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Idaho Genealogy

The settling of Idaho was much later than in most other states, so the official state collection of most records only dates back to 1911. Some counties may have records to the 1870s but you will have to contact each clerk's office to find out more about their archives. At least, that applies to vital records for Idaho genealogy.

Idaho Vital Records

The state keeps all birth records confidential for 100 years, which unfortunately excludes nearly all records they have on file. Death and marriage records are only kept private for 50 years. So doing any Idaho genealogy will be difficult unless you are searching for your own immediate relatives. Direct relatives (parent, child, spouse, sibling, grandparents and grandchildren) are exempt from the privacy rule and may make document requests.

Any requests you make for post-1911 material can go to the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics in Boise. Their website has the forms you need, and you typically get a response back in about a week once they receive your application. Their office has no public counter service so you will have to mail it in.

Along with the forms containing all relevant info on the record you want, you also need to provide them with a photocopy of your own photo ID (both sides), your contact information and the search fee. Birth and marriage records are $13 but death certificates will cost you $14. These fees will get you a computer transcript of the record, certified by the state. If you want a photocopy of the original document, the fee goes up to $19. You will have to indicate which you want when you apply for the record.

Birth, death and marriage records are very important in Idaho genealogy because they provide all the names and dates that make up a family tree. But you can do further research elsewhere.

Idaho State Historical Society

The Idaho State Historical Society maintains the State Archives, and their library has many collections of documents and microfilm that will be of use to most genealogists. They are located in Boise and open from Tuesday through Saturday. Their holdings include census records, naturalization records, pension documents, maps, photos, city directories, archived newspapers and a lot more.

Some of their indexes are searchable through their website so you can do further research into their material before going in person. If you are not able to get to Boise for your research, you can request assistance from their staff (for a fee). It typically costs around $10 to have someone produce a record for you, then you also need to cover the photocopy and postal charges. Still not a bad deal if you cannot get to Boise yourself.

If you are doing quite a bit of Idaho genealogy research, you may want to become a member of the Historical Society so that you can receive their regular newsletters, journals and admission to local historical sites. You do not have to be a member in order to use their public library resources though.

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