Step-by-Step Utah Research, 1850-1905

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Utah Gotoarrow.png Step-by-Step Research 1850--1905
Step-by-Step Research 1905--present Gotoarrow.png Step-by-Step Research 1850--1905

A suggested approach to genealogy research in Utah online family history records.


Step-by-Step Utah Research, 1850-1905

Table of Contents
1. Contact living relatives.
2. Online census records.
3. Obituary and cemetery records online.
4. Births and marriages online.
5. Military records online.
6. Immigration and naturalization records online. If Your Family Immigrated
7. LDS records. If Your Family Could Have Been LDS (Mormon)
8. Search census records again.
9. Printed local histories or biographies online.
10. Wills and probate.
11. Land records online.
12. Historical or genealogical societies.

Continue your adventure
at a Family History Center.






See also How to Use "Record Hints"





In this period of Utah, census records are the most valuable record because statewide civil registration does not begin until 1905. Collecting vital records and cemetery/obituary records will then provide clues for searches in even earlier census records. Then, there are a variety of records that take a bit more work, but can produce good results. Collecting all the available information may make it possible to piece together a puzzle, even if no one record completely describes your family!

Step 1. Find out everything you can from living relatives and their family records:

Every good genealogy project starts with finding all the clues you can gather from living relatives — both from their memories and from documents or memorabilia in their homes.

What should you ask?

In order to extend your research on your ancestors, you are looking for names, dates, and places. Everything you learn that tells you about when and where a relative lived is a clue to a new record search. Be sure to ask questions that lead to that information, including about their occupations, military service, or associations with others, such as fraternal organizations. See also:

What documents should you look for and ask to copy?

  • Announcements of births, weddings,
    and anniversaries
  • Baby and wedding books
  • Certificates
  • Deeds, and property records
  • Family Bibles
  • Family reunion notices and records
  • Fraternal or society records
  • Insurance policies
  • Journals and diaries
  • Letters and cards
  • Licenses (business, marriage,
    fishing, driving)
  • Naturalization documents
  • Newspaper clippings and obituaries
  • Medical records
  • Military service and pension documents
  • Occupational awards
  • Passports
  • Personal histories and biographies
  • Photograph albums
  • Printed Notices and Announcements
  • Programs (graduation, award ceremonies, funerals)
  • School records
  • Scrapbooks
  • Wills and trusts

Family Members Born After 1940

Because the most recent census available was taken in 1940, family documents and the knowledge of living family members play a vital role in identifying these people. Once you have learned names, places of residence, and clues to estimate approximate birth date, the next important step is to send for birth, marriage, and death records for them. Skip to Step 3: Find birth, marriage, and death certificates for your ancestors and their children.


Step 2: Search the 1900, 1880, 1870, 1860, and 1850 census records online.

Using the clues to lead to census record searches.

Your grandmother, Verda Livingston Woods, has pioneer heritage, and belongs to a large Livingston family organization. So you know quite a bit about her Livingston line. But now you want to learn about her grandparents on her mother's side. She tells you that her mother was Aurelia Andrea Allred, and her parents were called Ed and Lizzy. Verda was born in1908, and was the oldest child in the family. You assume that Aurelia would probably be found listed with her parents in the 1900 census. So you start by looking for an Edward and Lizzy or Elizabeth Allred in the 1900 census of Utah with a daughter, Aurelia Andrea, probably a teenager.

Spring City Utah 1900 census heading.png

Allred 1900 utah census.png

So here in Spring Canyon, Sanpete, Utah we find Edward F. and Elzabeth Allred, with a 12-year-old daughter named Aura. Edward was born in New Mexico, and in September of 1856. His parents were born in Tennessee and England. Elizabeth was born in Utah in October of 1861. Her parents were born in Denmark.They have been married 16 years. Their six children listed with their birth month and year.

Edna Allred, born April, 1882, in Utah
Sarah Allred, born July, 1885, in Utah
Aura Allred, born January, 1888, in Utah
Etheline Allred, born January, 1890, in Utah
Glen Allred, born April, 1891, in Utah
Fern Allred, born April, 1846, in Utah

Apparently, there is an additional child who is deceased.

