How to Find Out if You Have Mormon Pioneer Ancestors
Utah’s Pioneer Day is tomorrow! If you’re wondering how to find the Mormon pioneers in your family tree, you’ve come to the right place. I recently made a list of all fifty-one of my ancestors who were early settlers of Utah – otherwise known as Mormon pioneers. Here are the steps I took to find them all:
If you are using FamilySearch.org:
1. Build your family tree in FamilySearch.org. If you are just starting your family tree with FamilySearch.org, add your parents and grandparents. Once you get to the generation in your family that is deceased, your ancestors may already be in the collaborative family tree and you just need to find and connect them to your tree. Add any missing ancestors to your tree to make it as full as you can.
2. Go to FamilySearch.org/Pioneers. Log in to your FamilySearch account. View the list of pioneers in your family tree that have been verified by the Church History Library. It looks like this:
3. Learn about your ancestors with the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database. I wrote about how to do that here.
4. Use the method below to find additional ancestors who are Mormon pioneers but who haven’t been connected to FamilySearch yet.
If you are not using FamilySearch.org:
1. Using whatever family tree software you prefer, add as many ancestors as possible, back to the early 1800s.
2. Look for people who you think were LDS and who were born outside of Utah and died in Utah. Most Mormon pioneers (early settlers of Utah) were born in an eastern state or somewhere in Europe, and died in Utah, Arizona, or Idaho.
3. Search the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database for that person’s name. You can also add their birth year to the search.
4. If your original search yields no results, try searching with just a last name or without the birth year. Sometimes the names are spelled differently or the birth years don’t match. If you are searching for a woman who might have been married at the time, try searching with her married name.
5. Make a spreadsheet of everyone you find!