Indians of Utah

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Utah is a Ute word meaning "people of the mountains"

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. Many tribes have been or are found in Utah.

The State of Utah maintains a web site which provides a summary history of the Indian tribes of Utah.

Tribes and Bands of Utah

Bannock, Dieguenos, Fremont, Gosiute, Hopi, Kanosh, Koosharem, Indian Peak, Mojave, Navajo, Paiute (Southern), Quenchans, Shivwits, Shoshoni (Western), Ute (Northern, Southern & Mountain), Uintah and Ouray, White  River, Wiminuche, Uncompahgre Band, Yute, Zuni

Bands: Northwest Band of Shoshone, Skull Valley Gosiute, Ibapah Gosiute, White Mesa Ute, Wieminuche Band of Utes, Piute, Cedar Band, Indian Peaks Band, Kanosh Band, Koosharem Band, Shivwits Band, Southern Paiute.

The State of Utah has a web site which describes current tribes in the state.


Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ehtonology, Bulletin #30 1907. (Family History Library film 1320577 Item 1.)
Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. ( ) Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin #145.


As identified in the National Atlas of the United States of America, the following reservation names in bold are current federally-recognized reservations:

  • Corn Creek Reservation 1856-1869:
  • Deep Creek Band Reservation 1912:
  • Gandy Homestead:
  • Gosiute Reservation
  • Indian Peak (Paiute) Reservation 1924:
  • Ipapah Gosiute:
  • Kanosh Reservation 1929-1954:
  • Koosharem Reservation 1929-1954:
  • Navajo Reservation 1884:-- While portions of this reservation are in Utah, its main part is in Arizona, as is the major portion of its administration. The 1900 federal census included population schedules for the portion of the Navajo Reservation within the State of Utah. They were included in District 217, Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, Utah. They are recorded on Indian Population Schedules.
  • Northwestern Band of Shoshone: State, under jurisdiction of the Fort Hall Agency; Tribe: Shohone
  • Paiute Reservation:
  • San Pete Reservation 1856-1869:
  • Shebit Reservation 1916:
  • Shivwits Reservation 1903-54:
  • Skull Valley Reservation 1912: Federal, under jurisdiction of the Uintah Ouray Agency, Tribe: Goshute
  • Spanish Fork reservation 1856-1869:
  • Uinta and Ouray Reservation 1861: Federal, under jurisdiction of the Uintah & Ouray Agency, Tribe: Ute
  • Uncompahgre (Ute) Reservation 1882:
  • Uintah Valley Reservation:
  • White Mesa Ute Reservation:


Isaacs, Katherine M., Editor. Omni gazetteer of the united States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appedices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservation, Appendix E. Indian Reservations, Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Agencies were created as an administrative division of the federal government to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.


Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc., 1974.

Indian Schools

The Office of Indian Affairs (now the Bureau of Indian Affairs) established a network of schools throughout the United States, beginning with Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879. Some of these schools were day schools, usually focusing on Indian children of a single tribe or reservation. Some were boarding schools which served Indian children from a number of tribes and reservations.

In addition, other groups such as various church denominations established schools specifically focusing on American Indian children. (read more...)

Indian Farms

Allen Canyon 1887 (San Juan county), Beaver, Corn Creek (Sevier county), Cpromme 1956, Elk Mountain (Emery county), Santa Clara 1854, Skull Valley 1869 (Toole county), Spanish Fork 1856 (Utah county), Thistle Valley 1872 (Carbon county), Warm Springs 1855, Washakie 1880 (Beaver County), Washington 1854

Utah Superintendency (1850 to 1870)

American Indians living in Utah were administered by the Utah Superintendency of the United States Office of Indian Affairs from 1850 to 1870. Copies of records for the Utah Superintendency from 1853 to 1870 are at the National Archives—Denver Branch, and the Family History Library.

  • United States. Office of Indian Affairs, Utah Superintendency. Records of the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1853–1870. National Archives Microfilm Publication, M0834. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1971. (Family History Library films 1025139–40). The record is arranged chronologically and does not have an index. The second film, "Miscellaneous Records," includes names of American Indians.

Records Created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) (1870-present)

In 1870, BIA agencies replaced the Utah Superintendency. The largest agency in Utah is as follows:

Other agencies serving Utah's American Indians are the Southern Paiute Field Station in Utah, Western Navajo and Shiprock in Arizona, Fort Hall in Idaho, Elko in Nevada, and Ute Mountain in Colorado. Their addresses are found in:

  • Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. 7th ed. West Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 1995.  This book contains directories for the United States and Canada. In addition to the addresses, there are bibliography and biography sections. The book is indexed.

The local agency and the area office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs usually have records of Indians currently associated with a reservation. Some earlier records have been sent to the National Archives or to the National Archives branch that serves the area. The National Archives—Denver Branch has important collections of BIA records for Utah. The Laguna Niguel, San Bruno, Fort Worth, and Seattle Branches also have some records relating to American Indians in Utah.

