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Mormon Pioneer

Overland Travels

How to Use This Database

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel


Searching the Database

Name Search

Enter the name of the person you are looking for in the appropriate fields. Names may be truncated. A truncation symbol at the end of the name or partial name is not necessary, but an asterisk (*) may be used in the middle of a name or partial name to represent one or more characters.

For example:

“Mar” in the First Name field will result in hits for “Marie,” “Mary,” “Marianne,” “Marsha,” etc.
“Jen*n” in the Last Name field will result in hits for “Jensen,” “Jenson,” “Jenkins,” etc.

You may include a birth year or death year, if known. You can also search by birth or death year without having any information in the name fields.

The following search hints may be helpful:

  • When including a birth or death year: Different documents often give contradictory birth or death years. For example, a birth year on a census record may be different from a birth year on a membership record, which may still be different from a birth year on a death certificate. We try to identify sources that are most contemporary to the time when establishing birth and death dates. So keep in mind that the birth year we are using may be different than what you have if you found it on a death certificate and we pulled ours from data in membership records that were supplied by the individual’s parents at the time that he or she was blessed as an infant.
  • When a name may have multiple spellings: Remember that names are frequently spelled differently in original journals and rosters. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on the first search, you might try searching for just the first name or just the last name. Also, we tried to use the surname spelling that descendants are most likely to search for. For example, if an emigrant is listed as “Jonsson” on the rosters, but all later documents (particularly the death records) list him or her with the spelling of “Johnson,” we use the modified spelling.
  • Nicknames: Some pioneers traveled using a nickname. For instance, “Polly” is a nickname for “Mary.”
  • Maiden versus married names: When creating a record for a pioneer, we use the name they had at the time of travel. For example, if a woman was never married, she would be entered under her maiden name. If she was married at the time of travel, she would be entered under her married name. If she had been married more than once at the time of travel, she would be entered under her current married name, but her maiden name and previous married names would also appear in the First Name field.


Keyword Search

A keyword search uses all record types, which include Companies, Pioneers, and Sources. Select the appropriate record type from the Record Type drop-down menu to make your search more specific.

  1. Pioneer: Keywords will be searched in the first name, last name, and individual information about the pioneer.
  2. Source: Keywords will be searched in the title and the transcript of the source.
  3. Company: Keywords will be searched in the company name and the company summary.

Keyword search results are ordered by relevancy (frequency of the occurrence of the keyword in an individual record).


Refine Search

If your search returns a large number of results, you can refine, or filter, the result set by selecting an appropriate filter from the left-hand column entitled Refine Your Search.

Filtering by type allows you to view records by:

  • Person
  • Company
  • Source

Pioneer records can be refined by:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Birth year            
  • Death year

Company records can be refined by:

  • Company name
  • Departure year

Sources cannot be refined at this time.

Search filters can be turned off by clicking the red box next to the filter that is no longer desired. Clicking Clear All will turn off all filters.


Types of Records

Company Records

Clicking the company name opens a page that gives general information about the company, including departure and arrival dates (when known), whether it was a wagon or handcart company, if it was traveling westbound from the staging location or eastbound from California at the time, and the number of pioneers known to have traveled with the company. Many company pages include a company narrative. A brief summary of that narrative is visible from the main page and can be opened and read in more detail. The company page also includes a list of the sources used to compile information about the company’s journey. Many of the sources include excerpts from journals or other published sources. You can also view our roster, or list of individuals known to have traveled in the company.

Sorting Lists of Individuals in a Company

Individuals in a company may be sorted by name, age, birth or death date in ascending order by clicking on the column heading. Clicking the column heading a second time will arrange the column in descending order.

Pioneer Records

Each individual pioneer page includes information about that pioneer, including his or her name, birth and death dates, gender, and age at the time of immigration. It also indicates who he or she may have been traveling with in the company. It also includes a list of sources that were used to place that individual in that particular company. Many of the sources include excerpts from journals or other published sources.

Sources and Trail Excerpts

Pioneer and company records include lists of sources associated with the individual or company. The sources include information about the location of the original manuscript or publication. Some sources include a trail excerpt that documents the trail experience. Trail excerpts include the transcribed text from the original document or manuscript, a complete citation, the location of the original materials, and sometimes a link to access the source online. Trail excerpts also include a list of people and companies that are referenced in the excerpt.

Conventions Used in Trail Excerpts

Sources are transcribed as they are written in the original document. Minimal changes have been made in the transcription. These editing changes, placed within square brackets, have been done to more fully identify names or locations, provide clarity, or revise punctuation and capitalization for readability.


we met on Libent [La Bonte] river
Friday the 25th [text missing] ferried John Battice
halted for dinner at [illegible] making 7¼ ms

Material written between the lines in a document that was inserted into the text after it was originally written is identified by placing that text between angle brackets.


in the evening <afternoon> the camp came into the valley


Submitting New Information or Corrections

Because we do not have a roster for every company, you may know of an ancestor who traveled in a particular company but is not listed in the database or is listed in a different company than you would expect. If you notice these or any other corrections or additions that need to be made, click the Submit Information link on the home page or on the page for that specific person. Doing so will open a page where you can enter the information you think should be added to or changed in the database. You will also be able to attach any images or documentation you might have. We will work to verify the information you submit and, when appropriate, change the database. Acceptable sources are required to justify a change to the database.

Acceptable Sources for Modifying the Database

The following types of sources are listed in order of preference:

Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents that were written during an individual’s lifetime, such as journals, diaries, autobiographies, newspaper articles, and so on. Usually, only primary sources are accepted as proof that an individual came to Utah.

Circumstantial Evidence

Sometimes circumstantial evidence leads to logical conclusions. For example, if marriage records indicate that a person was east of Utah during a particular year and then that person’s name appears on a Utah census the next spring, this can determine the year the person came to Utah. In such a case, the person can be added to the “Unidentified Company” list for that year. If evidence later surfaces that the person traveled with a particular company, he or she will be moved to that company’s roster.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are usually histories that have been written at a later time by others, often descendants. They also include local histories, Daughters of Utah Pioneers publications (such as Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude), and other compilations (such as Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah). Generally, secondary sources are not accepted because they frequently contain errors. However, if a publication were to contain direct quotes from a pioneer’s journal or autobiography, or if a history written by a descendant contained a statement such as, “Grandpa told me that . . . ,” such sources would be considered.