Tips for Playing the Genealogy Odds in Las Vegas

By Diane Haddad

Do you plan to seek your genealogical fortune at next week’s National 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 history tours.

Valley of Fire State Park

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:

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.
  • 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.

Research your genealogy across the USA with Family Tree Magazine‘s newly updated State Research Guides e-book.