The Family History Library has copies of some agency records. Two examples of agency records are:

  • United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Uintah and Ouray Agency. Vital Records of the Ute Indians to 1946. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1953. (Family History Library films 01763–69). The record is alphabetically arranged by family name. It gives degree of Indian blood, tribe, birth and death dates, parents' names with their birth and death dates, and siblings' birth, death, and marriage information.
  • United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Indian Census Rolls, Fort Hall, Utah 1883–1939. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0595. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1965. (Family History Library films 576493–99). This record covers Bannock tribes from 1885 to 1939. It is arranged into family units and gives sex, age, and family relationship information. The Indian and English names are also listed.

Major James McLaughlin was assigned to the American Indians in Utah for many years. His correspondence and documents contain many records about the Navajos and the Utes. The papers are found in the following:

  • McLaughlin, James. Major James McLaughlin Papers, 1855–1937. Richardton, North Dakota: Assumption Abbey Archives, 1968. (On 39 Family History Library films beginning with 494467). These records include enrollments, school records, absentee Indians, and censuses. Two rolls of films index the collection. The indexes are on films 541379–80 and contain more than a hundred cards about Utah.

Tribal Records

Tribal organizations have kept statistics, enrollment, and other records since the 1930s. Tribal organizations in Utah are the Ute Indian Tribe, the White Mesa Utes, Goshiute Indian Tribe, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, North West Band of Shoshone Tribe, and the Skull Valley Goshiute Tribe. For current tribal addresses, contact:

Division of Indian Affairs
324 S. State, Suite 500
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Telephone: 801-538-8808

The Family History Library has some tribal records. You may locate others through the BIA agency or tribe. One tribal record is found in:

  • Family Records of Uintah and Whiteriver Utes, 1867–1948. Two Volumes. N.p., 1958. (Family History Library  film 1035932 item 3). The family group sheets are arranged alphabetically and also found by an index. The degree of Indian blood and tribe, parents, and spouses are listed.

Church and Cemetery Records

Helpful information about reservation families can often be found in church and cemetery records. Search tribal histories or contact the agency, the tribal office, or the reservation for information about specific religious denominations and local cemeteries.

The Family History Library has a few records of this type. For example, the library has a record of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptisms in 1875 entitled:

  • Records of the Baptisms of the Indians in Grass Valley in 1875. N.p., 19--? (Family History Library film 982289 item 5). Grass Valley is now known as Koosharem, Sevier County, Utah. The book and film have a typed list and a photocopy of the original baptisms. The names of the American Indians and the person who baptized and confirmed them are listed along with the date of baptism.

Family History Library

The records will be listed in the Family History Library Catalog Subject Search under the name of the tribe, or in the Place Search under the town as follows:




Federal Population Censuses

The 1900 federal census included population schedules for several Indian groups in Utah. Some were associated with reservations and agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of the information in this census for Indian individuals and families were recorded on Indian Population Schedules. In some cases, information for Indians were filed by the Bureau of Census along with the general population schedules for non-Indian residents. Separate districts exist for the Southern Utah Agency and for the Uintah and Ouray Agency. Schedules for groups not listed as separate districts exist for Shoshone Indians in Portage Precinct, Box Elder County, Utah and for Santa Clara Precinct, Washington County, Utah.

The 1900, 1910, and 1920 U.S. population censuses enumerated American Indians associated with reservations or agencies. These censuses are found in the population schedules of the federal census. The Utah Census page explains these records.


Several sources include genealogies of the American Indians. These genealogies provide information about parents and other ancestors. Individuals and societies have gathered genealogies. One example is:

  • Cury, Rex D. Indian Genealogical Records, 1835–1946. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. (Family History Library film 1033685 item 6). The names of the families are arranged in alphabetical order. The record includes name, tribe, birth and death information, and degree of Indian blood. The names of parents, spouse, and children are included with their birth and death information.


You may need to begin by learning some history of Utah Indian reservations. Two sources are:

  • Indian Reservations of the West. Heart Throbs of the West,1, (1939): 127–145. This brief article outlines the history of eight separate reservations. It provides details of the beginning of the reservation and some history on the tribe. Narrations are quoted from journals of leaders.
  • Taylor, Eli F. Indian Reservations in Utah. Utah Historical Quarterly 4, Number 1 (January 1931): 29–32.  This article gives a brief history of the different reservations throughout Utah. It give information such as dates established, size, and by whose authority they were established.

Histories of some tribes are available at the Family History Library or through public libraries. Some state and county histories give a background history on the tribes in their area. Check Utah History for general Utah histories. An example of history about the Ute Indians is:

  • Dixon, Madoline Cloward. These Were the Utes. Provo, Utah: Press Publishing Limited, 1983. This source discusses lifestyle, wars, and legends. There are historical and biographical stories.

Other Repositories

Libraries and societies have published sources, manuscripts, or collections of materials relating to American Indians. For example, the Marriott Library at the University of Utah at is a repository for the Oral History Program of the Doris Duke Grant. This grant is devoted to collecting American Indian oral histories.

The Topic of American Indians under the United State Portal Page provides an overview of major federal records helpful for researching American Indian ancestry. The outline includes step-by-step suggestions for researching the records. The agency records and tribal records are listed in the Family History Library Catalog in the Place Search under:



Also, look under the Subject Search for the name of the tribe, such as:




Additional records may be in the Subject Search under:


See Also



Web Sites