Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Series 3372

District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County) Probate record books

Dates: 1852-1966.

462 microfilm reelsSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

These probate record books document the proceedings in estate and guardianship cases in Salt Lake County. After 1917, adoption cases are also included. Personal name change cases appear infrequently. Corporate dissolution records occur intermittently around the turn of the century.

In 1852, the territorial legislature defined the powers of the county probate courts. Among those powers were the probate of wills, the administration of estates of deceased persons, and the guardianship of minors, idiots, and the insane. The probate records were to be kept in books separate from those of the other business of the court. The probate judge appointed a clerk to keep the records, but they were equally valid if kept by the judge. (An Act in Relation to the Judiciary, in Acts, Resolutions, and Memorials passed by the First Annual, and Special Sessions, of the Legislative Assembly...Great Salt Lake City, 1852, Brigham H. Young, Printer., pp. 38-48).

When Utah gained statehood in 1896, the county probate courts were abolished. Jurisdiction of Salt Lake County probate matters and custody of the Salt Lake County Probate Court's related records passed to the Probate Division of the Third District Court in and for Salt Lake County. Entries continued to be made in the same volumes.

In 1917, an extensive probate code was compiled as part of The Compiled Laws of Utah(Salt Lake City, 1919, Harden Bennion, vol. 2, Title 118, pp.1493-1545). The clerk was given powers equal to the judge to conduct routine matters: approve bonds, appoint appraisers, order sales, etc. The general procedures remained much the same, but the form and details were spelled out.

Estates of Deceased Persons

The books record the probate process in individual cases where the deceased died in or owned property in Salt Lake County. Basic procedures covered are the unsealing and admitting of the will, if any; testimony of the witnesses to the will to prove its validity; the appointment of administrators upon the filing of bonds; notice to creditors; appointment of appraisers and the filing of their report; petitions and orders to sell property; proof of settlement and petition for distribution; and the release of the administrators from further responsibility or liability.

Many of these procedures are formalities: recording petition; setting times; hearing petitions; and issuing orders, confirmations, and decrees for each stage. Copies of these forms are contained in the books, but while providing information on the nature of court proceedings, provide little on the nature of the estate. However, several types of records included also provide extensive information about the estate, the deceased, and the heirs.

The will is normally entered in the record too and usually details both property and heirs. Appraisers, if appointed, give a complete list of real estate, security holdings, and frequently household and personal property. Executors named in a will may also provide an inventory and appraisal of property in the case of a large or complicated estate; this was mandated after the probate code of 1917. Petitions to sell property will give the legal description of the real estate, securities, or other items in question. If a will is contested in any part, the testimony of the contestants is recorded. The final distribution is also recorded in detail in terms of both property and heirs. Thus the probate records provide useful information both for researchers seeking socioeconomic data on households and those seeking biographical or family history data. Among the notable estates probated is that of Brigham Young which covers the first half of volume H.

Guardianship of Estates

The records cover guardianship cases as well. Most frequently these come following the settlement of an estate in which a minor is inheriting property. A parallel procedure is followed for incompetent persons who had property requiring oversight. The court appoints a guardian, usually under terms of the will or upon petition of the minor or an older family member. The guardian is required to post bond prior to receiving official letters of guardianship. Periodic accountings may be made. Additional entries may appear during the time of guardianship if the guardian wishes to sell property or utilize particular funds held in trust. When the minor becomes of age, an accounting is made of the estate and property being inherited, and the guardian is released.

On occasion, the guardianship is a limited one, created so that the guardian may sue for personal injury or liability damages on behalf of a minor.

Adoptions

Adoption cases are included after 1917; previously the cases were kept in separate ADOPTION RECORD BOOKS. Entries for a typical case include signed statements of the natural parents, the adoptive parents, the child if of sufficient age, and the witnesses. The statements may record some family particulars including date of birth of child, legitimacy, abandonment if that is the case, death of one of the parents, or other factors in the adoption. The judge's decree of adoption is also recorded, noting the child's new name, which might be a change of given name as well as surname. After the 1940s, when social service agencies became the predominant mediators of adoptions, statements are no longer included in the court's records. Information generally becomes less detailed. A brief summary is made based on the judge's review of the service agency's reports, and an order of adoption in light of the facts is made.

