Nevada Genealogy and Ancestry Research

This page will provide you with information that will help you in your genealogy and ancestry research for the state of Nevada. It includes a timeline for the state, when the state began recording vital records, what US and State census records are available, a map of the counties in the state and link to page showing when counties were formed, and links to a variety of genealogy and ancestry resources for the state of Nevada

Nevada State History Timeline

1540 – Alta California was explored and claimed for Spain in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo

1821 – Mexico claimed the area after a successful revolt against Spain.

1840 – 1840’s Americans on the way to California traveled through the region.

1847 – 1847 to 1848 Mexican War 1848 Nevada was part of the area ceded by Mexico to the United States.

1848 – First settlement – A Latter-day Saint trading post near Genoa.

1849 – The first non-Indian settlement was made at Mormon Station (Genoa).

1850 – When Utah Territory was organized, almost all of present-day Nevada was included except the southern tip, which was then part of the New Mexico Territory.

1861 – March 2 – Congress created Nevada Territory

1864 – October 31 – Nevada became the 36th state.

1866 – 1866 to 1867 Eastern land was gained from Utah Territory, and the southern tip was acquired from Arizona Territory.

1900 – The discovery of silver at Tonopah, soon followed by gold strikes at Goldfield and the discovery of copper at Ely, led to a new mining boom that lasted until after World War I.

1931 – Gambling is legalized in the state.

Nevada Vital Records

Birth and Death records date from 1911 to the present. Some counties have available birth and death registers beginning in 1887, a few of which have been deposited with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Most of those that still exist are in the county recorder’s office. None of the pre-1911 birth and death records are included in the statewide index, which begins in 1911 and has restricted access.

County coroners issued burial certificates based on death certificates issued by physicians. If no physician had been in attendance, it was the duty of the county coroner, based on the facts of the death, to file all physicians’ certificates and memoranda of burial permits issued and turn them over to the successor in office. Incorporated cities required burial permits from the county coroner’s offices (1879 and 1911). These exist for Virginia City and Gold Hill (1879 – 1887) and Carson City (1893- 1896). Nevada State Library and Archives, Division of Archives and Records, has the Ormsby County Coroner’s burial permit register (1893’96), which includes Carson City’s permits and Storey County’s coroners’ records. There is a compilation of names from the coroner’s records at the Nevada State Library.

The Office of Vital Records and Statistics also has marriage and divorce records after 1969. Prior to that date, marriage records are located in the county recorder’s office where the license was originally obtained. and has a variety of online collections. I’ve included many of them in the links below.

Nevada Census Records


Population Schedules

  • Indexed’1850 (part of Utah Territory), 1860 (part of Utah Territory), 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Soundex’1880, 1900, 1920

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

  • 1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

  • 1850 (part of Utah Territory), 1860 (part of Utah Territory), 1870, 1880

Union Veterans Schedules

  • 1890

For census purposes, the counties of Carson, Humboldt, and St. Mary’s were in Utah Territory in 1860.

Territorial and State

The Nevada State Library and Archives has a partial census for the territory for 1862 and 1863; there is a full one available for 1875.

Nevada Counties

Nevada Counties Map
Nevada Counties Map

Go to Nevada County Resources to see County information. It includes location on map, address, date formed, parent county(ies), earliest dates that birth, marriage, death, land, probate and court are recorded.

Nevada Genealogy and Ancestry Links

Nevada State Timeline Links