Category: Research Guides

Divorce Research Guide Updated

Territorial SealThe research guide to divorce records has been updated to provide a more comprehensive resource during the territorial period (1850-1895). The list of records in that section listed most but possibly not all territorial court records where a divorce could be found. Now there are links to the county probate courts and district courts on the research guide to territorial court records. This later guide is a compilation of all the surviving records from territorial courts. Not all of these records contain divorces, but any surviving records of divorces in the territorial period are most likely to be within the these territorial court records.

Legislative Publications

Legislative Research
Legislative publications available in the Research Center

As the 2013 session of the Legislature gets underway, we’d like to highlight some relevant publications that have been updated recently.

It’s always best to start with the Research Guide, such as Legislative History or Legislative Records Overview.

The Unannotated Code is the complete, codified law statutes reflecting changes in the most recent session. It has been published since 1982, when it was recognized that the full annotated code was getting unwieldy just to check what the “law of the land” was for a certain year.

The Utah Code Annotated is, however, immensely valuable when it comes to research in the legislative process and how bills turn into law (and sometimes even the intent of the legislation). Unlike other records and publications that are produced by government agencies and preserved by the Utah State Archives, this publication represents the work of editors experienced with legal research,  and is purchased for the use of research and future historical context. Supplements and replacement (“pocket parts”) are released a couple times a year.

Administrative Rules are created by agencies of the state’s executive branch and are enacted as laws under regulatory authority granted by the Legislature or the state Constitution. In short, the Legislature has created a method by which Executive branch agencies can codify their own policies and procedures and give them the force of law. Like the Utah Code, the Administrative Code is compiled with authorization by editors and published for the use of legal research. The most up-to-date information on rules is always found at

Birth and Death Research Guides Updated

Research Guides related to finding birth and death records for Utah both historical and current have been updated, including confirmed contact information and records availability.

On a related note, the Utah State Archives is currently finalizing free online access to birth certificates from 1905.

Court Record Guides Updated

What began as an effort to update some county probate court information, eventually overhauled two research guides:

  • Probate Records – List of records updated and separated by originating courts with concurrent jurisdiction (during the territorial period).
  • Adoption Records – Expanded to include a list of records based on descriptions and appropriate dates (more than 100 years ago), also linked Utah Code citation changes from recent amendments.


  • Utah Court System – Formatted according to current style guide. This is a very good guide for understanding how the different levels of the court system have evolved over time with useful legal references.
  • Divorces – Updated probate court records that may have been missed.

Marriage Records Research Guide updated

Signing of Marriage License
Signing of Marriage License

The Research Guide to Marriage Records at the Utah State Archives has been updated. Historical background has been added to the introductory text related to how civil registration of marriage came to be in Utah, which helps explain why there are generally no government records of marriage before about 1888.

The list of record series has not been comprehensively updated, however the best way to request such records is still contacting the clerk of the county where the marriage took place for all dates.

Does the guide leave some questions unanswered? Do you have suggestions for it? Leave us a comment using this page.

(Image from here)

Military Records guide updated


John Walter Holbrook
John Walter Holbrook

Just in time for Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11, 2009*, the research guide for military records organized by wars and conflicts has been updated. The text now includes more historical context for such key records as those of the Territorial Militia (or Nauvoo Legion) which are some of the earliest records at the Utah State Archives, as they begin in 1849 before Utah was even a territory. Also, excerpts from related laws are included along with links to online versions of the original documents.


See also Military Discharge and Benefit Records and Military Service Records research guides.

*The Research Center will be closed. Normal hours (8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.) resume Thursday, November 12.

Recent Naturalization Records

Naturalization records after 1906 are available from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, as explained in our Research Guide on Naturalization.

The records discussed as part of the Genealogy Program, however, end in 1956. If you were naturalized in the time since, you may be able to request a Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document from BCIS. Submit Form N-565 which is available online at

Post-1906 Naturalization records moving to U.S. National Archives

Naturalization records maintained by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services since 1906 will be transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to the National Archives and Records Administration beginning in 2010. Public access will be available if the immigrant has passed away or turned 100 years old. Previously, these files were available through a laborious Freedom of Information Act request as explained in our guide to Naturalization and Citizenship Records.

U.S. Bares ‘Alien Files’ Kept on Immigrants

Published: August 12, 2009
A wealth of immigrant information collected by American border agents, some of it dating from the late 19th century, will be opened to the public soon. Read complete article from New York Times >>

New Supreme Court Research Guide

Territorial Supreme Court Docket

While looking for some related information, I discovered a research guide for Supreme Court records written probably around 1997, when several relevant records series were processed (such as Abstracts & Briefs and Opinions). It has now been adapted for online use and checked for anything obviously overlooked in the time since its writing.

Utah Supreme Court Records research guide

Government Publications and Information

A new research guide is available with an introduction and some information on finding records informally classified as Publications:

Government Publications and Documents

Unlike the original records created by Utah state and local agencies held by the Utah State Archives, publications are meant to be widely distributed and often come to the Archives in non-traditional ways. A majority of recent publications, for instance, come through a depository system managed by the Utah State Library, similar to the Federal Depository Library System for federal documents. If you look closely at some older issues, many will bear the stamp of libraries both near and far that once had the item in their collections, but then sent it on its way when it was past its usefulness. Other items are signed or stamped as belonging to individual legislators, attorneys general and similar and would probably have a story to tell of their journey if they could speak!