Other Records

Around the turn of the century, corporate dissolution records appear intermittently in the books, with the company as the deceased. Corporate dissolution was part of the district court's regular function, but is more frequently covered in the civil and criminal case division of the district court. Voluntary dissolution called for evidence of stockholder approval and published notice before the judge issued a decree to dissolve the company and distribute property.

Name changes occur periodically throughout the record books as orders for change of name. The former name and the desired new name are recorded, at times along with the rationale for the change.

Arrangement

The arrangement of the volumes and their entries changed numerous times through the years producing an extremely irregular and discontinuous pattern. Volumes are alphanumerical and their entries are roughly chronological, but cases may be continued out of sequence. By 1884, guardianship records have begun to be kept in separate volumes. From 1891-1918, there were separate volumes for guardianships, intestate forms, and will forms. Cases continued from the main record books were recorded in volumes labeled 'Continuations'. Between 1918 and 1920 entries were made by case number. After 1942, wills are kept in separate volumes. By 1946, adoptions also are kept in separate volumes. For further details, see the sections entitled "Finding Aids" and "Searching Strategies."

Related Records

Estate registers from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 3927, note the volume and page of entries in these record books along with a log of the actions taken.

Adoption record books from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 3932, were kept as separate series from 1884 to 1917 then were included as part of this series

Probate minutes from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 3938, cover details of the guardianship, estate, and adoption cases recorded in this series.

Probate records index from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 17611, provide indirect access to particular cases in the record books via entries in the REGISTERS, series 3927

Access Restrictions

This series is primarily classified as Public: Probate, guardianships, name changes, and corporate dissolution records are public.. The secondary classification is Private: Unprobated wills are private, therefore volumes which contain only wills, and may not have been probated, are kept private for 75 years..

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

Three volumes were returned to the Utah State Archives in 1997 after turning up at the Denver Public Library. Another six volumes appeared at the University of Utah library's special collections.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Name indices are available for volumes A-F, covering from 1852 thru 1876. Indexes: The PROBATE RECORDS INDEX, series 17611, gives the volume and page in the PROBATE ESTATE REGISTERS, series 3927. In turn, the dates or record volumes and pages cited in the ESTATE REGISTERS can be used to locate entries in these RECORD BOOKS, covering from 1876.

Indexing Terms

  • Adoption—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Guardian and ward—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Executors and administrators—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Probate courts—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Probate records—Utah—Salt Lake County.

