Image by Alan O’Rourke
Numbers are just one part of the story, but we’re still excited to share that there are now one million items–including documents, photographs, registers, finding aids and birth and death certificates–on the Utah State Archives website.
We could not have done it without dedicated staff and volunteers, and partners like FamilySearch, which has digitized an additional million pages not yet online. Thank you!
Book of the Pioneers
The 116-year-old “Book of the Pioneers” is now available with a full-text search on Utah State Archives web site at archives.utah.gov/digital/14107.htm. The Archives collaborated with the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library for conservation and repair of the one-of-a-kind book. In addition, the library created high-quality digital images for viewing online.
The “Book of the Pioneers” is “a record of those who arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake during the year 1847; including the names, ages, autographs and places of residence of all known survivors on July 24, 1897.” The Semi-Centennial Commission compiled the book in two volumes for the Pioneer Jubilee of 1897, in order to document and memorialize the pioneers of 1847. The members of the commission were appointed by the State of Utah’s first governor, Heber M. Wells, who spoke on the subject in his first address to the Utah State Legislature on January 8, 1896, a mere four days after statehood was granted.
The names of men and women who came in 1847 are recorded along with 727 questionnaires answered in their own hand by those still alive fifty years later, creating a “work unique in character and of universal interest.”
Researchers may now search for death certificates by name for 1961. Previously, images have been available for browsing. Thanks to our volunteers and staff, you may look for a death record by name, date, or county.
The death certificate collection was first released online in December 2006, covering 1904-1956 through a partnership with FamilySearch. Since then, the Utah State Archives has added more years when they become public 50 years after the date of death. This may be done initially with browsing by county and date, similar to traditional research on microfilm. The final goal is always to be able to search by name and retrieve for free a digital copy of the death certificate record. The Archives updates the index continually based on comments and suggestions from users, ensuring that it is complete and accurate.
Birth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics in 1905 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images may be accessed from archives.utah.gov/research/indexes/81443.htm.
In addition to identity and proof of citizenship, the registration of births assists with monitoring public health issues and the programs created to alleviate them. The original permanent records were transferred from Vital Records to the Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2006, prompted by the Inspection of Vital Records Act passed in 1998 making historical records public. The name index is a collaborative effort of the staff of Vital Records, volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, date of birth, sex and county. FamilySearch captured digital images of the original paper records.
The Utah State Digital Archives provides close to a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1961. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The organic act passed by the U.S. Congress on September 9, 1850 created an office of territorial secretary with three major functions:
(1) To record and preserve all laws and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly (2) To record all acts and proceedings of the Governor in his executive department (3) To provide copies of these official acts to specific federal officials
The EXECUTIVE PAPERS are really part of a larger record keeping system maintained by the Executive Department of the territorial government. Most of the individual documents filed in the series are those that were sent to the Governor or the Secretary requesting or supporting some official action; copies of the actual pardon, appointment notice, requisition, or other “official act”; or copies of documents which reflect actions taken directly by the Governor, such as messages to the Territorial Assembly and proclamations.
Governor Young’s Special Election Proclamation
Recordkeeping was not quite the same for governors during the territorial period (1850-1895), compared to more recent years with offices full of staff to keep track of correspondence, photographs, and artifacts. The Archives does have a few things in its holdings to provide insight into territorial governance, which are now going online as part of the Utah Territory Project.
Governor (1850-1857: Young)
Governor (1880-1886: Murray)
Governor (1889-1893: Thomas)
Did you know that Utah was the state that fulfilled the constitutional requirement to ratify the 21st amendment to end prohibition? This amendment is also the only one thus far ratified by state conventions rather than state legislatures [Wikipedia]. The records of the Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment for Utah are now online.
The 72nd Congress of the United States proposed the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing the 18th amendment and once again legalizing the manufacture and use of liquor. On October 10, 1933, Governor Henry H. Blood called for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for the purpose of ratifying or rejecting the 21st amendment. The election was held on November 7, and the elected delegates met December 5. The amendment became effective with the ratification of 36 states; Utah was the 36th state to ratify. These records document the activities of the convention.
Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment (1933)
This series contains press releases and media advisories from the office of Governor Jon Huntsman given to media sources to publicize the governor’s activities and opinions. The records contain information on the appointment of judges and state officials, announcements of new businesses in Utah, legislative announcements and official decrees recognizing and celebrating significant individuals and events.
The documents online are searchable by keyword.
Naturalization records documenting the final step to citizenship from Salt Lake City are now online. The records cover from 1907 to 1925, individuals in the records may have immigrated years before as detailed in the Naturalization and Citizenship Research Guide. Records may be found searching for names of heads of households (married women were automatically naturalized along with their husbands until 1922) and family members.
The images were created from a partnership with FamilySearch. Many other naturalization records were digitized at the same time, and we’re always looking for help indexing them. Find out more about volunteering.
Birth Certificate, 1906
Birth certificate images for 1911 are now online at archives.utah.gov/digital/81443.htm. Although they are not indexed by name yet, if one knows the birth date and county it should not be difficult to locate the correct folder and browse through a few images for the time being. Saving and printing of images is available.
Would you like to help index birth certificates? Or other records? Join our team of volunteers for a rewarding experience handling, describing, or making accessible original records from throughout Utah’s history. Read more about our Volunteer Program.