Minnesota County Resources

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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Minnesota Family History Research series.
History of Minnesota
Minnesota Vital Records
Census Records for Minnesota
Background Sources for Minnesota
Minnesota Maps
Minnesota Land Records
Minnesota Probate Records
Minnesota Court Records
Minnesota Tax Records
Minnesota Cemetery Records
Minnesota Church Records
Minnesota Military Records
Minnesota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Minnesota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Minnesota Immigration
Minnesota Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Minnesota
Minnesota County Resources
Map of Minnesota
County Map of Minnesota

Records at the county level are the responsibility of the following offices: office of the court administrator—birth, death, and marriage; county recorder—land records; office of the probate judge—probate files; and office of the court administrator—criminal and civil court records. Although years for birth, marriage, and death records indicated in the following chart are the earliest located in that county, not all records may start at that date and there may be different starting dates for different records within the county. The earliest year for probate records may be probate files or wills. Court records may be civil and/or criminal. In some counties, the earlier criminal files may be found in the civil court files.

For some counties there are two years for date of formation listed. The first is the year the county was created. The second is the year it was fully organized if it differs from the creation year. Under the heading “Parent County/ies,” the name/s listed may be the county or counties from which the respective county was formed, or it may be names by which the county was originally known. “Unorganized” denotes that it was formed from non-county areas. A county name in parentheses is the county to which the unorganized land may have been attached at that time. Counties listed with an asterisk (*) are not parent counties but other counties in which you may also find records for the respective county since it may have been “attached” to that county for some period of time.

The files of the Minnesota Historical Society Research Center and the following have been consulted for county information:

  • Dalquist, Alfred J. Minnesota Genealogical Journal. Brooklyn Park, Minn.: Park Genealogical Book Co., 1984–87.
  • Pope, Wiley R. Tracing Your Ancestors in Minnesota: A Guide to the Sources. Vols. 1–8. St. Paul: Minnesota Family Trees, 1980–88. This source draws heavily on the WPA guides that were developed fifty years ago. Record sources have changed in the interim.
  • The Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1989–90. St. Paul: Election Division, Secretary of State, 1989.

What follows is a guide to the various record sources and is not to be considered a definitive explanation for the peculiarities of each county’s holdings.

County addresses were obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health [online], Center for Health Statistics, “Addresses of County Registrars/Recorders” at www.health.state.mn.us/index.html.

Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Birth Marriage Death Land Probate Court
D4 Aitkin 209 2nd St. NW, Aitkin 56431 1857 (1885) Pine/Ramsey 1887/*Crow Wing/*Morrison187418851885187218901862
Aitkin County was spelled Aiken until 1872
Andy Johnson 1862 (as Toombs; renamed 1862; disestablished, 1864; renamed Wilkin, 1868) Pembina *Stearns/*Crow Wing/*Douglas
F5 Anoka 325 E. Main St., Anoka 55303 1857 Ramsey187018581870185718581858
D2 Becker 915 Lake Ave., Detroit Lakes 56501 1858 (1871) Cass/Pembina/*Stearns/*Crow Wing/*Douglas187118711871187218721871
B3 Beltrami 619 Beltrami Ave. NW, Bemidji 56601 1866 (1897) Itasca/Pembina/Polk/unorganized *Becker189618971896187418961897
F4 Benton 531 Dewey St., Foley 56329 1849 St. Croix/unorganized186518501867185018521850
Big Sioux 1857–58 (abolished 1858) Brown
F1 Big Stone 20 SE 2nd St., Ortonville 56278 1862 (1881) Pierce *Renville/*Stevens188118811881187318811881
J3 Blue Earth 204 S. Fifth St., Mankato 56001 1853 Dahkota187018651870185318581854
Breckenridge 1858–62 (renamed Clay, 1862) Pembina
B3 Brown Box 248, New Ulm 56073 1855 (1856) Blue Earth187018571870185718561857
Buchanen 1857–61 (abolished 1861; became part of Pine) Pine *Chisago/*St. Louis
D5 Carlton 301 Walnut Ave., Carlton 55718 1857 (1870) Pine/St. Louis187018711870187018701871
G4 Carver 600 E. Fourth St., Chaska 55318 1855 (1855) Hennepin/Sibley187018561870185618571854
D3 Cass Walker 56484 1851 (1872) (1897) Dakota/Pembina/Mahkato/Wahnahta (abolished 1876)*Benton/*Stearns/*Crow Wing/*Morrison189618971896186418971888
Disestablished 1876; became part of Crow Wing; reorganized, 1897.
G2 Chippewa 629 N. 11th St., Montevideo 56265 1862 (1869) Davis/Pierce *Renville187018701870187018721870
F5 Chisago 313 N. Main, Center City 55012 1851 (1852) Ramsey/Washington187018581870185218571858
D1 Clay 807 11th St. North, Moorhead 56560 1858 (as Breckenridge; renamed 1862) (1872) *Stearns/*Crow Wing/*Douglas/*Becker187218721872186418721872
C2 Clearwater 213 Main Ave. North, Bagley 56621 1902 Beltrami189819031903190319031903
B8 Cook 411 W. 2nd St., Grand Marais 55604 1874 (1897) Lake/*St. Louis1897189718971892
H2 Cottonwood 900 Third Ave., Windom 56101 1857 (1873) Brown *Redwood/*Watonwan187118711871187118711871
D4 Crow Wing 326 Laurel St., Brainerd 56401 1857 (disestablished 1858)-1866 (disestablished 1867) (1871)Ramsey *Morrison 187318711874185718741871
In 1858 Crow Wing was disorganized and attached to Morrison; in 1866 it was fully organized; again disestablished in 1867 and attached to Morrison; in 1871 it was fully organized.
H5 Dakota 1560 Hwy., 55 West, Hastings 55093 1849 (1853) unorganized *Ramsey187018531870185218631853
Davis 1855 (abolished 1862; became part of Chippewa and Lac Qui Parle) Cass/Nicolet/Pierce/Sibley *Stearns
J5 Dodge 22 E 6th St., Mantorville 55955 1855 (1855) Rice/unorganized187018581870185618571859
Doty 1855 (renamed Newton, 1855; abolished 1856; became part of St. Louis) Itasca
J4 Faribault P.O. Box 130, Blue Earth 56013 1855 (1857) Blue Earth187018701870185418581870
J6 Fillmore 101 Fillmore St., Preston 55965 1853 Wabasha187018561870185318571856
J5 Freeborn 411 S. Broadway, Albert Lea 560071855 (1857) Blue Earth/Rice187018571870185418661857
H5 Goodhue 509 W. 5th St., Red Wing 550661853 (1854) Dakota/Wabasha187018541870185318541854
E1 Grant 10 Second St. NE, Elbow Lake 565311868 (1883) Stevens/Traverse/Wilkin *Douglas187718691879187218751872
G4 Hennepin 300 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis 554871852 (1852) Dakota *Ramsey187018531870184818551853
