Gold Rush Names Database
This is the Gold Rush Names Database introduction page. Please use the search form below to search in our 8000+ records.
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This database includes participants in the Prince William Sound, Valdez and Copper River Area gold and copper rushes of 1893 to 1899. It is both interesting andconfusing that a century ago the spelling of many families’ last names was in a state of flux. At one time, they spelled their name one way, another time a different way. Thus Frank Lavarer’s name occurs as both Lavarer and Levarer. Even brothers might spell their last names differently as did Grant Remmington and Charles Remington.
In addition, prospectors along the trail probably never saw the written form of a friend’s last name, so in writing their journals or books, they may have spelled the name differently. Finally, many of the names are taken from hand written documents. Although some writers took great pride in the clarity of their penmanship, others did not. This is especially true for the 1900 census and some mining claims. In these documents it is often very difficult to distinguish between similarly written letters such as “M” and “W,” or “T” and “F,” or “i” and “e.” Thus, if you cannot find your last name or ancestor’s last name as it is currently spelled, try looking for similar or more creative spellings, such as Ohlsson, Olsen, Olson, and Oleson, or Jarks and Tjarks, or Von Cipel and Von Ziepel. And don’t be discouraged if you find a similar, but not exactly correct name: “M.L. Tottensen” might be your relative “W. S. Tottenson” or even “Tattinsin.”
Diary of George Dooley
George Dooley left for Alaska in 1898 at the young age of nineteen to seek his fortune at the beginning of the gold rush. Residing in Valdez and Cordova for nearly twenty-six years, Dooley documented his journey for the first two years of his life in the North. This diary mentions many of the people, places and events listed in the Valdez Museum’s Gold Rush Names Database. For many years, this diary was considered lost. Although the whereabouts of the original diary are still unknown, a typescript copy of it was found in August 2020 and digitized for public use. Now, researchers can finally read the full text of Dooley’s journal, conveniently scanned in a readable-text format. Click here for the journal.
Bibliography of Sources
You will find the database more interesting if you print out a hard copy of the following bibliography of sources to keep at hand while reading through the database.
C1900 = 1900 Census, microfillm.
Abercrombie 1900 = Alaska, 1899, Copper River Exploring Expedition, Government Printing Office. Washington, D.C., 1900.
Abercrombie, et. al. = Compilation of Narratives of Explorations in Alaska. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1900.
Beatty Letter = Letters by S. T. Beatty to family. Copies in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
BS = Joseph Bourke Scrapbook, Valdez Museum and Historical Archive.
Chisna MDR = Chisna Mining District Records. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
CS1 = W. H. Crary Scrapbook, Vol. 1; Anchorage Museum of History and Art, available on microfilm.
CS2 = W. H. Crary Scrapbook, Vol. 2; Anchorage Museum of History and Art, available on microfilm.
Conger = Holeski, C. J. & M. C. Holeski, In Search of Gold: The Alaska Journals of Horace S. Conger.
Crary Diary = W. H. Crary Diary, unpublished. Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
Dooley Diary = Diary of George Dooley, copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Dooley Letter = The Pathfinder, V:4, 2/1924, p. 11.
Foster Letter = Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Glenn & Abercrombie = Reports on Explorations in the Territory of Alaska, 1898. Government Printing Office, 1900.
Gold Hunters = Margeson, Charles. Experiences of Gold Hunters in Alaska, 1899. Reprinted 1987, Prince William Sound Books (page numbers differ).
Golden Cross? = Remington, Charles H. [Copper River Joe], A Golden Cross(?) on the Trails from the Valdez Glacier, White-Thompson., Los Angeles, CA 1939.
Groo Diary = Groo, Samuel. Diary, unpublished. Copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Guiteau Diary = Guiteau, Luther W., “Alaska Gold Rush of 1898,” Serialized in Freeport, IL’s Journal-Standard, 1928. Entries by date.
Guiteau, Death Trail = Guiteau, Louis, “Death Trail of 98 over the Valdez Glacier,” in The Alaskana, II, 9/1972.
Hazelet Diary = Hazelet, George C., Diary, entries by date, unpubished, copies in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives, Valdez Library, Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
Joseph Fournier et al. = Coroner’s Report depicting the death of Joseph Fournier et al. on Valdez Glacier, May 2, 1898. Copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Kappleman Letter = Letter from Frank George Kappleman to his father, 4/27/98. Copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Lashaway Diary = Diary of Henry Lashaway. Copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Minutes = Townsite Minutes, by date. Valdez City Hall Archives.
Minutes, CS1. = Citizen Meetings and copy of early townsite minutes in Crary Scrapbook, Vol. 1, pp. 77ff; Microfilm.
ML, Bk. 3 (F & J) = Mining Location and Water Rights Records, Book 3 with parts of Books F and J. Copy of Prince William Sound, etc. claims filed in Sitka. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
MLR, Bk. G. (H & I) = Mining Location and Water Rights Records, Book G with parts of Books H and L. Copy of Prince William Sound, Slate Creek, etc. claims filed in Sitka. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
Moore Letter = Letter by Lillian Moore to family. Copy in Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
Pioneers = Vital Statistics kept by the Alaska Pioneers Association, based on birth certificates, etc. Microfilm.
