San Juan County Utah 
Genealogy and History



Utah map with San Juan County highlighted.

San Juan County is located in southeast Utah.  It is named for the San Juan River which flows through the county. San Juan County was formed in 1880 from Kane County. Monticello is the county seat. The Navajo Indians occupy a large part of the county from the San Juan River south to the Arizona border. There were a few white settlers in the county before 1879 but the first group to settle in the area were the 230 Mormon pioneers who first arrived in Bluff via the famous Hole-in-the-Rock trail on 6 April 1880.  As the full-scale settlement of the county progressed some of the pioneers moved from Bluff and helped to settle Blanding and Monticello where they were able to dry farm and ranch and didn't have to deal with the floods and drought in Bluff. So the population center of the county moved north. The 1990 population figures for the county have the population at 12,621. The population of the three major towns in 1990 was Blanding at 3,162, Monticello at 1,806, and Bluff at 250. Like the rest of Utah the population of San Juan County has grown since that time. The economy of the county at this time is based on livestock, agriculture, mining, and tourism.   


San Juan County Utah Marriage Licenses (1888 to 1931)  This database is the result of an Eagle Scout Project under the direction of Jaxon Johnson.  This is an extensive database and a great asset to this website.

San Juan Biography Page We have started a database listing histories found online of San Juan residents. If you have a history or link to add, let us know. 

Also don't miss this early postcard photo of artesian well near the Mittens in Bluff:


San Juan County Clerk
117 S Main St
PO Box 338
Monticello, UT 84535
Telephone: (435) 587-3223

Blue Mountain Shadows
This is the homepage
of a magazine that
"began in 1986 to collect
and publish the history and
folklore of San Juan County
and the Four Corners area.
It is the publishing arm
of the San Juan County
Historical Commission."
Blanding Branch
Dustin Fife, Librarian
and County Library Director
25 West 300 South
Blanding, UT 84511
Hours: Monday - Friday
11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday - 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Phone: (435) 678-2335
Monticello Branch
Pat Smith, Librarian
P.O. Box 66
80 North Main Street
Monticello, UT 84535-0066
Hours: Monday - Friday
11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday - 11 am to 5 pm
Phone: (435) 587-2281
The San Juan Record
49 South Main
P.O. Box 879
Monticello, Utah  84535-0879
(435) 587-2277
Has archive of small bios of
early county pioneers --
scroll down on left.
The Blue Mountain Panorama
329 West 400 North
P.O. Box 636
Blanding, UT 84511
435-678-3635 or 800-910-NEWS
Weekly newspaper
Comes out on Wednesday

--Noted area historian, Toni Turk, has offered to do lookups in his extensive genealogy files and his book "Rooted in San Juan" compiled for the county's Centennial Legacy Project. His expertise includes all inhabitants of San Juan County without regard to ethnicity. For more information email him at: or visit his website at: 

Online Death Certificates 1904-1958 - Digital images of the actual death certificates.
Utah Department of Vital Health - Birth and death certificates can be ordered here online, by fax, or phone through
Vital Record Information - Utah - This site has information about where and how to obtain Utah vital records and includes a guidelines page.

Please join us on the UTSNJUAN-L mailing list. The list allows subscribers to share information and discuss San Juan County history and genealogy. This mailing list does not get a lot of traffic but the members are great at answering questions and giving help if you're at a dead end.

To subscribe to the list send a message to  or to to receive the list in digest mode with the word "subscribe" without the quotes in the message area only. You don't need to enter anything in the subject line but can put "subscribe" if your mail program requires a subject.
Be sure and leave off any signature lines you may have in your mail program.

Horsehead:  From time to time I will post pictures from my Grandmother Hilda Palmer's photo album. At this time I have pictures online of  Horsehead area near Eastland in 1924. My grandmother was there in 1923-24 teaching school in the one-room schoolhouse. My mother remembers her mother telling of boarding with a family who had children in the school and being sent with a scrambled egg sandwich for lunch each day.

The following paragraph is taken from "A History of San Juan County" by Robert S. McPherson telling about Grandma's teaching experience there: "Many teachers were young females, new to the profession, and recruited from outside of the county through mail or personal contact. Take, for example, Hilda Rose Palmer, who taught twenty-one students in eight grades for a year. She arrived in Thompson fresh from her studies at Snow College and ready to start her career in Horsehead, "wherever that was." Her one-room schoolhouse sported wooden desks, benches, and two outside privies. The parents provided wood fuel, the older boys stoked the stove, and everybody drank cold spring water from a common dipper. Miss [Rose] boarded with a family who lived two miles from the school. She rode to dances on horseback and enjoyed the artwork of a cowboy who broke into the classroom and left his drawings all over the blackboard. Although she felt her experience to be "special" and "rewarding," a year later, in 1927, she moved on to the bright lights of Blanding." (She actually went to BYU for two years to further her teaching degree before returning to teach in Blanding.)  

