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Barrett Building
2301 Central Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-7826

Genealogical Resources

Genealogical research can extend far beyond the basics of birth, marriage and death. Digging deeper into the historical record can provide a more complete picture of the life and times of your ancestors. But it can also be daunting. Here is a very cursory list, for novices and experienced researchers alike, of material available at the Wyoming State Archives that can help you find out more about your relatives. It is by no means a complete list, but we hope it will help you to break through some of your “brick walls.” If you have questions about specific records, please contact us.

Birth

Birth Certificates (see our Vital Records Page)
Biographical sketches in books or the newspaper
Newspapers
Birth announcements were often published in the newspaper, and birth dates are sometimes included in obituaries or featured biographical articles.
Territorial and Federal Census Records
Only the 1869, 1875 and 1885 territorial census records contain names of individuals. 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 Federal census records are available in the Reading Room. The 1890 Wyoming census was lost in a fire, though the Civil War veterans and widows schedules did survive. The 1940 census is available for free through the National Archives at http://1940census.archives.gov/.

Business and Occupation

City Directories and State Business Directories
County Tax Assessment Records
These records record how much tax each individual or business was assessed for a given year. This can tell you when they built a house (tax increase), or how successful their year had been.
Newspapers
Non-Government Records
In some cases, business records have been donated to our collection by private individuals. Correspondence, ledgers and advertising may be included.
Professional Licensing Boards
Certified Public Accountants directories
Licensed Architects directories
Licensed Dentist directories
Licensed Physicians directories
Secretary of State Corporation Records

Clubs & Fraternal Organizations

- Club Records
We have an extensive collection of local and state club records, especially women’s clubs. Scrapbooks, minutes, membership lists, event programs, photographs, and by-laws can often be found in the records.
Fraternal Organizations
The records of several Wyoming chapters of national fraternal organizations are a part of our collection, including the Sons of the American Revolution and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. These records contain minutes, membership lists and event programs. Chapter directories and by-laws for fraternal organizations can be found in non-government collections.

Crime & Criminals

Court Records
Many city and county courts as well as the Wyoming Supreme Court regularly transfer their inactive case files to us. Unfortunately, they usually retain their indexes. Please contact the courts to obtain docket numbers and to be sure the cases have been transferred to us. You can find up to date contact information for Wyoming courts on the Wyoming Supreme Court’s website at http://www.courts.state.wy.us/.
Governor’s Records
Petitions for Pardons - These records include pardons granted as well as rejected petitions.
- Requisition and Extradition Records
Newspapers
Crime make for good reading, at least that is what most newspaper editors believed, so crimes are usually well documented in the newspapers.
State Penitentiary Records
While the full inmate files and medical files are restricted, mugshot card and the Board of Charities & Reform’s basic inmate files are open records. They contain the inmate’s name, description, date and location of crime, sentence and date of release.
**Juvenile Criminal cases are restricted by the courts. Please contact the court in question about access. Information about incarceration at the Wyoming Boys School, Wyoming Girls School and Wyoming Training School are also restricted and we can neither confirm nor deny an individual’s incarceration at any of these facilities. Please contact the Department of Corrections for access to the records.

Death and Burial

Cemetery Records
Sometimes listings of the internments, often with their dates of internment. Some records include the owner of the plot, amount paid, etc.
Cemetery Survey
In the 1980s, a statewide survey was done of all of the cemeteries and individual gravesites known to exist in Wyoming. While some of the smaller family cemeteries and individual gravesites may contain the names of those buried at the locations, inventories are not usually included for large cemeteries.
Coroner’s Inquests
A coroner’s record should exist for any death under “suspicious” circumstances. This often includes murders, suicides, accidents and later home deaths. The records may include the findings of the coroner as to time and cause of death, and the verdict of the Coroner’s Jury, if applicable.
Death certificates
See our Vital Records page for more information. Death certificates may list a person’s full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death, occupation, spouse, parent’s names, cause of death and place of burial. The information on the certificate was provided by an informant (usually the next of kin or friend whose name is listed) and thus the biographical information may not be completely accurate.
Funeral Home Records
Local funeral homes often keep very complete records of burials and funerals. These often include the deceased’s name, date of death, burial location and who paid for their services. They can also include details about the funeral service.
Newspapers

