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Church History

Library

General Church History

Research Guide

Welcome to the research guide for the general history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This guide can assist you in learning more about the history of the Church through the different eras of its movement and growth.

Another great resource is the Chronology of Church History, which lists many major events in the history of the Church.

 

New York/New England Era

Kirtland and Missouri Era

Nauvoo Era

Iowa and Winter Quarters Era

Utah Era

Global Era

 

New York/New England Era


Online Resources

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 1–9 discuss topics from the “Prelude to the Restoration” to the “Gathering to the Land of Zion.”

Our Heritage

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Church History Maps

Maps provided on LDS.org show the major locations from early Church history.

Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries

This collection is hosted by Brigham Young University. It contains over 90 publications on Latter-day Saint topics and includes sources such as newspapers, hymnbooks, and published discourses.

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Old Mormon Palmyra and New England: Historic Photographs and Guide

The Old Mormon series comprises several books on pre-Utah periods of Church history. These books are helpful because they provide a discussion about general Church history during a given time period as well as provide a series of related historical photographs.

Susquehanna County Historical Society Collection

This is a collection of newspaper clippings on Joseph Smith and the Church in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas.

Record of the Joseph Smith and Isaac Hale Farms

This is a collection of documents related to the Joseph Smith and Isaac Hale homes in Harmony, Pennsylvania, as well as local perceptions of Joseph Smith and the Church.

 

Kirtland and Missouri Era


Online Resources 

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 10–16 discuss topics from the “Development of the Church in Ohio” to the “Missouri Persecutions and Expulsion.”

Our Heritage 

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Evening and the Morning Star

The Evening and the Morning Star was a Latter-day Saint newspaper published in Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, from 1832 to 1834. The digitized version is hosted online by Brigham Young University.

Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 

The Messenger and Advocate was a Latter-day Saint newspaper published in Kirtland, Ohio, in the 1830s. The digitized version is hosted online by Brigham Young University.

Elders’ Journal

The Elders’ Journal was a Latter-day Saint newspaper published between October 1837 and August 1838. It was printed in Kirtland, Ohio, and then in Far West, Missouri. The digitized version is provided by the Church History Library and hosted by the Internet Archive.

Minute Book 2

Commonly called the Far West Record, this book contains the minutes of meetings held in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois from 1830 to 1839; it also contains two entries from 1844. The digitized document is available through the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Missouri Mormon War 

This website focuses on the Missouri Mormon War, which was the conflict in Missouri in the late 1830s that stemmed from the Latter-day Saint presence in the state. This website is hosted by the Missouri State Archives.

Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries 

This collection is hosted by Brigham Young University. It contains over 90 publications on Latter-day Saint topics and includes sources such as newspapers, hymnbooks, and published discourses.

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Kirtland, Ohio: A Guide to Family History and Historical Sources 

This is a useful resource for patrons who are researching information about family members or individuals in Kirtland. It can also help those interested in historical aspects of the Church in Kirtland.

Old Mormon Kirtland and Missouri: Historic Photographs and Guide

The Old Mormon series comprises several books on pre-Utah periods of Latter-day Saint history. These books are helpful because they provide a discussion about general Church history during a given time period as well as provide a series of related historical photographs.

A Profile of Latter-day Saints of Kirtland, Ohio, and Members of Zion’s Camp, 1830–1839: Vital Statistics and Sources 

This is a compilation of information on individuals who lived in Kirtland or participated in Zion’s Camp.

An Index to Early Caldwell County, Missouri, Land Records

This reference book provides information on those who purchased land in Caldwell County in the early to mid-19th century.

Far West and Nauvoo Elders’ Certificates, 1837–1838; 1840–1846 

As the title of this archival source suggests, CR 100 402 contains elders’ certificates issued by Church conferences that were recorded in Far West, Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois.

Index to Elders’ Journal

The Elders’ Journal was a Latter-day Saint periodical published in Kirtland, Ohio, and Far West, Missouri, in 1837 and 1838.

 

Nauvoo Era


Online Resources 

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 17–24 discuss topics from the “Refuge in Illinois” to “Nauvoo Under Apostolic Leadership.”

Property Transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, and Surrounding Communities, 1839–1859 

This is a seven-volume compilation that contains land transactions that took place in Nauvoo and the surrounding areas from 1839 to 1859.

Times and Seasons (November 1839–February 1846)

This newspaper was published for the majority of the time that members of the Church lived in Nauvoo. The digitized version is hosted online by Brigham Young University.

Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds—Early Latter-day Saint Website 

The information on the Early Latter-day Saint website focuses mainly on the mid-19th century. The Early Latter-day Saint database is a project of the Nauvoo Land and Records Office and the Historical Pioneer Research Group of the Winter Quarters, Nebraska, area.

Far West and Nauvoo Elders’ Certificates, 1837–1838; 1840–1846

As the title of this archival source suggestions, CR 100 402 contains elders’ certificates issued by Church conferences that were recorded in Far West, Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois.

Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries 

This collection is hosted by Brigham Young University. It contains over 90 publications on Latter-day Saint topics and includes sources such as newspapers, hymnbooks, and published discourses.

Our Heritage 

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Mormon Missionary Diaries 

The items found on this website are only the journals and diaries owned by BYU and span from 1832 to the 1960s. This website is hosted by Brigham Young University.

Nauvoo Periodicals: The Wasp and the Nauvoo Neighbor 

There were several newspapers published in Nauvoo from 1839 to 1845. These papers may be useful to those researching Nauvoo or individuals who lived in Nauvoo.

Nauvoo Records, 1841–1845

This collection contains council proceedings, elections, revenue, treasury, taxation, and judicial records for the city of Nauvoo. Use the register here before ordering this item. 

Nauvoo Marriage Certificates, 1842–1846

These marriage certificates were recorded by Nauvoo city recorder James Sloan and occasionally by Willard Richards. 

Marriage Record, February 1842–December 1845

These marriages were recorded by Nauvoo city recorders James Sloan, Willard Richards, and Thomas Bullock. 

Record of Deeds, Book A, April 1842–September 1843

This record includes Nauvoo land deed entries from 1840 to 1843.

Historical Record Book, 1843–1874

This record book includes Nauvoo court dockets and charges. 

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1848

This collection is an alphabetical listing by last name of the majority of the members of the Church who were baptized between 1830 and 1848, with an emphasis on those in Nauvoo.

Annotated Record of Baptisms for the Dead, 1840–1845: Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois 

This is a seven-volume compilation on individuals who performed proxy baptisms for the dead from 1840 to 1845 in Nauvoo.

Old Mormon Nauvoo and Southeastern Iowa: Historic Photographs and Guide  

The Old Mormon series comprises several books on pre-Utah periods of Church history. These books are helpful because they provide a discussion about general Church history during a given time period as well as provide a series of related historical photographs.

Iowa Branch Index 

This is an index to members of 23 of the 94 branches of the Church that existed in Iowa during the Nauvoo era and the trek west. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Nauvoo Seventies List 

This is a several-volume reference on members of Quorums of Seventies who were called or ordained from 1835 to 1850. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Seventies’ Autobiographies 

This is a compilation of autobiographies written by early (Nauvoo-era) members of the Quorums of Seventies. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

High Priests of Nauvoo and Early Salt Lake 

This is an index to several Nauvoo and Salt Lake high priest quorum records. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Cemetery Records, 1839–1845

These are the records kept by William Huntington, the Nauvoo sexton. They include names, causes of death, and age at death, along with occasional death dates and locations of graves.

History of the Nauvoo Temple, circa 1845

Recorded by William Clayton, this is an extensive discussion on the construction of the Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s. The lists of temple workmen and lists and autographs of officers of the Church may be of particular interest.

List of Bonds and Deeds Filed for Record, March 1842–February 1846 

Abstract of land transactions in Nauvoo during this time period.

City Court Docket Book, February 1844–May 1845 

A record of the proceedings of the municipal court relative to public revenue, as well as a list of pioneer emigrants of 1847–1848 recorded by Thomas Bullock for the Church Historian’s Office.

Nauvooiana

This is not technically a manuscript item, but it is a collection of original sources on Nauvoo and Latter-day Saints that are not found elsewhere. The Church History Library has two volumes of this compilation.

 

Iowa and Winter Quarters Era


Online Resources 

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

The Trek West—History.lds.org

The trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Salt Lake Valley was approximately 1,300 miles long and would ultimately lead 70,000 pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the West. Take the journey with them. Stop along the trail and read their accounts of what happened.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 25–26 discuss topics from “The Trek across Iowa” to the “Pioneers to the West.”

The Winter Quarters Project

This is a website dedicated to the gathering of information on the Saints who lived and died in Winter Quarters. This website is hosted by Brigham Young University.

Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries

This collection is hosted by Brigham Young University. It contains over 90 publications on Latter-day Saint topics and includes sources such as newspapers, hymnbooks, and published discourses.

