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Archives News, November 2007

Historic Utah animal brand books posted online

Digital images of the Utah’s historic brand books are now available at http://historyresearch.utah.gov/digital/540.htm.

A free, full-text search and name index link to the newly available images.

Brand books officially started in 1851, to prevent the duplicate use of brands by local livestock owners and as a means to identify and control animal inventory. Information included in a brand entry could be a helpful and interesting addition to a family’s history.

Brands have been registered in Utah since 1851, and include all brands and ear marks registered with the State Department of Agriculture. According to the database, more than 42,000 livestock owners used brands to help distinguish their animals from the livestock of other owners. Later, as regulations expanded state control over inspection for disease, transportation, and slaughter of livestock, maintenance of a central brand registry became even more important.

Illustrations of where the marks and brands appeared on the body were added to the books in 1901, as were the names of brand owners.

The law regulating the printing of brand books was passed by the first session of the territorial legislature in 1851. It required the general recorder to furnish printed copies of all marks and brands to the clerks of different counties. The brands were published and distributed to all county clerks. Holdings of the brand books are not complete.

FamilySearch digitized the state’s brand books from about 1849 to 1930, which were then added to the Utah State Archives’ Digital Collections.

USHRAB provides archives training

The Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, Utah State Archives, and Southern Utah University’s Gerald R. Sherratt Library teamed up to offer a basic archives seminar on October 11 in celebration of Archives Month. The free seminar, held at SUU’s Library in Cedar City, was open to any members of an organization in an eight-county area in southwestern Utah with an interest in or responsibility for historic records.

This training was the first in a series of events sponsored by the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board to protect vital historical records across the state and covered areas such as appraisal, archival processing, preservation of records, and how to apply for grants to preserve historic documents and images.
The workshop’s training staff included archivists from the State Archives, the Mountain West Digital Library, and SUU’s Sherratt Library--one of Utah’s eleven regional repositories.

Funding for these historical records workshops is provided through a 2007 state legislative bill, sponsored by Representative Wayne A. Harper, appropriating funds for statewide regional repository training and development programs. Harper, a member of the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, has long had an interest in the preservation and public access of Utah’s historical documentary materials. The three-year appropriation will provide training opportunities and grants to institutions which hold historic records.
Future workshops will be held in other geographic regions of the state. The next training opportunity is scheduled to be held at Weber State University (Ogden, Utah) in the spring.

Archives acquires historic court records

As part of an NHPRC grant, the Utah State Archives has spent the last four months acquiring and processing records from the Territorial Second District Court and the present-day Fifth District Court, which includes offices in Beaver, Iron, and Washington Counties. Records from Washington County were transferred from St. George in late 2005 and have remained in Archives custody awaiting processing. Archives staff members have made two separate acquisition trips since early July to bring in the remaining historic records housed in Beaver and Iron (with a third and final trip scheduled for the beginning of December). Acquisition efforts have been efficient and straightforward as the records that have been removed from their respective offices are in excellent condition and under clear intellectual control. This has allowed for a streamlining of processing efforts that will allow for an economical and pragmatic plan when acquiring court records in other regions of the state. Because of the nature of court business it is not in their interest to provide historical research to their records, something the Utah State Archives is fully equipped to furnish through its Research Center. The Utah State Archives is excited to offer access to this diverse set of records, as well as the opportunities this project will provide for the processing of historic Utah court records in the future.

James Kichas and Brandon Metcalf, processing archivists, undertook an acquisition trip for historic court records in Summit County in late October. The Third District Court in Summit County currently is moving out of its offices in the county seat at Coalville and it was determined that the Archives would take custody of all record books maintained by the court up until the 1990s as well as all civil, criminal, and probate case files up to 1955. Records were scattered throughout the county building between the clerk’s main level office and a storage area in the basement. An interesting situation presented itself when it was learned that the court has allowed the local Summit County Historical Society to undertake a digitization project involving several historic court record books housed primarily in the basement. Since it was in the best interest of all involved to avoid splitting record series between multiple repositories, it was determined that entire record book series would remain with the Summit County historian until the end of her project. At that time, arrangements will be made for those records to be transferred to the Utah State Archives. The acquisition trip did yield several new record series from the court that are now stored onsite at the Utah State Archives and accessible to the public in our Research Center.

Utah State Archives staff news

Gina Strack, a processing and reference archivist and coordinator of digital collections, was recognized as the Utah State Archives’s “employee of the year” September 6 at the annual Department of Administrative Services (DAS) awards presentation and picnic. The DAS quality service awards are presented to those “displaying a commitment to quality customer service, creativity in identifying problems and solutions, and dedication to efficiency in government.” Strack’s award was presented by Patricia Smith-Mansfield, director of the Division of Archives, who complimented her work in establishing the digital program. Strack is also enrolled in a Master of Library Science program at the University of Washington Information School. Gina has been with the archives full-time since September 2002. She previously served an internship with the division.

This page was last updated August 18, 2010.