Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Between 1847 and 1868, Mormon emigrants traveled on the pioneer trail in more than 250 companies departing from various outfitting places. These companies in which about 60,000 LDS Church members traveled include freight trains, independent companies, handcart companies, and various types of other Church companies. By its very nature, travel on the trail was unavoidably informal and disarrayed which may account for discrepancies in reports and accounts. After beginning their travels, companies often divided into small divisions or traveled in a scattered condition, thereby arriving in the Salt Lake Valley over the period of several days. The database is a compilation of names obtained from rosters and other reliable sources of individuals that traveled on the pioneer trail during this 22 year time period. It does not focus on railroad travel, but rather trail travel. It identifies the companies in which approximately two-thirds of the Mormon emigrants traveled on the trail. The captain's name is the name the company is listed under and basic information is provided for each company, including a photograph of the captain where available. Where possible, a bibliography containing diaries, journals, letters, and reminiscences written by company members or contemporary reports about the company is also listed. The bibliography includes the institution(s) that have copies of the sources cited. Methods of travel and advancement in transportation, technology, knowledge, and skills changed over the 22-year time period, resulting in different experiences for the companies over the years. By looking at the sources found in various repositories, one can get a glimpse of the experiences each company encountered in traveling overland. Although the dates and other statistical information were obtained from the most reliable sources available, they should generally be considered approximations. The database is updated as new information is obtained. If you have information that could improve this index, you can submit a request to add or correct information.