Category Archives: Digital Archives

Government Reorganization

For almost as long as there has been government in Utah, there has been the desire to reorganize, optimize, streamline and generally make it better. This past week, Governor Herbert announced the Advisory Council to Optimize State Government to fulfill recent legislation. The Utah State Archives holds records to several past projects of a similar nature and has made many of them available online.

Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch (a.k.a. “Little Hoover Commission”)


Governor (1977-1985 : Matheson)

Browse Birth Certificates Online, 1906-1908

Although fully searchable name indexes are not yet available for all birth certificates, we are now able to offer digital images online that may be browsed by date and county, similar to the process when visiting the Research Center.

Narrow results by choosing both year and county. Within a folder, certificates are chronological by date.

Links will also be added to the series inventory.

*1911 will be held until January to ensure limited access to certificates less than 100 years old.

Senate Bills: From Statehood to World War II

The "bill back" for Senate Resolution 1 1946

There are now over 40,000 images in the Senate Working Bills digital archive. The date range of 1896 thru 1947 cover half of the legislative sessions until the target end date of 1989 (1990 to the present are on


In 1946 as a response to recent events, the Senate passed a resolution in a special session to honor sacrifices made during World War II. Resolution 1 begins:


See the complete bill file.

The resolution was passed unanimously (1 absent) on August 9, 1946 and is just one example the historical viewpoint provided by records such as these.

Senate Bills Going Online

Senate Bill 1 from 1896

Finally picking up where we left off with the House of Representatives’ Bills in 2008, we are pleased to announce that the Senate Working Bills Files beginning in 1896 will be now be available online. Currently, work has been completed up through the beginning of the 1927 session (which equals just over 25% of sessions that will be part of the project). Researchers may browse and search for bill files from In fact, unlike the House bills these include a Full Text Search.  Additional sessions are going online as soon as images are scanned from microfilm, processed and imported with OCR text.

Contact the Research Center for assistance accessing later years, with 1990 to the present of course already available from the Utah State Legislature.

Progress Online

Oaths of Office 2011

Governor Herbert Oath of Office, 2011

The oaths for Governor Herbert and Lt. Governor Bell recently sworn in January 3, 2011 are now online.

State officers are required by both the federal and state constitutions to take an oath of office. The Constitution of the United States requires members of the legislature as well as all executive and judicial officers of the states to be bound by oath or affirmation to support the federal Constitution (Article VI, clause 3). The Constitution of Utah specifies the wording of the oath to be taken by “all officers made elective or appointive by this Constitution or by the laws made in pursuance thereof, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices” (Article IV, section 10).

More information:

Utah State Constitution Online

The Utah State Archives is pleased to announce that the 116-year-old Utah State Constitution is now available with a full text search on its web site. The Utah State Archives is also the custodian of the record which now may be viewed along side a typescript taken from the 1898 Revised Statutes of Utah at

The “engrossed” copy of the Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention following completion by the Engrossing Clerk Joseph A. Smith “without blot, erasure or interlineation, on parchment sheets, 11 x 17″ on May 8, 1895. Voters in Utah approved the new Constitution in November of the same year, and final approval from President Grover Cleveland came on January 4, 1896, when Utah officially became the 45th state in the Union. A complete archival description of the original record will also be available.

“The State Constitution is an important historical record. It is the original document of citizen’s rights in Utah,” comments the State Archivist, Patricia Smith-Mansfield. “Having online access provides the public a wonderful opportunity to see the original State Constitution.”

UPDATE: The Deseret News has published an article, “Original Utah Constitution documents posted online

Earliest Utah Birth Certificates Free Online

Birth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics beginning in 1905 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images created in partnership with FamilySearch may be accessed from

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 and volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, and date of birth, sex and county. FamilySearch captured digital images of the original paper records and plans to publish both the images and index at Subsequent years of historical certificates are currently being indexed, and in the meantime may be accessed in the Research Center of the Utah State Archives and Utah State History.

