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A History of the Making of the Early Latter-day Saints Database

This database is the combination of efforts of the Land and Records Office in the Illinois Nauvoo Mission and the Pioneer Research Group in Winter Quarters.  The Land and Records Office started working on the database in 1987 and have been collecting and adding information since then.  A missionary couple (Don and Diane Snow) had the assignment in the Illinois Nauvoo Mission of preparing the PAF file for posting on the Internet.  The original emphasis of the Land and Records Office was on the Nauvoo period (1839-1846), but it now includes Latter-day Saints from 1829 up to the Utah period (1868). 


The Pioneer Research Group based in the Winter Quarters (Omaha, Nebraska) and Kanesville (Council Bluffs, Iowa) are gathering the names of  pioneers who lived in the more than 90 settlements of Latter-day Saints who were in the Middle Missouri Valley and across the state of Iowa during the years of 1846 1868.  Their emphasis began with the gathering of names of members of the Iowa Branches, Winter Quarters Wards and those buried in the Winter Quarters Cemetery but not limited to that specific time period or area.


The names in the database are mostly early Latter-day Saints.  Where their parents information was available it is included.  Families are linked together as well.  We know it isn't complete and we will continue to correct and add to it.  We also know, realistically, that absolute completeness and accuracy is impossible in a project of this magnitude.  Still, we feel this is a major help to historians and family historians.

The usual custom we have followed for old LDS locations is to show the old name with the current name in parentheses, e.g. Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Pottawattamie, Iowa, USA, and Zenos (Mesa), Maricopa, Arizona, USA.  The counties we have listed are usually the current counties, but we have also mentioned variant locations and spellings in the notes.  We have felt that where the place is actually located and where the records might be found override other considerations.  Besides the places, we have also made uniform some of the names since spelling wasn't emphasized in those years and different spellings were sometimes used for the same person.  The Next Generation software that is used to form the web pages for this data has a Soundex search that may help in finding people with variant surname spellings.  If you can't find your ancestor and you think he should be here, you might want to try variant spellings yourself.  The Next Generation software program also allows wild card searches, e.g. John* picks up Johnson, Johnston, Johnsen, and other variants.


We have converted most of the sources that were stored in the notes into real genealogical source citations with the intention of eventually having notes only for items of biographical, research, and general interest.  At the present time we have left the sources in the notes, even though we have extracted most of them into real source citations.  We have also developed a way to include active Internet links in sources and notes.  In order for you to obtain source documents, we have tried to list a repository for each source, e.g. the Family History Library, but many can be found in multiple locations.


Corrections, Additions, etc.
How to submit information to the database.


We appreciate your help in improving the database.  For corrections and additions, please send us a GEDCOM file with the correct data that includes information about primary sources, i.e. original sources, so that it can be checked and added to the database.  If you have journals, photographs, etc. electronic versions would be helpful.  Send these items to pioneer-research-group@cox.net


Tips On Searching
How to search our database.


The Searching capabilities are very extensive. Click on the down arrow next to the item you are interested on searching.  The options for most names and places are: Contains, Equals, Starts with, Ends with, Soundex of and Metaphone of.  The options for dates are:  equals, +/- 2 years from, +/- 10 years from, less than, greater than, less than or equal to, greater than or equal to. 


 The Soundex search may help in finding people with variant surname spellings.  If you can't find your ancestor and you think they should be here, you might want to try variant spellings yourself. Try entering a portion of the surname.  Last name Starts with searches, e.g. John picks up Johnson, Johnston, Johnsen, and other variants.


 By searching birth, death and burial places the program can be used to find families and ancestors of early Latter-day Saints and to give fairly accurate answers to such questions as:  "Who was born in Nauvoo?", "Who is buried in the Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds?", and even "Who was killed in the Haun's Mill Massacre?"


Click on the Click to display box under Other Events to see additional events that can be searched.  If an ancestor lived in a certain settlement search the Residence event place to see the people who lived in that settlement. 


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