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Latah County’s Genealogy

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Latah County’s Genealogy

By: EmilieRae Smith

Latah County’s history is rich with interesting and diverse families. In Latah County, we are lucky enough to have many extensive accounts related to the experiences of the people who shaped this reason. Not only does our historical society have many small collections related to family genealogies, but website’s like “Genealogy Trails” offer birth, death, marriage and biography records of locals extending back to the founding of Latah County’s towns.[1] People from the community are able to upload their own records to help expand the information available. The University of Idaho also has collections with extensive material for genealogists.

Browsing the Latah County Historical Society’s genealogy collections, you can learn a lot about some of the first settlers and long lasting contributions they had on the county.

I researched two different accounts, John and Meta Meyer and the Fredman/Hast family. John Meyer’s parents, Claus and Katherine, came to the United States from Meyenburg, Germany in 1882. His parents then started a family and settled in Utah. John and Meta were enamored with Idaho’s rich farmlands, which were similar to the German lowlands they grew up on. The school system that had been established and the metropolis that was Moscow also convinced them that this was the right place to call home. The Meyer’s settled in the Genesee valley and established deep roots in the county. This account of the Meyer’s was submitted by their granddaughter, Evelyn in 1989.[2] Evelyn lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington but grew up hearing the pioneering stories of her grandparents.

John and Meta Meyer. Picture from the Latah County Historical Society. Pictures: Meyer.JC.02 and Meyer.Me.01. 

The Fredman/Hast family put down roots in Troy. They came to Idaho after emigrating from Alvsborg Lan, Sweden in the 1880s. The documents on the Fredman/Hast family available at the historical society show the emigration records upon entering the United States. Like most records, it accounts for all family members, their date of birth, marital status and occupations. This account has no added personal histories, just the facts. With these types of records, you don’t get the insight that is offered through oral histories, like the Meyer’s, but they still offer the exact information to trace a familial lineage back to its place of origin.[3]

These two examples show the different kind of genealogical information available at the historical society. The information on the Meyers is a genealogical history told through a series of oral histories passed down through the generations. In the case of the Fredman/Hast family, it is a genealogical history told through formal immigration records. Both offer vast information on the story of a family’s experiences.

The Latah County Historical Society has multiple archives showcasing the different types of genealogical history of local families. For budding historians or fellow history lovers, genealogy is an important factor of cultural history. By looking at genealogy, we can understand where certain traditions may arise from, what businesses are established, etc. All different areas of history are effected with familial lineages and studying genealogy gives us further insight into cultural and societal histories.

If you are interested in Latah County’s genealogical history, visit the Latah County Historical Society, ask to see the Genealogy archives and enjoy delving into the past of local community members.


[1]    Genealogy Trails: Finding Ancestors. Sandra Davis.

[2]    Latah County Historical Society, Archives: SC-Genealogies File 1 to File 12. 

[3]    Latah County Historical Society, Archives: SC-Genealogies File 1 to File 12. 

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