Research Adoption Records

Provisions for adopting children were first enacted by the Utah Territorial legislature in March 1884; prior to that date there were provisions for indenturing children and for assigning guardians in the case of deceased parents, but none for formal adoption.

Accessing Historical Adoptions

Utah law permits public access to adoption records over 100 years old (Utah Code 1953 78B-6-141 (2)(e), see also Access to Adoption Records). In addition, access will be permitted 100 years after the birth date (Adoption Records Access Amendments).

Adoptions were usually conducted as a court probate proceeding (more on the Utah Court System).Many of the probate records are not indexed, so knowing when and where the adoption took place can be critical.

The following series with Archives holdings likely contain accessible adoption records:

County Probate Courts
Box Elder County (Utah). Probate Court
Adoption record book, 1888. Series 772
Sanpete County (Utah). Probate Court
Record books, 1855 - 1896 Series 26609
Tooele County (Utah). Probate Court.
Record books, 1859-1892. Series 1422
Weber County (Utah). Probate Court
Guardians record, 1884-1895. Series 22725
Probate Minute Books, 1883-1896 Series 5142
State District Courts
District Court (First District : Box Elder County)
Index to probate registers, 1896-1966 Series 26051
Probate case files, 1906- Series 11796
Probate record books, 1876-1966. Series 17456
District Court (First District : Cache County)
Probate account books, 1883-1898. Series 22725
Probate case files, 1864- Series 1532
Probate index, 1864-1988. Series 22659
Probate minute/record books, 1860-1966 Series 22905
Probate record books, 1876-1906 Series 767
Probate registers of actions, 1864-1988 Series 22724
District Court (Second District : Davis County)
Adoption record books, 1885-1949 Series 1420
Guardianship and adoption record books, 1881-1966 Series 1418
Probate case files, 1870- Series 4654
Probate record books, 1896- Series 4733
District Court (Second District : Morgan County)
Probate record books, 1868-1966. Series 1291
District Court (Second District : Weber County)
Minutes, 1896- Series 1407
Probate case files, 1851- Series 6874
Probate Court index, 1851-1899. Series 21023
Probate record books, 1879-1959, 1975-1984 Series 6405
District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County)
Adoption record books, 1884-1917. Series 3932
Estate registers, 1876- Series 3927
Probate case files, 1851- Series 1621
Probate minutes, 1884-1973. Series 3938
Probate record books, 1852-1966. Series 3372
District Court (Third District : Tooele County)
Probate case files, 1871- Series 83314
Probate record books, 1899-1966. Series 17546
District Court (Fourth District : Juab County)
Adoption files, 1893- Series 7057
Probate case files, 1896- Series 17925
Probate record books, 1883- Series 1160
District Court (Fourth District : Summit County)
Probate record books, 1866-1963 Series 1342
District Court (Fourth District : Uintah County)
Probate record books, 1886-1966 Series 1371
Probate registers of action, 1888-1966 Series 27216
District Court (Fourth District : Utah County)
Adoption record books, 1885-1949. Series 1420
Probate record books, 1875-1973. Series 1373
Probate and insanity cases indexes, 1896-1977. Series 25988
District Court (Fourth District : Wasatch County)
Probate case files, 1908- Series 3590
Probate record books, 1862-1964. Series 1378
District Court (Fifth District : Beaver County)
Probate case files, 1856- Series 6241
Probate record books, 1897-1997 Series 1053
Probate registers of action, 1896-1998 Series 23866
District Court (Fifth District : Iron County)
Probate case files, 1895- Series 26645
Probate record books, 1899-1964 Series 1124
District Court (Fifth District : Millard County)
Minute books, 1896-1980. Series 1406
Probate record books, 1870-1966. Series 1188
District Court (Fifth District : Washington County)
Guardianships and adoptions record, 1902-1920 Series 13505
Probate case files, 1896- Series 3636
Probate record books, 1897-1991 Series 18215
Probate registers of action, 1902-1990. Series 18217
District Court (Sixth District : Garfield County)
Probate record books, 1883-1892; 1980-1981 Series 1115
District Court (Sixth District : Piute County)
Probate record books, 1869-1910. Series 1353
District Court (Sixth District : Sanpete County)
Index to register of estates, 1894-1993 Series 26600
Probate case files, 1882- Series 14694
Probate record books, 1884-1990. Series 1336
District Court (Sixth District : Sevier County)
Probate record books, 1865-1985. Series 1338
District Court (Sixth District : Wayne County)
Probate record books, 1889-1987. Series 1380
District Court (Seventh District : Carbon County)
Probate record books, 1895-1966; 1973- Series 1063
District Court (Seventh District : Emery County)
Probate case files, 1888-1989 Series 12488
Probate record books, 1889-1993 Series 1088
Probate registers of actions, 1887-1966 Series 21917
District Court (Seventh District : Grand County)
Probate record books, 1908-1975 Series 1103
Probate registers of actions, 1890-1990 Series 26182
District Court (Seventh District : San Juan County)
Probate record books, 1888-1975 Series 1314
District Court (Eighth District : Uintah County)
Probate case files, 1888- Series 14198

More Recent Adoptions

Adoption files less than 100 years old are sealed. The adoptive parents and the adult adopted child may obtain a copy of the adoption decree, but otherwise the file cannot be opened for inspection except upon a court order. All requests to open sealed adoption files to obtain identifying information of adoptee or birth parents are initiated by filing a formal petition with the clerk of the court in the county where the adoption was granted. Addresses can be obtained from the court directory.

Adoption Mutual consent Voluntary Registry

Utah's "Mutual-Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry" makes it easier for adult adoptees and their "birth parents" or their blood-related brothers and sisters to find each other. The registry is a result of legislation that became effective April 27, 1987.

The registry is administered by the Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records. Adult Adoptees {at least 21 years old} who were born in Utah, their blood-related brothers and sisters, and their birth parents may use the registry.

A form available from the Bureau must be used to provide identifying information to the registry. Adult adoptees must be at least 21 years old to file, but a birth parent may file at any time. To help operate the registry, a $25.00 fee must be included with each application.

Each registry application is stored in computer files. A computer program compares each new application with all others in search of a match. When the Bureau receives an application from an adult adoptee that matches the application of a birth parent or an adult blood-related brother or sister, identifying information will be provided to the matched applicants.

For registry information, contact:

Adoption Reunion Registry
Department of Health
Vital Statistics
288 N. 1460 W.
PO Box 141012
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1012
Telephone: (801) 538-6363

Original Sources: Utah Code Annotated 78-30-15,78-30-19; Utah Code of Judicial Administration, Rules4-202.02(11)(A), 4-202.03(11), and 6-406. Records list added later along with updated code citations.

Page Last Updated February 26, 2016.