Utah vital records really are a cornerstone of Utah ancestors and family history research simply because they were typically documented at or close to the time of the occurrence, making the record more likely to be correct. This webpage contains links, details that can help you request copies from Utah state and county vital records keepers. Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the basis of family tree and ancestors research.
Utah Vital Records Office, issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital records including birth, marriage, divorce death certificates for occurrences that took place in Utah. To verify current fees and information the telephone number is (512) 776-7111.
- Ordering Utah Birth and Death Certificates: The State Vital Records Office has birth and death records from 1905 to present. The fee for all certified copy are $18 (birth) and $16 (death), additional copies of the same record requested at the same time are $8 each.
- Ordering Utah Marriage and Divorce Certificates: The State Vital Records Office has marriage and divorce records from 1978 to present. The fee for certified copies are $16 (short form only). Copies of the marriages and divorces records are available from the County Clerk in the county where the license was issued. The fee for the copy varies.
How to Order Utah Vital Records
- Physical and Mailing Address: Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics, 288 North 1460 West, PO BOX 141012, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1012; (801) 538-6380, Fax: (801) 538-9467. All mail orders should include a Personal check or money order made payable to Vital Records. Do not send cash.
- Website Address: https://silver.health.utah.gov/
- Ordering Vital Records Online – get the certificates within 2-5 days with a credit or debit card from USAVital.com or VitalChek.com.
- Ordering Vital Records by Mail: You can download an application online for Utah Birth Certificate, Marriage or Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications. Please allow up to 4-6 weeks for processing of all type of certificates ordered through the mail.
Background of Utah Vital Records
Utah had a slow development of birth, marriage, and death registrations. In fact, it took until 1905 for a statewide system of recording vital records to be developed. The Bureau of Vital Statistics and Health Statistics, Utah State Department of Health has records from 1905 to now on file.
The law in Utah states that death certificates must be 50 years old before they are open to research. Certificates that are old enough are located at the Utah State Archives and information can also be accessed on their website. They also have birth certificate that are over 100 years old on file.
Salt Lake City began recording deaths and births in 1847. In 1860, the Utah Legislature officially gave them the power to do that. They gave that same power to Ogden. However, the legislature didn’t require that either city record births and deaths at that time. In 1880, all incorporated cities in the state were given that same power. However, many cities still didn’t record vital records consistently, especially birth records. In 1898, it became a statewide requirement for county clerks to keep separate registers of death and birth records.
Salt Lake City is home to the Utah State Archives and the Family History Library (FHL). Both organizations have microfilmed copies of each of the surviving county death and birth registers. Death record registers have been professionally indexed by the Professional Genealogists Chapter.
Birth registers are continuously being indexed by the Utah State Archives. The information for the following counties has been indexed and may be researched online: Beaver, Davis, Carbon, Emery, Grand, Iron, Kane, Piute, Rich, Uintah, Weber.
The county seats hold some of the original record books, but the Utah State Archives has most of them on file. In 1887, Utah finally placed a requirement for civil registration of marriages in the state. Prior to that, marriage was considered to be a religious sacrament and, therefore, not under state jurisdiction.
The law that outlawed polygamy was known as the Edmunds-Tucker Act. It required everyone who got married to have a certified document stating as much. The territorial legislature accepted that act in 1889. At that point, a law was created that said that all marriage certificates and licenses had to be handed in within 30 days of the marriage taking place.
Probate court records or records of the justice of the peace for a given county may have some marriage records on file that were recorded prior to 1887. Some early marriage records from Beaver County, and possibly other counties, were intermixed with the early land records. Some were also filed with other records pertaining to court proceedings.
Marriages before 1887 were performed by non-Mormon clergymen, or by a Latter-Day Saint (LDS) bishop. The Elias Smith Journals, 1850-1884, compiled by Judith W. Hansen and Norman Lundberg (Salt Lake City: Utah Genealogical Association, 1998) has more information on early marriage records. So does Marriages in Utah Territory, 1850-1884: from the Deseret News, 1850-1872.
The county clerk in each Utah county has issued marriage licenses since 1889. However, licenses are only issued after completed marriage applications are handed in to the clerk. Researchers may not look at those applications until 75 years after they are filed. Exceptions may be made for those who have written consent forms from the subjects of the application. The FHL has some county marriage licenses on file in microfilm. Marriage licenses may not be researched at the Utah State Archives, generally. Instead, they must be researched in the office of the county clerk. The BYU-Idaho Family History Center currently has a project underway called the “Western States Historical Marriage Records Index.” The purpose of the project is to extract marriage records and index them. So far, the index contains more than 64,000 marriage records for the state of Utah. Researchers may search the database using either the groom’s name or the bride’s name.
Utah genealogical research has obviously been greatly influenced by polygamy. It has been practiced both openly and secretly in Utah for a long time, making family lines sometimes difficult to trace.
Vital records produced by the town, county, or state are not the only Utah vital records for researchers to examine. There are also several records from other sources, such as physicians and midwives, to consider. The FHL has placed many of those records on microfilm and organized them by county. The Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) also maintains a large collection of its own vital statistics for members. Laureen Richardson Jaussi and Gloria Duncan Chaston’s Genealogical Records in Utah discusses each of the available types of vital records in the state of Utah.
Both the district courts and the probate courts in Utah had jurisdiction over divorces at various points. However, the district courts gained permanent jurisdiction beginning in 1877. LDS church records, federal territorial district court records and county probate court records may each hold some records relating to divorces that occurred before Utah gained its statehood. Most divorce records from 1896 onward can be found in the offices of the clerks of the court in the various counties.
Some divorce records for Utah have been placed online and indexed. A good example of that is Davis County. Its records for 1875 to 1886 can be found online. The Utah State Archives also has several divorce records on file. They have an online guide to how to locate divorce records. The guide is called “How to Find Utah Divorce Records.”
Searchable Utah Databases and other Helpful Links
- Social Security Death Index (search.ancestry.com)
- Utah, Births and Christenings, 1892-1941
- Utah, Birth Certificates, 1903-1911
- Utah, Birth Registers, 1892-1944
- Utah, Marriage Records, 1887-1914
- Utah, Select Marriages, 1887-1966
- Utah Utah, Select County Marriages, 1887-1937
- USGenweb Archives Utah Marriage Project (usgwarchives.net)
- Utah, County Marriages, 1887-1937
- Utah, Marriages, 1887-1966
- Utah, Deaths and Burials, 1888-1946
- Utah Death Registers, 1847-1966
- Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956
- Utah, Obituaries from Utah Newspapers, 1850-2005