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Colorado County records differ vastly from county to county both in quality and also quantity. Some have already been carefully preserved and some have been much abused and uncared for. Many Colorado records have simply vanished. For genealogists performing research in Colorado there is no valuable replace for an on-site research of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia

Colorado Counties

Colorado is divided into 14 counties. Presumably, tax records for each county go back to the time at which each county was formed. However, that isn’t necessarily the case for every single county. So, it’s important to check the county in question. The Colorado State Archives is home to many of the earlier records for each county. Each county has a vital records office. Each of those may hold some of the vital records from the time before statewide recording took place. Probate records are located in the district courts, but court records may be found in district or county courts. Early county records for Colorado may be found at the Colorado State Archives.

Most land records are located at the county seat, along with most marriage records. The County Vital Records offices may also hold older vital records that predate statewide recording. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Colorado Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Adams1861Arapahoe County.Brighton
Alamosa1913Costilla  and Conejos  counties.Alamosa
Arapahoe1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of ColoradoLittleton
Archuleta1885Conejos CountyPagosa Springs
Baca1889Las Animas CountySpringfield
Bent1870Huerfano County and former Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal land.Las Animas
Boulder1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Boulder
Broomfield2001Boulder, Adams, Jefferson, and Weld counties and reorganized as a consolidated city and county.Broomfield
Chaffee1879Carbonate County.Salida
Cheyenne1889Elbert and Bent counties.Cheyenne Wells
Clear Creek1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Georgetown
Conejos1861Guadalupe County, one of the 17 original counties of theTerritory of Colorado, was renamed Conejos County after six days on November 7, 1861.Conejos
Costilla1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.San Luis
Crowley1911Otero County.Ordway
Custer1877Fremont County.Westcliffe
Delta1883Gunnison County.Delta
Denver1901The original Arapahoe County Seat was split from Arapahoe County and reorganized as a consolidated city and county.Denver
Dolores1881Ouray County.Dove Creek
Douglas1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Castle Rock
Eagle1883Summit County.Eagle
Elbert1874Douglas County.Kiowa
El Paso1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Colorado Springs
Fremont1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Cañon City
Garfield1883Summit County.Glenwood Springs
Gilpin1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Central City
Grand1874Summit County.Hot Sulphur Springs
Gunnison1877Lake County.Gunnison
Hinsdale1874Lake, Conejos, and Costilla counties.Lake City
Huerfano1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Walsenburg
Jackson1909Larimer County.Walden
Jefferson1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Golden
Kiowa1889Bent County.Eads
Kit Carson1889Elbert County.Burlington
Lake1879Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado. Renamed Carbonate County for the two days from February 8–10, 1879.Leadville
La Plata1874Lake and Conejos counties.Durango
Larimer1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Fort Collins
Las Animas1866Huerfano County.Trinidad
Lincoln1889Elbert and Bent counties.Hugo
Logan1887Weld County.Sterling
Mesa1883Gunnison County.Grand Junction
Mineral1893Hinsdale, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties.Creede
Moffatt1911Routt County.Craig
Montezuma1889La Plata County.Cortez
Montrose1883Gunnison County.Montrose
Morgan1889Weld County.Fort Morgan
Otero1889Bent County.La Junta
Ouray1883Hinsdale and Lake counties. RenamedUncompaghre County for four days from 1883-02-27, to 1883-03-02.Ouray
Park1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Fairplay
Phillips1889Logan County.Holyoke
Pitkin1881Gunnison County.Aspen
Prowers1889Bent County.Lamar
Pueblo1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Pueblo
Rio Blanco1889Garfield County.Meeker
Rio Grande1874Costilla County and Conejos County counties.Del Norte
Routt1877Grand County.Steamboat Springs
Saguache1866Lake and Costilla counties.Saguache
San Juan1876Lake County.Silverton
San Miguel1861San Juan County.Telluride
Sedgwick1889Logan County.Julesburg
Summit1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Breckenridge
Teller1899El Paso and Fremont counties.Cripple Creek
Washington1887Weld County.Akron
Weld1861Created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado.Greeley
Yuma1889Washington County.Wray

List of Colorado Extinct Counties

Colorado seems to have counties that no longer are in existence. They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial government. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded in the Nineteenth century; county boundaries have modified little since 1900 in the vast number of states. These counties need to be investigated when performing family history and genealogy research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or merged with some other county.

  • Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory, (1855-08-25 – 1861-01-29) was created but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Broderick County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was split from Arapahoe County, but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Carbonate County – was a county that existed for only two days in 1879. Carbonate County was created by renaming it to Lake County.
  • El Paso County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was split from Arapahoe County, but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Fremont County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was split from Arapahoe County, but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Montana County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was split from Arapahoe County, but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Oro County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was split from Arapahoe County, but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Peketon County, Kansas Territory, (1859-02-07 – 1861-01-29) was created but never organized. Reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union.
  • Arrappahoe County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Cheyenne County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • El Paso County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Fountain County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Heele County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Jackson County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Jefferson County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Montana County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • North County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Park County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Saratoga County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • St. Vrains County, Jefferson Territory, (November 1859 – 1861-02-28) was one of the 12 counties created by the extralegal Territory of Jefferson.
  • Guadalupe County, Colorado Territory, (1861-11-01 – 1861-11-07) was one of the 17 original counties created by the Territory of Colorado. The county was renamed Conejos County after only six days.
  • Greenwood County, Colorado Territory, (1870-02-11 – 1874-02-06) was created from former Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal land and the eastern portion of Huerfano County. The county was abolished four years later, and its territory split between Elbert County and Bent County.
  • Platte County, Colorado Territory, (1872-02-09 – 1874-02-09) was created from the eastern portion of Weld County. The county was abolished two years later after organizers failed to secure voter approval, and the territory of the county was returned to Weld County.
  • Carbonate County, Colorado, (1879-02-08 – 1879-02-10). Lake County was renamed Carbonate County in 1879. Only two days later, Carbonate County was split into the new Chaffee County and the re-renamed Lake County.
  • Uncompaghre County, Colorado, (1883-02-27 – 1883-03-02). Ouray County was renamed Uncompaghre County for only four days in 1883.
  • South Arapahoe County, Colorado, (1902-11-15 – 1903-04-11) was one of three counties created from Arapahoe County in 1902. The name was changed back to Arapahoe County after five months.


List of Colorado Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Colorado courthouses tremendously has a impact on genealogists in just about every way. Not only are most of these historic structures torn from each of our lifetimes, so are the records they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they’re lost forever. Despite the fact that they have already been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn up as well. The most heartbreaking aspect of this is the reason that almost all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. However, not all records were damaged or lost. Many Colorado counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Conejos County Courthouse Some loss of records occurred by fire.
  • Douglas County Courthouse burned in 1978 but minimal loss of records.


Interactive Map of Colorado Counties Formation

(Colorado maps made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company)