Utah, How to Find Genealogy Records

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

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 Collections

American Indians

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

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.


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.


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.


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

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

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


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

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.


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.


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.


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

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 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


Naturalization and Citizenship




Probate Records



Vital Records

Birth Records

Marriage Records

Death Records


  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.