The State of Utah began issuing birth certificates in 1905. Before the law was passed, local government offices used different methods to record the vital records of births and deaths in their community.
In 1898, birth and death registrations were done within the offices of county clerks across the state. For births, physicians and midwives reported the births they attended on standardized forms (Revised Statutes of Utah 1898, Title 57, p. 474-475). County clerks turned these reports into entries in a permanent register book. Deaths similarly were reported to clerks, usually by a physician in attendance.
For Tooele County we have an opportunity to see this process in action with records available online. To follow one birth from report to register, take a closer look at these entries for the baby boy of Charles and Minnie Pocock.
This birth report indicates that a male child was born to Charles and Minnie in Tooele City on February 8, 1898.
The report has a cover page indicating preparation by Libbie Lee, also of Tooele City. According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Libbie indeed was a midwife.
Mrs. Lee filed the report with the Office of the County Clerk of Tooele County, Arthur B. Bryan, a few months later on April 7, 1898.
Mr. Bryan recorded the birth in the Register of Births. In this case, it is the very first one reported and registered in Tooele County. Congratulations to the new parents–120 years later.
We hope if you’re looking for family, or just interested in these historical records, you’ll enjoy exploring the Tooele County Birth Reports, Register of Births, Death Reports, and Register of Deaths.