Our Heritage

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database

The Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database is the most complete listing of individuals and companies in which Mormon pioneers traveled west to Utah 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.

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Mormons at the Missouri: Winter Quarters, 1846–1852

This book is written specifically about the time between the Saints leaving Nauvoo and starting the trek west.

Winter Quarter Wards

This is an index to the Saints and wards in Winter Quarters during their exodus and westward movement. It is found behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Remembering Winter Quarters/Council Bluffs: Writings of the Mormon Pioneers at the Missouri River

This is a compilation of journals and firsthand accounts of life in Winter Quarters and Council Bluffs, Nebraska.

Combined List of Florence, Nebraska, Cemetery Burials

This collection contains several lists of Latter-day Saints buried after 1848 in Cutler’s Park and Winter Quarters.

Death and Marriage Notices from the Frontier Guardian, 1849–1852

This book is a compilation of deaths, marriages, and birth notices announced in the Frontier Guardian.

 

Utah Era


Online Resources

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 27–41 discuss topics from “Establishing a Refuge in Deseret” to “Postwar Recovery.”

Utah Digital Newspapers

This is a digital collection of many of Utah’s newspapers since the mid-19th century. This website is hosted by the University of Utah and the Mountainwest Digital Library.

Utah History Encyclopedia

This book gives a brief explanation of several topics dealing with Utah, including people, places, events, businesses, and so on. An online version is hosted by the University of Utah.

Our Heritage

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries

This collection is hosted by Brigham Young University. It contains over 90 publications on Latter-day Saint topics and includes sources such as newspapers, hymnbooks, and published discourses.

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Deseret News

This item is a great primary source for patrons researching people in Utah or topics dealing with Utah history since 1850. The microfilm is located in the cabinets on the main floor. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Utah and the Mormons Collection

This large collection includes autobiographies and biographies of prominent Latter-day Saints, correspondence, bibliographies, government records, and county records and histories.

Rebaptism in Salt Lake City

When the Saints arrived in Utah, many members were rebaptized as a sign of recommitment to the Lord in their new home. This is an index to CR 375/8 reel 6109, which records the information of those members who were rebaptized. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.

Utah History Section in the Library

There is a section of the library dedicated to books on Utah history. The call numbers for these books range from 979.2 to 979.2032 in the open stacks area of the library.

Utah Counties Section in the Library

There is a section of the library dedicated to books on Utah counties and their histories. The call numbers for these books range from 979.208 to 979.259 in the open stacks area of the library.

 

Global Era


Online Resources

The following resources are available online in electronic format. To access a resource, click the title.

Pioneers in Every Land

From Tahiti to Taiwan, Latter-day Saint pioneers build the Church all over the world. This page on history.lds.org shares some of their stories.

Church History in the Fulness of Times

This institute manual covers the historical period of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith to the current day. Chapters 42–49 discuss topics from “Growth into a Worldwide Church” to “The Destiny of the Church.”

Mormon Missionary Diaries

The items found on this website are only the journals and diaries owned by BYU and span from 1832 to the 1960s. This website is hosted by Brigham Young University.

Mormon Newsroom

The Mormon Newsroom is a source for statistical information of the Church, news releases, and other general information about the Church worldwide.

LDS Church News Almanac

The Church Almanac has been written every year since 1974, and it contains information on several different topics. Hard copies are available in the library. This is a good source for those researching information on temples, local units, the international Church, and the leaders of the Church. There are selections available online, where you will be able to find historical and statistical material of interest to Church members, material that comes from the annual Church Almanac (including past almanacs), and other material of interest.

Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star

This periodical is a useful source for patrons researching the Church internationally, particularly England. The digitized version is hosted online by Brigham Young University.

Our Heritage

This book presents a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was issued for use in Sunday School classes and can supplement personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants.

 

Textual Resources

The following resources are available at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To view an item’s author and call number or for more information, click the link to see the item in the online library catalog.

Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land

This book describes the growth and history of the Church throughout the world. It has five sections, and each section covers different areas (Europe, Pacific, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and other areas) of the Church.

Worldwide Church Section in the Library

There is a section of the library dedicated to books on the worldwide Church. These books describe the growth and history of the Church in individual countries and continents. The call numbers range from M274B to M277.21 in the open stacks area of the library.

World Missions and Their Presidents through the Years

This is a list of the missions and their mission presidents throughout the world, what missions they branched off from, and what missions they split into. It is located behind the reference desk. Ask a staff member for assistance.