Friday, September 9, 2011

Tracing Mormon Pioneer Ancestors: Government Records

Since the Litsons lived in Utah, I will only look at Utah records in this post. Other states will have their own systems for dealing with public records.

The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service is actively putting collections of records and indexes to records online. The latest post from the Archives blog, Researching the Utah State Archives, notes that:
The Utah State Digital Archives provides over half a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1958. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”
The Utah State Archives was recently recognized by Family Tree Magazine as one of the best state websites for genealogical and historical research.

Here you can search all the databases at the Archives:
Utah Digital Archives Search
A search for the Litson family finds the probate record for Frances Ann Matthews Litson's estate and birth and death certificates for a few family members. The birth and death certificates are available online. The probate file can be ordered from the Archive.

I also looked at all the linked databases. The Utah Cemetery and Burial Database came up with the following burial records:

I just noted all the relevant information from this database into my genealogy files. I am not sure that the burial dates listed in the database are accurate since it shows the death and burial dates as being the same, so I have noted that in my files. Additionally, the record for Eliza Mary Litson Glade says that she died at 331 Q Street. That should be "C" Street. But the record for burial locations is valuable even if the dates are of dubious accuracy. (Death certificates would be more accurate sources for that information, where available. Utah began issuing death certificates in 1904.)

There are also extensive online indexes and images at the Utah Archives site including legislative records, which may or may not be applicable to your family. They would have information applicable to John Hamilton Morgan and Elizabeth Pugsley Hayward, but I can't think of any other lines that would justify a search of Utah Senate and House records.

After looking at the state level, check the county and city governments to see if they have any available resources that are not held at the state level. I cannot find anything available online, but I will come back to the subject of USGenWeb, and we will cover that again.

Assignment #8

Check your family name in the Utah Digital Archives Search.

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