Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tracing Mormon Pioneer Ancestors: Pioneer Databases

Today's post highlights two truly remarkable databases.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868

The Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database is run by the Church History Library, the archive department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The description on the website says it "is the most complete listing of individuals and companies in which Mormon pioneer emigrants traveled west to Utah [1] from 1847 through 1868. It is an incomplete listing, as rosters have not been found for all companies. It also identifies sources to learn more about the experiences of each company."

Every now and then I will send in some information, and the wonderful missionaries who run the site correct and update the database almost immediately. A week or two ago, it came to my attention that Richard Litson was accidentally listed twice, so I sent a note and the incorrect listing was removed.

Here is a note about an award presented to the librarian in charge of the database.

The Litsons are listed as follows:

Each person listed has his or her own page. Here is the page for Richard Litson Sr.:

If you click on the links, you can see the sources for the Samuel D. White Company, and you can also read the source material about Richard Litson and about the entire company, which is more extensive.

Mormon Migration

The Mormon Migration database was recently put online at Brigham Young University. It is also a huge database and has amazing amounts of data. Unlike the Overland Travel database it does not seem to be correctable.

Here is the entry for Richard Litson:

Eliza and Joan Jeanetta do not seem to be in the database. 

If you click on "Accounts for this voyage," shown in the screenshot, the database contains a number of journals and personal histories mentioning the events of the voyage. It is a wonderful way to find out about the trip across the ocean. The ship's passenger list is also reproduced with links to each person.

Assignment #6

Look up some of your pioneer ancestors in one or both of the databases. If you are following this series but do not have pioneer ancestors, look up someone of interest such as Brigham Young. He shows up in both databases. (Hint: he was born in 1801.)


[1] The Overland Travel database also includes information about pioneers who traveled to Utah from the west, including from Australia and San Bernardino.

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