Institutional records are another class of collections that should be part of one’s genealogy research repertoire. Although most of your ancestors may not have spent time in an institution, I’ll bet that almost every family tree has several that have. So they are worth your effort to research.
Here are a few good primers for searching institutional records:
- FamilySearch – Institution and School Records
- Finding Your Ancestors in Poor House or Poor Farm Records
- Researching Ancestors in Asylums
What kind of institutions and types of records can we discover?
- Poor Farm
- Orphan Train
- Mental Hospital
- Institutional School
- Correctional institutions
Acquiring records from each of these types of institutions may be difficult because of privacy concerns, but they are worth the effort.
Below you will find free online institutional records you can use to help you discover more about your relatives who have spent time in an institution.
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
(Updated August 2023)
Arizona Online Institutional Records
- Apache County, Probate Insanity Case Files, 1879-1925
- Apache County, Record of Insanity, 1883-1913
- Arizona, Arizona Inmate Register 1872-1972
- Arizona, Arizona List of Inmates 1875 – 1966
- Arizona, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, Prisoners, Insane, In Hospitals, 1917-1918
- Cochise County, Insanity Record, 1881-1954
- Graham County, Insanity Records, 1886-1957
- Greenlee County, Insanity Record, 1911-1957, Greenlee County, Arizona
- Maricopa County, Arizona State Hospital Cemetery AKA Asylum Cemetery
- Navajo County, Winslow Indian Sanatorium Cemetery
- Pima County, Proceedings of Insanity Cases and habeas corpus, 1887-1913
- Pinal County, Arizona State Prison Cemetery
- Yuma County, Territorial Prison Cemetery
- Yuma County, Yuma Territorial Prison Deaths
- Yuma County, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
- Yuma, Prison Records, 1884-1910
- Yuma, Records of Yuma Territorial Prison, 1884-1910
For all Free Arizona Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills