San Juan County, Utah Genealogy

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 United States  Gotoarrow.png Utah Gotoarrow.png San Juan County 

San Juan County, Utah
Map of Utah highlighting San Juan County
Location in the state of Utah
Map of the U.S. highlighting Utah
Location of Utah in the U.S.
Founded February 17, 1880
County Seat Monticello
Address Monticello, UT
Named for: [1]
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County Courthouse
Clerk/Auditor: P. O. Box 338
Monticello, UT 84535
Phone: (435)587-3223
Fax: (435)587-2425

Quick Facts 

Parent County

  • 1880--San Juan County was created 17 February 1880 from Kane, Iron, and Piute Counties.
    County seat: Monticello [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Before 1300 the Anasazi Indians were inahabitating the land that would some day becoame San Juan. The cliff dwellings and petroglyphs of the Anasazi still interest many. When pioneers came to the area they not only found a wild country, but Piutes and Navajos. The Spanish explorers had left the country naming the river that flowed though the area, San Juan in memory of Saint John. The State Legislature named the county after the the San Juan River.

The County is located in the southeastern corner of the State having 7,725 square miles more land than any other county in Utah. It also has many state and national parks including Edge of the Cedars Museum and the Goosenecks of the San Juan River. The National parks include part of Canyonlands, Glen Canyon, Hovenweep and Manti-La-Sal Forest. The Natural Bridges and Rainbow Bridge National Monuments are within San Juan County, as well as Cedar Mesa and Comb Wash.

San Juan County had a great deal of growth in the 1940's and 1950's because of the uranium mines in the County and oil which accounted for 94 percent of all property tax in those years. Today the only operating Uranium Processing plant operates in Blanding, San Juan County. Today in all the towns the economic resources are mostly tourists because of the many parks within the County both National and State, the other resources are livestock and agriculture.


NOTE:  Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Wikipedia for San Juan County, Utah. 

  •  1878 - 1895 - Aneth had a variety of titles, including Riverview (1878-85), Holyoak (1886 to around 1895), Guillette, and finally Aneth, a Hebrew word meaning "The Answer," given by Howard Antes, a Methodist missionary who lived there beginning in 1895.
  • 1879 - The first white man to build a cabin in the Monticello area was likely cattleman Patrick O'Donnell.
  • 1880 - Under the direction of John Taylor, Silas S. Smith led about 230 Mormons on expedition to start a farming community in southeastern Utah. After forging about 200 miles (320 kilometers) of their own trail over difficult terrain, the settlers arrived on the site of Bluff in April 1880. (The trail followed went over and down the "Hole In the Rock", which now opens into one of the tributaries of Lake Powell.)
  • 1887 - Monticello is the county seat and was settled in July 1887 by pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The families of George A. Adams, Frederick I. Jones, Parley R. Butt and Charles E. Walton went from Bluff to establish a new settlement. They first set up camp at Verdure near the South Fork of Montezuma Creek on March 11, six miles (10 km) south of what is now Monticello. By the first part of July, the men had begun to plant crops, survey an irrigation ditch, and layout a town site.
  • 1895 - Monticello, named in honor of Thomas Jefferson's estate, became the county seat.
  • 1914 - First known as Grayson (after Nellie Grayson Lyman, wife of settler Joseph Lyman), the town changed its name when a wealthy easterner, Thomas W. Bicknell, offered a thousand-volume library to any town that would adopt his name. Grayson competed with Thurber, Utah (renamed Bicknell) for the prize. Grayson was renamed Blanding after the maiden name of Bicknell's wife, and each of the towns received 500 books.
  • 1915 - The San Juan Record, the county newspaper, was established in Monticello by Oscar Walter McConkie.
  • 1997 - On October 4, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced that the Church would begin to build a new series of "miniature temples." The first of such temples was built in Monticello.
  • 1998 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated theMonticello Utah Temple, the first in a series of mini temples and the 53rd temple for the Church.


Native Races

The Navajo Mountain Community a Social Organzation and Kinship Terminology  by Mary Shapardson and Blodwen Hammond, Publication University of California Press,c 1970 Family History Library (FHL) US/CAN book 970.3 N227

Early Settlements

The earliest pioneer settlers to the San Juan area were part of a group which came to be called the "San Juan or Hole-In-The-Rock Mission." The Mission was sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints or Mormon's  to win the favor of the indians and to establish good relations thus they needed to find a route in that wild country. Before they could come Captain Silas Sanford Smith was asked to lead twenty-four scouts, cattle and other loose animals besides their pack-horses. Two families Harriman and Davis familys  were to prepare to help the other pioneers that would take part in the "Hole-In -The-Rock Mission" A list of many of those early settlers is available online.


Populated Places

Aneth Halls Crossing Halchita, Navajo Mountain Tselakai Dezza
Blanding La Sal Montezuma Creek Monument Valley White Mesa
Bluff Mexican Hat Monticello Spanish Valley

Neighboring Counties

Emery | Garfield | Grand | Kane | Wayne | Arizona counties: Apache | Coconino | Navajo | Colorado counties: Dolores | Mesa | Montrose | San Miguel | San Juan County, New Mexico



San Juan county cemeteries at the Utah State Historical site 

Blanding City Cemetery, Blanding Indian Graveyard, Bluff City FHL Book: 979.259 V3t


The 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 U.S. federal population schedules of San Juan County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Utah Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in national indexes, try checking local indexes. Created by experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide indexes.

See Utah Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

  • 1880
  • 1890
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930


LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Blanding
  • Bluff
  • Grayson
  • La Sal
  • Lockerby
  • Monticello - Portrait of our past a history of Monticello Utah Sake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints FHL US/CAN book 979.25 K2

Early church records, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for San Juan County Wards and Branches can be found on film and are located at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The film numbers, for each ward, can be locate through the Family History Library Catalog at Or by refering to Jaussi, Laureen R., and Gloria D. Chaston. Register of Genealogical Society Call Numbers. 2 vols. Provo, Utah: Genealogy Tree, 1982. (FHL book 979.2258 A3j; fiche 6031507). These volumes contain the film numbers for many (but not all) membership and temple record films.


The County Court and county records are located in the county seat :

Court minutes of San Juan County, Utah 1892-1899

District Court minutes 1896-1921, FHL US/CAN film 483511 Item 3

County Court minutes 1892-1899 FHL US/CAN film 483511 Item 4



Local Histories

A History of San Juan County online at Marriott Library Digital Collections.

Lonesome Trails of San Juan the Ranching legacy of J. A. (Al) Scorup FHL US/CAN book 979.25 H2v

"A History of San Juan County" In the Palm of Time, by Robert S. McPherson, Utah Centennial County History Series, 1995 Utah State Historical Society, San Juan County Commission


Maps of Hole-in- the Rock, Utah FHL US/CAN film 1019732



One major resouce for newspapers throughout Utah is the University of Utah's, Utah Digital Newspapers project "with more than 600,000 pages of digitized Utah historical newspapers." One newspaper from San Juan County is included in this digital project, the San Juan Record. Read more... about using Utah newspapers for your family history research.



Probate register of estates 1888-1966 FHL US/CAN film 483509

Probate records 1888-1912 Record of wills 1922-1966 FHL US/CAN film 483510

Inhertance tax 1907 

A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.


Vital Records

Marriage license records, 1888-1966 FHL US/CAN film 483508

Register of births and deaths, 1897-1917 FHL US/CAN film 483511 Item 1-2 Western States Marriage Index

Utah Death Certificates 1904 - 1956 -A free internet access to the 1904-1956 death certificates can be viewed at .  Utah requires a death certificate before a burial is completed.  A death certificate may contain information as to the name of the deceased, date of death, and place of death, as well as the age, birthdate, parents, gender, marital status, spouse and place of residence.
Utah State Burial Index for death before 1904

Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Family History Centers

Societies - Genealogical, Historical, Lineage

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).