Kip Sperry, Kirtland, Ohio: A Guide to Family History and Historical Sources (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005) vii–x

Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, A small rural town east of Cleveland, is unique in American history as the location of the first major gathering place of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church), now headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kirtland is also where the first Mormon temple was built—the Kirtland Temple, now owned by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—RLDS Church) with headquarters in Independence, Missouri.

Much has been written about historical events of the LDS and RLDS churches in Kirtland, the Kirtland Temple, nineteenth-century revelations received in and near Kirtland, the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, and the restoration of historic sites in and near Kirtland. However, little attempt has been made to identify sources for Kirtland family history, genealogical research, and local history.

This reference guidebook identifies and describes books, computer databases, doctoral dissertations, genealogical collections, name indexes and finding aids, Internet resources, LDS and RLDS Church publications, manuscript collections, maps and atlases, newsletters, newspapers, original records, periodical titles, periodical articles, master’s theses, and typescripts pertaining to family history, genealogical and historical sources, the history of Kirtland and the Kirtland Temple. Also included are descriptions of genealogical and historical sources for Geauga County and Lake County, Ohio (Kirtland was formerly a township in Geauga County but since 1840 has been included in Lake County).

The emphasis of this work is on the nineteenth-century time period, since that is when Mormons were residing in large numbers in Kirtland Township, Geauga County, Lake County, and several other localities in northeastern Ohio. Also included in this work are Internet sites and mailing addresses of libraries and archives that house Kirtland and northeastern Ohio materials. A list of abbreviations, Geauga County records, Lake County records, an explanation of Kirtland Temple pulpits, Kirtland maps, and historical photographs of the Kirtland Temple conclude this work.

This research guide will be useful to family historians, genealogists, historians, reference librarians, and others interested in Ohio genealogy and local history—particularly those people researching records of the Western Reserve in northeastern Ohio, Kirtland Township, and especially Geauga and Lake counties.

With some exceptions, generally excluded from this guidebook are references to or descriptions of the following types of materials (exceptions relate specifically to early Kirtland history and early LDS and RLDS Church leaders):

Anti-Mormon literature

Account books and financial records of Kirtland residents

Annual historical reports of the Kirtland Ward, twentieth-century reports and compilations

Annual historical reports of the Kirtland Ohio Stake, twentieth century reports and compilations

Autobiographical and life sketches o f Kirtland residents

Biographical sketches

Books of Remembrance (genealogies)

Broadsides and printed flyers

City directories

Conservation and restoration articles regarding Kirtland (such as newspaper articles)

Correspondence and letters relating to Kirtland, such as letters from the U.S. Geological Survey

Family Bible records

Family group records (family group sheets)

Family newsletters and bulletins


General interest literature published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)

Historical tours brochures


Hymns and Church music

Journals and diaries of individuals

Juvenile literature

Kirtland Bird Club literature

Kirtland Board of Education minutes of meetings

Kirtland City Council minutes of meetings (recent)

Kirtland Country Club literature

Kirtland Country Club Membership Books

Kirtland Country Club yearbooks

Kirtland High School yearbooks and school history

Kirtland promotional brochures

Kirtland social statistics

Kirtland Society o f Natural Sciences literature

Kirtland Temple building plans and plans of other Kirtland buildings

Kirtland Township financial summaries


Newspaper articles, such as those found in nineteenth-century issues of the Painesville Telegraph, published in Geauga County and later in Lake County, Ohio

Newspaper obituaries

Novels and plays

Oral histories Pedigree charts

Photographs and views o f Kirtland, Ohio


Postcards (with pictures of the Kirtland Temple and pictures of other Kirtland buildings)

Promotional brochures and pamphlets