Utah Vital Records

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United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Utah, United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Vital Records

Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Utah Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Vital Records.jpg

Vital Records Reference Dates[edit | edit source]

Utah's vital records start the following years[1]:

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1890 1887 1898*
Statewide Registration 1905 1978 1905
General Compliance 1922 1919

 *Salt Lake City death records start in 1848, Logan in 1863 and Ogden in 1890.

Utah Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Utah Vital Records which consist of births, marriages, and deaths. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Births[edit | edit source]

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Deaths[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing collections are found at:

Utah Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Utah state, county, and city governments have created records of births, marriages, and deaths. Records containing this information are commonly called "vital records," because they refer to critical events in a person's life.

This section describes the vital records kept by the civil government and where they are found. The Family History Library has many of the records listed here and many other records. Refer to Church Records for a description of other sources for vital information. Also, refer to the Tracing LDS Ancestors page for records pertaining members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

For more information on this topic see How to Find Birth Information in Utah and the Research Guide to Birth Records (Utah State Archives)

State registration of births and deaths began in 1905 and was generally complied with by 1917. From 1977 to the present, the births and deaths are indexed by computer and may be found at the county vital records offices.

County Records[edit | edit source]

Although a few counties and cities kept earlier records, most began keeping ledger entries of births and deaths in 1898 to comply with a state law. Records to 1905 are kept in the county clerk's office, with microfilm copies at the Family History Library and the Utah State Archives. Since 1905, births and deaths registered locally have been sent to the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics. Some of the local county vital records offices have retained copies of these records. Check the Wiki under the county for further records and information.

State Records[edit | edit source]

  • Pre-1905—present:
    • Delayed Birth Certificates and Index, Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics (for births that occurred less than 100 years ago) and the Utah State Archives (births 100 years ago or more).[2]
      Individuals who were born before 1905, or who did not have a birth certificate may have applied for a delayed birth certificate. Vital Records began issuing delayed birth certificates on a standard form in 1941, though a number of delayed certificates were registered as early as 1916. The date span covers the dates of filing, but the actual birth dates go as far back as 1862. The records give genealogical information such as name, birth place and date, sex, and parents.
  • 1905—present: Certified copies of Birth Certificates
    Utah State Department of Health
    288 North 1460 West Street
    Salt Lake City, UT 84114
    Telephone: 801-538-6105
    For genealogical purposes request a complete, "full copy" of the records.
  • 1905-present minus 100 years: Anyone may inspect and obtain a copy of a birth certificate more than 100 years old. The Utah State Archives preserves and digitizes birth certificates for online access at archives.utah.gov and a number of other sites, including FamilySearch and Ancestry.com.

Adoption Records[edit | edit source]

Utah law permits public access to adoption records over 100 years old.[3] Records of adoptions are found in probate registers, record books and case files. The Utah State Archives holds such records for many counties, more detail on their Research Guide to Adoptions.

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

Territorial Records

The library has some territorial vital records on compact disc for the 1800s to 1906. This index contains birth, marriage, guardianship, naturalization, divorce records and wills. The territory includes Utah, United States Genealogy, Arizona, United States Genealogy, Colorado, United States Genealogy, Idaho, United States Genealogy, Nevada, United States Genealogy, Wyoming, United States Genealogy, and Indian territory. Sources include Deseret News notices of vital records, marriages performed by justices of the peace, Methodist marriages, and records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints records.

Territorial vital records: births, divorces, guardianship, marriages, naturalization, wills; 1800's thru 1906 Utah territory, AZ, CO, ID, NV, WY, Indian Terr.; LDS branches, wards; Deseret News vital recs.; J.P. marriages; Meth. [4]

Records before 1887. Civil registration of marriages was not required in Utah until 1887; however, some records of marriages before 1887 are in the justice of the peace or probate court records. These early marriage records were usually interfiled with other court matters. For a description of records of marriage in Utah before 1887, see an explanation of sources in the Western States Marriage Index under "Pre-1887 Sources for Utah Counties."