“Many stories emerge from these births registered over a century ago,” says Gina Strack, an archivist with the Utah State Archives. “A couple originally from Japan, for example, registered the birth of not only their son in 1905 (though born in early 1904), but also a set of twins just born. According to death certificates also online however, the twins would both die within the year.” (More about this story)

The Utah State Digital Archives provides over half a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1959. 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 or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Indian War Service Affidavits Online

The Indian War Service Affidavits from the Commissioner of Indian War Records is now online. In 1909 the legislature passed a law creating a Board of Commissioners of Indian War Records. Their duties were to ascertain the names of the persons who were members of any organization performing military duties during Indian wars or expeditions against the Indians during territorial years. Veterans completed affidavits of service; two witnesses also completed affidavits supporting the facts. The affidavits were then filed in the office of the chairman of the board, the Adjutant General of the State.

The soldier’s affidavit consists of a preprinted form with blanks for the name of the county in which he was making his oath, the individual’s name, his residence, length of residence, age, date of enrollment, type of company (infantry, cavalry, etc.), his captain, residence at the time, age at the time, length of service, transfer dates and type of company served in following transfer with its captain’s name up to the final organization served with, and date of release. Then there is space for the description of duties and engagements participated in while in each company. The witnesses are named and an oath taken that the information provided was accurate. If the soldier was deceased, the widow or a child could complete a similar affidavit. The accompanying two witness affidavits reiterated the information with an oath that in the belief of the witnesses, the service rendered by the soldier was “honest and faithful.”

FamilySearch created digital images from the original paper records and Utah State Archives staff Rod Swaner matched the images to an existing name index.

Related records (not online):

Sanpete Birth Register Online

The birth register maintained by the Sanpete County Clerk from 1898-1905 is now available as a book online. These records contain birth registers recorded from 1898 through 1905. Each entry includes an assigned number, sex, color, race, date and place of birth, parent’s names and residence, attending physician , and remarks.

Beginning in 1898, physicians and midwives were required to keep record of each birth for which they assisted. In their absence, the parents were required to complete a report. They then reported quarterly to the county clerk or in the case of incorporated cities, to the local board of health and they would in turn report to the county clerk (Revised Statutes of Utah 1898, Title 57, p. 474-475).

In 1905, the state passed a law requiring each county to file a uniform certificate with the State Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Beginnings and Endings: The Family of Frank and Iku Arima

The birth certificates of three different children from one set of parents in one year is liable to catch one’s attention. It turned out that in July 1905, when Frank and Iku Arima filed for birth certificates for twins Estella and Orville born July 18, 1905, they also filed for their first son, Clarence, born February 8, 1904.

Birth Certificate for Estella Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Birth Certificate for Orville Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Birth Certificate for Clarence Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Further research revealed more about this family. According to documents available on, Frank Arima immigrated from Japan in 1891 (Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, Rexburg, Madison, Idaho) while his wife Iku is listed on the ship Indrapura in Portland, Oregon arriving December 30, 1902. (Oregon Passenger and Crew Lists, 1888-1957).

Frank is listed in the Salt Lake City R.L. Polk Directories as a cook at Harry Murata (1903) and Fort Douglas (1904).

Sadly, the family would be interacting with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics once again, but this time to register the deaths of the twins born in 1905. On September 29, 1905 Estella died of cholera and on December 30, 1905 Orville (written as Orbear) died of “convulsions,” two and five months old, respectively. They are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Death Certificate for Estella Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81448)

Death Certificate for Orbear (Orville) Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81448)

Clarence Arima would go on to apply for a U.S. passport in 1925 while a student for a trip to Japan. The application even includes a presumed photograph of Frank and Iku’s remaining son.

Clarence Arima ( U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925)

Iku Arima died in Los Angeles, California in November 1967 ( Social Security Death Index).

How did this family exemplify the Japanese immigrant experience? Perhaps Estella and Orville were, as speculated in the article “Japanese Life in Utah” the first Nisei born in Utah.  These documents provide a bit more to that story, but there is always more to learn about people in the past.


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