Monday, December 15, 2008

Finding Records Online – Idaho

Well, it has been over a week since I wrote my last blog entry. It has been a busy week. I was sick for a few days, had a couple holiday parties at work, my students had final exams which I had to grade, had to build my new treadmill that I got for Christmas (a little early) and this week I am busy getting a rocket project ready for our Cub Scouts and I have to travel to the other end of the state for some office meetings. So, now that you know what I have been up to, I can get started on tonight’s blog entry. I will continue with my theme of highlighting some useful web pages for a state. Tonight I will discuss Idaho’s online records. 

There are a variety of websites that are very useful for researching Idaho records. One of these sites is the Idaho State Historical Society Digital Collections at This collection includes documents pertaining to mining in Idaho, the Idaho Capitol Commission and several photograph collections. I did a quick search and found records which included copies of diaries and historical photographs. 

For those of us who had ancestors of ill repute you might want to check out the Idaho Penitentiary Files found at This document includes the timeframe of 1864-1947 with an additional list of inmate names from 1947-1975. You can download a copy of the index and see if any of your family were horse thieves or crooks. This index may include the inmate’s name, age, birth date, location, file number and a description of the crime they were convicted of. 

Another useful database is the Obituary Index found on the Boise Public Library website at This site includes an index of obituaries from The Idaho Statesman from 1970-73 and 1977-present. This index includes names, dates of publication and page the obituary was found on. They will send you copies of the documents for $5.00. 

BYU Idaho hosts several databases that are useful in researching Idaho records. One of these databases is the Idaho Death Indexes at These records include the time period from 1911-1951. Another is the Eastern Idaho Death Records at Both of these sites will provide results with names and dates of birth and death. The Eastern Idaho Death Records give an added bonus with pictures of the gravestones associated with the names. 

The Western States Marriage Database is also found at the BYU Idaho website. This database can be found at You can search by groom or bride and view the extracted information from the marriage records. These records range from pre-1900 to the 1930s. 

An additional database that I found to be very interesting is the Historical Ricks College/BYUI Scroll database. I happened to show this site to a patron a few months ago and she asked me to type in her husband’s name. We found him in several yearbooks and she really enjoyed seeing the pictures of him in college. This site can be found at These records cover the time frame of the early 1900s to the 1970s. 

The last database I will discuss is the Southeast Idaho Oral Histories Collection at The transcripts are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person interviewed, followed by the topic that each interview covers. Many of these transcripts cover the time period of the early 1900s to 1930s. It is just interesting to read these to get a feeling of what life was like during the early part of the last century. 

Well, that is all I have time for tonight. I will try to continue to blog on a regular basis through the holidays but will probably miss a few days here and there for various reasons. 

Have fun with your research and have a Happy Holiday Season.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I looked at the Boise public library site and it wanted a library card number so I couldn't get into the site. Did I miss something?