Ethnic Research in Colorado

Below: Mariano Medina Trapper and Trader. Stereoscope card

Mariano Medina Trapper and Trader. Steroscope cardInterest in genealogical research once seemed to be relatively confined to the descendants of the first wave of settlers to arrive in this country, i.e., to "Anglo-Saxons"; therefore many genealogical research manuals concentrated on such emigration, to the neglect of other ethnic groups.

In 1865, The Rocky Mountain News reported that "an immense tide of immigration is about to set in from the Old World to the New World," and advised that "Colorado should take such steps as will secure her share of these immigrants." To this end, a short-lived territorial board of immigration scattered literature in the eastern United States and England. The Gould railroad system warned Italians away from crowded eastern cities, advising them to seek Pueblo, the "Pittsburg of the West," a city served by two Gould roads.

Ethnically homogeneous agricultural towns attracted a few immigrants. Two examples of these were Ryssby, a Swedish settlement northeast of Boulder (Boulder County) and Dearfield, just east of Greeley (Weld County), which was settled by African Americans.

Mining towns had the largest concentrations of foreign born citizens. Over 40 percent of San Juan County's small population was foreign born; over one-third of the people in Lake and Gilpin counties were immigrants; in populous Teller and Las Animas counties, there were more than 8,000 non-natives.

Nearly half of Colorado's German-Russians and over half of its Irish lived in Denver at the turn of the century. Others were enticed by the Great Western Railroad to come to Colorado to work the sugar beet fields in northeastern Colorado. The German-Russian influence is still strong today in many of the counties north and east of Denver. [1]

Some of the major ethnic groups to come to Colorado are:


* Denotes that the link is offsite.

Visit our Native American Genealogy page for information on and links to resources about Native Americans in Colorado.

The Fort Collins History Connection* website has information on three different Ethnic groups that settled in northern Colorado: Mexican-American, German-Russian, Native American.

The University of Virginia has some interesting resources to help you find your ethnic ancestors. *

Carolyn M. Brady's Japanese-American Family History Resources website has some good information on it. *

German-Russian Genealogy*

Researching Your African-American Roots.*


[1] Colorado A History of the Centennial State. Third Edition. Abbott, Leonard, McComb. 1994. University Press of Colorado