Series 81444

Bureau of Vital Statistics Native American birth certificates, 1916-1952.

0.70 cubic foot

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

Historical Note

See history of the records' creator.

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.

Research Note

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


Chronological by birth date.

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.

Use Restrictions

These records are available for reproduction and use.

Preferred Citation

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

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.

Acquisition Information

These records were acquired from the creating agency through established retention schedules.

Processing Information

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.

Other 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.

Related Material

Native American birth certificates index from the Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Series 81439, provides a name index.

Container List

111900-1918; 0001-0002
121920 Jan 4-Nov 1; 0003-0049
131921 Jan 13-Dec 29; 0052-0080
141923 Oct-1926 Dec 16; 0082-0121
151927 Jan 15-Dec 29; 0122-0169
161928 Jan 4-Dec 29; 0170-0232
171929-Dec 25; 0233-0302
181930 Jan 1-Dec 30; 0304-0381
191931 Jan 3-Dec 31; 0382-0449
1101932 Jan 2-Dec 26; 0450-0505
1111933 Jan 9-Dec 23; 0506-0573
1121934 Jan 1-Dec 22; 0574-0649
1131935 Jan 7-Dec 27; 0652-0732
1141936 Jan 1-Dec 28; 0733-0833
211937 Jan 1-Dec 27; 0834-0933
221938 Jan 5-Dec 29; 0935-1007
231939 Jan 4-Dec 27; 1008-1081
241940 Jan 12-Dec 27; 1083-1180
251941 Jan 5-Dec 31; 1181-1245
261942 Jan 6-Dec 28; 1246-1314
271943-Dec 31; 1315-1379
281944 Jan-Dec 30; 1380-1438
291945 Jan 7-Dec 31; 1439-1496
2101946 Jan 1-Dec 28; 1497-1575
2111947 Jan 25-Dec 22; 1576-1625
2121948 Jan 1-1949 Aug 26; 1626-1655
2121950 Jul 10-1952 Nov 20; I-2961 to I-3090