Free Colorado Digital Archives for Genealogy
is part of  Sassy Jane Genealogy‘s States on Sunday series,
providing links to free digital resources for each of the fifty states.

Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library

“Founded in 2009 and situated in downtown Denver, the Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library (CC&W) advances understanding of Rocky Mountain history. CC&W builds unique digital research collections, reviews Colorado publications, and produces mini-documentaries.” Search the catalog at Notable collections include:

American West    (Adam Matthew Digital)

Contains the digitized contents of The Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Contents include original manuscripts, ephemeral material (including trade cards, wanted posters, photos, claim certificates, news-sheets, etc.), maps, and rare printed works.

Search online databases at

Colorado Cemetery Records at

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Free Colorado Digital Archives for Genealogy

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) includes digitized pages from newspaper titles published in Colorado from 1859 to 1923. Search by keyword or browse by newspaper title, date, and/or county at

Colorado State Archives

The Colorado Historical Records Database holds nearly one million records. Please note this is an index only and does not supply full-text records. When you find records you need, they must be ordered directly from the State Archives.

Historical Records Index Search ( accesses collection information by name, year, record type, and county. Most collections indexes are arranged by county with the exception of statewide indexes noted below, if you choose to browse instead. The full list of Indexed Records at the State Archives is extensive and a representative list of collections follows:

  • Birth
  • Burial Records
  • CCC or WPA Enrollments Civilian Conservation Corps Enrollments (Statewide) 1936-1942
  • City Directories
  • Colorado Civil War Casualties
  • Coroners’ Records
  • Divorces
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Motor Vehicle Licenses 1913-1917
  • Pensions
  • Probate
  • Spanish-American War Volunteers
  • State Penitentiary Index 1871-1973
  • State Reformatory Index 1887-1939
  • Statewide Divorce Index 1880-1939
  • Vietnam Deaths
  • World War I Civilian Service Questionnaires

Denver Public Library – Western History and Genealogy Department

Free Colorado Digital Archives for GenealogyThe Western History and Genealogy Department ( is one of the preeminent collections of regional history and genealogy in the country. The full list of collections is impressive and available at Examples of materials in these holdings include the following collections:


Index to life insurance files of insured and beneficiaries 1901 to 1907. American Woodmen’s Life was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1901 as a Fraternal Benefit Society established to provide life insurance for the “un-insurable” Black Community. The register shows in chronological order the name of the insured, “camp and state” of residence, age, name of beneficiary or beneficiaries, and their relationship to the insured. States covered in this first ledger include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indian Territory

[Oklahoma], Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C. This register represents the first of 40 ledgers. The company went out of business in 1993.


Materials collected from many sources from the beginnings of Colorado in 1859. These include newspaper clippings from all over the state, pamphlets, Masonic Lodge Proceedings and Bar Association Transactions, land records, souvenir booklets, published biographies, marriage records and many more. Among the 31,000 items of biographies and portraits were politicians, miners, club women, newspaper editors, artists, businessmen, legislators, early settlers, settlements, mines, geographical areas and more.


Statewide index of approximately 50,000 non-Denver obituaries mostly from the 1970s through 1990. Researchers may request a copy of the full-text obituary through the Western History and Genealogy Department.


Naturalizations created in the Denver and Pueblo, Colorado Federal District Courts. Declaration of Intentions, 1877 – 1952; Denver, Colorado. Naturalizations, 1906 – 1950; Pueblo, Colorado. Declarations of Intentions, 1906 – 1949; Pueblo, Colorado. Naturalizations, 1912 – 1949; and Pueblo, Colorado Soldier’s Petition for Naturalization, 1918 – 1928.


Digital Collections at DPL include the following topics that can also be searched by record format.

DPL also offers research guides for genealogy on the following subjects:

Digital Public Library of America – Colorado Resources


History Colorado (formerly Colorado State Historical Society)

Library & Research Center Catalog

Search records of books, manuscript collections, maps, serial titles, and selected photography collections.

Collection Guides

Collection guides, usually inventories or finding aids, are available for many collections.

Directories and Phone Books

History Colorado holds Colorado city directories and phone books from the 19th century through the present. Search our index for available directories by city or year.

Photography Collection

Contains over 1 million images documenting the history of Colorado and the American West from the 1840s to the present day. The collection ranges from early daguerreotypes and glass plate negatives to digital prints and from Kodak snapshots to masterworks of photographic art.

Mining History Association

Visit for links to mining history archives at various institutions.

Free Colorado Digital Archives for Genealogy

Miners at the Vindicator Mine, Cripple Creek Mining District, Victor, Colorado (Courtesy Mining History Association)


Free Colorado Digital Archives for GenealogyPikes Peak Library District – Regional History and Genealogy

“Regional history and genealogy collections at Pikes Peak Library District (Penrose Public Library, Colorado Springs) are held by Special Collections in the 1905 Carnegie Library.

Special Collections contains extensive resources for research into the history of the Pikes Peak region, including books, maps, manuscripts and archives, photographs, oral histories, films, government documents, periodicals and much more.

PPLD’s Digital Collections provides access to some of the primary source research materials available in Special Collections, including photographs, oral histories, films, maps, and other published and unpublished resources.

There are additional resources at academic libraries at universities and at county public libraries throughout the state. Search the county you’re interested in plus the term “digital archives” or “digital collections” for specific results. But I still have a soft spot for Pikes Peak Library District where I began my professional career.

That’s it for Free Colorado Digital Archives for Genealogy. Check out the other states in this series here. Next up in States on Sunday: Connecticut!