Utah Biography

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A biography is a history of a person's life. In a biography you may find an individual's birth, marriage, and death information, and the names of his or her parents, children, or other family members. Biographies often include photographs, family traditions and stories, clues about an ancestor's place of origin, places of residence, church affiliation, military service, and activities within the community. The information must be used carefully, however, because there may be inaccuracies. Verify biographical information with original records.


  • LDS Family History Suite 2. Provo, Utah: Infobases, 1999. (Family History Library compact disc Number 205; title number 837165.) This includes 31 indexes and sources of biographies such as Wiggins's Mormons and Their Neighbors. This also includes a large selection of the historical books, journals, and diaries not available elsewhere. To use the suite, first select the database you would like to search. The two databases that include information on Utah families are the Vital Records Library Infoware, and the Pioneer Heritage Library. Both include numerous works. Each database is searchable on every word and allows "wild card" searches. When you find a name, you see the actual entry in the context of the book. These databases are also available for a subscription fee at the Ancestry.com Internet site discussed in the "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline.
  • Early Church Information File. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. (Family History Library films 1750655-729.) This is an alphabetical card index to over 1 million names in more than 1,200 sources. The index usually gives a person's name and date of an event, such as birth, marriage, or death, along with source references. The sources may supply additional family history information. For further details see Early Church Information File.
  • Marvin E. Wiggins, Mormons and Their Neighbors: An Index of over 75,000 Biographical Sketches from 1820 to the Present. Two volumes. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1984. This is an index to 75,734 biographical sketches from 194 published sources from several states. This is indexed in the Early Church Information File and included in the LDS Family History Suite 2.

Biographical Encyclopedias

The Family History Library has copies of published biographical sources. Major biographical encyclopedias are:

  • Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. 1913. Reprint. Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics Inc., 1966. (Family History Library film 1000617; fiche 6053257.) This includes photographs, genealogies, and biographies for pioneers coming to Utah before the railroad and for prominent men of Utah. It is not a complete listing. part one includes the photographs. part two has biographies, names of Mormon Battalion members, and members of the Brigham Young company that came to Utah, July 24,1847. This has been indexed in the Early Church Information File. The information also is included in both The Pioneer Heritage CD-ROM and LDS Family History Suite.
  • International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude. Four Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah; Society, 1998. This set of books has portraits, genealogical data, and biographical sketches of Mormon pioneer women submitted by their descendants. It is indexed by the women's maiden names and married names.
  • Jakeman, James T. Album Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Their Mothers N.p.: Western Album, [192-?]. (Family History Library film 1421989 item 2.) This book has biographical sketches that may list parents, birth date and place, spouse, achievements, church callings, pioneer experiences, residences, death information, and portraits of early Latter-day Saint women who came to Utah. This is indexed in the Early Church Information File and included in the LDS Family History Suite and Pioneer Heritage CD-ROM.
  • National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. Conquerors of the West: Stalwart Mormon Pioneers. Four Volumes. N.p.: Agreka Books, 1999. This includes an index, portraits, genealogical data, and a short biographical sketch of Mormon pioneer men submitted by their descendants.
  • Portrait, Genealogical and Biographical Record of the State of Utah. Chicago, Illinois: National Historical Record, 1902. (Family History Library film 446501.) This contains biographies of many well-known citizens of the past. It includes an index.
  • Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States: Together with Biographies of Many Prominent and Progressive Citizens Who Have Helped in the Development and History-Making of this Marvelous Region. Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake Tribune, 1909. (Family History Library film 1000614.) This is indexed by individual names. It gives birth and marriage information and names of parents, spouse, and children. It also lists when they came to the region and major accomplishments. A history of inter-mountain businesses is included.
  • Barnum, Roberta B. and Paul R. Peine. Saint George, Utah, Original Pioneers: December 1, 1861-May 10, 1869. N.p., 1999. This book contains several hundred biographies of early residents with pictures and history of St. George. It is indexed and includes a bibliography.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The Family History Library has several serial publications by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers that contain biographical information. These have been taken from the society's monthly lessons. They include local histories, customs, pioneer listings, and biographies of the early settlers of Utah. Listed in the order they were published, they are:

  • Carter, Kate B. Heart Throbs of the West. 12 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1939–1951. This has been indexed in the Early Church Information File. These volumes are also included in the LDS Family History Suite 2. Although the compact disc has a search function that should find a name within these volumes, it does not seem to check these lists. Go directly to the article and look for your ancestor's name. Volumes 8 to 12 include the lists of immigrants from 1847 to 1851.
  • Carter, Kate B. Treasures of Pioneer History. Six Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1952-1957. (Family History Library fiche 6101567-72.) This has been indexed in the Early Church Information File. The complete text is included in the LDS Family History Suite 2. It gives names and histories of the immigration from 1852 to 1856.
  • Carter, Kate B. Our Pioneer Heritage. 20 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. (On 134 fiche beginning with Family History Library  #6049775.) This has been indexed in the Early Church Information File. The complete text is included in the LDS Family History Suite 2. This includes histories of various groups arriving in Utah from 1858 to 1874.
  • Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Lessons. 37 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1937-1977. This is also known as Historical Pamphlet. There is some duplication between this record and the three other records listed above. However, not all the information in these lessons is found in the other volumes. This work includes various lists and histories of 1847 to1868 immigrants, and the "Brooklyn" Saints who came with Samuel Brannan through San Francisco in 1846. This has been indexed in the Early Church Information File.
  • An Enduring Legacy. 12 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1978-1990. Each volume contains an index. This series contains many histories including accounts of coming to Utah.
  • Chronicles of Courage, Eight Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1990-. Each volume is individually indexed. The celebration of the sesquicentennial is recounted in this series as well as the centennial of the state of Utah.

LDS Church Archives

The Church Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has biographical sketches, manuscripts, photographs, and church records which contain personal data.

  • Guide to the Oral History Program of the Historical Department, 1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: Historical Dept., 1975. Through an oral history program, personal life stories and insightful recollections were recorded and preserved. Three hundred seventy individuals were interviewed. This guide lists the tapes and transcripts available at the Church Archives. It is indexed by all subjects, the people interviewed, and the person interviewing. One section is devoted to Utah and the biographies of Utahns.


The Harold B. Lee Library, Marriott Library, Merrill Library, and the Utah State Historical Society Library have important collections of oral histories, journals, manuscripts, and printed materials containing biographical information. Many of their catalogs are now on-line. Please refer to the sections of this outline, "Archives and Libraries" and "Societies" for other repositories with biographical material for Utah.

  • A Guide to the Oral History Collection, Utah State Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Historical Society Library, 1980.  It is arranged by subjects, such as, labor, Indians, Japanese, and women. A few localities are listed. The guide gives the subject, date, and accessibility.
  • Utah State Historical Society. Guide to the Women's History Holdings at the Utah State Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah: Library, 1985.  The book is arranged alphabetically and gives references to manuscripts, microfilms, and oral histories.

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