Colorado Genealogy Resources

Colorado History Timeline

  • 500 – The Anasazi culture Develops in the region.
  • 1541 – Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado visits Colorado.
  • 1682 – French explorer Robert de La Salle claims the land for Frrance.
  • 1803 – The United States buys eastern Colorado from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • 1806 – American exploerer Zebulon Pike follows the Arkansas River through Colorado.
  • 1821- The Santa Fe Trail opens.
  • 1833 – Fort Bent is established as the first permanent settlement.
  • 1848 – The United States acquires western Colorado from Mexico after the Mexican-Amercan War.
  • 1858 – Denver City is established.
  • 1861 – The Sand Creek Massacre occurs and many Cheyenne and Arapaho are killed.
  • 1867 – Denver City becomes the capital of the territory.
  • 1870 – The Denver Pacific Railway reaches Denver.
  • 1876 – Colorado is admitted to the Union as the 38th state.- 

Colorado Vital Records

  • 1875  a law was enacted for registration of births and deaths, but compliance was sporadic and minimal.  Some early vital records may be located in the county courthouses or the couty health departments,  but their location is not consistent. The Guide to Vital Statistics of Colorado, prepared by Colorado Historical Records Survey, Division of community Service Programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), is out of date but remains the only comprehensive state guide. Volume 1 of the publication describes the records held b public archives, and volume 2 discusses those held in church archives. This guide is located in the Colorado Historical Society Library as well a other major libraries and repoitories. 1
  • 1900 – Statewide registration for deaths began.
  • 1906 – although the county health departents existed in one form or another from 1900, Colorado did not join the natonal death registration system until 1906.
  • 1910 – Statewide registration of births began.

Colorado Census Records

Federal Population Schedules

  • Indexed—1860 (as various territories, see below), 1870, 188, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.
  • Soundex—1880, 1900, 1920 ((You can find definition of Soundex at wiki at

Mortality Schedules

  • 1870, 1880

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

  • 1870, 1880

Territorial and State

  • 1860 The first census in what would become Colorado was taken in 1860 as part of several territorial censuses. Arapahoe County, which covered the central eastern section, was included in the Kansas territorial census for that year. The area of Boulder City, Altoona City, Boulder Creek Settlement, Gold Hill Settlement, Miraville City, and the Platte River Settlement weere enumerated with Nebraska Territory, and are transcribed online by Ted and carol Miller at Denver City was enumerated partly with Nebraska and partly with the Kansas territorial census. The southeast port of Colorado wa enumerated in parts of Taos and Mora counties of New Mexico Territory. Leadville, although a booming mining town at the time and located in what is now Lake County, was in Utah Territory and not enumerated.1
  •  1861 —Colorado Territory was organized in 1861, and voters residing in the territory were listed at that time. The original poll books only list males.
  • 1866—An 1866 enumeration was taken, but the only extant returns are for the northeastern section which included the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Weld, and parts of Washington and yuma.  Heads of household with number of household members are included.
  • 1885 A special Fedral census encompassing population, agricultural, manufacturing, and mortality returns is located at the Colorado State Archives, the national Archives—Rocky Mountain Region in Denver, Colorado Historical Cociety, the Denver Public Library and FHL. Most of the census is indexed at

Colorado Counties Map

Colorado Counties Map
Colorado Counties Map

Colorado Resource Links

The Colorado Genealogical Society – Resources – Colorado Online Genealogy Records

Colorado State Archives – Genealogy

Colorado Genealogy on the Internet – Colorado Data Collections

Colorado Genealogy and History

  1. Third Edition Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources, Edited by Alice Eichholz Ph.D., C.G., Ancestry Publishing,The Generations Network, Inc.1989, 1992, 2004. Now digitized online at Rootsweb wiki:,_County,_and_Town_Sources.