SALT LAKE CITY, Utah —The Utah State Archives and Record Service and FamilySearch announced this week that digital images of the state’s historic brand books are now available at http://historyresearch.utah.gov/digital/540.htm. FamilySearch digitized the state’s brand books from about 1849 to 1930, which were then added to the Utah State Archives’ Digital Collections.

A free, full text search and name index link to the newly available images.

Brand books officially started in 1851, to prevent the duplicate use of brands by local livestock owners and as a means to identify and control animal inventory. Information included in a brand entry could be a helpful and interesting addition to a family’s history.

“Brand books have been a popular request in the research center for years. We are happy that more researchers will not only be able to view and print from these books anywhere and anytime, but that more might discover this unique resource from Utah’s history,” said Gina Strack, digital coordinator for the Utah State Archives.

Brands have been registered in Utah since 1851, and include all brands and ear marks registered with the State Department of Agriculture. According to the database, more than 42,000 livestock owners used brands to help distinguish their animals from the livestock of other owners. Later, as regulations expanded state control over inspection for disease, transportation, and slaughter of livestock, maintenance of a central brand registry became even more important.

“Family historians might find some of the information in the brand entries fun, interesting, or helpful in providing context to their family stories,” said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. Entries in the brand books include the brand symbol, the name of the person registering the mark or brand, the location on the body of the animal, the county of residence of the applicant, and the date the brand was recorded.

Illustrations of where the marks and brands appeared on the body were added to the books in 1901, as were the names of brand owners. “How many people know about or have a picture of the family’s official animal brand? That would be a fun conversation piece to any family history discussion or collection,” Nauta added. Holdings of the brand books are not complete.

The law regulating the printing of brand books was passed by the first session of the territorial legislature in 1851. It required the general recorder to furnish printed copies of all marks and brands to the clerks of different counties. The brands were published and distributed to all county clerks.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.