Alaska Genealogy

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Information is continually being added. Updated 3/10/18

Alaska Gold Rush History and Genealogy

This web site is dedicated to Alaska's many gold rushes and is intended to showcase the less famous events. Gold has been found in many places in Alaska and whenever news leaked out of a possible discovery miners rushed to the area. Gold strikes in Juneau, Nome and Fairbanks are well documented so while their history will not be ignored it is not the focus of this site.

The Klondike Gold Rush was to Canada though it was primarily Americans who joined the rush and who made many of the discoveries. The route to the Klondike went through Alaska primarily at Skagway or up the Yukon River. The lure of Klondike gold brought thousands of people to the north country. It was responsible for one of the largest voluntary mass movements of people in history and some of the argonauts went on to discover gold in Alaska.

Your help is invited. I have quickly become overwhelmed in my goal to provide a web site that goes into some depth on the history of Alaska's many gold rushes and the individuals who took part in them. If you have information you're willing to share please email me.

A brief overview of Alaska's early mining history

The Russians had been aware there was gold in their territory of Alaska. In 1849 P. P. Doroshin, a Russian mining engineer, discovered gold in the gravels of the Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula. In 1861 gold was discovered on Telegraph Creek near the settlement of Wrangell. Another discovery of placer gold was in 1865-66 on the Seward Peninsula by a party exploring for a telegraph route. The Russians prohibited the search for minerals as they feared a rush of foreign prospectors into a land they could barely hold claim to and they had taken the valuable seals and fur otter to the brink of extinction. This, in part, led to the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 (Source ).

Following the Alaska purchase in 1867 a few American prospectors, trappers and traders came to explore the new territory. In 1880 gold was located at what is now Juneau, the capital city. The discovery led to more mineral exploration in the North.

There were gold strikes in Alaska and the upper Yukon prior to the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1896. Miners and prospectors on their way to search for gold in the upper Yukon region had been coming through Dyea and over Chillkoot Pass since before the route was mapped by the Lieutenant Schwatka expedition in 1883.

The Klondike discovery let the world know that there was gold to be found in the north. The majority of the claims were staked by people who had been in Alaska when the strike was made. By the time the rush got under way and people began arriving from the states the known good ground was all taken. Many returned home disappointed. Some hung around Dawson and rushed out at every rumor of a gold strike. Others, including many who were disgruntled with Canadian regulations and taxes, headed down the Yukon into Alaska to search for gold.

Alaska Gold Rush Timeline

Gold continues to excite people and gold rushes in Alaska still take place to this day.

If this site was beneficial to you I would appreciate a contribution to help maintain and expand this and my other Alaska information and genealogy web sites. Thank you.

 *  Alaska Mining regions


Alaska Peninsula region

Aleutian Islands region

Bering Sea region

Bristol Bay region

Cook Inlet - Susitna River region

Copper River region

Kenai Peninsula region

Kodiak region

Kuskokwim River region

Northern Alaska region

Northwestern Alaska region

Seward Peninsula region

Southeastern Alaska region

Yukon River region


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