History & Facts of Utah Counties

Utah Counties  •  Utah Extinct Counties  •  Utah Burned Courthouses

Utah County records differ vastly from county to county in either quality as well as quantity. Some have already been carefully maintained and some have been significantly mistreated and overlooked. A number of Utah records have purely vanished. For genealogists carrying out research in Utah you will find no effective substitute to have an on-site search of county court house records.

Utah is divided into 29 counties. There were originally seven counties established under the provisional State of Deseret in 1849: Davis, Iron, Sanpete, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, and Weber. The Territory of Utah was created in 1851 with the first territorial legislature meeting from 1851–1852. The first legislature re-created the original counties from the State of Deseret under territorial law as well as establishing three additional counties: Juab, Millard, and Washington. All other counties were established between 1854 and 1894 by the Utah Territorial Legislature under territorial law except for the last two counties formed, Daggett and Duchesne. They were created by popular vote and by gubernatorial proclamation after Utah became a state.

Utah Counties

Any land transaction records that are filed in a certain county are retained and maintained by that county's recorder. The Utah State Archives holds many death and birth records that predate statewide vital record recording. When looking for records from a specific county, the Utah State Archives is a good place to start, in general.

The county recorders' offices hold pre-1905 record books that have not been transferred to the Utah State Archives. Different county seats were the seat of record for each Utah district at various times. The Utah State Archives has some of those records on file, while others can be found at the current county seat. Some, however, have disappeared or been destroyed over the years. The county clerk's office at the county seat is the place to search for existing county seat records.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Beaver January 10, 1866 Part of Iron County Beaver
Box Elder January 05, 1856 Part of Weber County Brigham City
Cache January 05, 1856 Part of Weber County Logan
Carbon March 08, 1894 Part of Emery County Price
Daggett March 04, 1919 Part of Uintah County Manila
Davis March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Farmington
Duchesne March 07, 1913 Part of Wasatch County Duchesne
Emery February 12, 1880 Part of Sanpete County Castle Dale
Garfield March 09, 1882 Part of Iron County Panguitch
Grand March 13, 1890 Part of Emery County Moab
Iron January 31, 1850 Original county of State of Deseret Parowan
Juab October 05, 1850 Original county of Territory of Utah Nephi
Kane January 16, 1864 Part of Washington County Kanab
Millard October 04, 1851 Original county of Territory of Utah Fillmore
Morgan January 17, 1862 Part of Davis County Morgan
Piute January 16, 1865 Part of Beaver County Junction
Rich January 29, 1868 Part of Cache County Randolph
Salt Lake March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Salt Lake City
San Juan February 17, 1880 Parts of Kane, Iron, and Piute counties Monticello
Sanpete March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Manti
Sevier January 16, 1865 Part of Sanpete County Richfield
Summit January 13, 1854 Part of Salt Lake and Green River counties Coalville
Tooele March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Tooele
Uintah February 18, 1880 Part of Wasatch Vernal
Utah March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Provo
Wasatch January 17, 1862 Part of Utah and Sanpete counties Heber City
Washington March 03, 1852 Original county of Territory of Utah St. George
Wayne March 10, 1892 Part of Piute County Loa
Weber March 03, 1852 Original county of State of Deseret Ogden

Utah Extinct Counties

Utah has counties that no longer exist. They were created by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded in the 19th century; county borders have evolved very little since 1900 in the vast most of states. These counties should be looked at when doing ancestry and genealogy research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or consolidated with a different county.

  • Carson County was estabished on 17 Jan 1854 by the Utah Territory; it was abolished  on 02 Mar 1861. Area now in Nevada
  • Cedar County was estabished on 05 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 17 Jan 1862
  • Desert County was estabished on 03 Mar 1852 ; it was abolished  on 17 Jan 1862
  • Greasewood County was estabished on 05 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 17 Jan 1862
  • Great Salt Lake County was estabished on 03 Mar 1852 ; it was renamed  on 29 Jan 1868 Salt Lake County
  • Green River County was estabished on 03 Mar 1852 ; it was abolished  on 16 Feb 1872
  • Humboldt County was estabished on 05 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 02 Mar 1861. Area now in Nevada
  • Malad County was estabished on 05 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 17 Jan 1862 . Area now in Box Elder County
  • Richland County was estabished on 16 Jan 1864 ; it was renamed  Rich County on 29 Jan 1868.
  • Rio Virgin County was estabished on 18 Feb 1869 ; it was abolished  on 16 Feb 1872
  • St. Mary's County was estabished on 05 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 02 Mar 1861
  • Shambip County was estabished on 12 Jan 1856 ; it was abolished  on 17 Jan 1862 . Area now in Tooele County

Utah Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Utah courthouses drastically has a affect on family historians in almost every way. Not only are these kinds of historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the archives they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, among others. Once destroyed they're destroyed permanently. Despite the fact that they have already been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too. The most tragic aspect of this is the reason why nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. However, not all records were destroyed. Many Utah counties have experienced a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

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