Welcome! MormonPlaces is an interactive database (a gazetteer) of the geographic locations that are significant to the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its sister churches of Joseph Smith's Restoration movement. This will eventually include congregations, settlements, cemeteries, buildings, and even historical events.
MormonPlaces is an outgrowth of our research in producing Mapping Mormonism: an Atlas of Latter-day Saint History, in which we collected information on thousands of places from various regions, eras, and topics. However, these initial datasets were only portrayed in a general way in the maps in the atlas, and we found the available information about them to be incomplete.
Thus, this project aims to build on our initial research by creating a website with the following goals:
- Researchers (including historians, family historians, and the general public) can easily access detailed information about places.
- Other web services (such as family history sites) can access and connect to relevant places. For example, to state that person X (in FamilySearch) was the bishop of ward Y (in MormonPlaces).
- Allow other scholars to add to and improve the data based on their own sources and research, much like a wiki.
You can view our current database using a map interface, or browse a text list of all of the places. The earlier version had an editing feature that allowed anyone to make contributions, but this is not in the new system yet. Please remember, this site is experimental for the time being, as most of our research focus is on the data, not the interface; we encourage you to try them out and give us your feedback, but don't expect them to be industrial strength or beautiful yet.
- August 8, 2017: We've finally rebuilt the online database to reflect the past several months of intensive research. Current inventory: 6,832 congregations, 883 settlements, 389 buildings, 76 cemeteries, 603 boundary features, 1,007 source artifacts, and 4 events; total 9,794 entities described by 200,318 asserted facts.
- April 24, 2017: We've added a new map, the Historic Meetinghouses Explorer,
which is mobile-friendly and great for touring!
- March 7, 2017: Layer control enabled. In the legend, click on each place type (congregations, settlements, buildings, cemeteries) to turn it on and off. Down the road, we'll add the ability to filter by other properties (esp. by LDS/RLDS).
- March 7, 2017: Estimated ward boundaries (v0.3)! When you click on a congregation (blue), it shows any defined boundaries and estimates the jurisdiction of that congregation. This isn't complete; it doesn't handle really complex boundary definitions well and some other oddities, but it's a start.
- March 3, 2017: Current database inventory: 6,410 congregations, 1,105 settlements, 357 buildings, 77 cemeteries, 582 boundary features, and 797 source artifacts, total 9,328 entities, described by 178,524 asserted facts.
- March 2, 2017: Uploaded about 350 historic buildings, including meetinghouses, temples, and tabernacles built before 1939 that are still standing. If I'm missing any, let me know!
- February 20, 2017: Transferred all of the data from the old site to the new site. This includes about 800 branches that existed during Joseph Smith's lifetime (other than Britain, which had previously been transferred), 350 settlements in the Intermountain West, and about 400 places contributed by users like you! The old site was then disabled, so you will not be able to make new contributions until we get the new and improved editing interface going.
The TeamMormonPlaces is the brainchild of Dr. Brandon Plewe, an associate professor of Geography at Brigham Young University, who has been mapping the history of the LDS Church for the past 20 years. Thanks to generous funding from the BYU Mentored Environment Grant program, the Religious Studies Center, and the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, we have had students do much of the necessary research:
- Marlee Beers (2016) Local Unit History File
- Kyle Burgess (2016) Sanpete Stake, Sevier Stake
- Carly Christiansen (2015) Encyclopedic History
- Mike Epps (2012-2013) Development of first website
- Steven Fluckiger (2016) Weber Stake
- Altheda Geurts (2016-present) Cache Stake, Box Elder Stake, British Mission
- Kellie Haddon (2017-present) Mission histories
- Cassie Howe (2016) British Mission
- Laura Hinckley (2016-present) Nauvoo Era, Encyclopedic History, web basemap
- Nathaniel James (2017-present) Salt Lake, Juab, Millard Stakes
- Valerie Mariana (2013) Early branches
- Heidi Paul (2017-present) Mission histories
- Sarah Quan (2014) Early British branches
- Molly Reeder (2017-present) Family History Library records, mission
- Carly Ringer (2016-present) Scandinavian Mission, Church directories, ward boundaries
- Lindsay Sheridan (2015-2016) Encyclopedic History
- Brandon Whitney (2017-present) Mission histories
- Travis Woodburn (2015) British Mission