District Court (Third District) Case file index
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
The territorial CASE INDEX records the names of plaintiffs and defendants involved in court actions and provides assigned case numbers, facilitating clerical management of and access to the case files. Civil cases span the entire period (1871-1896). Criminal cases were indexed in this series from 1871 to 1882, when a separate filing arrangement for criminal case files was implemented. Information about most cases is limited to the name of the plaintiff, the name of the defendant, and the case number. Rarely is the date of filing recorded. The cause of action is mentioned only in proceedings pertaining to court business (grand jury lists and reports, orders summoning persons to serve as jurors, etc.), the probate of an estate, applications (such as name changes or corporate dissolution), and, rarely, petitions for extraordinary writs (habeas corpus, mandamus, and certiori).
The Third District Court is restricted to adjudication of actions involving real property located within the Third Judicial District, those in which the defendant resides in the Third Judicial District, and those involving incidents occurring in the Third Judicial District.
Chronological, thereunder alphabetical by initial letter(s) of the plaintiff's surname
The three successive volumes in which the index was kept between 1872 and 1896 are arranged chronologically. The earliest volume (1871?1889) spans nearly an 18-year period. The subsequent volumes cover much shorter periods--1889 to 1894 and 1894 to January 3, 1896. Index entries within the first two volumes are roughly alphabetical by the initial letter of the surname or corporate name of the plaintiff. The indexing scheme for the third volume was expanded to encompass the first two letters of the plaintiff's name while a few common letter combinations were further extended to the first three characters.
The case number assigned by the court is essential to locate the desired case file. Researchers should first consult the index to plaintiffs to find the unique case number corresponding to the appropriate case file. A desired case number may also be found using the surname index in the JUDGMENT DOCKETS (1871?1947), series 1671. Indexing began in 1872 with the practice of assigning a case number as documents initiating the case were filed with the court clerk. A small number of cases (fewer than 100) from 1871 were incorporated into the index. As a new index volume came into use, a few case numbers were recorded in both the old and new books. Not all plaintiffs and defendants are indexed. In cases where multiple plaintiffs and/or defendants are listed in the original document initiating the legal action, only one plaintiff and/or defendant name (the first listed) is entered in the index. As criminal cases are considered an offense against the public, the plaintiff may variously be recorded under such general apellations as "People," "United States," or "Territory of Utah." However, when a city is listed as the plaintiff (e.g., Salt Lake City vs. John Doe), it suggests a civil rather than a criminal matter. Entries for grand juries, petit juries, etc., may be found under "Jury" or "Venire."
Judgment dockets from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 1671, provide an alternate way to obtain a desired case number
Civil case indexes from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 6071, index civil cases from Salt Lake County after statehood and supersede the territorial case index
Case files from the District Court (Third District), Series 9802, are indexed by the territorial case index
Civil registers of actions from the District Court (Third District), Series 22610, facilitate access to this series.
These volumes were created and maintained by the clerk appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the judge of the district court. At statehood, the Salt Lake County Clerk was constitutionally designated as ex-officio clerk of the Third District Court in and for Salt Lake County. The county/district court clerk maintained custody of the index until being transferred to the Utah State Archives in 1968.
This series is available on microfilm.
This series is available online as part of the Utah State Archives Digital Archives.
This series is classified as Public: UCA 63G-2-301 (1) (f) states that all judicial records are public unless a court orders the records restricted under the rules of criminal or civil procedure..
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Gaps in Series
No index to cases filed in the first 20 years of the Third District Court is known to exist.
Since 1983, indices have been listed as permanent records in the records retention policy of the Judicial Council. The CASE INDEX was microfilmed by the Utah State Archives in March 1972. These records were archivally processed by W. Glen Fairclough, Jr., in July 1996.
In 2011, the series was microfilmed anew from the original records and the film was scanned for digital online access. Updates to the series were completed by Gina Strack.
Research guide for Utah Court System is available. View guide.
- Divorce suits--Utah.
- Post-conviction remedies--Utah.
- Utah--Trials (Divorce).
- Utah--Actions and defenses--Cases.
- Utah--Criminal courts.
- Utah--Habeas corpus.
|1||1||1871-1889; Book 1, A-Z|
|2||2||1889-1894; Book 2, A-Z|
|3||3||1894-1896; Book 3, A-Z|