Wyoming Government records cover a broad range of genealogy subject areas that can help you as part of your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalization’s. Given that Wyoming court records cover such a wide selection of topics, they could aid you in many different ways. As an example, they could aid you in finding ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, determine citizenship status, or shed light on relationships between individuals. The whole thing relies upon on the type of court records that the ancestors” names show up in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.
Wyoming Courthouse records change extensively from county to county in both level of quality and volume. You will find different kinds of court records that are most likely to possess information related for your genealogical research below.
Wyoming Court Records
In 1868, the Wyoming judicial system was established. At that time, the supreme court was created and it functioned as an appeals court. The supreme court could try cases in any of Wyoming’s 3 districts at the time. As of 1869, women gained the right to vote in Wyoming Territory, which also meant that they could serve as court jury members. After Wyoming gained its statehood, three major state courts were established. They were the state supreme court, the district courts, and the justice of the peace courts. Justice of the peace courts handled misdemeanors and minor cases countywide. District courts also functioned countywide, but they were responsible for probate matters, as well as more serious criminal and civil cases. They also heard a few appeals from justice of the peace courts. The state supreme court heard appeals from the lower courts.
The local courthouses and the Wyoming State Archives hold most of the court records for the state of Wyoming. See Also Research In Court Records.
Wyoming Land Records
Some Wyoming land records go back as far as 1841. However, most land records were not recorded on the county level until after 1869. The first Wyoming land office opened in 1870 in Cheyenne. Soon, the following land offices were also opened: Evanston (1877), Buffalo (1888), Douglas (1890), Lander (1890), Sundance (1890).
Each of those land offices kept homestead entry certificates, desert-land final certificates, timber-culture final certificates, canceled versions of each of those certificates, and other records, including records relating to stone and timber lands.
The National Archives-Rocky Mountain Region has a complete inventory of records that were kept by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is listed in Eileen Bolger, Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Land Management-Wyoming. Those records were kept by 6 Wyoming land offices and consisted of land claims, rights, and patents. The Wyoming State Office of the BLM holds the original patents for land and grantee records. The BLM website also has an index of patented land.
Generally, county land records were not kept prior to 1869. The Wyoming State Archives has land transaction records on file for the years 1869 to 1970. It also holds the records for homesteads that were not patented. County courthouses hold most of the later land records for each county. See Also Guide to U.S. Land Records Research
Wyoming Probate Records
The district court clerk keeps Wyoming probate records on file. However, when Wyoming was still a territory, the territorial probate court kept those records, which included: Appraisals, Bills of Sale, Claims Against Estates, Final Accounts, Guardian Bonds, Guardian Annual Reports, Inheritance Tax Records, Inventories, Letters of Testamentary or of Administration, Oaths and Bonds for Executors and Administrators, Petitions, Probate Journals, Wills
The Wyoming State Archives holds most of the probate records that were recorded at the county level. See Also Guide to U.S. Probate Records Research
Wyoming Tax Records
County treasurers and assessors are given the power to decide whether or not to send assessment and tax records to the Wyoming State Archives. Therefore, some of the tax and assessment records can be found in their respective county offices, while others are housed at the Wyoming State Archives. Therefore, the researcher must know the county of interest and may need to check multiple sources for the records in question.
County tax records for the state of Wyoming are generally organized by year and then by school district name. Records may include:
Assessment Rolls, Inventory, Appraisals of Personal and Real Property
A total tax amount is given, along with the state and county tax amounts. The tables within the records will generally list the property’s address, owner name, property description, property value, date, and amount owed.
The Idaho Territory Internal Revenue Assessment Lists for 1865 and 1866 include parts of what is now Wyoming. They are located at the National Archives and the FHL on microfilm roll RG 58. See Also Guide to U.S. Tax Records Research