Most of these court records are currently at either the county clerk's office or the Utah State Archives (see Marriage Records Research Guide). Some are also in the personal journals of individual judges. The Family History Library has pre-1887 court records for a number of Utah counties.

Many early marriages were performed in the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before the government recorded marriages, marriages or sealings were only recorded in temple records. Other marriages may have been recorded in Church records or journals of the bishops.

For vital records of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints see the Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors

1887–Present In 1887, the Edmunds-Tucker Act required that marriage records be kept in the office of the probate court. Beginning in the late 1890s they were kept by the county clerks. County marriage records from 1887 to the present are currently found in either the county clerk's office or the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has film copies of these records to about 1960 for most counties. Check the county for marriage records and which records are being digitized.

Most marriage records show names of bride and groom, residences, and ages. Names of witnesses can help identify relatives or neighbors. Later records may include birth information and parents' names.

Justices of the peace have continued to perform marriages from 1887 to the present. Most justices have given their marriage records to the county clerk, although a few pre-statehood marriages may be listed only in the justices' records. The best way to locate an available collection of justice of the peace records is to contact the county clerk or the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has a few of these records.

An extensive list of marriages for the state are searchable online at the Western States Marriage Index. See the website for detailed listing of counties and time period coverage.

For Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis counties, a computer index is available. It is at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Marriage License Information System. [5]This index covers the years 1800s through 1992. These can be searched by groom's name, bride's name, or date of marriage. The index provides the marriage license number and the county.

The following is a marriage index compiled from civil records by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and organized by the Genealogical Society:

Miscellaneous Marriage Index. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1972. [6]This source is an incomplete index for Utah counties for the 1860 to 1940 period. The index cards list marriage information for individuals from ten counties: Box Elder, Millard, Morgan, Salt Lake, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Utah, Wayne, and Weber. A few counties from Idaho and Wyoming are also included. The original cards have been interfiled with the Early Church Information File.

"Gretna Greens" for Utah[edit | edit source]

Many eloping couples went to Farmington, Davis County, Utah Genealogy to be married and avoid the waiting period between the issuing of a license and the performance of the marriage. Other similar runaway marriage places for Utahns include Evanston, Wyoming, West Wendover, Nevada, or Las Vegas, Nevada.[7]

Divorce Records[edit | edit source]

Divorce records contain data on family members, their marital history, their property, and residences. Information a couple's children may be listed including birth date and places. Most records are kept on a county level. Divorce decrees are usually mixed with other court records, though some may have been kept separately. Some are not indexed and will need to be searched chronologically.

From 1847 to 1877 there were over two thousand divorces. During the territorial period, the federal district courts had jurisdiction over divorce cases from 1852 to 1895. The probate courts also had jurisdiction from 1852 to 1887. After 1896, jurisdiction for divorce was given to the state district courts.

The earliest divorces were granted by LDS Church leaders. Some pre-statehood records may be found in records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A few records of divorce or sealing cancellations may be found inserted in LDS temple sealing records. For more information about church records see Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors.


  • CountyRegistry.org, divorce records Online: Utah. ($) Search (free) by name, select Utah.
  • Territorial vital records: births, divorces, guardianship, marriages, naturalization, wills; 1800's thru 1906 Utah territory, AZ, CO, ID, NV, WY, Indian Terr.; LDS branches, wards; Deseret News vital recs.; J.P. marriages; Meth. [8] Some territorial divorce records have been indexed on this compact disc that also contains other vital information.

Many of divorce records for 1852–1895 for the District courts and the Probate courts may be obtained through the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has many records from the probate courts and a few from different courts. Check the wiki under the county for more information.

Records after 1869, you will need to check for the district court. The State Archives has some records older than 50 years old. The State District Court Guide will give you information on civil case records at the State Archives.

After 1978, certified copies are available through the Vital Records Department.
Utah State Department of Health
288 North 1460 West Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Telephone: 801-538-6105

An article describing Utah divorce records may be helpful to study.

