WY State Archives releases livestock brand research guide


CHEYENNE – Wyoming State Archives recently released a livestock brand research guide, available through Wyoming Online Library Resources, to aid residents in identifying their brands or examining the history behind them. 

Carl Hallberg, a reference archivist with the state archives, created the guide a few weeks ago to aid those interested in learning more about brands in the sometimes-complicated process.

The guide breaks the process into five steps so people who are able to visit the archives in Cheyenne can more easily find what they’re looking for, or for those who email Hallberg to get him what he needs to do the research for them.

Brands are used to identify the owner of animals so they can be returned to their rightful place if they wander off.

“(Brands) are something unique to the American west,” Hallberg said. “And some of the brands can be quite creative and have an artistry to them.”

That’s why the first step in researching livestock brands is providing a drawing or a photo of the brand. 

The Wyoming State Archives has the original state brand books from 1909 to 1972, bill of sale books from 1912 to 1973 and microfilm of both records from 1909 to 1954. The Wyoming Livestock Board has brand and bills of sale books after 1972-1973, according to the guide. 

To research brands registered before 1909, researchers must consult county brand records, which are on microfilm at the state archives, Hallberg said. 

These books aren’t always indexed, Hallberg said, which sometimes requires researchers to go page-by-page to find what they’re looking for, a process that sometimes takes days.

“Most of the time, it’s somebody who owns a brand and they just want to know what the history of the brand is,” Hallberg said. “So, I try to take it back as far as I can.”

Goshen County residents who can’t make it to Cheyenne to review these records can consult the livestock brand research guide and email [email protected]

The research guide is available at https://gowyld.libguides.com/ResearchingBrands.

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