Series 3944
Salt Lake County (Utah). Probate Court Civil and criminal case docket books

Dates: i 1852-1887.

10 microfilm reelsSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

These docket books record actions taken in particular cases, on specified dates, by the Salt Lake County Probate Court. The first volumes, A, A-1, and A-2 also constitute a record of proceedings in each case and are therefore somewhat more detailed. Detailed minutes were split into a separate series after 1860.

These dockets cover civil and criminal cases until 1874, and divorces until 1887. Civil cases include debt and damages suits, plus assault, foreclosure, child abuse, embezzlement, fraud, etc. Criminal cases include larceny, burglary, murder, seduction, fornication, etc. In 1874 a federal act limited the jurisdiction of probate courts to certain divorce cases, probate, and guardianship matters.

Docket A consists only of divorce cases and records both the actions taken and a description of the proceedings. A typical divorce case as entered in Docket A includes a complaint filed; summons issued notifying the defendant; and the decree dissolving the marriage, allocating property and any alimony, and assigning the custody of any children.

Dockets A-1 and A-2 contain the dockets and description of proceedings in criminal and civil cases, including some divorces. Proceedings recorded include such information as the names of plaintiff and defendant; action; affidavit filed; summons of defendant; names of council, witnesses, and jurors; and judgments of judge or arbitrators, including sentence or amount of settlement.

The first half of volume A-1 contains both the docket and procedural minutes of the court from 1852 to December 1855. The first half of volume A-2 contains the docket and minutes from January 1856 to December 1858. The second half of volume A-2 constitutes a court docket for the period from December 1858 to the end of August 1860. The second half of volume A-1 contains the minutes for the same period.

The later dockets have similar, but very abbreviated, information on each case. A typical case listing will consist of dated entries such as: "complaint filed;" "defendant notified;" "case called, investigated;" and "decree made." Few particulars are included. Once a case is located, the dates recorded for each action allow the researcher to locate the more detailed information recorded in the civil and criminal case minute books, series 3939.


Volumes and docketed cases are chronological by the date of initial entry, although the first three volumes cover a similar time frame. Volumes are labeled alphabetically. Each docketed case has individual entries by date. Minute sections in the first three volumes are chronological.

Research Note

The dockets may not cover all cases. Some cases were settled out of court prior to making an appearance before the judge. See the Probate Court case files, series 373, for more information.

Related Records

Civil and criminal case files from Salt Lake County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 373, contain many of the specific documents referred to in this series.

Territorial minute books from the District Court (Third District), Series 1649, of the Third District Court kept civil and criminal case minutes for similar cases.

Civil and criminal case minute books from Salt Lake County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 3939, form a separate series of minutes after 1860.

Case files from the District Court (Third District), Series 9802, are case files for similar cases from the Third District Court.

Custody History

These records were transferred to the State Archives by the county before the creation of the Salt Lake County Archives. Hard copy was returned to the County Archives 26 July 2001; a film copy was retained for reference use by the Utah State Archives.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

The series was scheduled to be microfilmed and destroyed in 1968. Most volumes were microfilmed in the first quarter of 1972, but the originals were not discarded; the index to A-1/A-2 was filmed in November 1999. Archival processing completed by A.C. Cone in 1989. Hard copy, and a film copy, were transferred to the Salt Lake County Archives 26 July 2001; the Utah State Archives retained a microfilm reference copy.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Volumes A-1, A-2, C, D, and E have alphabetical indices by the first letter of the plaintiff's surname, covering from February 27, 1852 thru 1887, and from A1 thru E.

Indexing Terms

  • Trials (Divorce)—Utah.
  • Trials (Seduction)—Utah.
  • Trials (Murder)—Utah.
  • Trials (Burglary)—Utah.
  • Trials (Embezzlement)—Utah.
  • Trials (Larceny)—Utah.
  • Trials (Assault and battery)—Utah.
  • Trials (Sex Crimes)—Utah.
  • Probate—Cases—Utah.

Container List

1 Divorce Docket and Minutes, Vol. A, Sept. 16, 1852-May 3, 1856
2 Index to Vol. A-1 and A-2
3 Docket and Minutes, Vol. A-1, Apr. 27, 1852-July 24, 1855, Dec. 22, 1858-Sept. 1, 1860
3 Docket and Minutes, Vol. A-2, Jan. 1, 1856-Aug. 24, 1860
4 Docket, Vol. B, Aug. 23, 1860-Dec. 29, 1865
5 Index and Docket, Vol. C, Nov. 22, 1865-Dec. 19, 1872
6 Index to Vol. D
7 Docket, Vol. D, Dec. 20, 1872-June 23, 1874
8 Docket, Vol. D, June 23, 1874-July 31, 1877
9 Index to Vol. E
10 Docket, Vol. E, Aug. 6, 1877-Feb. 28, 1887

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.