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Welcome to the Nevada State Archives
100 N. Stewart St.       Carson City, NV       (775) 684-3310
Hours:       Monday - Friday         9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Closed on weekends and state holidays

The State Archives program preserves the records that document the history of Nevada State government dating back to 1851. It has custody over the historical records of the territory and state as defined in state statute, representing the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. There are more than 17,000 cubic feet of territorial and state government records and over 100,000 images of Nevada people and places, providing visual information that complements the State Archives' documentation of Nevada history.

Archival materials are arranged by the name of the creator state agency or office and reflect the mandated statutory responsibilities of that agency. Because no title pages or table of contents exist for archival records, archivists must create finding aids. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us!

 State government records link    Archival topics and resources     

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact us at 775-684-3310 or Ask-An-Archivist.

The state archives has noncurrent state government records from Executive branch state agencies, state boards and commissions, territorial, early Ormsby county, Supreme Court case files, and selected Legislative Branch records.  Congressional records, private diaries, letters, photographs, and vital records such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce are not in the state archives.  Special Collections located at the University of Nevada, Reno  and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have some Congressional records among their many treasures.  Check the Nevada Historical Society for materials that are from private individuals which could include diaries, letters, and photographs. 

All mining claims are recorded with the County Recorder. Taxes are assessed by the County Assessor and paid to the County Treasurer. All disputes over mining claims were decided in District Courts, whose records are filed with the County Clerk. The claim may also be described in the tax assessment records, filed with the County Assessor.  The State did not keep any records of individual mining claims except where the matter of location or claim was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Incorporated Mining Companies

Mining Companies incorporated in the State filed their articles of incorporation with the Secretary of the Territory from 1861 to 1864 and with the Secretary of State beginning in 1865. The State Archives has some of these incorporation records from 1861 to 1926. Mining companies that incorporated in another state were not required to file papers with the state until 1891. They did have to file information with the County Clerk in the County in which the corporation did business. The Secretary of state maintains a record of all active corporations or those that disincorporated after 1926.

A compilation of all domestic and foreign corporations, 1865-1912, can be found in the Biennial Report of the Secretary of State for the years 1911-1912, published in the Appendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly, in 1913.

State Mine Inspector

The State Mine Inspector kept card files showing mines in operation from 1909 to 1974. They are filed by company name by year. The records for the years 1909-1974 are in the State Archives with an alphabetical file of all company names for all years. This record series also includes some description of the mine's operation, addresses of managers, licenses of hoist operators (1922-1971) and mining accidents (1909-1971), both fatal and non fatal. These accident reports are now maintained by the Nevada State Industrial Insurance System.

Birth, death, marriage, divorce, and mining claims are all filed in the county.  Birth and death records were not recorded in Nevada until 1887 when the first vital statistics law was passed by the Nevada State Legislature. The State Archives does not hold birth or death records. Prior to that date, the only possible sources available for proof of birth are newspapers or baptismal records.  Inmate Files and Children's Home records are available on a restricted basis.  Naturalization records are not filed in the state archives, those are federal records so you will need to check with the National Archives and Records Administration. 

The Nevada State Office of Vital Statistics also has marriage and divorce records from 1968 to the present. Divorces are civil court actions and from 1862 to the present are kept in the office of the County Clerk for each county. Civil court cases are filed by case number and indexed by plaintiff and defendant. Marriage certificates are filed with the County Recorder in the county where the marriage license was issued, not where the marriage took place.

Nevada State Children’s Home

The records of the Northern Nevada Children's Home consist of administrative records: annual reports, financial materials, admittance records, correspondence, newsletters, architectural plans and drawings, Board of Directors' minutes, and photographs; and client files.  The client files are arranged alphabetically with an index available.  Access to individual client or case files is limited to the clients themselves.

The records of the Southern Nevada Children's Home consist of two cubic feet of administrative records and forty-one cubic feet of client case files. The administrative records contain correspondence, reports, architectural plans and reports related to construction of the facility, population reports, sanitation reviews, newsletters, and photographs. All materials containing references to specific children that were not in case files have been discarded. Case files are arranged alphabetically with an index.

The word archives can be used in three different ways:

The word archives (usually written with a lower case a and sometimes referred to in the singular, as archive) refers to the permanently valuable records—such as letters, reports, accounts, minute books, draft and final manuscripts, and photographs—of people, businesses, and government. These records are kept because they have continuing value to the creating agency and to other potential users. They are the documentary evidence of past events. They are the facts we use to interpret and understand history.

An Archives (often written with a capital A and usually, but not always, in the plural) is an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group: a city, a province or state, a business, a university, or a community. For example, the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States, Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, The Coca-Cola Company Archives, and The Archives of the Episcopal Church are all responsible for the preservation and management of archives.

The word archives is also used to refer to the building or part of a building in which archival materials are kept, i.e., the archival repository itself.

Excerpted from The Story Behind the Book: Preserving Authors’ and Publishers’ Archives by Laura Millar

What’s an Archivist?

In the course of everyday life, individuals, organizations, and governments create and keep information about their activities. These records may be personal and unplanned—a photograph, a letter to a friend, notes toward a manuscript—or they may be official and widely shared—financial and legal documents, recordings of public speeches, medical files, and electronic records. These records, and the places in which they are kept, are called archives, and archivists are the professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to these records.

The Work of Archivists

Archivists hold professional positions requiring adherence to national and international standards of practice and conduct in accordance with a professional code of ethics. The majority of professional archivists hold a baccalaureate degree, and many have one or more advanced degrees related to the profession.

Assess: Not every record has enduring value, and archivists don’t keep every record that comes their way. Instead, archivists select records, a process that requires an understanding of the historical context in which the records were created, the uses for which they were intended, and their relationships to other sources.

Collect and Organize: Archivists arrange and describe the collection of records, in accordance with national and international standards of practice.

Preserve: Because materials in archival collections are unique, specialized, or rare, archivists strive to protect records from physical damage and theft so that they can be used today and in the future. Increasingly archivists play a key role in ensuring that digital records, which may quickly grow obsolete, will be available when needed in the future.

Provide Access:  Archivists identify the essential evidence of our society and ensure its availability for use by students, teachers, researchers, organization leaders, historians, and a wide range of individuals with information needs. Many archivists also plan and direct exhibitions, publications, and other outreach programs to broaden the use of collections, helping people find and understand the information they need.

Archivists and Other Professions

Archivists are sometimes confused with other closely related professionals, such as librarians, records managers, curators, and historians. This is not surprising, as many archivists share a location, materials, or goals with these professions. Although some work is related, distinct differences exist in the work of the archivist.  

Librarians and Archivists. Both professionals collect, preserve, and make accessible materials for research, but they differ significantly in the way they arrange, describe, and use the materials in their collections. Materials in archival collections are unique and often irreplaceable, whereas libraries can usually obtain new copies of worn-out or lost books.

Records Managers and Archivists: The records manager controls vast quantities of institutional records, most of which are needed in the short term and will eventually be destroyed. The archivist is concerned with relatively small quantities of records deemed important enough to be retained for an extended period.

Museum Curators and Archivists:  Although their materials sometimes overlap, the museum curator collects, studies, and interprets mostly three-dimensional objects, while the archivist works primarily with paper, film, audio, and electronic records. Selections from an archives may be exhibited in a museum.

Historians and Archivists: These two professions have a longstanding partnership. The archivist identifies, preserves, and makes records accessible for use; the historian uses archival records for research.

Courtesy of the Society of American Archivists (SAA)