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Mormon Pioneer

Overland Travel

About

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel

Overview

Between 1847 and 1868, Mormon emigrants traveling in more than 350 companies departed from various places and headed for the Salt Lake Valley. More than 60,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled in these companies—some traveling by foot, some in wagons, and some pulling handcarts.

This database is a compilation of names obtained from rosters and other reliable sources of individuals who immigrated to Utah during this two-decade period. Each company is listed under its captain’s name, and basic information is provided, including a photograph of the captain, when available. Many company pages include a list of diaries, journals, letters, and reminiscences written by company members, as well as contemporary reports about the company. The content of several thousand of those narratives has been transcribed and is included in the database.

Background

It is estimated that between 70,000 and 75,000 people immigrated to Utah between 1847 and 1868. Given this, as of 2015 we are lacking about 15,000 pioneers in the database. In other words, about one-fifth of the pioneers who came to Utah still need to be found and added.

When the database was first launched, we added all the names from existing rosters as well as names mentioned in trail journals and other contemporary sources. That was easily accomplished, but that only identified about 35 percent of those who came across the plains. For several years we have been systematically adding names of pioneers who are believed to have come in a specific year but for whom the company could not be identified. In many cases, we have been unable to narrow their travel to a single year but have added them to the database within a range of two or more years in a kind of catchall category.

We have been using creative means and many different sources to find these pioneers. Following are the sources that we have used, are currently using, or have identified as containing names of pioneers. Each name in the source is researched to determine if it is already in the database. Research is conducted for those individuals not found in the database.

  • Utah censuses
    • 1850
    • 1852 bishop’s report
    • 1856 territorial
    • 1860
    • 1870
  • PEF ledger books
  • Record of members
  • Tithing schedule indexes
    • 1855
    • 1856
    • 1866
  • Consecration deeds
  • Tax lists
  • Indexes of divorces granted by Brigham Young
  • Published and online sources containing biographical information
    • Sons of Utah Pioneers publications
    • Daughters of Utah Pioneers publications (such as Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude)
    • Welsh Mormon History
    • History of Tooele County
    • History of Sanpete and Emery Counties
    • Many county and city histories with biography sections

Submitting New Information or Corrections

Although we have done our best to present information drawn from the most reliable sources available, we understand that some of the best resources may still be in private hands. The database is updated daily. We would love to hear from you if you find any inaccuracies or have information that we haven’t discovered yet about a pioneer ancestor’s overland experience. If you have information that could improve this database, please submit a request to add or correct information.