Since they have been married only 16 years, we might find Edward listed with his parents in the 1880 census. (The 1890 census was destroyed.) Eventually, when we find Elizabeth's maiden name, we can also look for her. This is what we found. Edward's birth place is given as Arizona. New Mexico at this time was part of the Arizona territory. It would appear that his father is James T. S. Allred, his mother possibly Margaret. Allred 1880 census1.png Allred 1880 census2.png

Since Edward is 23 in this census, we should find him in the 1870 and 1860 census. And here is what we find:

Edward F. Allred in the 1870 census of Utah:
Utah Allred 1870 heading.png Allred 1870 Utah census.png


Edward F. Allred in the 1860 census of Utah:
Allred 1860 Utah census heading.png Allred 1860 census Utah.png
In these census records, we learn little new about Edward F. Allred. He just keeps getting ten years younger, as we move back in time. But we are using his name as a keyword that leads us to the constantly changing record of his father's, James T.S. Allred's, family. The name of his wife changes from census to census. The names of children show up in lists quite different from each other, yet overlapping in time. James was obviously a polygamist, and it will take careful work to sort out which children belong to which wife!


Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population of a country, state, county, or city for a given date. A census took a "snapshot" of a family on a certain day. For each person living in a household you might find (depending on the year) their name, age, birthplace, relationship to head of household, place of birth for father and mother, citizenship status, year of immigration, mother of how many children and number of children living, native language, and whether they were a veteran of the military.

To learn more about census records, including search strategies, see United States Census Records for Beginners.

Look at the samples of census records below to become familiar with the types of information found in each.

United States census records

What types of useful information can I find in them?

  • The 1790--1840 censuses are more limited, naming only the head of household and headcounts. Beginning in 1850, the census records began asking for more information.
  • Notice in the following chart additional information helpful for genealogists added each year.
Basic Family Information Found in the U.S.Census by Year
(other smaller details also given but not listed here)
Year of census
Useful Information
1850

Name, age, and gender of each family member; Occupation; Birthplace; If married that year

1860
1870 Adds: Whether father and mother are of foreign birth
1880 Adds: Marital status; Relationship to head of household; Place of birth for father and mother
1900 Adds: Number of years in current marriage; Month and year of birth; Mother of how many children Number of children living; Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized; Year of immigration to U.S.; How many years lived in U.S
1900 U.S. Census
  • The 1900 census is particularly helpful because it states month and year of birth, how many children a woman has born, the year of immigration to the U.S., among other things.
1900 United States Census.jpg
1880 U.S. Census
United States 1880 Census (11-0629).jpg

1870 U.S. Census
t.humb
1860 U.S. Census
1860 short census.png
1850 U.S. Census
1850 census short shot.png

United States Indian Census Rolls

  • This database contains an index to the Indian census rolls from 1885-1940 for those living on Indian Reservations in the United States.
  • Information contained in this database includes: name (Indian and/or English), gender, age, birth date, relationship to head of family, marital status, tribe name, agency and reservation name
  • Other information about an individual, such as degree of Indian blood, as recorded in the later census years, may be available on the original record.
  • The Indian Census schedules are census rolls usually submitted each year by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations. There is not a census for every reservation or group of Indians for every year. Only persons who maintained a formal affiliation with a tribe under federal supervision are listed on these census rolls.

Census Links to Start Your Own Research in Census Records

Now you will want to find your family members in every possible census, using these convenient links:

  • 1900
  • 1880
  • 1870
  • 1860
  • 1850
  • Indian census rolls from 1885-1940 - for those living on Indian Reservations in the United States
  • Note: The 1890 census was destroyed in a fire.
  • You will want to find and keep notes on census records from every census during each ancestor's lifetime.
  • Using the census records, you will be able to estimate approximate birth dates and marriage dates. These records will lead you to additional census searches because you will find the names of other members of the family you will need to find. You may also find clues to other states and countries your family lived in before coming to Utah.

In steps 3 and 4, we will use what we learned from the census records to help search for birth, marriage, and death records. But first, we will try to gather more clues from several collections of death, obituary, and cemetery records that may give other places their birth and marriage records might be located.

Step 3: Try to find additional details about your ancestors in death certificates, Social Security, obituary and cemetery records online.

Death Certificates

Even though this article focuses on finding records prior to 1903, remember that many of the people you are studying in the late 1800's died after 1903, when death certificates began being filed statewide. Also, although the statewide records begin in 1903, individual counties kept records for earlier deaths. Here are the death certificates of both Edward F. Allred and James T.S. Allred. We find out that James' full name is James Tillman Sanford Allred. Notice the records ask for parents' names. This helps identify Edward's mother, Eliza Manwaring, born in Enland. It also gives us the name of James' parents, James Allred and Elizabeth Warren. We get the full name of Edward's wife, Elizabeth Overlade. We get full birth dates and more detailed birth places. Death certificates are very important, because of the large number of details they supply that aren't about the death itself.

