Category Archives: Resources

Microfiche Project

A guest post by Rebekkah Hibbert.

The Utah State Archives received a grant in 2010 to organize thousands of unknown microfiche. With the help of our wonderful volunteers this project is making great progress! Microfiche has been moved from metal storage cabinets, inventoried and organized by series. Volunteers are helping us view the microfiche, create descriptions and put them in archival boxes for patron use.

There have been several exciting finds: we have found a picture of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser at the Salt Lake Airport from 1949, blueprints of the Utah State Capitol, executive orders from many governors, an indictment of Butch Cassidy and more!

The project has provided me with a crash course of processing, records management and the programs used. What was at first daunting to look at has become so familiar I occasionally find myself wondering why F8 doesn’t do the same thing on my home computer as it does for the APPX program. I have learned attention to detail is more crucial than I thought, and I already thought it was crucial. Not only could lacking attention causing simple mistakes (which can be problematic and frustrating enough in itself), but could lead to losing a record to a series in which it does not belong. Assigning a series to a record is important and requires careful consideration if the record is ever to be utilized.

Though records date back to 1916 and as current as 2003, we discovered most microfiche we have were produced in the late 1960’s thru the early 1980’s. Computer Output Microfiche, or COM fiche was used often by state agencies to keep track of information during those decades. It appears to have been so readily available that we have thousands of cards of occupational licenses. Normally these would not be put on microfiche, but in the 80’s and 90’s it must have been an easy way to keep these records considering the volume we have. Hopefully one day these will be of great value to genealogists.

All the microfiche has been assigned to a series, which being done feels like a new project has begun. Everything is starting to be labeled and finding aids will be created so these records can share their information with you.

World War II Casualty Lists from National Archives

In the immediate aftermath of  World War II, the Department of War and the Department of the Navy both published national lists of casualties for the U.S. Army and Army Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The intent was to disseminate the information to the general public in a timely manner, for the benefit of next of kin, and even with an eye towards the needs of veterans and patriotic organizations, who would–to quote the War Department–”find these lists of value in establishing or checking honor rolls in their communities.” The original publications are part of the large holdings of modern military records located at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, but they have also been scanned and can be viewed in digital form[.] (

PDF copies of the lists from Utah are now linked from the Utah Military Records: Wars and Conflicts Research Guide. This information is often requested at the Research Center so we are glad to know of one good source.

Laws of Utah Online through Pioneer database

Legislative Books in the Research Center

The Utah State Library through its Pioneer databases has made the entire set of the Laws of Utah available online. The restricted access requires a Utah library card. Once through, one may search and browse the session laws published each year after the Utah State Legislature meets.

The session laws are key to legislative research which is explained fully in the Legislative Intent and History Research Guide. Until 1972, laws were not considered to be in effect until they had first been published, a requirement dating from the 1849 Constitution of the State of Deseret.

Legislative sessions were held annually until 1870, usually in the winter, from December to March. After that date biennial sessions were held in even numbered years until statehood. Starting with the second session of the new state legislature in 1897, biannual sessions were switched to odd numbered years. The 13th state legislature held the first special session in 1919, and after that date one or more special sessions began to be held more often.

A 1968 change in the state constitution created the budget session, and the first of these was held in 1970. These were held during the even numbered years when the regular session did not meet, and only government funding issues were considered. The constitution of the state was changed again in 1985 to provide for annual sessions of the legislature, eliminating the biannual budget session. Read more about the background of the Laws of Utah.

Thanks to the Utah State Law Library.

Mysterious 1880 U.S. Census records solved

List of Persons

List of Persons Cover

List of Persons

List of Persons, Page 1

A researcher recently requested to look at an obscure record series described simply as “Census records, 1880” (Series 5269).  After retrieving the records, Archives staff became curious and set about trying to figure out what the records really were.  The records include five booklets that were clearly standard forms (form 7-392) printed for the 1880 Federal Census and have notes indicating that they had been filed with the Weber County Clerk.  They are titled “List of Persons” and each booklet lists the names, color, sex, and age of all the inhabitants of a given census enumeration district in Weber County, including Ogden 2nd and 3rd (municipal) Wards, Huntsville, Mound Fort, Lynne, Marriott, Riverdale, and Uintah.  Archives staff searched available published sources for some reference to these forms, but couldn’t find any information. So what was their purpose, why were they filed with the county clerk, and why did only five booklets survive?

Archives staff next contacted the National Archives to see what information they might have.  Initially National Archives staff members were both puzzled and excited.  They had never seen an example of this kind of record before, but soon they responded with an answer. Apparently, for earlier censuses enumerators were required to submit a full second copy of their population schedules in order to receive payment for their work.  By 1880 the process was simplified somewhat.  According to The History and Growth of the United States Census (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900):

the enumerator was directed to forward the original schedules, duly certified, to the supervisor of his district, but before doing this, he was required, under the terms of section 6 of the act of April 20, 1880, to make and file in the office of the clerk of the county court or in the office of the court or board administering the affairs of the county to which his district belongs, a list of the names, with age, sex, and color, of all persons enumerated by him, which he shall certify to be true, and for which he shall be paid at the rate of 10 cents for each 100 names.

These lists apparently served as a type of invoice for services and made it possible for the census enumerators to get paid for their work. Because the records were probably not of much use to the county clerk once payment had been made, most of them would have been discarded. Somehow these five booklets from Weber County survived as rare evidence of how the census was conducted in 1880.

Related records:

United States. Department of the Interior

New Online Catalog Unveiled


Search the new online catalog

As part of the Utah State Collections Consortium, the Utah State Archives has upgraded to the newest version of the Symphony integrated library system from SirsiDynix. An online catalog is just one of the ways to search for information on the permanent, historic holdings of the Utah State Archives. As we learn more about the new system, we will work to make sure it is easy to use and works well for archival collections.

The Utah State Collections Consortium consists of the Utah State Archives, Utah State History, Utah State Library, Utah State Law Library, Division of Administrative Rules and Utah Department of Transportation Library.

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 >>

Utah Academic Library Consortium video

A new promotional video for the Utah Academic Library Consortium has been posted online and is being used to get the word out about its benefits and services to the state. The Utah State Archives contributed images for the segment on the Mountain West Digital Library and one of the interviewees talks about the Animal Brand books available online.

Finding Recent Court Cases

The Utah State Law Library blog posted some helpful information on finding Utah court cases from about the last ten years:

Use the Utah State Courts’ web site to locate both Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions. Court of Appeals opinions are available from 1997 to present and Supreme Court opinions are available from September of 1996. Use the search box to do a keyword search, or browse opinions by name or by year of opinion.

Indexes, case files and registers that are much older are available for many Utah district courts, consult the District Court Records Guide to determine what is accessible at the Archives based on the county where the case was filed.


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