Utah 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, the Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians.
You must determine the denomination of an ancestor to find their church records.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)
Church History Library (and Archives)15 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-1600
Phone: (801) 240-2272
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been the predominant religion in Utah since the pioneers arrived in 1847.
Membership records can identify parentage, birth, marriage, death, baptism, priesthood ordination and missionary information along with geographical locations where LDS families were living between the1840s-1960s. The Family History Library has copies of ward, branch, district, stake and mission records up to 1948 with a few up to 1977. The Church History and Archives has a much broader collection of historical records than the Family History Library.
To locate records of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it helps to use an index. The LDS Family History Suite 2 and the Early Church Information File are two important indexes used to find Church members and other people of Utah. A source that describes events in Church history from 1805 to 1913 is:
- Jenson, Andrew. Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL Collection book 289.303 J453c; film 599327 it 2; fiche 6051314
The following are a few general sources and histories for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of the sources are indexed in The Pioneer Heritage CD-ROM, LDS Family History Suite, and the Early Church Information File. Some of the complete text is also computerized on the compact disks:
- Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Publishing Company, 1941. FHL Collection book 289.309 J453e; film 496776; fiche 6053258; digital version at Family History Archives. Index: FHL Collection book 289.309 J453ei; film 928073 item 8; fiche 6103908. This record contains histories of LDS Church units describing when they were organized and if they were created from a different unit. From this you will be able to determine where the membership records are found. Leaders of the area are also listed. Indexed in the Early Church Information File.
- Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1830-1973). Salt Lake City, Utah: Historical Dept., 1969, 1973. FHL Collection films 1259729-795. Films do not circulate to Family History Centers. This collection includes newspaper clippings and extracts from journals, letters, histories, biographies, rosters, and manuscript material. Daily events are arranged chronologically. Also available at the Church History Library and Church Archives. The sets at the Harold B. Lee Library and the Utah Historical Society Library are not as current.
- The index to the Journal History is online at Journal History 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 Collection 58 films beginning with 1233503. 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.
A register listing call numbers for membership records at the Family History Libraryis:
- Jaussi, Laureen R. and Gloria Chaston. Register of Genealogical Society Call Numbers. 2 vols. Provo, Utah: Genealogy Tree, 1982. FHL 129780 book 979.2258 A3j; fiche 6031507
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. The Marriott Library at the University of Utah has a collection of their records. The Family History Library has a few records, including the following:
- 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 Collection film 908728. This record has baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. It covers all of Utah and some areas of eastern Nevada.
Rocky Mountain District, LCMS
7000 North Broadway Street Suite 401
Denver, CO 80221-2907
Phone: (303) 427-7553
Fax: (303) 426-5603
Each congregation maintains its own records. The Rocky Mountain District office can help you locate current congregations and provide suggestions for finding the records of discontinued congregations.
Iliff School of Theology
Ira J. Taylor Library Archives
2201 South University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80210
Phone: (303) 744-1287
Fax: (303) 744-3387
United Methodist Church Rocky Mountain
2800 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80710
Phone: (303) 733-3736
Fax: (303) 733-1730
The Methodist church was organized in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 8, 1872.Its history is found in the following:
- Merkel, Henry Martin. History of Methodism in Utah. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Dentan Printing, 1938. FHL Collection book 979.2 K2m. This book has a bibliography and a list of pastors. Each congregation maintains its own records.
- The Ira J. Taylor Archives has the records for some of the discontinued congregations of Utah. Staff there can also help you locate existing congregations. See Iliff School of Theology above.
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. The Westminster College Library has a miscellaneous collection of Utah Presbyterian records. Their address is:
Westminster College Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Phone: (801) 484-7651
A historical society for Presbyterian churches maintains records of discontinued congregations and some current congregations. Their address is:
The Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516
Phone: (215) 627-1852
For histories of the Presbyterian Church see:
- Murray, Andrew E. The Skyline Synod: Presbyterianism in Colorado and Utah. Denver, Colorado: Golden Bell Press, 1971. FHL Collection book 978.8 K2m. It is indexed by the name of the church. It is a historical account of the church with a list of officials. There are some pictures of church buildings and reverends.
- Presbyterian Church (Corinne, Utah). Church Records 1870 to 1897. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1972. FHL Collection film 906168. This record includes minutes, baptisms, congregational records, registers of elders, deacons, and church records.
Diocese of Salt Lake City
27 C Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Phone: (801) 328-8641
Fax: (801) 328-9680
Archives extension: 304
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
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.
For a history of the Catholic Church in Utah, see:
- Mooney, Bernice Maher. Salt of the Earth: The History of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, 1776-1987. Salt Lake City, Utah: Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, 1987. FHL Collection book 979.2258 K2m. This gives a history of the church for most Utah congregations. It includes photographs and an index. It gives a historical account and information of church officials, when church buildings were erected, and a list of reverends and their dates of service.
- Catholic Church, Diocese of Salt Lake City. The Official Directory of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Diocese, 1988. FHL Collection book 979.2 K24c. Covers many parts of Utah in addition to Salt Lake City. It has a list of parishes with addresses and maps for Salt Lake City showing the 1988 boundaries. It includes a list of clergy, sisters, and deacons and their wives.
To locate records for other churches, contact the existing congregations in Utah. The Utah State Historical Society and the Marriott Library of the University of Utah have church record collections. For information about national and regional repositories see the United States Research Outline. The following guide can also help you learn about church records in Utah:
- Historical Records Survey. Inventory of the Church Archives of Utah. Three Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Historical Records Survey, 1940. FHL Collection book 979.2 K2h; fiche 6046577. 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