Probate Records
These are court cases that include the settlement of estates. A probate file may include a person’s will, date of death, heirs, list of property and assets, and information about the settlement and distribution of the estate. As with other court records, many courts regularly transfer their inactive files to us but retain their indexes. Please contact the Clerk of District Court in the county the person lived in at the time of their death for a docket number. Contact information for the courts can be found on the Supreme Court’s website at http://www.courts.state.wy.us/DistrictCourtDirectory.aspx.
State Mine Inspector Reports
Nearly every death of a coal miner is detailed in the State Mine Inspector Annual Reports. This includes their name, date and place of death, the details surrounding their and often a brief biographical sketch of the individual. See the Wyoming State Library for reports published after 1956.

Divorce

Chancery Court
Very early (1860s-1870s) territorial divorces were usually handled by the Chancery Court. These records usually include basic information about the parties involved, the date the divorce was granted, and who received custody of any children.
Civil Case Files
If a divorce was filed, they would have gone through their county’s District Court. The divorce proceedings include date and place of marriage, date and place of divorce, grounds for divorce, children involved, and property settlement and child custody agreements. They are open records. In most cases, you will need to contact the county’s Clerk of District Court for a case number as they retain the indexes. (see court records)
Divorce certificates from Vital Records (see our Vital Records Page)

Government Office/Legislators

Governor’s Appointment records
These files often tell who was appointed to various positions in state government and sometimes include petitions for or against certain choices.
Legislator Directories
These directories are published every session and include the names and short biographies of each legislator in both the House and Senate.
Secretary of State Records
Election Returns
Bonds and Oaths of Office - These include both the five statewide elected officials (Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor and Superintendent of Public Instruction) as well as Notary Publics, and Commissioners.
State government department correspondence
Correspondence files tell you what topics were hot during a person’s time in a particular office. It will also give you an idea of the scope of their responsibilities, how they felt about topics, what decisions they made, etc.

Location/Real Estate

City Directories and phone books
We have a large collection of city directories and phone books from around the state, see [link] for listing. City directories are similar to phone books but they have additional information like spouse and occupation and are available before the widespread installation of telephones. Directories and phone books can provide addresses and help you to determine dates of residence.
County Clerk Land Abstracts and Deeds
Land abstracts function like indexes for transactions on a particular piece of land. You can see when, from whom and for how much your ancestor purchased land, if they mortgaged it, to whom and for how much, and when they sold it and to whom. There is a general index for most individual counties, but as there is not an all-encompassing index, you will need to know which county to search. Legal Descriptions of land can also be helpful.
County Tax Assessment Records
These records record how much tax each individual or business was assessed for a given year. This can tell you when they built a house (tax increase), or how successful their year had been. If the person did not own real estate or a business, they may not show up in these records.
Immigration Department Publications
The state Immigration Department was in charge of enticing and recruiting settlers and investors for Wyoming during the first part of the 20th century. Their publications often include generalizations about the land and resources and may give clues about why individuals settled in an area.
Poll Books
These records may be helpful in proving a person lived in a particular area. But be forewarned, these records are not usually indexed and can be tedious to search and not everyone registered to vote.
State Engineer Water Rights Applications and Permits
Territorial Census Records\
Only the 1869, 1875 and 1885 territorial census records contain the names of individuals.
US Federal Census Records
1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census records are available in the Reading Room. The 1890 Wyoming census was lost in a fire, though the Civil War veterans and widows schedules did survive. The 1940 census is available for free through the National Archives at http://1940census.archives.gov/.

