Background Sources for Alaska

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This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Alaska sil.png
the Alaska Family History Research series.
History of Alaska
Alaska Vital Records
Census Records for Alaska
Background Sources for Alaska
Alaska Maps
Alaska Land Records
Alaska Probate Records
Alaska Court Records
Alaska Tax Records
Alaska Cemetery Records
Alaska Church Records
Alaska Military Records
Alaska Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Alaska Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Alaska Immigration
Alaska Naturalization
Native Alaskans
Alaska District Resources
Map of Alaska

  • Antonson, Joan M., and William S. Hanable. Alaska’s Heritage. 2 vols. Anchorage: Alaska Historical Society, 1992. Volume 1 contains information on the natural history and human presence in Alaska to 1867 and volume 2 covers its history since 1867. This important work has been approved as a textbook for teaching Alaska history in the secondary school system.
  • Balcom, Mary G. Ghost Towns of Alaska. Chicago: Adams Press, 1965. A short guide to the ghost towns of Alaska and other sites such as mines, canneries, hatcheries, military forts, and cemeteries.
  • Bradbury, Connie, David A. Hales, and Nancy Lesh. Alaska People Index. 2 vols. Anchorage: Alaska Historical Commission, 1986. Volume 1 of this work indexes over 20,000 names, primarily from obituaries listed in the “End of the Trail” column in the Alaska Sportsman (1935–69) and Alaska magazine (1970–85). Volume 2 is an index to individuals who appear in twenty-three other unique sources that a genealogist would use.
  • Bradbury, Connie Malcolm, and David Albert Hales. Alaska Sources: A Guide to Historical Records and Information Resources. North Salt Lake: HeritageQuest, 2001. This is the encyclopedia for understanding Alaska records and how to use them. All Alaska research should begin with this book.
  • Frederick, Robert A. “Caches of Alaskana: Library and Archival Sources of Alaskan History,” Alaska Review 2 (Fall and Winter 1966–67). This excellent reference provides a bibliography of Alaskan newspapers, manuscript collections, maps, and photograph collections not only in Alaska libraries and archives, but nationwide.
  • Gibson, James R. Imperial Russia in Frontier America: The Changing Geography of Russian America, 1784–1867. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. This volume covers topics such as the Russian occupation of Alaska, overseas transport (from Siberia and Russia), agriculture, and foreign trade. A well-written volume with numerous graphs, drawings, and a bibliography at the end of each chapter.
  • Lada-Mocarski, Valerian. Bibliography of Books on Alaska Published Before 1868. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1969. Twenty-five percent of the works listed in this bibliography are in Russian. Topics listed include the settlement of Alaska, religious books, geographical atlases, and single maps.
  • Orth, Donald J. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1967. This book is an alphabetical list of the geographic names that are now applied and have been applied to places and features of Alaska.
  • Pierce, Richard A. Russian America: A Biographical Dictionary. Kingston, Ont and Fairbanks, Ak: Limestone Press, 1990. This work contains 675 biographies of the early people who influenced Alaskan history. It is not just limited to Russians, but includes people from many countries.
  • Ulibarri, George S. Documenting Alaskan History: Guide to Federal Archives Relating to Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1982. This guide is an aid to locating federal records in the National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Woodman, Lyman L. Duty Station Northwest: The U.S. Army in Alaska and Western Canada, 1867–1987. 3 vols. Anchorage: Alaska Historical Society, 1999. Few institutions have been more important to Alaska’s history than the U.S. Army. These three volumes provide an encyclopedic scope of this relationship between Alaska and the U.S. Army.