Edward Allred Utah death certificate.png

J.T.S. Allred Utah death certificate.png

Death Indexes

Several online databases for Utah death records are available.

Utah veteran burials.png



Ordering Full Certificates
  • Click here for information on how to order death records online. This will require a free registration for a Utah government account.

U.S. Social Security Death Index

The U.S. Social Security program began in 1935 but most deaths recorded in the index happened after 1962. The Social Security Death index includes those who had a Social Security number and/or applied for benefits. The index entries give the person's full birth date, last known residence, and residence at the time they first enrolled. Women are listed under their married name at the time of their death. You can search these records online at United States Social Security Death Index. Also at Ancestry.com, ($), index.

The Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 picks up where the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) leaves off, by providing information filed in the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birth place, and parents’ names. The deceased would have to be at least 75 years old today for their parents' names to be published in the index. You will not find everybody who is listed in the SSDI, as criteria for inclusion differs.

If you find your ancestor in the SSDI index, you can order a copy of their original Social Security application (SS-5). If you can prove the individual has died (by sending an obituary or copy of their cemetery headstone), the application will also give the deceased's parents' names, if listed, the date and place of birth, current residence and employer.

Utah SS index entry.png Utah SS claim.png

Obituaries

  • Frequently, a death is announced in the newspaper with an obituary.
  • These obituaries may supply missing birth or death dates and name the parents of the deceased.
  • Obituaries may also name family members, their spouses, their current residences, and whether they died before the person or are still surviving, especially in obituaries written in the last half of the 20th Century.
  • Try these Utah links:


Utah obituary index.png Utah newspaper obituary.png
Cemeteries
  • Cemetery records may only give the names and dates stated on the tombstone, but as in the case of FindAGrave, sometimes pictures of the deceased and their tombstone, children's or parents' names and links to their graves, and marriage information have been added. Always verify information added by others.
  • Frequently family members are buried in the same cemetery often in neighboring plots.
  • Try these Utah links:
NOTE: Each database covers different cemeteries, although some may overlap. Don't be discouraged if you do not locate your individual in the first database. Check each collection.

Here is the FindAGrave record for Edward Francis Allred. Notice that the last section contains family data with links to FindAGrave records for other family members.

Utah FindAGrave 1.png
Utah FindAGrave 3.png
Utah FindAGrave 2.png

Step 4: Search for county birth and marriage records online.

States, counties, or even towns in some states recorded births, marriages, and deaths. You have probably seen these types of certificates and have your own. In addition to the child's name, birth date, and place of birth, a birth certificate may give the birthplaces of the parents, their ages, and occupations. A death certificate may give the person's birth date and place, parents' names and birthplaces, and spouse's name.

Vital records registration of births and marriages at the state level started in 1905. Prior to that the individual counties kept the records. The starting dates of those records vary from county to county, depending on when the county was formed. Here are a variety of collected county records:

Births


Marriages


Samples of index entries

Utah Marriage index.png Western States Marriage Index.png

Records at the County Courthouse

From the date of the formation of a county until the establishment of state civil registration, birth and marriage records were kept by the County Clerk. They may have been microfilmed, or you can write for them. It is appropriate to write asking for either a single record or for a list of all the marriages for a given surname. This Letter Writing Guide will help you with phrasing a letter. This online directory by Genealogy Inc. will give you the address of the County Clerk. Click on the map to select a county, then scroll down to the "Courthouse and Government Records" to find the address and phone number.

If you are at the main Family History Library, check first to see if microfilms of the county vital records are available. In the search field of the FamilySearch Catalog, enter the state and county. Then click on the "Vital Records" subject. The cost of renting the microfilms at a Family History Center probably makes it less expensive to just write to the County Clerk.


Step 5: Search military records: World War I and II draft cards and Civil War pension records online.

  • There are many different types of military records, some covered in online collections, some microfilmed, and some requiring you to order them from government repositories with a fee. For more information, read the U.S. Military Records Class Handout. Information in military records can vary from a simple lists of name, age, and residence, to more detailed records including name, residence, age, occupation, marital status, birthplace, physical description, number of dependents, pensions received, disabled veterans, needy veterans, widows or orphans of veterans, and other information.

