Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tracing Mormon Pioneer Ancestors: Library Collections

Family History Library, Salt Lake City

This is one of the largest genealogical libraries in the world. It has immense collections, many of which can be ordered to be sent on microfilm to your local Family History Center. Many of the collections are being digitized and made available online.

Here are the items on our Litson family:
Litson, Richard Jr., author, and Earl H. Ottley, editor, Book of account of voyage and training and overland travels, c. 1863, 8 pp.
Turpin, James F. Pioneer Ancestors of Edward James Turpin, 1997. [Includes Litson family items.]

Church History Library, Salt Lake City

This was formerly known as the Church Archives until it moved to its new location across from the temple and Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. It has a huge collection of materials which is largely available to the public. Here are the materials on the Litson family:
Litson, Richard. Richard Litson Correspondence, 1863. [Letters from Eliza Litson Glade, Joan Jenetta Litson, and James Glade to the Litsons in Wales.] Salt Lake City, 1863.
Turpin, James F. Pioneer Ancestors of Edward James Turpin, 1997.

Turpin, Mabel and Leo. The emigration of Richard Litson. 5 pp.

Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Provo, Utah

When you go to use a Special Collections section of a library, you usually need to sign in, fill in a form, have your driver's license scanned or checked, and take nothing into the special collections area except loose paper, a pencil, and a laptop if you have one. There are lockers available for your personal items, and they usually have pencils and paper available for your use. I had a very nice time recently at the HBLL Special Collections. The employees were very helpful. They do not, however, have anything on the Litsons.

University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

This large university library has a major collection related to the history of Utah, the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the history of many pioneer families. This collection contains two photos showing descendants of the Litson family, as also mentioned below in the section about other libraries.

New York Public Library, New York, New York

Nothing here on the Litsons, but it's one of the largest genealogical libraries in the world, so it's worth a try, particularly if you are researching an old American family.

This can be a wonderful source for historic images. They have no images of the Litsons (no surprise) but there are a number of lovely historic images of Cardiff, Devon, and Utah.

The Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Another major source for Mormon collections is the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. I don't see anything here for the Litson family.

University of Arizona Library, Tucson, Arizona

The Special Collections has a large selection relating to the colonization of Arizona, so they have a lot of Mormon-related materials, but nothing on the Litsons.


WorldCat is a comprehensive university library catalog. It is useful for finding books and it is useful for creating citations. I copy many of my citations out of WorldCat's citation feature.

Litson is an unusual enough name that searching for Litson finds 58 entries, and it is possible to look through all of them. (Searching for "Smith" brings up 2.1 million results and you would be hard pressed to look at all of them. As a matter of trivia, the first item that comes up in a search for "Smith" is Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and the second item The Book of Mormon.) Some of the items listed for the Litsons are the following:
International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers. 1998. "Eliza Mary Litson Glade". Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude. 2: 1097-1098.

———. 1998. "Frances Ann Matthews Litson". Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude. 2: 1796. 

———. 1998. "Mary Jane Glade Litson". Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude. 2: 1797.  [This is the wife of Joseph Young Litson.]

South Cottonwood Primary, 1908. , n.d.. Internet resource. [This is a picture at the Murray Library as listed below.]

Other Libraries

You may want to check other regional libraries that would be applicable to your particular family. The one I will mention here is the Murray City Library which has two pictures containing Litson descendants, the South Cottonwood Primary, listed above, and James Norman Litson and a group of other ASARCO workers, about 1943. I will not look now for libraries in England or Wales.

Photo of the Church History Library from www.flickr.com/photos/edgarzuniga/3601470312/. Photo of the Family History Library from www.flickr.com/photos/lance_mountain/2947547810/. Picture of the HBLL from www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/5028924542/. Photo of the Marriott Library from www.flickr.com/photos/ellf/5878745005/. Photo of the New York Public Library (interior) from www.flickr.com/photos/lenscrack/4402304552/. Picture of the Huntington Library from www.flickr.com/photos/spirit_rainbow_sunshine/2932783181/. Photo of the historical University of Arizona Library (now the Douglass Building) from www.flickr.com/photos/madampince/128745431/.

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