Utah Probate Records
Probate cases include the proving of wills and the administering of estates for individuals who have died. They also include such matters as guardianship and insanity proceedings.They are a good source for locating relatives, death dates, and property. Families with property are more likely to be found in probate records than poorer families.
Probate records in Utah have been kept by several courts. During the territorial period probate records were kept by both the county probate court and the federal district court.
At statehood in 1896, the probate courts were abolished, and the powers of the federal district courts were transferred to the state district courts. The state district courts have maintained jurisdiction of probate matters since 1896. Probate divisions of the state district courts in each county handle probate matters.
Probate records from the territorial period to the present may be found in either the county clerk's office or the Utah State Archives. You may also find some probate records from the territorial probate courts in the personal journals of early probate judges.
The Family History Library has copies of probate records for many Utah counties. Usually the library only has part of the files created during the probate process. Contact the county clerk for additional records. For Salt Lake County, for example, the library has:
- Utah. District Court (Salt Lake County). Probate Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966. (On 43 Family History Library films beginning with 425667.) These records include an index and records from 1852 to 1910. They also contain estates records and guardianship cases.
- Utah. District Court. (Salt Lake County). Register of Estates or Abstracts of Probate Filed 1876–1966, Index 1876–1964. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966. (Family History Library films 425623–66.) This record also contains guardianships and adoptions.
Probate records may be listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the following headings
UTAH, [COUNTY] - PROBATE RECORDS
UTAH, [COUNTY] - GUARDIANSHIP
Utah Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2002.