Utah Military Records Research Guide

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military recordsThe uses and significance of Utah military records in family history and genealogical research for ancestors that were veterans are obvious but Utah military records can also be crucial to researchers whose primary ancestors weren’t soldiers in any war. Due to the amount of genealogical information contained in a number of Utah military pension data files they should never be ignored throughout the research process.

President James K. Polk requested that a Mormon Mattalion consisting of 500 volunteers depart from Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 19, 1846. At Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, they joined up with other troops. Then they moved to Santa Fe and San Diego. They got to San Diego on January 29, 1847. After one year, 81 of them stayed in San Diego and the rest went to Sutter’s Fort, which was to the north. Eventually, they all went to Salt Lake City, where they met up with other Mormons.

A group of troops consisting of 13,000 Mormons made up a territorial militia. It also contained non-Mormon men of military age. That group stayed in existence and participated in military maneuvers until the late 1860s, after the Black Hawk War ended. The Utah State Archives holds the original records for that group for 1849 to 1870. They also hold records relating to various other veterans and militia groups from the state. Those records include multiple useful indexes. The National Archives and the FHL also have many of those records available on microfilm. The Utah State Archives website also has a guide available called “Utah Military Service Records.”

Several Utah volunteers participated in Civil War action. In 1898, 500 Utah servicemen participated in the Spanish-American War. About 21,000 Utah soldiers were active during World War I and World War II saw an even bigger increase in Utah resident participation. A special census of Union veterans and Civil War widows was taken in 1890 and included servicemen from Utah. Those who were living in Utah in 1890, but served in other places, were also included. Many discharged troops chose to stay in Utah and get involved in commercial or mining industries.

The federal burial program has been in existence since 1861. For information on veterans of all wars who were buried under that program, researchers should contact Cemetery Service, National Cemetery System, Veterans Administration all headstone applications were filed according to applicant name, state, county, and cemetery where the burial took place.

Utah in the Civil War

 

Civil War Website Links

Utah Indian Wars

War Website Links

  • Utah Index to Indian War Service Affidavits, 1909-19  (search.ancestry.com) War with the Native Americans plagued the United States for much of the time between 1865 and 1890. This time period has come to be known as the Indian War period. Beginning in 1909 in Utah veterans of the Indian wars, under the direction of the Board of Commissioners of Indian War Records, completed affidavits of their service. Most of the affidavits were created in 1909 and 1910. However, there are a few that date as late as 1919. The affidavits provide information such as the veteran’s name, residence, age, date of enrollment in the military, type of company, captain’s name, length of service, etc. If a veteran was deceased his wife or children could fill out an affidavit in his place. Affidavits were filled out mainly to authenticate pension claims. This database is an index to the affidavits. The index includes the veteran’s name and the reel number on which a microfilmed copy of the record is located.
  • Indian War Service Affidavits, 1909-1917 (familysearch.org) Digital capture of service affidavits of veterans who served in the militia during the Indian Wars. Original records located at the Utah State Archives. The collection is arranged alphabetically by surname within box and folder number. The collection is Series 2217. The affidavits were created to assistant in validating pension claims. There are three types of forms: affidavit of soldier, affidavit of widow or child, and affidavit of witness. In most cases there will be two images per affidavit.

 

Utah Modern Wars

War Website Links

  • Veterans with Federal Service Buried in Utah, Territorial to 1966 (familysearch.org) This project was indexed in partnership with the Utah Genealogical Association. Name index and images of cemetery cards of veteran burials in the state of Utah to 1966.
  • Territorial Militia Records, 1849-1877 (familysearch.org) Records of the territorial militia (Nauvoo Legion) from the Utah Territory. Papers include muster rolls, correspondence, payrolls, morning reports, receipts, returns, and journals. Utah State Archives Record Series 2210. The collection is arranged by document number.
  • Utah, Military Records, 1861-1970  (search.ancestry.com) This database contains military records on Utah servicemen and women created or collected by various state government agencies. They include questionnaires, index cards, photographs, and newspaper clippings going back to the days of Utah’s territorial militia.
  • The History of the Utah volunteers in the Spanish-American War and in the Philippine Islands : a complete history of all the mi  (search.ancestry.com) a complete history of all the military organizations in which Utah men served : life and service from the time of the muster in to the day of the muster out : incidents of camp and field life : biographical sketches of officers and men engaged in the service, rosters, official reports, special articles by eminent writers.

Printed sources

  • The Mormon Battalion. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1956.
  • The Saints and the Union: Utah Territory in the Civil War. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981.
  • Utah Remembers World War II. Logan, Utah: Utah State University, 1991.
  • The History of the Utah Volunteers in the Spanish-American War and in the Philippine Islands. Salt Lake City, W.F. Ford, 1900.
  • The Mormon Battalion: U.S. Army of the West, 1846–1847. Logan: Utah State University, 1996.
  • Utah in the World War. Salt Lake City: Arrow Press, 1924.