Marriage

County marriage records
ca 1869-mid 1960s. County marriage record books pre-date the state’s record keeping and usually begin with the organization of the county. In addition to the standard names of both bride and groom, date, location, officiant, and witnesses, some also include the ages of the bride and groom. There may also be parental consent affidavits if either are under age.
Church records
Marriage certificates from Vital Records (see our Vital Records Page)
Newspaper announcements
These newspaper write-ups can often corroborate dates, places and names. Sometimes they will also include details about the ceremony, dress, decorations and even the gifts.
Obituaries

Medical/Hospitalization

Nearly all information about a person’s health or hospitalization is restricted by HIPAA privacy regulations. In the case of State Hospital patients, we can neither confirm nor deny their hospitalization. Please contact the State Hospital with any requests for information about patients of the hospital. That being said, there may be mentions of medical conditions or hospitalization in open records.
- Death certificates
- Newspaper articles and obituaries

Military

Adjutant Generals Office
Wyoming casualty lists (KIA) for WWI, WWII, and Vietnam
Spanish American War Regiment Rosters
1890 Federal Census veterans & widows schedule
Wyoming Territorial military post returns (purchased from NARA)

Mining and Industry

Company Records
Company towns were ubiquitous to many industries and often contained all that their employees needed to insure they were fed, houses, and doctored both body and soul. Some companies, especially in the Casper area in the 1910s-1930s, published company newsletters that included information about the company and local work as well as “human interest” stories about their employees. There is not an index to these publications.
County Clerk Records
County Clerk Land Abstracts and Deeds
Land abstracts function like indexes for transactions on a particular piece of land. You can see when, from whom and for how much your ancestor purchased land, if they mortgaged it, to whom and for how much, and when they sold it and to whom. There is a general index for most individual counties, but as there is not an all-encompassing index, you will need to know which county to search. Legal Descriptions of land can also be helpful.
Immigration Department Publications
The state Immigration Department was in charge of enticing and recruiting settlers and investors for Wyoming during the first part of the 20th century. Their publications often include generalizations about the land and resources.
Newspapers
Newspaper editors were often the biggest cheerleaders of their areas, and worked hard to promote interest in local resources. Often mineral discoveries and the health of the local economy was well covered in the papers.
Oil and Gas leases
Placer Claim Records
These record the location of mining and mineral claims.
Secretary of State Corporation Records
All corporations must file their articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State’s Office. Starting in the 1920s, they also had to file annual reports.
State Geologist Records/State Geological Survey
The State Geologist initially oversaw all of the non-coal minerals found in Wyoming, including gold, silver, asbestos, uranium, trona, bentonite, etc. The current State Geological Survey oversees coal production.
State Mine Inspector Annual Reports
Early State Mine Inspectors oversaw Wyoming’s coal industry and their annual reports can provide many details about the mines operated in the state and their production.

School Life

Annual/Yearbooks Newspapers
Articles, especially in the society section, may talk about who was in a play or concert, who was on the honor roll, who graduated, etc.
School District Census Records
These are a listing of all of the children in each school district of school age, usually 6-20 years old. They will not tell you which school they went to, since there may have been multiple schools in a district, but it may give you clues to help narrow your search. If they were in a rural district, it may help identify close neighbors and verify family members. Generally, the census records list the student’s name, age, gender, home address (street or just town/area), parent/guardian, whether they were disabled or attended school out of the district, and sometimes it will give date and place of birth.
School District Superintendent Records
These records often include minutes taken at board meetings, mention when buildings were constructed or abandoned, the names of teachers and board members, how funding was raised, and statistics about students.
School histories
Very few individual schools have been studied in depth and their histories published.
Transcripts and School Records
Transcripts and school records that contain grades or test scores are restricted to the student of record even after the death of the student. Only the student of record and the school district of origin may request these records.

Voting

Newspapers
Newspapers often cover elections and will tell you what was on the ballot for each election.
Poll books
Because we vote using secret ballots, there is no record of how an individual votes, but poll books may tell you where they voted and whether they registered to vote in an election.
Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources