties evolved rapidly, from just six in 1869 (Albany, Carbon, Laramie, and Carter — renamed Sweetwater — from Dakota Territory; Green from Utah Territory; and the new Uinta County from parts of Idaho and Utah) to 23 counties in 1923.
Births and deaths weren’t recorded statewide until 1909, and marriages and divorces not until 1941. Few prior birth and death records were kept by counties, though marriage records dating to 1869 can be accessed at the state archives. The archives also has many probate records, which were kept first by a territorial probate court and then by county district court clerks.
Land records, which date to 1841, can be a good resource if you can’t find other early traces of your Wyoming ancestors. Most county land records begin with the territorial era and are at the state archives. The first homestead entry was in 1870, but public-lands settlement was slow until homestead requirements changes in 1912, peaking in the early 1920s.
They state archives’ microfilm collection has nearly all newspapers published in Wyoming. Papers from 1849 to 1922 are digitized at http://www.wyonewspapers.org.
- 111 Days to Zion by Al Knight (Deseret News, 1978)
- Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies by Rebecca Cornwall (Brigham Young University Press, 1981)
- Maps of Wyoming Trails, Roads, Migration Routes and Forts by Loren C. Bishop (Wyoming State Archives & Historical Dept., 1963)
- Wyoming Atlas and Gazetteer (DeLorme Mapping Co., 1993)
- Wyoming Place Names by Mae B. Urbank (Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1988)
- Wyoming Post Offices, 1850-1980 by John S. Gallagher (The Depot, 1980)
- The Bloody Bozeman: The Perilous Trail to Montana’s Gold by Dorothy M. Johnson (Mountain Press Pub. Co., 1998)
- Military Posts of Wyoming by Robert A. Murray (The Old Army Press, 1974)
- Reflections of World War II, 115th U.S. Cavalry Wyoming National Guard by Leo R. Sanchez (The School, ca. 1994)
- Burial Records from the Wyoming State Hospital (filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969)
- Davis Funeral Homes Records for 1918-1951. Riverton, Wyoming: Master Index by Evelyn Lovell and Marlys Albert Bias (Fremont County Genealogical Society, 1987)
- Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey (Roberts Rinehart Pub., 1995)
- Uinta County, Wyoming Cemetery Records by Phyllis J. Martin (Phyllis J. Martin, 1982)
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