Utah, How to Find Genealogy Records

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United StatesGotoarrow.pngUtahGotoarrow.pngUtah, How to Find Genealogy Records

See United States, How to Find Genealogy Records and United States Compiled Genealogies

This page contains a series of links to Research Wiki articles about how to find various types of genealogically related records specific to the state of Utah. The individual articles are arranged by subject heading. The linked articles may also include links to other related articles. You may also wish to search the Wiki for "How to Find" articles adding the subject "Utah." Please feel free to add new links or update existing links as they become available.

For online collections not in the Research Wiki, see Utah Online Genealogy Records

American Indians[edit | edit source]

If you believe your family has Indian ancestry, first identify a specific time period and locality for your ancestor by using other Utah and United States records. Knowing and studying the history of a tribe is vital in finding available records.

Search for the individual tribes in the Research Wiki, such as:

The following more general records may also be helpful:

Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Many archives and libraries have resources such as maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids to help you locate information about Utah. They may have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state.

  • Utah Archives and Libraries This article has links to specific Utah Libraries and Archives. You may also wish to search for articles in each county's article.

Biography[edit | edit source]

A biography is a history of a person’s life. In a biography you may find the individual’s birth, marriage, and death information, and the names of his parents, children, or other family members. Biographies often include photographs, family traditions, stories, clues about an ancestor’s place of origin, places where he has lived, church positions held, professional accomplishments, military service, and activities within the community. The information must be used carefully, however, because there may be inaccuracies.

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemetery records may include birth, marriage, and death information. They sometimes provide clues about military service, religion, or membership in an organization. Cemetery records may be kept as sexton records in a local city office or in a storage location on the cemetery itself. There may also be permits for burial, cemetery plot sales records, transportation records and mortuary and funeral records stored with the cemetery records themselves.

Also use these records to:

  • Identify children who died young or women who were not recorded in family or government documents.
  • Establish family relationships and locate family members.

For Utah, there are statewide indexes and collections for many cemeteries.

Census[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population of a country,state, county, or city. Census lists are also called “schedules." In the United States a nationwide census has been taken every ten years since 1790. A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor lived and when they lived there.

See also:

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Churches keep records of baptisms, christenings, confirmations, marriages, burials, memberships, admissions, and removals. Some keep minutes of church meetings and the histories of their local churches. Each church has its own policies for record keeping.

Church records are important for family research because civil authorities in Utah did not begin registering vital records consistently until after 1895, although some marriage records exist as early as 1887. Church records may include names and dates and places of births, marriages, deaths and parents. The records are usually recorded at the time of an event and should be accurate for the specific event.

Before 1900 the largest religious groups in Utah were The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Methodists, and Presbyterians.[1]

You must determine the denomination of an ancestor to find their church records.

For more specific information, please search for church records by individual counties, cities or towns. See also Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1941).

  • Online through BYU Books. (Free) In the Text search box, type the town or unit name and click Go. Select page numbers (tiny) at the right to see the page.
  • Also available through Ancestry.com ($).

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Your ancestors may be found in court records perhaps as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. They may have also participated in cases involving probate, naturalization, divorce, debt, adoption, guardianship, licenses, appointment to public offices, taxes, civil and criminal lawsuits, property disputes, crimes, or other matters brought before a court. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence. They often provide occupations, descriptions of individuals, and other family history information.

For further information you should search in the Research Wiki for the terms "Utah court records" and either the name of the county and/or city or town.

Digital Collections[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. These often list all the adult residents of a city or an area. They are similar to modern telephone books. Beside addresses and occupations, they may also give locations of streets and voting districts which will help you locate other records. Directories of heads of households have been published for major cities in Utah. Some directories cover several cities.

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Emigration records list the names of people leaving and immigration records list those coming into the State of Utah. These records may include an emigrant’s name, age, occupation, destination, and sometimes the place of origin or birth. It is important to remember that any Emigrant or Immigrant had to have a Port of Departure or a Port of Entry or a border crossing.

