Category Archives: Digital Archives

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.

Family Tree Magazine 2010 Best State Websites

The Utah Death Certificate Index was named one of the best state websites for 2010 by Family Tree Magazine.

In genealogy, as in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Finding where your ancestors lived is the first step in identifying records about them. Fortunately, the internet-ization of America also has swept over the nation’s state archives, historical and genealogical societies, libraries, vital-records offices and other keepers of genealogical gold. Many of the resources that once gathered dust in various statewide repositories now can be accessed without changing your own location—in front of your computer, that is.

To help you find these outstanding state sites—and to salute their efforts at making genealogical and historical information available online—we’ve compiled this state-centric Best Websites list.

We appreciate the mention! If you are new to this resource, make sure and try and search to learn about any predecessors that may have died in Utah. Not to mention more indexes, frequently updated research guides and 1,000+ records inventories online.

Top Baby Names in Utah 1905 Edition

According to the Social Security Administration, the most popular baby names in Utah now are Ethan and Olivia. Thanks to a forthcoming index of birth certificates issued in 1905, we may now know the most popular names from over a century ago.


  • Mary
  • Ruth
  • Alice
  • Thelma
  • Helen
  • Florence
  • Elizabeth
  • Margaret
  • Edna
  • Hazel


  • John
  • William
  • George
  • James
  • Joseph
  • Charles
  • Clarence
  • Thomas
  • Arthur
  • Robert

How Not to Record the Birth of Twins

The certificate below popped up in the index as “Myrtle and/or Murray” and further investigation revealed twins on a single birth certificate. It is further complicated by different dates caused by being born around midnight between July 9th and 10th.

Myrtle and Murray Mathis, Twins

In this the first year of both birth and death certificates, perhaps everyone was still figuring things out!

Military Death Certificates from World War II and the Korean War Online


Death certificates issued for U.S. soldiers who died overseas from 1941 to 1953 and whose bodies were sent to Utah for reburial are now available online from the Utah State Archives and Records Service. These records represent a valuable resource for military and family history. The searchable index and digital images created in partnership with FamilySearch may be accessed from

“Stories are often found in even the most routine and official records,” said Gina Strack, an archivist with the Utah State Archives. “For example, in one six-month period in 1944, a family in Box Elder County lost four of their five sons in combat around the world. All four death certificates for the Borgstrom brothers may be found in this new online collection.”

The Utah State Digital Archives provides access to 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 Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”

FamilySearch is the public channel of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Records of Gov. Olene S. Walker Now Online

For immediate release.

The Utah State Archives and Records Service has added the records of former Governor Olene Walker to the Governors of Utah Digital Collection. This collection now includes more than 70,000 items of former Governors Michael O. Leavitt (1993-2003) and Olene S. Walker (2003-2004).

Governor Walker served for just over a year, however these records show the “footprints” she left on the State of Utah, from tax policy and making sure students master necessary, basic skills to interactions with citizens throughout the state–including visiting every community, including Yost (see “Farewell Speech”). For example, upon her inauguration in late 2003, hundreds of letters came from organizations and people in Utah and around the world with congratulations, as found in Constituent Correspondence.

The governor is the chief administrative officer of the state and a governor’s records are a valuable historical resource for both an account of the governor’s term and a chronicle of statewide and national events. These records shed light on Utah’s involvement in and reaction to national issues and responses at the time.

The Archives provides online, anytime access to students, educators and citizens interested in discovering such invaluable resources. It is hoped that more will be added from both recent and long past governors, and other historical records that are key to understanding the full story of Utah and its people.

More Records Online from Governor Olene S. Walker

Since the availability of Press Releases, record series for Speeches and Official Statements, Executive Correspondence and Constituent Correspondence have been added online. Newspaper Clippings (Series 25844) are in active production and Photographs (Series 25851) are currently being scanned from prints.

Governor Walker Press Releases Now Online

This series contains press releases issued to numerous media sources to publicize Governor Olene Walker’s activities, events, media advisories, proclamations, programs, recommendations, initiatives, and messages. The records include information on the appointment of judges and officials, announcements of new businesses in Utah, legislative announcements, official decrees recognizing and celebrating significant individuals and events, state of the state address, and various reports.


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