Florida County records differ widely from county to county in either quality not to mention quantity. Some happen to have been carefully preserved while others have been substantially abused and uncared for. Many Florida records have merely vanished. For genealogists performing research in Florida there’s no valuable replace for an on-site research of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia

Florida Counties

The office of the clerk of the courts in each county typically holds the marriage records for that county. County health departments typically hold original death and birth certificates. The LDS church has put many of the court records on microfilm and made them available at the FHL. Researchers can order copies, as needed. Most counties have also published “official records” online. Although none have published records for dates later than January 1, 1990. Those records consist of Deeds, Marriage Certificates, Judgments, Liens, Probate Documents. Indexes to documents from earlier dates are available for some county records. Copies of records can be purchased online.

Among the records useful to the genealogist and usually held by the county courthouses are original marriage and divorce records. Probate court records include wills, administrations, bonds, inventories and appraisements, and guardianships. Land grants, homesteads, deeds, mortgages, and similar or related records are found in earlier individual books, but for a number of years in most jurisdictions such records have been combined into “Official Record” books. Recorded plat books, civil and criminal court dockets (case schedules) minutes, order books, naturalizations, incorporations, incompetencies, soldier and sailor discharge records, Confederate oaths of allegiance, delayed birth certificates, and marks and brands are all generally useful as well.

See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Florida Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Alachua1824 Duval and Saint Johns countiesGainesville
Baker1861 New River CountyMacclenny
Bay1913 Calhoun and Washington countiesPanama City
Bradford1858 Columbia CountyStarke
Brevard1844 Mosquito CountyTitusville
Broward1915 Dade and Palm Beach countiesFort Lauderdale
Calhoun1838 Franklin, Jackson and Washington countiesBlountstown
Charlotte1921 DeSoto CountyPunta Gorda
Citrus1887 Hernando CountyInverness
Clay1858 Duval CountyGreen Cove Springs
Collier1923 Lee CountyNaples
Columbia1832 Alachua CountyLake City
DeSoto1887 Manatee CountyArcadia
Dixie1921 Lafayette CountyCross City
Duval1822 Saint Johns CountyJacksonville
Escambia1821 One of the two original counties of FloridaPensacola
Flagler1917 St. Johns and Volusia countiesBunnell
Franklin1832 Gadsden and Washington countiesApalachicola
Gadsden1823 Jackson CountyQuincy
Gilchrist1925 Alachua CountyTrenton
Glades1921 DeSoto CountyMoore Haven
Gulf1925 Calhoun CountyPort St. Joe
Hamilton1827 Jefferson CountyJasper
Hardee1921 DeSoto CountyWauchula
Hendry1923 Lee CountyLa Belle
Hernando1843 Alachua CountyBrooksville
Highlands1921 DeSoto CountySebring
Hillsborough1834 Alachua County and unorganized territoryTampa
Holmes1848 Jackson and Walton countiesBonifay
Indian River1925 St. Lucie CountyVero Beach
Jackson1822 Escambia CountyMarianna
Jefferson1827 Leon CountyMonticello
Lafayette1856 Madison CountyMayo
Lake1887 Orange and Sumter countiesTavares
Lee1887Monroe CountyFort Myers
Leon1824 Gadsden CountyTallahassee
Levy1845 Alachua CountyBronson
Liberty1855 Gadsden CountyBristol
Madison1827 Jefferson CountyMadison
Manatee1855 Hillsborough CountyBradenton
Marion1844 Alachua and Mosquito countiesOcala
Martin1925 Saint Lucie and Palm Beach countiesStuart
Miami-Dade1836Monroe CountyMiami
Monroe1823 St. Johns CountyKey West
Nassau1824 Duval CountyFernandina Beach
Okaloosa1915 Santa Rosa and Walton countiesCrestview
Okeechobee1917 Osceola, Palm Beach and St. Lucie countiesOkeechobee
Orange1824 St. Johns CountyOrlando
Osceola1887 Brevard and Orange countiesKissimmee
Palm Beach1909 Miami-Dade CountyWest Palm Beach
Pasco1887 Hernando CountyDade City
Pinellas1911 Hillsborough CountyClearwater
Polk1861 Brevard and Hillsborough countiesBartow
Putnam1849 Alachua and St. Johns countiesPalatka
Saint Johns1821 One of the two original countiesSaint Augustine
Saint Lucie1905Brevard CountyFort Pierce
Santa Rosa1842Escambia CountyMilton
Sarasota1921 Manatee CountySarasota
Seminole1913 Orange CountySanford
Sumter1853 Marion CountyBushnell
Suwannee1858 Columbia CountyLive Oak
Taylor1856Madison CountyPerry
Union1921 Bradford CountyLake Butler
Volusia1854 Orange CountyDeLand
Wakulla1843Leon CountyCrawfordville
Walton1824Escambia and Jackson countiesDeFuniak Springs
Washington1825Jackson and Walton countiesChipley



List of Florida Extinct Counties

Florida seems to have counties that no longer are in existence. They were organized by the state, provincial, or territorial government. Many of these counties were created and disbanded during the Nineteenth century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the great most of states. These counties should be considered when doing genealogy and family tree research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or merged with a different county.


List of Florida Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Florida courthouses tremendously has a impact on family historians in almost every way. Not only are these historic structures ripped from all of our lifetimes, so are the documents they stored: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they’re gone forever. Despite the fact that they happen to have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn as well. The most tragic aspect of this is the reason that nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist. Although, not all records were lost. A number of Florida counties have endured a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Baker County Courthouse, constructed in 1888, was lost to fire.
  • Bradford County Courthouse was burned in 1865, reportedly to destroy a murder indictment along with all other county records. A second courthouse burned in 1875, 
  • Brevard County Courthouse had a Record Loss, unknown causes
  • Calhoun County Courthouse had a Record Loss, unknown causes
  • Clay County Courthouse – Court was held in McRae House which burned in 1872 and with it most of the county’s judicial records.
  • Columbia County Courthouse – Numerous prior courthouses, most if not all constructed from logs, fell victim to arsonists in 1848, 1860, 1867, and 1874. Most early records were destroyed.
  • Dade County Courthouse – Record Loss (Court)
  • Duval County Courthouse was burned during the Civil War, burned in 1901. Extent of reocrd loss unknown.
  • Franklin County Courthouse  destroyed by fire in 1887
  • Gadsden County Courthouse burned in 1849, supposedly an act of arson by a Forbes family slave.
  • Hamilton County Courthouse may have been destroyed by a tornado prior to 1836. Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1929 and rebuilt in 1932.
  • Hernando County Courthouse  destroyed by fire in 1877
  • Hillsborough County Courthouse, a small log cabin, was burned by Indians during the Second Seminole War
  • Holmes County Courthouse at Cerro Gordo also burned at least once in the 1870’s. Westville Courthouse burned in 1902, and most early county records perished with it.
  • Jackson County Courthouse  was destroyed by fire on November 30, 1848. All records were destroyed
  • Lafayette County Courthouse  caught fire on New Year’s Eve, 1892, apparently the result of a drunken prank.
  • Madison County Courthouse burned in 1876 and was replaced by one built in 1880 of brick. This building burned as well, in 1912, and was replaced in 1913 by the present courthouse
  • Orange County Courthouse, a two-story hewn-log affair, was burned in 1868.  Most of the books and records were destroyed.
  • Santa Rosa County Courthouse – Record Loss (Marriage & Probate)
  • Wakulla County Courthouse – Record Loss (Marriage & Probate)
  • Walton County Courthouse – Record Loss (Marriage & Probate)
  • Washington County Courthouse – Record Loss