Container List

REEL DESCRIPTION
199 Vol. 79; Oct 4, 1947-Oct 27, 1947
199 Vol. 80; Oct 27, 1947-Nov 19, 1947
200 Vol. 81; Nov 19, 1947-Dec 10, 1947; Vol. 82; Dec 10, 1947-Jan 7, 1948
201 Vol. 83; Jan 7, 1948-Jan 28, 1948; Vol. 84; Jan 28, 1948-Feb 17, 1948
202 Vol. 85; Feb 17, 1948-Mar 10, 1948; Vol. 86; Mar 10, 1948-Apr 2, 1948
203 Vol. 87; Apr 2, 1948-Apr 20, 1948
204 Vol. 88; Mar 15, 1948-Aug 19, 1949;ADOPTIONS-RESTRICTED
205 Vol. 89; Apr 20, 1948-May 7, 1948
206 Vol. 90; Jun 3, 1948-Dec 29, 1949; WILLS ONLY-RESTRICTED
207 Vol. 91; May 7, 1948-Jun 1, 1948; Vol. 92; Jun 1, 1948-Jun 23, 1948
208 Vol. 93; Jun 23, 1948-Jul 20, 1948; Vol. 94; Jul 20, 1948-Aug 10, 1948
209 Vol. 95; Aug 11, 1948-Sep 1, 1948; Vol. 96; Sep 1, 1948-Sep 29, 1948
210 Vol. 97; Sep 29, 1948-Oct 14, 1948
211 Vol. 98; Oct 14, 1948-Nov 8, 1948; Vol. 99; Nov 9, 1948-Nov 30, 1948
212 Vol. 100; Nov 30, 1948-Dec 20, 1948; Vol. 101; Dec 20, 1948-Jan 19, 1949
213 Vol. 102; Jan 19, 1949-Feb 16, 1949
214 Vol. 103; Feb 16, 1949-Mar 16, 1949; Vol. 104; Mar 16, 1949-ca. Apr 8, 1949
215 Vol. 105; Apr 11, 1949-May 4, 1949; Vol. 106; May 4, 1949-May 26, 1949
216 Vol. 107; May 26, 1949-Jun 18, 1949; Vol. 108; Jun 20, 1949-Jul 16, 1949
217 Vol. 109; Jul 18, 1949-Aug 17, 1949
218 Vol. 110; Aug 25, 1949-Sep 6, 1949; ADOPTIONS-RESTRICTED
219 Vol. 111; Aug 17, 1949-Sep 14, 1949; Vol. 112; Sep 14, 1949-Oct 11, 1949
220 Vol. 113; Oct 11, 1949-Nov 8, 1949; Vol. 114; Nov 8, 1949-Nov 30, 1949
221 Vol. 115; Nov 30, 1949-Dec 28, 1949
222 Vol. 116; Dec 28, 1949-Jan 25, 1950
223 Vol. 117; Jan 25, 1950-ca. Feb 10, 1950
223 Vol. 118; ca. Feb 17, 1950-Mar 17, 1950
224 Vol. 119; Mar 17, 1950-Apr 7, 1950
225 Vol. 120; Apr 7, 1950-May 1, 1950
226 Vol. 121; May 1, 1950-May 24, 1950
227 Vol. 122; Dec 30, 1949-Jun 9, 1950; WILLS-RESTRICTED
228 Vol. 123; May 24, 1950-Jun 21, 1950
229 Vol. 124; Jun 21, 1950-Jul 18, 1950
230 Vol. 125; Jul 18, 1950-Aug 12, 1950
231 Vol. 126; Aug 12, 1950-Sep 9; 1950
232 Vol. 127; Sep 11, 1950-Oct 4, 1950
233 Vol. 128; Oct 4, 1950-Nov 1, 1950
234 Vol. 129; Nov 1, 1950-Nov 22, 1950
235 Vol. 130; Nov 22, 1950-Dec 13, 1950
236 Vol. 131; Dec 13, 1950-Jan 4, 1951
237 Vol. 132; Jan 4, 1951-Feb 28, 1951
238 Vol. 133; Jun 12, 1951-Aug 28, 1952; WILLS-RESTRICTED
239 Vol. 134; Feb 2, 1951-Feb 28, 1951
240 Vol. 135; Jan 2, 1951-May 3, 1952; ADOPTIONS-RESTRICTED)
241 Vol. 136; Feb 28, 1951-Mar 23, 1951
242 Vol. 137; Mar 23, 1951-Apr 19, 1951
