In trying to unravel some family relations in Utah Territory, one of the source materials is the 1860 Federal Census:

1860 Federal Census Salt Lake County, Utah Territory

Paging through that census there are several Post Offices in Salt Lake County: Union, Great Salt Lake City.

Does anyone know where the "Mormon Post Office" was located (in relation to maps of today)


The easy way to find census locations on a map is to consult William Thorndale and William Dollarhide's Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1920 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992).

But if you want to try to plot it on the map yourself, you could look for descriptions of the districts.

The online guide at the US National Archives, 1790-1890 Federal Population Censuses - Part 1 has information about what maps and ED descriptions can be found at NARA. The section Enumeration District Descriptions and Maps explains:

An ED refers to the area assigned to a single census-taker. ED descriptions pertinent to the schedules covered by this catalog are in Descriptions of Census Enumeration Districts, 1830-1890 and 1910-1950 (T1224). Table 2, ED Descriptions, 1830-90, in T1224, explains coverage of the 17 rolls pertinent to this catalog.

after Table 2, they note:

The title of T1224 contains a misnomer because EDs, strictly defined, were not used until the 1880 census. The early censuses used the term subdivision to refer to part of a supervisor's or marshal's division or district. Subdivisions in the early censuses comprised towns, townships, or other units comparable to MCDs.

MCDs = minor civil division (see Claire Kluskens' article from Prologue, Plans of Division, which describes the 1930 Census)

Unfortunately, if you look in the microfilm catalog for T1224, the description says it hasn't been digitized yet, and it doesn't seem to be on the list Microfilm Publications and Original Records Digitized by Our Digitization Partners, so you would have to consult the microfilm at the National Archives or at another repository that has a copy of the microfilm. A DP, T1224.PDF is available.

The USPS' Publication 119, Sources of Historical Information on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes, and Mail Contractors says:

Lists, tables, and directories of Post Offices are available for nearly half of the years from 1803 to 1870

If you can find those titles online, you can see if they include a map. For instance, Hathi Trust has a listing for List of post offices in the United States, with the names of postmasters, on the 13th of July 1857. Also the regulations and laws of the Post Office Department. Comp. from the records of the Post Office Department, by D.D.T. Leech.

Publication 119 says:

Selected editions of the List of Post Offices in the United States, Table of Post Offices in the United States, Directory of Post Offices, and National Five-Digit ZIP Code and Post Office Directory (titles vary slightly) may be available from your local library through inter-library loan.

Check Worldcat.org for libraries near you.

NARA's guide to P.O. Reports of Site Locations, 1837 - 1950 has a section on How to Locate the Microfilm Roll Number Containing a Site Report for a Particular Post Office. For Utah the rolls are:

  • Roll 594: Utah, Beaver - Garfield Counties
  • Roll 595: Utah, Grand - Salt Lake Counties
  • Roll 596: Utah, San Juan - Sevier Counties
  • Roll 597: Utah, Summit - Weber Counties

These rolls are part of M1126, Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations, 1837–1950 (683 rolls); the catalog includes them as part of M1126C (200 Rolls) and the catalog says they have not yet been digitized, so like T1224, you'd have to find somewhere to view the microfilm or get it via interlibrary loan. Earlier rolls are available through the National Archives' catalog, so check back periodically to see if more rolls are added. A DP, M1126.pdf, is available for download.

Other resources:

Update: I searched for all post offices in Salt Lake County on the USGS's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) but I do not see a Post Office by that name in the search results (GNIS does include some historical entries).

You could try looking for historical topographic maps for the area at the USGS's Site The National Map or by using the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer to see if you can find nearby post offices in the county.

Further reading and more resources:

  • As you can see there are no EDs on these pages, but your other references are great. Eyesight just needs to hold out
    – BobE
    Jul 28 '18 at 3:52
  • @BobE Yes, that's why NARA warns us that the title of the microfilm is misleading because the term ED wasn't in use until later. The basic idea -- dividing up an area into smaller divisions when assigning the work -- applies to all censuses, but the manner of doing so and the terms used will differ depending on the particular census year.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 28 '18 at 20:50
  • 1
    @BobE I've updated my answer with links to USGS' historical map collection and to GNIS,
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 31 '18 at 4:45

@JanMurphy's response is wonderful!

Just a quick note--the P.O. Reports of Site Locations, 1837-1950, have actually been digitized and are available if you click through here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/608210.

In addition, looking forward to the 1880 census, a number of the people in this neighborhood (using the page number and information from your original post) are still living in close proximity to one another and are enumerated in the Mill Creek district. This might help you narrow down your 1860 location.

  • Good catch! The roll for Salt Lake County is M1126 Roll 595 which is here: catalog.archives.gov/id/68775855 -- Very often the ordering catalog for the microcopy publications will state that a particular microfilm isn't digitized yet when it has been (the catalog description lags behind the digitization project) so as you demonstrated, it's a good idea to check the main catalog to see if the the records are available.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 28 '18 at 20:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.