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

A gazetteer is a list and description of places, such as villages, towns and cities. Gazetteers may also mention neighborhoods, cemeteries, population size, and geographical features such as rivers and mountains. It can be used to locate the places where a family lived. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published. The place names are generally listed in alphabetical order.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

The term genealogy is used to describe a variety of records containing family information previously gathered by other researchers, societies, or archives. These records can include pedigree charts, compiled data on families, correspondence, ancestor lists, research exchange files, record abstracts, and collections of original or copied documents. These sources can save time, but because they are compiled from other sources, they must be carefully evaluated for accuracy.

History[edit | edit source]

State and local histories can contain a wealth of information about individuals and families. Be sure and search for specific places names and include the word "history" in your search.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land records are primarily used to learn when and where an individual lived. They often reveal other family information, such as the name of a spouse, heir, other relatives, or neighbors. Also, you may learn where a person lived previously, his or her occupation, if he or she was a naturalized citizen, and other clues for further research. Always be sure to search the individual county records where the land was located. Land and property records are usually maintained on a county level.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Maps and atlases are used to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They identify political boundaries, names of places, geographical features, cemeteries, churches, and migration routes. Historical maps are especially useful for finding communities that no longer exist and old county boundaries. The Family History Library has maps for some Utah counties and a few of the larger cities. Some of the city maps list the property owners. There are extensive online historical map collections.

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Military records identify thousands of individuals who served or who were eligible for service. Evidence that an individual actually served may be found in family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies, cemetery records, and records of veterans’ organizations. Your ancestors will be more interesting if you learn about their military service and the history of their units. Military records can also give birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, spouse's and children’s names, and localities of residence throughout the life of the family.

Minorities[edit | edit source]

Knowledge of the history of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups your ancestors belonged to is important. This historical background can help you identify where your ancestors lived, when they lived there, and where they moved. This information will help you understand the types of records they might be listed in and the history of your family.

See also United States Cultural Groups

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Naturalization papers, filed to begin the process, are an important source of information about an immigrant's nation of origin, his foreign and "Americanized" names, residence, and date of arrival. Information in post-1906 records is more detailed and may include birth dates, birth places, and other information about the immigrant and members of his family.

See also information on the individual county articles.

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers in all areas of Utah can contain information not found in other records. The rural newspapers specialize in items of local interest, balanced with regional, state, and national news. Unique information may include: Legal notices from nearby towns and neighboring counties.Social colums from the town and surrounding areasAdvertising of the time that are insightful, and may include a business your relatives owned.In "slow news" days, a newspaper may include "filler," such as stories, jokes, and sometimes names of hotel guests or people arriving on the stage coach.

See also links in specific Utah counties.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are a good source of biographical information. They can include religion, education, and accomplishments, as well as birth, marriage, and death information, names of parents, siblings, children, and extended family.

See also Obituaries and Newspapers in each county article.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Most family history periodicals reprint copies of local sources of genealogical value. These may include biographical sketches, genealogies, information about local records and archives, queries, census indexes, transcripts of family Bibles, church records, court records, cemetery indexes, land records, newspaper notices, obituaries, research queries, vital records, and wills.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate cases include the proving of wills and the administering of estates for individuals who have died. They also include such matters as guardianship and insanity proceedings.They are a good source for locating relatives, death dates, and property. Families with property are more likely to be found in probate records than poorer families.

See also Probate in each county article.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Societies generate genealogies, biographies, histories, and indexes of local records. They may publish periodicals, lists of members and ancestors, yearbooks, or surname indexes. Utah has many societies and associations interested in genealogical research and preserving history and records of Utah. Other groups are lineage societies for descendants of pioneers, soldiers, and ethnic groups.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Tax records are an important supplement to census and land records. They can be used to determine place and length of residence. They provide useful information such as a brief description of land and property holdings. County property, county inheritance, city tax, and an early collection of federal tax records are the most commonly used tax records for family history research in Utah.

See also individual county articles.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths, recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

See also individual county articles.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

For information on birth records in Utah see How to Find Birth Information in Utah

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

See the following:

See also information in separate county articles.

Death Records[edit | edit source]

See also articles on the individual counties.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. William Chamberlin Hunt and United States Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1906 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910), Vol. 1:364. Digital version at Google Books.