Arizona Genealogy and History Guide

Arizona Genealogy Resources:



General Resources:

Arizona quick facts:

  • Arizona Statehood:
    February 14, 1912,
    (48th state in the USA)
  • Arizona State Capital:
  • Arizona Counties:
    15 Counties   County Map
  • Arizona State Nickname:
    The Grand Canyon State,
    also The Copper State
  • Arizona State Flower:
    Saguaro Cactus
  • Arizona State Bird:
    Cactus Wren
  • Arizona State Song:
    Arizona March Song"
  • Arizona Motto:
    "Ditat Deus," God Enriches

If you are planning a trip to Arizona to do genealogy research, the Arizona State Library and Archives should be on your list of places to see. There you will find many types of public records, including:

  • Birth Records, 1890s-1925
  • Death Records, 1890s-1950.
  • Records from the Territorial Prison
  • Land records
  • Plat maps
  • Early court documents
  • Brand Indexes
  • Assessment Rolls
  • Coroner records
  • Justice Court records
  • Great Registers (Voters)
  • Superior Court records
    • Pre-WW II marriage licenses
    • Wills
    • Probate cases
    • Civil and criminal cases.

Arizona State Library
Archives and Public Records
History and Archives Division
State Capitol Building, Suite 342 1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Information: (602) 542-4159

Arizona Genealogy Research Guide:

Arizona Census Records:

A Mexican census of Pre-territorial Arizona may be ordered from the Arizona State Genealogical Society (publication #0513)

  • Covers years 1801, 1831, 1852

Arizona Federal Census:

  • 1870 - Population Schedule, Mortality Schedule for Mohave -Yuma Counties
  • 1880 - Population Schedule, Mortality Schedule
  • 1890 - Records were destroyed in 1921
  • 1900 - Population Schedule
  • 1910 - Population Schedule
  • 1920 - Population Schedule
  • 1930 - Population Schedule

Arizona State and Territorial Census:

From 1850 to 1863, Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory. Arizona became a territory in it's own right February 24, 1863.

  • 1860 - NM Territorial Census - Arizona County only (the portion of New Mexico Territory that lies south of the Gila River)
  • 1862
  • 1864
  • 1866
  • 1867
  • 1882 - covers Cochise, Gila, Graham, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma Counties

More census resources:

  • Other sources that work as a census substitute are tax lists and voter registration records. The "Great Register" of voters is housed at the Arizona State Library, History and Archives Division. The years covered and other records kept there may be found in these county links.
  • Free Census Extraction Forms - Form formats changed as the years went by. Extraction forms allow you to record information in the same format as the year it was taken.

Arizona Military Records: 

Information coming soon......

Arizona Vital Records:

Marriage and divorce records are not available from the Office of Vital Records. but are maintained by the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the event occurred. Arizona Courthouses

Since July, 1909 the Office of Vital Records recording and issuing certified copies of vital records, including birth, death and fetal death certificates and certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth that occurred in Arizona. Arizona is a "closed record" state. That means that any birth that occurred less than 75 years ago, or death that occurred less than 50 years ago, are restricted and require proof of relationship to establish a direct line.
(Arizona Administrative Code R9-19-403 and R9-19-405).

Only persons 18 years of age or older may obtain a certified copy of a birth or death certificate.

Bureau of Public Health Statistics
Office of Vital Records
Street Address:
1818 West Adams
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Obtain birth or death records from the Office of Vital Records:

Some county health departments have birth and death records also:

  • Birth records from 1990 to present in the county where the birth was recorded.
  • Death records for deaths that occurred within the last 30 days in the county where the death occurred.
  • County Health Departments

For genealogical research purposes, a family member or relative who requests vital records not opened to the public must provide documented proof of relationship (birth, death, or marriage certificates, not pedigrees or lineage reports). Anyone requesting a certificate that IS public record does not need to establish relationship.

Records open to the public are:

You may also obtain non-certified copies of these birth and death records at:

Arizona State Library
History and Archives Division
State Capitol Building
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
(602) 542-4159

The library has an extensive holding of genealogical documents and books, not just for Arizona. Search the Arizona State Library Catalog

Order an Arizona Vital Record

Arizona Genealogy Subscriptions Online:

Many websites with genealogy resources for Arizona are available on the Internet. Some offer free databases and other information for the online researcher, but the subscription websites hold a more consistent amount of quality data and offer free trials to that data.

Saguaro CactusCondensed History of Arizona:Saguaro Cactus

Arizona's cultural and ethnic diversity has its roots in a rich inheritance. Spanish and Mexican influences were and still are of great significance. Spanish explorers made many expeditions into and through Arizona in the mid-1500's in their search for the fabled "Cities of Gold". Spanish artifacts, like pieces of armor, helmets, and horsehair ropes have been found in caves in southern New Mexico and Arizona, discarded by soldiers or Indians after a raid on the Spanish. Wagon tracks worn into rock can still be seen in some places north of the Mexican border on private ranches (where I grew up). Under Spanish rule, land south of the Gila River was open for settlement. The earliest Spanish Settlements were at a fort at Tubac (1753) and what today is the city of Tucson (1775).

Arizona was home to a variety of Native American tribes, who inhabited this region for hundreds of years. Indigenous tribes included the cliff and pueblo dwelling Zuni and Hopi Indians, the nomadic Apache (Geronimo) and Navaho tribes which moved with the seasons or the food supply and claim to be descendents of the vanished Anasazi cliff dwellers. The Apache were a fierce tribe who raided and stole cattle and horses, and generally made life hazardous for the early settlers in this region. They eventually forced the Spanish out of sparsely populated areas

The end of the Mexican-American War (also called the US Mexican War, 18461848) provided the opportunity to acquire land from Mexico. At the end of the war, in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded to the United States a large tract of land including present-day New Mexico, all of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. From part of this vast area Congress created a new territory called New Mexico in 1850. This New Mexico Territory included not only present-day New Mexico, but parts of modern Arizona as well. More land south of the Gila River was purchased in 1853 (Gadsden Purchase). These were added to the New Mexico Territory and Arizona was separated from it in 1863. Arizona achieved statehood in 1912.

As part of the true "Old West", Arizona has left it's mark on history. The stories of the shootout at OK Coral, Tombstone, and the stories of the famous Apache chiefs Cochise and Geronimo have been romanticized in books, movies, and on TV. Many a child has relived the exploits of outlaws like Jesse James and Billy the Kid, or lawmen like Wyatt Earp.

Modern day Arizona is home to several Indian reservations. Beef production, (many of the large, old ranches are still in operation) and farming are part of Arizona's economy. The dry climate and mild winters make Arizona a popular place to retire.