The first European explorer to come to Arizona was a Spanish Franciscan friar named Marcos de Niza. He was looking for the Seven Cities of Gold when he came to the area, which was in 1539. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was another Spanish explorer, who came to the area in 1540. However, missionaries made up the majority of early Arizona settlers. Fort Tucson was established by the Spanish in 1775. The end of the Mexican War caused a large part of what was known as Arizona Territory to change hands and become part of the United States in 1848. Then, in 1853, the Gadsden Purchase secured the southern part of Arizona Territory for the United States as well.
The State of Arizona was organized as a Confederate Territory that existed officially from 1861 to 1863. It was organized as a U.S. Territory on February 24, 1863 and entered the union as a state on February 14, 1912 as the 48th state.
Getting Started with Arizona Genealogy
Arizona Genealogy Tips & Hints – Arizona may be earning a reputation as a place where a lot of people opt to retire or to visit during a vacation, but it also a very historic place with connections to Native American culture, westward expansion, and more. This is probably why there are so many resources available to people who are looking for Arizona genealogy. This brief article is going to provide you with complete details about the sources available to anyone doing research for Arizona genealogy, and how they are found in many different places and ways.
Good Tactics for Arizona Genealogy – When you conduct any investigation for Arizona genealogy, regardless of where you are living or doing the research, you have to realize that resources are available in both the online and “offline” worlds. Though it seems like everything is now electronic, there are still a lot of smaller town collections or local archives that have not yet been converted into online formats. This means that your first step in research for Arizona genealogy is to identify the records that you can actually obtain.
This is why it is essential to become familiar with the “basic list” that all researchers for Arizona genealogy will use. They include:
- Local Records – in addition to a visit to your county clerk’s office or website, you will want to visit local genealogical societies, historical societies, small local libraries, and school or college libraries which will provide you with important information for Arizona genealogy. These are things that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
- Vital Records – these are the birth, marriage, divorce and death records available from county, state, and national archives. These are also documents in which you will find cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, military records, immigration and naturalization details, passenger lists and records, and more. These are available as online and offline resources for Arizona genealogy. See Also How to Order Arizona Birth , Marriage, Divorce and Death Records
- State Records – these may have everything from probate information to birth certificates, deeds, death records, estate information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, state census information, surname lists, genealogical folders, maps, private manuscripts, newspapers, cemetery information, and so much more. These are available as online and offline resources for Arizona genealogy.
The Best Resources for Arizona Genealogy – You will be impressed with the number of resources that are available for Arizona genealogy enthusiasts. The following records for Arizona genealogy can be found in person or online at:
- Office of Vital Records, Arizona Department of Health Services, P.O. Box 3887, Phoenix, AZ 85030-3887; Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/arizona.htm . This is the site through which you can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records.
Additionally, vital records along with many state and local records can be found at the following:
- Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Genealogy Collection, Law and Research Library, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records , 1700 W. Washington Street, Suite 300, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2812; Phone: (602) 926-3938; Website: http://www.azlibrary.gov/is/genealogy/index.aspx . This genealogy page provides an abundance of information and resources that includes lessons in genealogy, well organized collections of relevant information, premium databases, and a wealth of state information and publications.
Lastly, the following websites will provide state-specific details that can give a huge amount of valuable information to those in search of facts for their Arizona genealogy projects.
- Family History Library (familysearch.org) – The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.
- Arizona Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- The Arizona Family Group Sheet Project (fgs-project.com)
- Arizona Indexed Historical Records (familysearch.org)
- USGenweb – Arizona Genealogy (azgenweb.org)
- Free GenForum Message Boards – Arizona (genforum.genealogy.com)
- Free Rootsweb Message Boards – Arizona (boards.ancestry.com)
- Cyndis List Arizona Links (cyndislist.com)
- Arizona Mailing List (rootsweb.ancestry.com)
- Arizona American History and Genealogy Project (usgennet.org)
- Arizona (wikipedia.org)
- Arizona Genealogy Look Ups (geneasearch.com)
- USGenWeb Archives Project for Georgia (usgwarchives.net)
- Background Sources for Arizona (ancestry.com) from Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Arizona Ethnic Group Research
There are many Native Americans living in the state of Arizona. Some of the represented tribes include Pima, Quechan, Tohono, O’odham (Papago, Southern Paiute, and Yavapai. Others include the Cocopah, Chemehuevis, Hopi, Maricopa, Navajo, Mojave, Kaibab-Paiute, Hualapai, Havasupai, and Apache. Several tribes are Inter Tribal Council of Arizona members. Contact information, historical sketches and other tribal information can be found on the website for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. However, they are not a facility designated specifically for research purposes.
Many government agencies had jurisdiction over Native American tribes over the years. So, numerous records were kept. The major difficulty that researchers face when looking for information on Arizona Native Americans is that many of those records may be on file in other states. One good example of this is the information on the Navajo tribe. Since the Navajo Nation covers various regions of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, agencies in all three of those states may have records pertaining to Arizona Navajos. Regional and national archive branches in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Denver, and other areas must also be consulted for information on the Navajo tribe. Making things even more complicated in some ways, but easier in others, is the fact that Navajo records are generally organized according to Northern, Western, and Eastern Navajo collections.
New Mexico records on Native Americans are often included in Arizona records. The reverse is also true. For example, the Santa Fe Agency records for 1890 to 1935 contain a lot of information on Arizona Native Americans. The same is true for the Leupp Training School records from 1915 to 1935. Records for both agencies are located in Denver at the NARA, along with the 1890 to 1960 records for the Albuquerque School. The National Archives in Washington, D.C. is home to records for Fort Worth and Pueblo Bonito from 1909 to 1926.
The NARA is not the only agency with extensive records on Arizona Native American tribe members. The FHL also has a large microfilmed collection of records from the National Archives Indian Agency and other agencies and collections should also be consulted for the best possible research results.
- Arizona Native American Books (amazon.com)