J7 Houston P.O. Box 29, Caledonia 559211854 Fillmore187018541870185618671857
C3 Hubbard301 Court St., Park Rapids 564701883 (1887) Cass *Wadena188518841887188318841884
F5 Isanti555 18th Ave. SW, Cambridge 550081857 (disestablished 1858; reorganized, 1871)Ramsey/*St. Louis/*Anoka187318711873185718681880
C4 Itasca123 Fourth St. N.E., Grand Rapids 557441849 (1857) (disestablished 1858; reorganized, 1891) *Washington/*Benton/*Chisago/*Crow Wing/*Morrison/*St. Louis/*Aitkin 189318911894186818981891
J2 Jackson Box 209, Jackson 561431857 (1866) (abolished, Sioux uprising 1862)Brown *Martin187018681870186618671871
E5 Kanabec 18 N. Vine, Mora 550511858 (1881) Pine/*Chisago188018851880185918881882
G3 Kandiyohi 400 Benson Ave. SW, Wilmer 562011858 (1871) Davis/Meeker/Pierce/Renville (disbanded 1866)(see Monongalia)187018801870185818671871
A1 Kittson 410 S. 5th St., Hallock 567281878 (1897) (see Pembina)*Polk187718811881187918991897
A4 Koochiching 715 Fourth St., International Falls 566491906 Itasca190619061906190719071907
Lac Qui Parle (old) 1862–68 (disbanded) Davis/Pierce/*Renville
G1 Lac Qui Parle (present) P.O. Box 132, Madison 562561871 (1873) Redwood187218721872187118681885
B7 Lake 601 3rd Ave., Two Harbors 556161856 (1891) (see St. Louis OLD)*Benton/*St. Louis1891188818911874
A3 Lake of the Woods P.O. Box 808, Baudette 566231922 Beltrami192219231923189619231922
H4 Le Sueur 88 S. Park Ave., Le Center 560571853 Dakota187018541870185618531853
Lincoln (old) 1861–68 (disbanded) Renville/*McLeod
H1 Lincoln (present) P.O. Box 119, Ivanhoe 561421873 (1881) Lyon/*Redwood187918791879187418781880
H2 Lyon 607 West Main, Marshall 562581868 (1870) (1875) Redwood (abolished 1873)187418711874187018901875
G3 McLeod 2389 Hennepin Ave. N., Glencoe 553361856 Carver/Sibley187018651870185618641867
Mahkahto 1849–51 (disbanded)unorganized/*Ramsey
C2 Mahnomen P.O. Box 380, Mahnomen 565571906 Norman190719071907190419071907
Manomin 1857–58 (disbanded) Ramsey *St. Louis/*Anoka/*Hennepin (eliminated 1869)
A1 Marshall 208 East Colvin Ave., Warren 567621879 (1881) Kittson/*Polk1884188118841882
J3 Martin 201 Lake Ave., Fairmont 560131857 Brown/Faribault187018621870185718641861
G3 Meeker 325 N. Sibley, Litchfield 553551856 (1866) Davis (abolished 1856)*Carver Midway (eliminated 1858)18691859186918561858 1858
E4 Mille Lacs 635 2nd St. SE, Milaca 563531857 (1860) Ramsey/*Morrison187118681872184918751861
Monongalia 1861 (1861)–1865 (disbanded)Davis/Pierce/unorganized *Stearns, *Meeker (consolidated with Kandiyohi 1870)
See Arthur L. Finnell, The Extant Records of Monongalia County, Minnesota, 1858–1870. Marshall, Minn.: Finnell-Richter and Assoc. 1980.
E3 Morrison 213 1st Ave. S. E. , Little Falls 563451856 (1856) Benton187018661870185618601857
J5 Mower 201 1st St. NE, Austin 559121855 (1856) Rice187018701870185618771858
H2 Murray 2500 28th St., Slayton 561721857 (1879) Brown/*Redwood/*Watonwan/*Cottonwood1873187218731873——1879
Newton (see Doty; eliminated 1856)
H4 Nicollet 510 S. Minnesota Ave., Saint Peter 560821853 Dakota187018521870185318621850
J2 Nobles 315 10th St., Worthington 561871857 (1870) Brown/*Martin186918721870187218731874
C1 Norman 16 E. 3rd Ave., Ada 565101881 Polk188118821881188518821882
J6 Olmsted 151 4th St. SE, Rochester 559021855 (1855) Fillmore/Rice/Wabasha/unorganized187118551871185518641858
D2 Otter Tail P.O. Box 867, Fergus Falls 565371858 (1870) Cass/Pembina/*Stearns/*Crow Wing/*Douglas187118691871186718721871
Pembina 1849 (1852)–1853 (abolished; changed to Kittson, 1878) unorganized/Benton/*Morrison/*Crow Wing/*Douglas/*Becker/*Clay
