Series 81444
Vital Statistics Section Native American birth certificates

Dates: 1916-1952.

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

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

The birth certificates in this series were issued to Native Americans in Utah outside of the regular birth registration process that began in 1905 (Laws of Utah, 1905, chapter 120). Most if not all of these individuals were born on one of the Indian reservations in Utah, with one or both parents being considered Indian as a race. Some certificates indicate the specific tribe, and a few also include the amount of Indian blood in quarters, such as 1/4 or 4/4.

The relationship between both federal and state governments and Native American tribes, tribal governments, and individuals is complex and constantly changing. Although considered sovereign nations by the U.S. Government, tribes are also limited by a standing of a "ward to its guardian" as espoused by the Supreme Court (Cherokee Nation vs. State of Georgia, 30 U.S. 1). As such, most governing actions occur on the federal level, with limited effect in any one state.

The Constitution of the State of Utah in 1895 set out to "make no distinction in civil or political rights on account of race or color, except as to Indians not taxed" (Constitutional Convention, Day 1). The status of "not taxed" stems from the United States Constitution, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Interpretations over time, such as for the federal census, eventually settled upon a definition of Native Americans as individuals living on tribal lands and not assimilated into non-native (white) society. This is reflected in a Constitutional Convention discussion on elections and suffrage that the post-Civil War Fifteenth Amendment "gives the Indian--aborigines of this country--the right when he severs his tribal relations and is taxed." (Day 27). Citizenship for Native Americans was granted piecemeal until the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, for "all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States." Some limitations that may or may not have been affected by a state-issued birth certificate continued in Utah, such as not being allowed to register to vote when living on a reservation, which was ended in 1957 (Laws of Utah, 1957, chapter 38).

Various standard certificate forms are found in this series, from the U.S. Census Bureau to whatever was being used in Utah, plus a few from neighboring states. The information on certificates includes the child's name, place of birth, date of birth, sex, and if child is part of a multiple birth; the parents' name, race, age, birthplace, occupation, and marital status; a record of children previously born to the mother; the length of the pregnancy; the child's weight and length at birth; the date of the serological test; a description of any complications; and a description of any congenital malformations or birth injuries.


Chronological by birth date.

Related Records

Native American birth certificates index from the Department of Health. Center for Health Data and Informatics. Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Series 81439, provides a name index.

Custody History

The original paper records were transferred from the Office of Vital Records and Statistics after being added to the electronic birth registration system.

Access Restrictions

Birth certificates are private for 100 years from the date of birth and only the Office of Vital Records and Statistics may issue certified copies to subjects of the record or their immediate family. The Archives holds the original paper records and a copy on microfilm only for preservation.

Preferred Citation

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

Outside of only a few, there are none before 1920. Holdings end in 1952 with a noticeable decline in mid-1949.

Processing Note

This series was processed by Gina Strack in July 2015. The dividers that appear to have been added in the late 1950's were retained for context, along with the note to add January 15, 1960 as the filing date to all of the certificates, as many are missing registration information.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Series 81439 NATIVE AMERICAN BIRTH CERTIFICATES INDEX provides access by name. The Office of Vital Records and Statistics also has an electronic version to assist with issuing certified copies. Research guide for Birth Records is available. View guide.

Indexing Terms

  • Vital statistics
  • Birth certificates—Utah
  • Indians of North America

Container List

1 1 1900-1918; 0001-0002
1 2 1920 Jan 4-Nov 1; 0003-0049
1 3 1921 Jan 13-Dec 29; 0052-0080
1 4 1923 Oct-1926 Dec 16; 0082-0121
1 5 1927 Jan 15-Dec 29; 0122-0169
1 6 1928 Jan 4-Dec 29; 0170-0232
1 7 1929-Dec 25; 0233-0302
1 8 1930 Jan 1-Dec 30; 0304-0381
1 9 1931 Jan 3-Dec 31; 0382-0449
1 10 1932 Jan 2-Dec 26; 0450-0505
1 11 1933 Jan 9-Dec 23; 0506-0573
1 12 1934 Jan 1-Dec 22; 0574-0649
1 13 1935 Jan 7-Dec 27; 0652-0732
1 14 1936 Jan 1-Dec 28; 0733-0833
2 1 1937 Jan 1-Dec 27; 0834-0933
2 2 1938 Jan 5-Dec 29; 0935-1007
2 3 1939 Jan 4-Dec 27; 1008-1081
2 4 1940 Jan 12-Dec 27; 1083-1180
2 5 1941 Jan 5-Dec 31; 1181-1245
2 6 1942 Jan 6-Dec 28; 1246-1314
2 7 1943-Dec 31; 1315-1379
2 8 1944 Jan-Dec 30; 1380-1438
2 9 1945 Jan 7-Dec 31; 1439-1496
2 10 1946 Jan 1-Dec 28; 1497-1575
2 11 1947 Jan 25-Dec 22; 1576-1625
2 12 1948 Jan 1-1949 Aug 26; 1626-1655
2 12 1950 Jul 10-1952 Nov 20; I-2961 to I-3090

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