Death Records[edit | edit source]

Death records are a great place to begin research for ancestors because of the wealth of information that may be found. Death registers or certificates will contain the name of the deceased, date and place of death, may contain cause of death and place of burial. They may also contain the age of the individual, birthdate and place, parents and place of their birth, marital status, spouse, and place of residence.

County Records[edit | edit source]

Although a few counties kept earlier records, most counties began keeping ledger entries of births and deaths in 1898 to comply with a state law. County records to 1905 are kept in the county clerk's office. Since 1905 county birth and death records have been sent to the Bureau of Vital Records. Some of the local county health departments have retained copies of these records.

Index to County Level Death Records[edit | edit source]
  • 1898–1905 — There is an index to all early county death records except Salt Lake County. The index includes name, sex, age, death date, county page number, and entry or registration number. Utah Genealogical Association. Professional Genealogists Chapter. Utah Death Index, 1898–1905, Excluding Salt Lake County. [9]

State Records [edit | edit source]

Utah Death Certificate Example
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.

State registration of deaths began in 1905 and was generally complied with by 1917. Before 1905, you may contact county offices or the Utah State Archives. Utah requires a death certificate before a burial is completed.

Online Indexes and Certificates Images for State Level Records[edit | edit source]
  • 1904–1964 — The Utah State Archives posts digital copies of death records online as they become public 50 years after the death. This index is probably the most up-to-date, with the exception of indexes in progress for recently released records. There is not a regular schedule for updates, though access to public records is always available through its Research Center.
  • 1904–1964Utah Death Certificates 1904–1964 This is an index with digital images of death certificates and the film number attached. Additions are planned in partnership with the Utah State Archives.
  • 1904-1961 — Ancestry.com ($) also posts copies of Utah death certificates more than 50 years old, Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961 (In Library, Ancestry.com)
Certified Copies of Utah State Death Certificates[edit | edit source]

For information about death records less than 50 years old and certified copies of all state death certificates, contact:
Utah State Department of Health
288 North 1460 West Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Telephone: 801-538-6105 (recorded message)

Also see the Research Guide on Obtaining Death Records from the Utah State Archives for a list of local/county health departments also able to provide certified copies of vital records (including some before 1905).

Additional Helps[edit | edit source]

Guide to Vital Records[edit | edit source]

You can learn more about the history and availability of Utah vital records through the Internet at Bureau of Vital Records and Utah State Archives Internet sites.

The following book also provides information. The Utah State Board of Health sponsored the survey in 1941.

Guide to Public Vital Statistics of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Historical Records Survey, 1941. [10]The book has four sections: birth, death, marriage, and divorce. It has samples of the documents being used and a copy of the instructions to the clerks and doctors on how to fill in the forms.

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record. The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governmenents, search for church records of christening, marriage, death and burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search for Utah to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Alternative Records[edit | edit source]

  • Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death. For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church records will be valuable.
  • Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
  • Census: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
  • United States Social Security Administration Records: The SSDI indexes deaths for those who had social security numbers and the death was reported to the Social Security Administration. Most records start in 1962.
  • Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information. In Utah there are newspaper indexes to deaths and marriages from 1867 to 1961.
  • Utah Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
  • Utah Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information.
  • Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
  • History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.

Utah Mining Accidents 1896-1916 at UTGenWeb - free.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 667-68, 676-77. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  2. Delayed Birth Certificates Index, 1941—Present, Series 81438. Utah Vital Records and Statistics, 288 N. 146 W. SLC, Utah 84114-1012
  3. Utah Code 1953 78B-6-141 (2)(e).
  4. St. George, Utah: Genealogical CD Publishing, 1994. {{FHL|695305|Item|disp=FHL compact disc no. 15.)
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ja-Ne't Global-Data Search, 1993. (Family History Library compact disc no. 8.)
  6. (Family History Library FHL Films 820155–73.)
  7. Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/ (accessed 8 January 2011).
  8. St. George, Utah: Genealogical CD Publishing, 1994. FHL compact disc no. 15.
  9. Salt Lake City, Utah: Society, 1995. (Family History Library FHL Book 979.2 V42u.)
  10. (Family History Library FHL Book 979.2 A3v; Fiche 6046623.)