World War 1 Draft Registration

  • One of the most helpful military records is the draft registration of 1917-1918. During three separate registrations, men born between 1873-1897 were required to register in the draft for World War I. Cards may give birth date, birth place, residence, occupation, employer, physical description, next of kin (usually the wife or mother), and number of dependents. Search for your male relatives born in this time period at U.S. WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
*Here is an example of a typical draft card.
Utah WWI draft.png

World War II Draft Registration

Likewise, the World War II draft may give birth date, birth place, residence, occupation, employer, and other family members as contacts. WWII draft registration, called the Fourth Registration, or Old Man’s Registration, was held on April 27, 1942. The purpose of this registration was to collect information on industrial capacity and skills of men who were born between April 27, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (ages 45 to 64). This draft registration was not intended to be used for military service but to provide a complete inventory of manpower resources in the United States that could be utilized for national service during World War II. Search for your male relatives born in this time period at U.S. WW II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.
Utah WWII drft.png

Civil War Pensions

  • United States Civil War Widows and Other Dependents Pension Files, 1861-1934 This collection indexes approved pension case files of widows and other dependents of soldiers submitted between 1861 and 1934 and sailors between 1910 and 1934. The pension files are being uploaded and attached to this index as they become available. If the pension images are not available, they must be obtained from the National Archives. The wife's maiden name is used in the index along with her married name.
Civil War widow's pension.png

This collection consists of two card indexes to widows who had applied for a pension renewal. The first covers service between 1812-1860 and the second covers service in the Civil War and later. This is helpful in locating a woman in census and death records under her new surname.

WWI Remarried Widow pension.png


Pension Records for Other Wars

  • This record gives name, rank, regiment, company commander, regimental commander, height, weight, color of eyes, hair, complexion, age, occupation, county or state of birth, date and place of enlistment, miscellaneous remarks. Additional records include Indian Scouts, 1878-1914: U.S., Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914 Index and images.

Military Indexes Unique to Utah

If Your Family Immigrated

Step 6: If your ancestor was an immigrant, search immigration and naturalization records online.

The census records may show that your ancestor was born in another country. It will be necessary to try to find the town or city they were born in to continue research in that country. The next goal is to search immigration records (usually passenger lists) and naturalization (citizenship) records. Immigration refers to people coming into a country, such as the United States, and emigration refers to people leaving a country to go to another. Usually these records are passenger lists of the ships they sailed on. A typical record will show name, age, and country of origin, but records after 1892 often list the actual town of last residence and later, the town of birth. The later passenger lists can also list the next of kin still living in the old country and their residence, and the names of relatives and the place they are traveling to.

Census clues to Immigration records

Census records can provide important clues about nationality and immigration. This chart lists data that can be found in each of the census records. Gather the information in the census records specifically about immigration, as it will help narrow down your search.

Immigration and Naturalization Found in the U.S.Census by Year
(other smaller details also given but not listed here)
Year of census
Immigration and Naturalization Information
1870
  • Whether father and mother are of foreign birth
1880
  • Place of birth for father and mother
1900
  • Place of birth for father and mother
  • Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized
  • Year of immigration to U.S.
  • How many years lived in U.S.
1910
  • Place of birth for father and mother
  • Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized
  • Year of immigration to U.S.
1920
  • Place of birth for father and mother
  • Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized
  • Year of immigration to U.S.
  • Year of naturalization
  • Native language
  • Native language of father and mother
1930
  • Place of birth for father and mother
  • Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized
  • Year of immigration to U.S.
  • Native language
1940
  • Naturalization status: alien, papers submitted, or naturalized

Immigration records

There are too many immigration records to list here. Click here to see a complete list of available immigration records online. Notice that they are listed by state, but under the letter "U" there is a long list of records that cover all of the United States. Unless family information tells you the port where family arrived, you will need to search all of the United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records for the time period when your ancestors arrived. Here are the immigration records specific to Utah:


This record appears to be for James Tillman Sanford Allred's mother, Elizabeth Warren, who married James Allred.

Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database.png

Naturalization (Citizenship) Records

Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen. Records can include the immigrant's declaration of intent to become a citizen, petition, and final citizenship papers. Also locate both the declaration of intent and the petition. Naturalization records after 1906 can give birth date and place, spouse's name, marriage date and place, and lists of children with their birth dates. Records before 1906 usually include less information although, some county clerks would add more information then necessary making it important to always search for the records even if the naturalization happened before 1906. For more information regarding the naturalization process go to: Beginning Research in United States Naturalization Records wiki page.

