Collaboration with Ancestry.com nets massive expansion of Arizona’s historical records

Arizonans to enjoy greater access to more records

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 22, 2016

 

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is pleased to announce that a significant group of valuable Arizona historical record collections, provided through a partnership with the Arizona State Archives and Ancestry.com, are now available on-line and free to residents of the State of Arizona through Ancestry.com.  This includes the Arizona territorial census records covering the years from 1864 through 1882. 

“We’ve seen amazing growth in the number of people digging into our digital collections,” said Secretary Reagan.  “Over the last couple of years, we’ve prioritized the digitization of historical records and archival material to make them available to people around the state, not just those who live in Phoenix.  The partnership with www.ancestry.com makes it easier than ever to find records going back to territorial days.”

The Arizona territorial census records provide information such as name, place of residence, age, nativity, and occupation of over 85,000 Arizona residents that lived in Arizona between 1864 and 1882.  This collection alone includes an edited transcript of the census, original or working copies of each census district and the official certified duplicate copies of each census district.  These records are unique because they fall in the interim years between federal censuses, providing additional insight into population and societal trends in the Territory.

Among the other records Arizona residents now have free access to are: school census records, marriage records, wills and probate records and territorial and early state prison records. Deputy State Archivist Dennis Preisler said, “This partnership allows historians, demographers, sociologists, students of Arizona history and genealogists access to over three million names in ten separate record collections.”  

“These records provide insight into Arizona’s demographics, economy, and social and cultural make up,” states Preisler.  If you are interested in finding out how many households in Prescott were headed up by women in 1912, researching the school census records will provide vital clues.  Probate records list possessions owned by residents at the time of their death.  This provides information about what household items were typically found in a home in Arizona which gives the researcher understanding about a person’s occupation and lifestyle. 

Prison records provide a wealth of knowledge into the residents of Arizona.  For example in 1890 a 30 year old Swiss Lithographer named Louis Fisher living in Flagstaff got in trouble with the law.  The prison records indicate that Mr. Fischer was a temperate and educated man who graduated from college. Poor Mr. Fisher forged a thirty dollar check that he stole from his employer, and while he only spent five dollars of the money before being caught, he stood trial and was sentenced to a year in prison.  He was eventually pardoned which restored his citizenship. 

All Arizona records are available at azlibrary.gov and can be found on the Doing Research at the Archives page or by typing https://www.azlibrary.gov/arm/research-archives/archives-resources/ancestry-arizona  into your browser.   This access requires a free Ancestry.com Arizona account. To set up your account you simply go to the web page and enter your five digit Arizona zip code in the space at the bottom of the page.  Once your account is established researchers gain unlimited access to Arizona records that are a part of the State Archives of Arizona’s extensive holdings.