Marriage Records

Research Guides

About the Records

Utah civil marriage records generally do not exist before 1887. Since 1888, county clerks have been responsible for issuing marriage licenses and certificates. The Utah State Archives has a limited number of county records, most have remained with county offices.

Legal History

Territorial Governor Woods remarked in 1872 that there “is no statute law in Utah upon the subject of marriage” even though it is a civil contract. However, this continued to be the case until nearly the end of the territorial period. If you are looking for a marriage before 1887, you will need to search other libraries and sources beyond a few surviving justice of the peace records.

1887: Edmunds-Tucker Act

Marriage licenses as a record issued by a government agency begin in Utah with the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 (24 Stat. 635). The law primarily meant to end polygamy required a record of marriage as a means of enforcement. The new process was described in a Deseret News article of April 18, 1888, "Filing Marriage Certificates," which references the new "marriage law."

1888: "An Act Regulating Marriage"

In response to the requirements of the Edmunds-Tucker Act, civil records for marriage became the responsibility of county clerks.

"§2589. s 7. Marriages shall be solemnized by the following persons only:

  1. Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination, in regular communion with any religious society.
  2. Probate judges, justices of the peace and judges of the district and supreme court

§2590. s 8. No marriage shall be solemnized without a license therefore, issued by the clerk of the probate court of the county in which the female resides at the time; Provided, That when she is of full age or a widow, and it is issued on her application in person or by writing, signed by her, it may be issued by the clerk of any probate court."

Section 2589 of the Compiled Laws of Utah , Volume II, 1888 Chapter 5
Part of a record for a marriage application

Available Records

Most marriage applications and licenses remain in the offices of county clerks and you will need to contact them directly. Some counties have records online or with FamilySearch (which microfilmed most Utah counties’ records in 1966).

Page Last Updated December 22, 2021.