Utah Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Utah Wiki Topics
Utah flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Utah Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

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]

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit | edit source]

Dutch Reformed[edit | edit source]

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Other Collections[edit | edit source]

Look for digital copies of church records in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the state, county, or town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of United States, Utah.
b. Click on Places within United States, Utah and a list of counties will appear.
c. Click on your county if it appears.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Click on Places within United States, Utah [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
f. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
g. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
h. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]

These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location.

  • Inventory of the Church Archives of Utah. Three Volumes. Historical Records Survey. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Historical Records Survey, 1940. This was prepared as a complete inventory of church records. It contains a history of religion in Utah and has a list of books arranged by the name of the denomination. It also contains an inventory for the various religions.

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.
  • Each denomination page offers an online address directory of local churches for that denomination.

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Here you will find archive information unique to the state. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.

Utah State Historical Society
300 South Rio Grande Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Telephone: (801) 245-7227
Fax: 801-533-3567 - historical society
801-533-3504 - research center
E-mail: uhq@utah.gov

Marriott Library
University of Utah

295 S 1500 E
SLC UT 84112-0860
Fax: 801.585.3464

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)[edit | edit source]

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

Family History Library
35 N. West Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
Phone: 801-240-2584 or 866-406-1830

  • The Family History Library has copies of ward, branch, district, stake and mission records up to 1948 with a few up to 1977.
  • The Journal History Index is online from the Church History Library. (Images of a card index) The microfilm index is cataloged separately in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The. Historical Department. Index to Journal History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Historical Department, 1973. FHL film 1233503 (first of 58). Films do not circulate to family history centers. This index contains an alphabetical listing of individual names, places, events, and subjects. Each entry gives the date and page where the entry is found in the Journal History films.

Episcopal[edit | edit source]

Episcopal Diocese of Utah
80 South 300 East Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Phone: (801) 322-4131

  • Each parish maintains its own records. The Diocese has records for some discontinued parishes.
  • Sacramental records policy
  • Episcopal Church, Diocese of Utah. Episcopal Register of the Bishop of Utah (Bishop's Personal Register) 1899-1946, 1951-1967. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975. FHL film 908728. This record has baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. It covers all of Utah and some areas of eastern Nevada.

Marriott Library
University of Utah

295 S 1500 E
SLC UT 84112-0860
Fax: 801.585.3464

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

South West California Synod / ELCA Region 2 Archives
1300 E. Colorado St.
Glendale, CA 91205
Phone:(818) 937-4761
E-mail: archives@socalsynod.org

  • Archives hold records for closed churches. For open churches write directly to the local church.

Methodist[edit | edit source]

Ira J. Taylor Library Archives
Iliff School of Theology
2201 South University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80210
Phone: (303) 744-1287
Fax: (303) 744-3387

  • The archives has the records for some of the discontinued congregations of Utah. Staff there can also help you locate existing congregations.
  • Search the archives

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Presbytery of Utah
342 West 200 South Street Suite 30
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (801) 539-8446

  • Each Presbyterian congregation maintains its own records. The Presbytery of Utah can help you locate current congregations and will provide suggestions for finding records of discontinued congregations.

Westminster College Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Phone: (801) 484-7651

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Salt Lake City
27 C Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Phone: (801) 328-8641
Fax: (801) 328-9680
Archives extension: 304

  • Archives
  • The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has records from the early 1870s to the present for all of Utah. The early records are incomplete.
  • Each congregation keeps its records for a few years before sending them to the Pastoral Center.

The diocese includes the counties of: Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Davis, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Wayne and Weber.[2]

Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:

Next, go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives and online collections for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Religious Denominations

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.

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.
  2. Map of the Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States of America, Office of Catholic Schools Diocese of Columbus, accessed 3 Nov 2010.