B1 Pennington Box 616, Thief River Falls 567011910 Red Lake191019101910188019101910
Pierce 1853–62 (disbanded) *Nicolet
E5 Pine 315 6th St., Pine City 550631856 (1857) (disestablished 1858; reorganized, 1871)Chisago/Ramsey/Chisago18711871187118751871
H1 Pipestone 416 S. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone 561641857 (1879) Brown/*Big Sioux/(exchanged name with Rock, 1862)*Redwood/*Watonwan/*Cottonwood/*Rock187718791877187918801879
B1 Polk P. O. Box 397, Crookston 567161858 (1879) Pembina/*Crow Wing/*Douglas/*Polk/*Clay187318731873187318771879
F2 Pope 130 E. Minnesota Ave., Glenwood 563341862 (1866) Cass/Pierce/unorganized186818691870186618671868
G5 Ramsey 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., Room 286, Saint Paul 551021849 St. Croix OLD/unorganized187018491870184418491849
B1 Red Lake 124 N. Main St., Red Lake Falls 567501896 (1897) Polk189718971897187318971897
H2 Redwood P.O. Box 130, Redwood Falls 562831862 (1865) Brown186418651869186518771868
G3 Renville 500 E. DePue, Olivia 5627711855 (1866) Nicollet/Pierce/Sibley187018671870186418931870
H5 Rice 320 NW 3rd St., Faribault 550211853 (1855) Dakota/Wabasha187018561870185318581858
J1 Rock 204 E. Brown, Luverne 561561857 (1874) Brown/*Big Sioux (exchanged name with Pipestone, 1862) *Martin/*Nobles187018721870187118731874
A2 Roseau 606 5th Ave. SW, Roseau 567511894 (1897) Beltrami/Kittson189518951895189218941895
St. Croix (eliminated 1849)
St. Louis (old) 1855 (changed to Lake, 1856) (see Superior)
C5 Saint Louis (present) 100 N. 5th Ave. W., Duluth 558021856 (1857) Itasca/Newton/*Benton1870187018701869
G4 Scott 200 W. 4th Ave. West, Shakopee 553791853 Dahkota18711856187118531853
F4 Sherburne 13880 Hwy. 10, Elk River 553301856 (1862) Benton187018581870185618571861
H4 Sibley 400 Court St., Gaylord 553341853 (1854) Dakota/*Hennepin187018651870185518951866
F3 Stearns 705 Courthouse Sq., Saint Cloud 563021855 (1855) Cass/Nicollet/Pierce/Sibley187018701870185518591857
J5 Steele 630 Florance Ave., Owatonna 550601855 (1856) Blue Earth/LeSueur/Rice187018561870185618581856
F1 Stevens 5th and Colorado, P.O. Box 107, Morris 562671862 (1871) Pierce/unorganized/*Stearns/*Douglas/*Pope187218691872187118751870
Superior 1855 (changed to St. Louis-OLD) Itasca
F2 Swift P.O. Box 110, Benson 562151870 (1897) Chippewa/*Pope/*Kandiyohi187118711870187118731874
E3 Todd 215 1st Ave. South, Long Prairie 563471855 (1873) Cass/*Stearns/*Morrison186918671870186718761868
Toombs (named Andy Johnson –1862) 1858 Pembina
F1 Traverse 702 Second Ave. N, Wheaton 562961862 (1881) Pierce/unorganized/*Chippewa/*Stearns/*Douglas/*Pope188118811881187218801881
H6 Wabasha 625 Jefferson Ave., Wabasha 559811849 (1853) unorganized/*Washington187018651870185318561860
D3 Wadena P.O. Box 415, Wadena 564821858 (1881) Cass/Todd/*Crow Wing/*Morrison187318731880187318891881
Wahnahta 1849–51 (eliminated)
J4 Waseca 300 N. State St., Waseca 560931857 Steele187018571870185618711857
G5 Washington 14949 62nd St. N., Ste. 275, Stillwater 550821849 St. Croix (old)/unorganized187018431870185618491847
J3 Watonwan Box 518, St. James 560811860 (1871) Brown/*Blue Earth187018671870185918901885
E1 Wilkin 300 S. 5th St., Breckenridge 565201868 (1872) (see Andy Johnson)*Otter Tail188018841885187118881884
J7 Winona 74 West 3rd, Winona 559871854 Fillmore/Rice187018541870185318561855
G4 Wright 10 2nd St. N.W., Buffalo 553131855 (1855) Cass/Sibley186818561868185618541858
G2 Yellow Medicine 415 9th Ave., Granite Falls 562141871 (1874) Redwood187218721872186118741872
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