Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman Street
Denver CO 80203
A trip to the Colorado State Archives is recommended if you are coming to Denver and researching your ancestors who lived, worked and played in Colorado.
The State Archives is in downtown Denver about a block from the State Capital building. If you are planning a sight seeing trip to the Capital, be sure to check the State Archives to research your ancestors.
The Archives' holdings...
"consist of the official public records of territorial, state, county, and local governments and such state treasures as the proclamation of Ulysses S. Grant, creating the state of Colorado, and the original state constitution.”
Federal General Population Schedules 1850-1920, the Colorado School censuses and the state census schedule prepared in 1885 are also available. Court records: criminal cases, such civil cases as naturalization, water rights, divorce, and probate. Military service records for Civil, Spanish-American and World wars. Colorado Territory’s First Militia and much more.
Marriage and divorce indexes spanning the years 1900-1939 and 1975 – to current.
Early birth and death records are housed in the Archives. Others remain at the county level. The Archives Staff will search records over 100 years old. Requests for more recent records must be made with the Colorado Department of Health
Agricultural records documenting the history of land use in Colorado are in the Archives.
There are no manuscripts, journals, diaries, newspapers.
For all you, new to genealogy research (a.k.a “newbies”), there is, at the desk a 3 ring binder, cleverly labeled “The Whadda’ Ya’ Got Guide to the State Archives”.
This book contains holdings of the Archives that would be of interest to Genealogists’ family research.
Rules are rules and we understand the need to protect old original documents. They don’t require the use of “white gloves”, but do expect you to respect the fragility of the items you are viewing. No photographing inside the Archives room. There are “free” locker storages right outside the door to the records room…all very convenient.
The staff is very accommodating and will go to the basement to search for the records you need. “Searching for a needle in a haystack” style of genealogy research probably isn’t the best way to do research in this facility. The more you know about your ancestor and the documents you are looking for will give you more results in the end.
A big surprise had to do with the number of items you can request to view at one time. The Colorado State Archives allows TEN… that’s right! No kidding! The staff will bring up 10 documents/items at a single request for you to review. If you would like to look at several marriage records to compare dates, names, etc. you can do that. No waiting an hour between request times for each document retrieved. So have your names, dates and record requests in mind before you go.
To the left of the door, there are 2 pamphlets that give information on Researching The State Archives. Be sure to take a look at these. There are charges for making copies of documents and such. This is posted near the front desk on the wall to the right.
Here is a link to the RTD website (bus service)RTD - Denverwhich is probably a good way to get to the Colorado State Archives. However, there is street parking with meters that take credit cards. There are also two pay parking lots a block or two away.
Much of their holdings are on microfilm. There are not many readers, but enough to serve the purpose without a long wait. As I said, the staff is very good and well informed. P aul, whom I spoke with was very helpful, congenial and unhurried. I think anyone researching in this facility will have a good experience.
Do take a look at the Colorado State Archives website. They have a number of databases online for you to search.
The Traveling GenealogistTM
If you would like to share your genealogical research travel tips with other researchers and help them get a leg up on their trip, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we all know, "Time is of the essence" when researching away from home. You just know that "brick wall" could be knocked down if you only had one more day.