243 Vol. 138; Apr 19, 1951-May 10, 1951
244 Vol. 139; May 10, 1951-May 31, 1951
245 Vol. 140; May 31, 1951-Jun 21, 1951
246 Vol. 141; Jun 21, 1951-Jul 16, 1951
247 Vol. 142; Jul 18, 1951-Aug 14, 1951
248 Vol. 143; Aug 14, 1951-Sep 6, 1951
249 Vol. 144; Sep 6, 1951-Oct 3, 1951
250 Vol. 145; Oct 4, 1951-Oct 31, 1951
251 Vol. 146; Nov 1, 1951-Nov 26, 1951
252 Vol. 147; Nov 27, 1951-Dec 19, 1951
253 Vol. 148; Dec 20, 1951-Jan 17, 1952
254 Vol. 149; Jan 17, 1952-Feb 13, 1952
REEL BOX DESCRIPTION
1 1 Vol. A-F; INDEX; Vol. A; Jul 2, 1852-Sep 11, 1865
2 1 Vol. B; Continuations (1852+)
3 1 Vol. C; Jan 24, 1866-Jan 18, 1871
4 2 Vol. D; Jan 16, 1871-Nov 25, 1873
461 2 Vol. E; Dec 9, 1873-May 25, 1875; p. 1-93
5 2 Vol. E; Dec 9, 1873-May 25, 1875 p. 93-696
5 3 Vol. F; Jun 1, 1875-Nov 17, 1876; Vol. F-2; Continuations (1877+); p. 1-282
6 3 Vol. F-2; Continuations (1877+) p. 282-718
6 4 Vol. G; Dec 22, 1876-Jun 17, 1878; Vol. H; Sep 4, 1877-Dec 27, 1880; p. 1-272
7 4 Vol. H; Sep 4, 1877-Dec 27, 1880 p. 272-864
7 5 Vol. I; Jul 13, 1879-Mar 8, 1880; Vol. J; Jan 7, 1881-Oct 31, 1881; p. 1-98
8 5 Vol. J; Jan 7, 1881-Oct 31, 1881 p. 98-696
8 6 Vol. K; Nov 30, 1881-Oct 16, 1882; Vol. L; Oct 21, 1882-Jul 3, 1883; p. 1-162
9 6 Vol. L; Oct 21, 1882-Jul 3, 1883 p. 162-720
9 7 Vol. M; Feb 28, 1883-Dec 8, 1883
9 8 Vol. N; Dec 14, 1883-Jun 26, 1884; p.1-172
10 8 Vol. N; Dec 14, 1883-Jun 26, 1884 p. 172-432
10 9 Vol. O; Jul 2, 1884-Nov 10, 1884
10 10 Vol. P; Dec 6, 1884-Jun 29, 1885
10 11 Vol. Q; Guardianships: Dec 4, 1884-Nov 1, 1886; p. 1-182
11 11 Vol. Q; Guardianships: Dec 4, 1884-Nov 1, 1886 p. 182-480
11 12 Vol. R; Jul 2, 1885-Feb 12, 1886
11 13 Vol. S; Jan 23, 1886-Sep 24, 1886
11 14 Vol. T; Oct 4, 1886-Apr 22, 1887; p. 1-52
12 14 Vol. T; Oct 4, 1886-Apr 22, 1887 p. 52-492
12 15 Vol. U; Guardianships: Jan 27, 1887-Mar 18, 1889
12 16 Vol. V; Apr 23, 1887-Nov 7, 1887; p. 1-432
13 16 Vol. V; Apr 23, 1887-Nov 7, 1887 p. 432-500
13 17 Vol. W; Nov 10, 1887-Mar 31, 1888
13 18 Vol. X; Mar 31, 1888-Oct 6, 1888
13 19 Vol. Y; Oct 8, 1888-Feb 23, 1889; p. 1-272
14 19 Vol. Y; Oct 8, 1888-Feb 23, 1889 p. 272-496
14 20 Vol. Z; Mar 6, 1889-Sep 3, 1889
14 21 Vol. A-1; Guardianships: Apr 27, 1889-May 12, 1890
14 22 Vol. B-1; Sep 4, 1889-Dec 28, 1889; p. 1-132
15 22 Vol. B-1; Sep 4, 1889-Dec 28, 1889 p. 132-480
15 23 Vol. C-1; Dec 28, 1889-Mar 13, 1890
15 24 Vol. D-1; Guardianships: May 17, 1890-Dec 3, 1891