Utah Naturalization and Citizenship Online Records

Utah Declaration of intent.jpg

If Your Family Could Have Been LDS (Mormon)

Step 7: Search a variety of online LDS records.

Utah historically was founded as a settlement for early members of the LDS (Mormon) Church. There are many varieties of records kept by the LDS Church and published online: vital records, membership records, missionary records, migration records, Mormon Battalion records, to name a few. There are too many to list here, but a comprehensive list of links can be found at LDS Online Genealogy Records. Here are a few pieces we found on James Allred, father of James Tillman Sanford Allred.

From Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848
Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848.png

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.png
Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848 2.png

Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848 3.png

Notice that each of the children listed is a link to the membership record of that child.

Here is a simple pedigree showing what we have discovered so far:

Utah Pedigree.PNG

Here are some sample research projects you could continue with:

  • Continue looking up all the children of each couple in the birth, marriage, death, Social Security, cemetery, and military collections until you have complete information on each of them.

Step 8: Use the clues you have gathered to search in earlier censuses than before.

Cycle icon.jpg
  • Now you will use the clues you have gathered from the more recent census records, cemeteries and obituaries, and birth, marriage, and death records to search even earlier census records.
  • Searching those census records will lead back to more searches in all the record groups.
  • Consider these searches:
1. We now know that James Tillman Sanford Allred's parents, James Allred and Elizabeth Warren, and probably several of his siblings, also came to Utah, and very early on. We should check the 1850 census for all of them (including James T. S.). Then follow up in the lated census for additional missing names and identities.
2. We now know that Edward Francis Allred was married to Elizabeth Overlade, probably between 1858 and 1861. We can look for her in 1860, possibly living in her parents' home.
3. All of the other record groups should be searched again, now looking for the names of all the family members we discovered in census and other records.


Again, here are the links to these earlier census records:

Step 9: Search a printed local history or biography online.

Local histories

  • Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain biographies and accounts of early or prominent families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses.
  • The authors usually invited the residents of the county to submit their personal family histories, in order to create an automatic market for the book. County residents whose families were in the book were sure to buy a copy.
  • Histories can also give lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials.
  • Even if your ancestor's name is not listed, information about other relatives may be included that may provide important clues for locating your ancestor.
  • Here are several websites that feature online copies of printed county histories:
    • Hathi Trust Digital Library. Don't use the keywords Utah; that will bring up too many hits. Just use the name of the county and "county": for example, "Hyde County"
    • Google Books. Use keywords "Utah" and the county name. Hits will list online readable books, lists of libraries that carry the book, and purchasing opportunities.
    • Family History Books
    • Internet Archive.Use keywords "Utah" and the county name.
    • Genealogy Book Links, Utah. Browse list; county histories are interspersed.
    • Ancestry.com, ($). In the Card Catalog search box, use Utah and the name of the county.
  • Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. If you have access to the Family History Library or a family history center, you can find out about local histories the library has by checking the FamilySearch Catalog. In the "place" field, type the name of your county and select it from the drop down list, then click "Search". A list of subheadings for the county will appear. Local histories containing genealogies and biographies will be found under Biography, Genealogy, History, and History - Indexes.
  • Also, in Step 12, you will be contacting a county history society. Societies often have a good selection of printed histories about the area. Some may be search history for you for a fee.

Biographies

These collections of Utah biographies can be searched online. Most have a table of contents and an index. Or you can use the "Find" function on your computer.

This portrait of James Allred, father of James Tillman Sanford Allred, appears in Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868:
James Allred Portrait.png

Allred biography 3.png

These Index cards from membership applications for Sons of the Utah Pioneers make it clear that both James Allred and his brother, Isaac, were early Mormon pioneers.

Allred biography 1.png

Allred biography 2.png

Step 10: Write to a county for wills and probate indexes.