In answer to my query The San Juan Record  wrote that "Horsehead is a small area, no longer existent, about ten miles east of Monticello near the Colorado - Utah border. There was a school there, a number of families with high expectations of making it big with dry farming, and not much else. There is a small cemetery at Horsehead and not much else." 

Photos of Horsehead residents.

Photos of the Horsehead school.


The maps listed below were provided by  Gold Bug Maps.  They show how the borders of the counties of Utah changed until the formation of San Juan County in 1880.

Utah Digital Map Library  - includes some great, early maps that are online at this site. The site is a part of the USGenWeb Archives. The Utah State Map Coordinator is Richard Dwyer.

San Juan County Historical Sites on the Internet 

Bluff City Tour  - This page is the beginning of a pictorial tour of the town of Bluff. It includes links to each of the homes on the tour:
•James B. Decker House •Hyrum Perkins House •Lemual H. Redd Jr. House •Adelia R. Lyman House •Willard Butt House •Jens Nielson House and Mill •Jens Nielson House • Frederick Joseph Adams House •Old Post Office •John Albert Scorup House •Nicholas Lovace House •Jane Allan House •Joseph Barton Cabin •Kumen Jones House •Old Bluff School House •Bluff Meeting House •Bluff Fort •San Juan Co-operative Store and Dance Hall
It also has links to bios and pictures of the following Bluff pioneers:
•Jane Allan •Harriet Ann Richards Barton •Joseph F. Barton •Caroline Lyman Bayles •Willard Butt •Kumen Jones Family •Annie Maude Lyman Clarke •Eliza Marie Mickelson Decker •James Bean Decker •Nickolas Lovace •Adelia Robinson Lyman •Albert Robinson Lyman •Edward Partridge Lyman •Eliza Adelia Lyman •Emma Lyman •Evelyn Lyman •Lucretia Lyman •Lydia Lyman •Mary Lyman •Platte DeAlton Lyman •Platte DeAlton Lyman, Jr. •Jens Nielson •Kirsten Jensen Nielson •Hyrum Perkins •Eliza Ann Westover Redd •Al Scorup
And it offers three histories of Bluff:
•"Bluff City, Utah: An Historical Sketch" by Michael T. Hurst
•"Land Distribution"
•"Land of Red Sandstone Cliffs: Bluff City, Utah" by Susan Dyer

San Juan Sampler  This is an archive table of contents for Blue Mountain Shadows magazine. It contains four sites with several articles and photos on each subject including:
The Posey War, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tunnel through Blue Mountain, and the Discovery of Rainbow Bridge.

Please Email me at to let me know of sites that will help others with their San Juan county research.

-Helpful Links-

Project Links:
UTGenWeb Project
USGenWeb Page
World GenWeb Project

San Juan County Links:
1895 map of San Juan County 
Native American Genealogy
Index of Native American Genealogy Resources on the Internet
Navajo Genealogy References - this page is no longer online, this is a link to the copy of the website.
Find an LDS Family History Center in San Juan County
The Turk Family of Blanding, Utah
Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation
Utah History Encyclopedia:

San Juan County Tourism Board sites:

Utah Links:
Tracing Mormon Pioneers
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - U.S. - Utah
Special Collections, Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah
1850 US Census Images  from UTGenWeb
1860 US Census Images  from UTGenWeb
Index to Marriage and Death Notices in the Deseret News Weekly (1852-1885)  from UTGenWeb

Utah State Historical Society

LDS Family History Library Research Outlines

Utah State Archives
Utah Historical Quarterly
Utah History Encyclopedia
United States Resources: Utah
Genealogical and Historical Societies in Utah
Lineages, Inc. -- Utah
U.S. Census Bureau - clickable Utah Map
Utah Flag Picture

Neighboring USGenWeb Sites :
Grand County Utah
Kane County Utah
Wayne County Utah
Garfield County Utah
Navajo County Arizona
Apache County Arizona

Montezuma County Colorado
Dolores County Colorado
About the USGenWeb Project



Click for Blanding, Utah Forecast

   There have been visits to this page since March 1, 1998.

County Coordinator: Cindy Alldredge (

I also host the Washington County Utah USGenWeb/UTGenWeb site.

Maps provided by:  Gold Bug Historic Maps and Software


Copyright 2005, 2010  by Cynthia B. Alldredge

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