PWSMDR, Bk. 1 = Prince William Sound Mining District Records, 1893-1899; Book 1. (Note: others precede this). Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
PWSMDR, Bk. 2 = Prince William Sound Mining District Records, 1898-1899; Book 2. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
Pathfinder = The Pathfinder, published by the Pathfinder Publishing, Co. Valdez, AK, 1920 to 1926. A monthly publication of the Pioneers of Alaska; not thoroughly searched yet for this database.
Powell, Addison M. = Trailing and Camping in Alaska, Newold Publishing Co., New York, 1909. Reprinted 1997 by Prince William Sound Books. Page
references to original edition.
QCMDR = Quartz Creek Mining District Records 1898-1899. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
Sketch Map = “Sketch Map of Route to Copper River via Valdes Pass,” 1898. Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
SMDR = Sitka Mining District Records.
TMDR = Tonsina Mining District Records 1898-1899. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
Townsend Letters = Townsend, Dr. Leroy. The Alaska Gold Rush Letters of Leroy Stewart Townsend: 1898-99. Copyright © by Peggy Jean Townsend and Klondike Research, in press, due out 1997.
Treloar Memoires = Treloar, William E., Memoires. Copy in The Valdez Museum and Historical Archives.
TVN = The Valdez News. The Valdez Museum and Historical Archives. Microfilm.
UKMDR = Upper Konsina Mining District Record 1898-1899. Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
V-Lot Index. = Valdez Townsite Lot Index, Valdez Courthouse Archives. Microfilm.
VMDR = Valdez Mining District Records 1898-1899. Microfilm.
Grant County Herald (Lancaster, WI). Stories about preparations of gold seekers, 1/13/98; 1/20/98; 1/27/98; 2/10/98; 2/18/98; 3/3/98; Letter from Roy McCoy, 4/21/98; Letter from E. L. McCoy, 4/28/98; 5/5/98; Letters from John J. Pendleton, 6/16/98; 8/4/98;
Marshall News-Messenger. (MN). Letters from John Hollo, 3/25/98; 4/8/98; 4/15/98; 5/6/98; 7/1/98; Documents on Thrond Opdahl funeral, 4/22/98; Letter reprinted from Sleepy Eye Dispatch, 4/22/98; Letter from M.M. Curtis, 9/16/98; 11/25/98; Letter from Michael Beaty reprinted from Tracy [MN] Trumpet, 8/19/98;
Neillsville News (WI). Departure of Gold Seekers, 1/20/98;
Neillsville Times (WI). Return of gold-seeker, 2/10/98; Reprint from Townsend Call on Wisconsin group in Port Townsend waiting for boat, 2/17/98; Letters from Phil Berg, 3/24/98; 4/7/98; Return of gold-seeker, 2/9/99; reprint from Marshfield News (WI) on status of gold seekers, 5/18/99;
Peoria Weekly Journal (IL). Report on prospects in the Copper River country, 1/13/98;
Portland Oregonian. Report of schooner Augusta from Copper River overdue, 12/10/97; Passenger list for steam schooner, Albion, 3/8/98; Interviews with Albion passengers, 3/2/98; 3/6/98; Organization of court at Copper City [Valdez], 3/8/98; Report on increased interest in Copper River area, 3/12/98; Passenger list for steam schooner National City, 3/15/98; Copper River Route to Yukon, 3/22/98; Interview with H.W. Huff, 4/8/98; Passenger list for steam schooner, Albion, 4/10/98; Article on passengers, 4/3/98;
Princeton Union (MN). Letter from R.F. McClellan, 6/23/98; Report on return of R.F. McClellan, 11/24/98;
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Report on Developments in Cook Inlet including Copper River, 11/13/97; Passenger list steamer Wolcott, 11/21/98 [sic] 97; Wolcott returns with report on conditions in Copper River area, 12/18/97;
Passenger list, steamer Alliance 1/4/98; Doc Tanner Murder and Lynching, 2/3/98; Report on conditions at Valdez, 2/3/98; Texas party preparing to depart, 2/4/98; Many gold-seekers in town, 2/9/98; North American Mining and Transportation Company plans, 2/16/98; Passenger list steamer Alliance, 2/17/98; Many Klondikers (includes Valdez parties) in town, 2/19/98; Chicago party living in tents waiting for boat, 2/26/98; Passenger list, steamer Excelsior, 2/28/98; Passenger list for steamer Valencia, 3/6/98; Developments in the Copper River Country, railway, 3/9/98; Michigan party in town headed for Copper river, 3/16/98; Passenger list for steam schooner Noyo, 3/16/98; Report on conditions at Valdes, 3/18/98; Interview with W.A. Conover, discovered gold near Valdez, 3/19/98; Statistics on Alaska shipping, 3/22/98; Report on conditions in Valdez, 3/22/98; Report of the sinking of the bark Helen Almy [sic. Helen W. Alma], 3/23/98; Passenger list for schooner, Hera, 3/23/98; Conditions unloading and crossing glacier, 3/26/98; Passenger list steamer Phelps, 4/6/98; Passenger list for steamer Valencia, 4/8/98; Passenger list steamer Alliance, 4/20/98; Interview with B. F. Millard, 10/27/98.