Utah Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Patricia Lyn Scott, CA and Gary Topping Ph.D. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Utah sil.png
the Utah Family History Research series.
History of Utah
Utah Vital Records
Census Records for Utah
Background Sources for Utah
Utah Maps
Utah Land Records
Utah Probate Records
Utah Court Records
Utah Tax Records
Utah Cemetery Records
Utah Church Records
Utah Military Records
Utah Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Utah Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Utah Naturalization
Native Americans of Utah
Utah County Resources
Map of Utah

Family History Library

Genealogical Society of Utah
35 N. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Every researcher should know of the Family History Library (FHL), operated under the auspices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and situated in Salt Lake City. The collection, owned and maintained by the Genealogical Society of Utah, is of unparalleled importance in the field of family history and is one of the foremost accumulations of records, books, microfilm, microfiche, maps, manuscript, biographies, etc., in the world. For anyone doing genealogical research, a trip to Salt Lake City can be extremely productive since so much is available in one place. If this is not feasible, there are numerous Family History Centers operated by local LDS branch libraries in towns and cities all over the world.

LDS Church Historical Department

Church Office Building
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

In addition to the Church's library, there is a large church archives department containing many records not at the FHL. Among them are diaries of early Utah settlers and an extensive collection of official church records. For a clear discussion of the department's holdings, see Glenn N. Rowe, 'The Historical Department and the LDS Church,' in David J. Whittaker, Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 1995).

Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library

Provo, UT 84601

The university's Special Collections houses rare and unique publications, manuscripts, and archival materials emphasizing Mormon and Western Americana. Its holdings are listed on the library's online catalog at www.lib.byu.edu.hbll/.'Trail of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846'1869' is a significant digital collection of the original writings of forty-nine voyagers on Mormon, California, Oregon, and Montana trails who wrote during their travels http://overlandtrails.lib.byu.edu/.

Public Pioneer'Utah State Library

250 N. 1950 W., Ste A
Salt Lake City, UT 84116-7901

Public Pioneer is a virtual library created by the Utah State Library Division in cooperation with Utah's libraries. It is one component of the statewide Pioneer Project, which serves Utah's public schools and academic institutions, as well as patrons of public libraries. Public Pioneer offers a portal to carefully selected Internet sites and creates an information center for Utah researchers.

Salt Lake County Archives

2001 S. State St., Ste. 4400
Salt Lake City, UT 84190-1020

The Salt Lake County Archives was established in 1986 as a unit of the Records Management and Archives program. It preserves the historical records of Salt Lake County, provides access to researchers, and ensures that historical evidence and governmental accountability is maintained. Significant holdings include Property Appraisal Cards (1936'87) and Photographs of Historic Buildings of Salt Lake City (1936'75).

Southern Utah University

Sherratt Library'Special Collections
351 W. Center St.
Cedar City, UT 84720

The Special Collections is a regional history collection of the southwestern Utah area. 'SUUper' Search is a full-search tool for information available in manuscript and photographic collections. Many photographs have also been digitized and are available online.

Utah State Archives and Records Service

346 South Rio Grande Salt Lake City, UT 84101


The Utah State Archives permanently preserves and provides access to the records of enduring value created by Utah state, county, and municipal governments. Public records and documents may be used at the Research Room. Various finding aids including online research guides, catalogs, inventories, and indexes assist researchers. There is no fee for reference service; however, photocopying and mailing costs are charged.

In 1999, the state archives initiated a cooperative ongoing program to microfilm historical records in Utah's cities and towns, school districts, and selected county and court records. This microfilm is available at the Utah State Archives and designated regional centers (Utah State University and Southern Utah University). New rolls of microfilm are added weekly. The state archives and state historical society will share a reading room after December 2004.

Utah State Historical Society

300 Rio Grande
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

The society publishes the Utah History Quarterly and Beehive History and maintains an extensive, well-managed collection. Because of the focus of the collection at the FHL, the historical society concentrates on printed and state history, as well as maintaining an extensive manuscript collection. Two articles in Utah Genealogical Association's Newsletter (4th Quarter, 1988) discuss the usefulness of this collection for genealogists: Max J. Evans' 'Genealogy and History' and Standford J. Layton's 'Introducing the Utah State Historical Society.' The society's website contains 'Utah History To Go,' an outline course on Utah History that includes bibliographies and suggested readings.

Utah Genealogical Association

Box 1144
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
[www.infouga.org www.infouga.org]

Often confused with the Genealogical Society of Utah, which is a department of the LDS Church, the Utah Genealogical Association publishes the Genealogical Journal and a quarterly Newsletter, which contains information about new acquisitions in the FHL and articles of local interest. The association meets on a regular basis and is divided into several chapters, each with particular ongoing projects such as indexing birth and death records (see Utah Vital Records).

University of Utah

Special Collections
Marriott Library
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

The Special Collections acquires and makes available books, periodicals, oral histories, photographs, films, and original materials documenting Utah history, Mormon history, Native Americans, and the West. Its holdings are listed on the library's online catalog at www.lib.utah.edu/information/unis. Significant collections include the records of local churches (e.g., Episcopal Church Archives) and Sanborn maps. These large-scale maps (1867'1969) were created for fire insurance agents and depict the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of various Utah (and other western states) cities. The Sanborn Digitization Project makes some of these maps available online at www.lib.utah.edu/digital/Sanborn/browse.html.

Utah State University

Special Collections and Archives
Merrill Library
Logan, UT 84322

The Special Collections focuses on Mormon history and the Cache Valley (Utah-Idaho) region. Two notable collections include the extensive Leonard J. Arrington Collection and the Cache County Archives (1860'1939). Cache County records include probate court and property tax records. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are also available at the Utah State Archives. The Special Collections website contains a guide for genealogists and family historians.