Utah Emigration and Immigration

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

See also Utah, How to Find Genealogy Records

United States Emigration and Immigration lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. The Tracing Immigrant Origins FamilySearch Wiki article introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's hometown.

Online Sources[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were the pioneer settlers of Utah and have always accounted for a high percentage of the population. The first wagon train of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. By the time the railroad reached Utah in 1869, more than 69,000 Latter-day Saints had made the trek across the Great Plains.

Since most of the immigrants were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, check Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors and the section on Latter-day Saint Emigration and Immigration sources. Some will be repeated here.

Early pioneers came primarily from the New England, mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern states as well as Canada and Great Britain. The population of the early settlements grew because of missionary work overseas. British converts formed the largest foreign-born immigrant group followed by the Scandinavians. Significant numbers also came from France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Other Latter-day Saint pioneers came from such divers areas as Australia, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Near East. A few African-Americans were among the earliest arrivals in Salt Lake.

Members of other denominations migrated to Utah from all parts of the United States and from other countries. The California Gold Rush and the western movement brought new settlers. Jewish merchants established businesses. United States military personnel arrived in the 1850s and 1860s. Some chose to stay when their service ended.

Other Indexes and Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1847-1868 - Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database, 1847-1868 at FamilySearch — index
  • 1847–1868 Utah Immigration Card Index, Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1963. FHL films 298440–298442. This is also known as the "Crossing the Plains Index." This is an incomplete but valuable list of the pioneers who crossed the plains before the railroad reached Utah in 1869. It is arranged alphabetically by head of the family. Most of the information has been taken from the Journal History of the Church.
  • 1849–1925 European Emigration Card Index. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1951. FHL films 298431–298439. This index is also known as the Crossing the Ocean Index. It is an alphabetical card index to the Saints who crossed the ocean on their way to Zion. This index is incomplete because it focuses only on ships chartered by Church agents. The cards are filed by the head of the family or the leader of each group. The name of the ship and the date of departure from Liverpool is included.

Histories[edit | edit source]

Histories of some of the groups who traveled together to Utah have been published. During the 1997 sesquicentennial celebration of the arrival of the pioneers, many new materials were published. Many list the names of those who immigrated. Check the FamilySearch Catalog for these newer histories.

  • A number of serial publications by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers include lists of the names of pre-1869 immigrants, names of those who died along the trail, accounts of the journey, and other pioneer information. Many of these were published for the centennial of a group's year of immigration. There is some duplication in these publications and they are listed in order of publication dates. The sources Heart Throbs of the West, Treasures of Pioneer History, Our Pioneer Heritage, Lessons, An Enduring Legacy, and Chronicles of Courage are cited in Utah Biography.

Passenger Arrival Records[edit | edit source]

Many Latter-day Saint immigrants leaving Europe and Great Britain came on chartered ships from Liverpool, England. Between 1840 and 1854, New Orleans was the major port of arrival for Latter-day Saint immigrant ships. Between 1855 and 1890, most of the ships arrived in New York, Philadelphia, or Boston. Suggestions for help in locating your immigrant ancestor can be found under Latter-day Saint Emigration and Immigration.

There was no port of entry common to the non-Church members overseas immigrants. The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists for east coast and some west coast ports between 1820 and about 1920. See United States and Tracing Immigrant Origins for these passenger lists.

Other Sources[edit | edit source]

Biographies often include when ancestors came and where they arrived.

Minorities section may have sources for various groups. These sources will give information on common routes and journeys they people may have traveled.