Utah, Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Utah Probate Records, 1851-1961 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Utah, United States
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Flag of Utah
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Location of Utah
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1851-1961
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes probate records for the years 1851 to 1961. Probate records were court documents and may have involved loose papers or bound volumes. These files included all documents related to estate settlement, including settlement papers, inventories, receipts, wills, and other records pertaining to the estates, including accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, bonds, petitions, guardianship, inventories and settlements.

Most probate records in Utah were created on a county level though many were later sent to the State Archives in Salt Lake City. The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper.

A user created index to these records is available at Utah, Index to Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records). You are welcome to add to that index.

Probate records in the state usually fall into two general categories: wills and estate papers. Most records mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related. Names of children may be given, as well as married names of daughters. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. 

Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title. The transfer is to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Utah Probate Records, 1851-1961.

Collection Content

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. Images in this collection are available for viewing if you are a registered FamilySearch user. You can register for a free FamilySearch account here.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.


Sample Images

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents.

Information in entries includes:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
  • Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.) 

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate death or probate date.
  • The place of residence.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then:
⇒Select the "County" category
⇒Select the "Record Type, Record Description" category

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use a Probate record to identify adoptions, guardians, heirs and relatives.
  • Use a will to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate.
  • Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records for earlier years.
  • Use the information to locate census, christenings, marriage and land records.
  • Use the occupations to find employment or military records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • [Utah Church Records|Church Records]] often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Utah, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Utah Archives and Libraries.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Utah Probate Records, 1851-1961" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing State Archives, Salt Lake City.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Utah Probate Records, 1851-1961.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.