16 25 Vol. E-1; Mar 13, 1890-Jun 25, 1890
16 26 Vol. F-1; Jun 7, 1890-Oct 1, 1890
16 27 Vol. G-1; Oct 8, 1890-Dec 23, 1890; p. 1-412
17 27 Vol. G-1; Oct 8, 1890-Dec 23, 1890 p. 412-480
17 28 Vol. H-1; Dec 8, 1890-Apr 15, 1891
17 29 Vol. I-1; Feb 11, 1891-Jun 2, 1891
17 30 Vol. J-1; Intestate Forms: Apr 3, 1891-Mar 6,1894; p. 1-322
18 30 Vol. J-1; Intestate Forms: Apr 3, 1891-Mar 6,1894 p. 322-458
18 31 Vol. K-1; Will Forms: May 26, 1891-Jul 7, 1896
18 32 Vol. L-1; Continuations (1891+)
18 33 Vol. M-1; Guardianships: Dec 4, 1891-Jun 6, 1893; p. 1-244
19 33 Vol. M-1; Guardianships: Dec 4, 1891-Jun 6, 1893 p.244-404
19 34 Vol. N-1; Continuations (1892+)
19 35 Vol. O-1; Continuations (1892+)
19 36 Vol. P-1; Continuations (1892+); p.1-222
20 36 Vol. P-1; Continuations (1892+) p.222-480
20 37 Vol. Q-1; Guardianship Forms: Jun 3, 1893-Mar 30, 1898
21 38 Vol. R-2[sic]; Continuations (1893+)
22 39 Vol. S-1; Intestate Forms: Mar 8, 1894-Sep 28, 1896
22 40 Vol.T-1; Continuations (1893+); p.1-112
23 40 Vol.T-1; Continuations (1893+) p.112-640
23 41 Vol. U-1; Continuations (1894+)
23 42 Vol. V-1; Continuations (1895+); p. 1-242
24 42 Vol. V-1; Continuations (1895+) p.242-596
24 43 Vol. W-1; Continuations: Guardianships (1896+)
24 44 Vol. X-1; Continuations (1896+); p. 1-402
25 44 Vol. X-1; Continuations (1896+) p. 402-600
25 45 Vol. Y-1; Will Forms: Aug 31, 1896-Jul 13, 1898
25 46 Vol. Z-1; Intestate Forms: Sep 30, 1896-May 28, 1898
25 47 Vol. A-2; Continuations (1897+); p.1-544
26 47 Vol. A-2; Continuations (1897+) p.544-598
26 48 Vol. B-2; Continuations (1897+)
26 49 Vol. C-2; Continuations (1897+)
26 50 Vol. D-2; Continuations (1898+); p. 1-72
27 50 Vol. D-2; Continuations (1898+) p. 72-600
27 51 Vol. E-2; Guardianship Forms: Mar 30, 1898-Nov 18, 1904
27 52 Vol. F-2; Will Forms: Jun 20, 1898-Apr 4, 1903; p.1-222
28 52 Vol. F-2; Will Forms: Jun 20, 1898-Apr 4, 1903 p. 222-600
REEL DESCRIPTION
28 Vol. G-2; Intestate Forms: May 31, 1898-Dec 10, 1900
REEL BOX DESCRIPTION
28 53 Vol. H-2; Continuations (1899+); p. 1-372
29 53 Vol. H-2; Continuations (1899+) p.372-600
REEL DESCRIPTION
29 Vol. I-2; Continuations (1899+)
REEL BOX DESCRIPTION
29 54 Vol. J-2; Continuations (1900+); p.1-498
30 54 Vol. J-2; Continuations (1900+) p. 498-600
30 55 Vol. K-2; Intestate Forms: Dec 11, 1900-Jan 19, 1903
30 56 Vol. L-2; Continuations (1900+)
30 57 Vol. M-2; Continuations (1900+) ; p.1-22
31 57 Vol. M-2; Continuations (1900+) p.22-600