Friday, July 17, 2015

New Records Reveal Previously Unknown Mormon Pioneers

Salt Lake City, UT—In a collaboration between the Church History Library and FamilySearch, individuals can now discover and explore more of their pioneer heritage on the newly redesigned Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website that also includes information about previously unknown pioneers. In addition to discovering your pioneer ancestors, new features enable people to read their ancestors’ personal journals, see available photos, and learn key details about major events in their ancestors’ lives.

Since the site was first launched, an influx of pioneer documentation has allowed historians to reconcile and expand their understanding of the trek west. The site now includes information about more than 57,000 individuals in 370 pioneer companies, with thousands of original trail excerpts that are authoritatively documented. “This is an extremely significant database,” said Keith Erekson, Church History Library Director. “It reveals so much about individual pioneers and their experiences, but it also offers fresh new insights about their collective experience.” Site updates include the ability to submit family photographs of pioneers and to link to digital copies of sources on the Internet. There are also new articles of interest, including humorous stories from the trail.

Individuals have two options for accessing the site. Through, your personal FamilySearch family tree will be polled for matches in the updated pioneer database. Through you can explore known pioneers and companies and lots of other interesting facts and documentation about this exciting period of Mormon and Western history.

Millions of people continue to be inspired by the courage, faith, and triumphs of the Mormon pioneers. Many of us are unknowingly modern pioneers, whose courage, personal achievements, and applied faith will be equally inspiring to future posterity and generations. This updated site will be featured in the international “I Am a Pioneer” social media campaign (#IAmAPioneer) that will encourage individuals today to see themselves as modern-day pioneers and recognize the need to readily capture their stories of triumph online for future generations. Learn more about this initiative at

Those without Utah pioneer ancestry may be interested in reading stories of pioneers worldwide by visiting the Church History Department’s website,

Bring your genealogical data to life by discovering the stories and photos of your ancestors or the ancestors of others. Visit the newly updated Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website today.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 130 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.