Knowledge of the history of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups your ancestors belonged to is important. This historical background can help you identify where your ancestors lived, when they lived there, and where they moved. This information will help you understand the types of records they might be listed in and the history of your family.
Minorities usually appear in the same records as other Utahns. Search for members of minority groups in the same records you would search for anyone else. Then look for additional records of a particular minority.
The People of Utah
The majority of Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the United States and Northern Europe. Other groups came from such diverse areas as Australia, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Near East. A few African-Americans were among the earliest immigrants in Utah.
People not belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came from all parts of the United States and foreign countries. Jewish merchants established businesses in Utah cities and a small Jewish community was organized in Clarion in 1911.
Mining discoveries and the arrival of the railroad in the 1860s brought thousands of new settlers to the territory. These included small communities of African-Americans, Asians, and immigrants from the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Many immigrants settled in Carbon and other eastern Utah counties. A land boom in the Uintah Basin in 1905 attracted homesteaders to eastern Utah.
A small number of Hispanics from Colorado and New Mexico settled in San Juan County near the beginning of the 19th century. Since then, many Hispanics settled in the state.
Maps and tables that describe settlement patterns in Utah and list locations and dates of settlements are found in:
- Greer, Deon C. Atlas of Utah. Ogden, Utah: Weber State College and Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1981. (Family History Library book Q 979.2 E7a.) This important work contains reference, topographical, historical, resource, boundary, population, and settlement maps.
Some books cover many minorities and some are devoted to only one group. The following contain good overviews of the minorities of Utah:
Hodson, Dean R. The Origin of Non-Mormon Settlements in Utah, 1847–1896. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1971? (Family History Library film 1730829.) Film does not circulate to family history centers. This source is a dissertation about the communities of Stockton, Corinne, and Park City. It gives details about the relationship between the different religions.
The Peoples of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Historical Society, 1976. (Family History Library book 979.2 F2p.) This book contains histories of many ethnic groups in Utah, including American Indians. An expert on the minority group wrote each section. An index is included.
The following books are devoted to the Jews and African-Americans:
- Brooks, Juanita. History of the Jews in Utah and Idaho. Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics, 1973. (Family History Library book 979 F2b.) This is an indexed book on the history of the Jewish communities in Utah. It covers 1849-1961 and includes a list of the deaths in the various congregations from 1922 to about 1954.
- Coleman, Ronald Gerald. A History of Blacks in Utah, 1825–1910. 1980. Reprint, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1990. (Family History Library book 979.2 F2c.) This addresses differing occupations, from trappers to African-American soldiers. In the appendix, a census summary is found and a study on occupations.
For American Indian records, see Indians of Utah on this site. Histories and records of a few ethnic groups, including Germans, Jews, Basques, and Swedes, are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UTAH - MINORITIES
Many state, county, and city histories have sections devoted to minorities. They can be found under:
UTAH, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
UTAH, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
UTAH - HISTORY