Secretary of State Motor vehicle registers
Some records may not be available for research from June 1-11, 2015 due to equipment upgrades. Please consider visiting beforehand or contacting the Research Center for more information.
Dates: i 1909-1919.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
Scope and Content
Motor vehicle registers were created in response to legislation enacted in 1909 requiring all motor vehicle owners, including dealers, and all chauffeurs to register with the Office of the Secretary of State. In 1915, the legislature began requiring that all motorcycles also be registered. The registers include notation of owner, chauffeur, or dealer names and addresses; vehicle model; and license and manufacturer numbers.
The primary purpose of vehicle registration was to collect revenues for the road fund; the register was a means of recording compliance. Fee schedules were based on vehicle type and use as noted in the register. A secondary functions was to provide information to ensure public safety, i.e., reportedly unsafe operators or vehicles with unsafe equipment could be traced. The Secretary of State's office was required to issue a motor vehicle directory semi-annually for distribution to law enforcement agencies and other interested parties.
Sections within the volumes exist for: (1) vehicle owners; (2) commercial vehicles, as a separate category starting in 1917; (3) motorcycles, starting in 1916; (4) chauffeurs; and (5) dealers, 1915-1919. The 1919 volumes were begun in one format and revised and continued in another, resulting in multiple, but apparently fragmentary, holdings for the year.
Entries in the ledgers follow legal mandates for the type of information to be recorded. For owner, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles, an entry primarily consists of name, address, license (or seal) number, vehicle name, style, and factory or serial numbers. Chauffeur information recorded includes license (or badge) number, name, and address; from 1909 to 1914 the names of vehicles the chauffeur said he could drive also were included. Dealer information includes license number, name, address, type of cars handled, and the number of extra plates. In 1919, a column for recording the fees paid was incorporated into all sections, and totals were calculated periodically.
The volumes are arranged chronologically. Information for 1919 is divided by sections into two volumes and loose sheets.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Gaps in Series
Much of the 1919 listings are fragmentary and there are no holdings after 1919. Although the Secretary of State was responsible for vehicle registration until 1933, the location of additional volumes is unknown. On 8 March 1919, the legislature empowered the Office of the Secretary of State to "at the expiration of two years all such applications [for registration of motor vehicles, motorcycles, and chauffeurs] accumulating in said office during said period that may be considered of no value by the Secretary of State may be destroyed.
The series was processed by A. C. Cone in 1988 and updated in 1999 when additional sheets of the 1919 register were located in the records Center.
- Motor vehicles—Valuation—Utah.
- Motorcycles—Registration and transfer—Utah.
- Commercial vehicles—Utah.
- Automobiles—Registration and transfer—Utah.
|2||5||5||1917; Private #1-10550|
|3||5||5||1917; Private #10550-Dealer #161|
|3||6||6||1918; Private #1-12000|
|4||6||6||1918; Private #12000-addendum|
|4||7||7||1919, Jan; Dealers, Chauffeurs, Motorcycles, Commercial|
|4||8||8||1919, Jan; Passenger|
|5||9||1||1919, Jan, May; Private Cars|
|5||9||2||1919, Jan; Commercial|
|5||9||3||1919, Jan-Sept; Motorcycles|
|5||9||4||1919, Jan, Aug; Chauffeurs|
|5||9||5||1919, Apr, Sep; Dealers|