  • "Probate is the legal process through which an individual’s real estate (property) and personal estate (possessions) are distributed to his or her heirs, whether or not there is a will. Testate is the term used when a will existed in the settling of the estate. Intestate is the term used when there was no will written and the court decides how the estate is to be distributed.
  • "Not everyone in the United States wrote a will or went through probate. Nearly 10% of the pre-1900 adult population made wills, usually males with property. Before 1900, about 25% of estates were probated, even though no will had been written. However, this percentage is higher for rural areas because that is where the land was owned.
  • "The single most important value of probate records is the proof of relationships. In a will, people are identified as a wife, son, daughter, nephew, niece, brother, sister, etc. If there is no will, the distribution is made by the court to the heirs who are usually family members. Other helpful and interesting information that may be learned from probate files are: date and place of death, name of the spouse and other possible family members and relationships, location of the heirs, property ownership, and guardianship of minor children." Jill Shoemaker, U.S. Probate Records Class Handout

County probate records

  • Utah probate records include probate proceedings, petitions, affidavits, orders for sales, reports of sales, administrators' and executors' bonds, guardianship papers, wills, and letters of administration. In a will book, usually just a transcription of the will is recorded. But all of these other records are kept in a probate packet. Administrations are probate proceedings that handled an estate if no known will existed.
  • Currently, these records are microfilmed and digitized:


  • Eventually more of these records may become available online.
  • In the meantime, this online directory by Genealogy Inc. will enable you to arrange to have them searched for a fee: Click on the map to select a county, then scroll down to the Courthouse and Government Records to find the address and phone number of the County Clerk of Court. Ask them about the years covered by their probate records and their procedure and fees for ordering copies probate packets. When you write, always ask for the full probate packet, not just the will or administration.
  • Here is a document from an administration of a state. It demonstrates the importance of finding the whole probate packet. Even though James P. Allred left no will naming his heirs, the administrator of the estate had a duty to locate and list all the heirs.


Utah probate packet.png

Step 11: Search land records online.

  • These records will give the name of the owner, the date they obtained the land, the county, and the exact location of the land. They can contain clues to family members who shared ownership of the land, sold or gave land to a child, or witnessed the sale. Sometimes they show the previous or new residence of the parties to the deed. They can be useful in tracking an ancestor who lived in more than one county in Utah. With the additional county name where the family lived, the probate and vital records of that county can then be searched.


Here are the indexed entries for Edward Francis Allred. This is an index, and writing for the full record is possible. However, at this point, we have found much more detailed information on him than would be contained in land records. So sending for copies of the record could be considered optional. Land records are a bit of a long shot. If you have very little other information, the consider sending for them. Utah land patent index.png

Step 12: Contact a county historical or genealogical society.

  • County historical societies have collections that are frequently little known and often overlooked. Many have a surname file, where they have collected genealogies, newspaper clippings, old photographs, etc. Many have a sort of "pioneer ancestor" program, where people can submit pedigrees to prove they are the descendants of an early resident of the county. Most keep track of queries about families that once lived in the area from other distant relatives who may actually have more family memorabilia than you.
  • If you can find the society on the internet, they may list their holdings. Or call them on the phone, find out what they have, and find out what arrangements can be made to search their collection. Frequently, you can hire one of their members to search the collection for you.

This online directory by GenealogyInc. lists historical and genealogical societies by county: Click on the map to select a county, then scroll down to the historical or genealogical society listings. Here is an example of an internet website for a local genealogical society. I Utah Genealogical Association.png







Gather All the Evidence and Put It Together

Puzzle-pieces-with-magnifying-glass2.png
  • Your information may look more like a jumbled puzzle than a family! Put that puzzle together the most logical way you can!
  • Some of your puzzle pieces might not make sense until you move to records in other localities where the family lived.
  • This article has emphasized data you can gather online. You may find more puzzle pieces in microfilmed records available from the Family History Library.





Continue your adventure
at a Family History Center.

After online research, search the collection at the Family History Library or a Family History Center.

  • Records are catalogued by location. Do these three searches for each place: Utah; the county (or counties) where your ancestors lived; and the town (or towns) where they lived.


  • Search by state.
Search by state.png
  • Search by county.
Search by county.png
  • Search by town.
Search by town.png
  • View the expanded list of library holdings. After clicking on "Search", you will next see a list of topics. Click on any topic, and the list will expand to show the records available. Records listed can then be viewed at the Family History Library or a Family History Center.
Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.32.42 PM.png






Use the Wiki articles for Utah and its counties to find out about other records in state, county, or local repositories.

Although FamilySearch is actively working to microfilm and preserve records throughout the world, this huge job is nowhere near complete. We have tried in the Wiki to provide information about collections, books, and records held in government and ecclesiastical archives beyond the Family History Library records. In Utah, United States Genealogy, you can find links to these records and how to access them. Also here you will find information on records from your particular Utah county of interest.