State Courthouse RecordsFlorida Government records cover a broad range of genealogy subject areas that can help you as part of your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalization’s. Given that Florida court records cover such a wide selection of topics, they could aid you in many different ways. As an example, they could aid you in finding ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, determine citizenship status, or shed light on relationships between individuals. The whole thing relies upon on the type of court records that the ancestors” names show up in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Florida Courthouse records change extensively from county to county in both level of quality and volume. You will find different kinds of court records that are most likely to possess information related for your genealogical research below.

State Court RecordsMany Florida court records can be found on microfilm at both the Florida State Archives and the FHL. Available records include, but are not limited to Land, Vital, Probate, Soldiers and Sailors Discharge Papers, Naturalizations, Guardianships. See Also Research In Court Records.

State Land Records From 1763 to 1821 the federal government kept records pertaining to the acceptance or denial of the validity of Spanish land grants. Those records can be found at the Florida State Archives. Those records are the only primary records listing information about residents who lived in the area before it became a territory. The documents are indexed, but the content in each one varies quite a bit. Generally, they list the size of the family, when the person or family moved to Florida, and the names and ages of the individual or family members. The number of “heads” of family would often determine how many acres of land were granted. Land grants are slowly being converted and placed online by the Florida State Archives.

Although the original records still exist, they are fragile. Also, most of them are written in Spanish. A 5-volume transcript of those records, called Spanish Land Grants in Florida, was published by the Works Project Administration (WPA). It includes Private Land claims, as well as British Grants and Spanish Grants. Many libraries have copies of the collection on file, as does the Florida State Archives.

On August 14, 1842, the Second Seminole War came to an end. At that time, the federal government approved the Armed Occupation Act. That act granted land to men who were willing to take up arms to defend it against Indians. The act was first proposed by a U.S. Senator named Thomas Hart. Each man could apply for 160 acres of unsettled East Florida land. However, they had to agree to cultivate and live on that land for a period of at least 5 years.

Permits to settle the land were issued. They list the name of the applicant, when the applicant moved to Florida, a description of the land, and the marital status of the applicant. Many scanned images of the original permits can be viewed on the website of the Division of State Lands.

After 5 years had passed, the final application was filled out. Those final applications can be found at the National Archives in the donation files. The final approval files may include:

  • Proof of Residency
  • Land and Dwelling Descriptions
  • Family Members
  • Affidavits by Neighbors and friends
  • Proof of Marriage
  • Naturalization
  • Other Documents

the rectangular survey system is used in Florida. Original plats and field notes, as well as grant records and tract books, have been transferred to the state. Millions of land transaction records have been placed online by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of State Lands, Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund Land Document System. Their search engine can help researchers to look up specific land documents according to county, township, range, section, and other descriptive information.

Land entry case files from before July of 1908 have been compiled as part of “The Seven States Index.” those records list the land office, name of entryman, and file or certificate entry, as well as the type of entry. The National Archives publication Preliminary Inventory of the Land-Entry Papers of the General Land Office publication contains more information on records from 1825 onward.

The Florida State Archives holds 1881 to 1905 homestead applications. Those applications include:

  • Applicant Name
  • Applicant Residence
  • Land Description
  • Number of Acres

A surname index for those records is also available. That collection includes tax receipts and other related records as well. Some of those records are State Land Office correspondences from 1858 to 1913 and legal records. See Also Guide to U.S. Land Records Research

State Probate Records Probate records from the state of Florida may include a number of different documents. Some of those documents are Wills, Intestacy Administrations, Bonds, Inventories and Appraisements, Guardianships and Property Divisions

the clerk of the courts in each county now holds probate records, which used to be kept in the probate courts. Most counties will provide those records for easy research. In the 1970s, the FHL also microfilmed several probate records. To this day, original records and new indexes are being listed online all the time. See Also Guide to U.S. Probate Records Research

State Tax Records Researchers can learn a lot of information from tax rolls, especially those that were taken in non-research years. Most counties have held onto their own tax rolls. However, many tax rolls from 1829 to 1881 were compiled and transferred to the Florida State Archives. Those tax rolls generally list white males over 21 (taxable age), names, land, wagons, horses, slaves, and other personal property. That property may have included anything from carriages to watches and jewelry, as well as unusual items, such as musical instruments.

The microfilmed collection of tax rolls from 1829 to 1898, which can be found at the Florida State Archives and certain libraries across the state, contains a lot of useful research information. Researchers should note that the information contained in that collection is incomplete and some years offer more information than others.

On July 1, 1862, the Internal revenue Act was passed. It was meant to “support the Government and to pay Interest on the Public Debt” (12 Stat. 432). Those assessment lists for the years of 1865 and 1866 can be found on microfilm at the National Archives. During that time, almost all items became taxable items. Therefore, those lists can offer valuable information about an ancestor’s net worth and lifestyle.

Tax assessment lists and tax rolls, poll tax records (on free white males aged twenty-one and up) are helpful, as are listings of local lawyers, physicians, and dentists. Personal property tax records have been published for a few counties. Tax lists, along with other sources, are being used to reconstruct the lost 1890 federal population census. See Also Guide to U.S. Tax Records Research

State Immigration Records Many of the early Florida settlers came from other states, especially Georgia. There were were not many immigrants coming to the area from other countries in the early days. Immigration records at the few existing seaports were not really recorded until the 1800s and 1900s. However, NARA has microfilmed some records that are extant. Researchers should check the National Archives for those records.

The WPA collection called Naturalization records in Florida provides a dated list of naturalization records. Petitions for Naturalization Records of U.S. District Courts in the Southeast, 1790-1958 can be found at the National Archives-Southeast Region, along with the following records:

  • U.S. District Court, Florida Southern District. 1847-1941. Key West, Monroe County (Also Available at FHL)
  • U.S. District Court, Florida Middle District, 1913-32. Miami, Dade County (Also Available at FHL)
  • U.S. District Court, Florida Southern District, 1909-35. Tampa, Hillsborough County (Also Available at FHL)
  • U.S. District Court, Florida Northern District, Pensacola, Escambia County and Tallahassee, Leon County.

Florida’s U.S. district courts and county courts hold records of naturalizations. Some have been microfilmed, but others have not. Researchers should check the courthouse in question to see what records are available. Records for the following 10 counties can be found at the Florida State Archives: Brevard, Dade, DeSoto, Franklin, Hillsborough, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Pasco and Volusia. See Also Guide to U.S. Immigration Records Research

State Government Records

Florida County & City Government Links

Florida contains 67 counties. Each county is the local level of government within its borders. The links in the table below link to county and city government offices and is limited to government-maintained websites. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is also the County Clerk. His office is located in the County Courthouse. The office of the Clerk is an officer of the court of justice whose responsibilities are mandated by the Constitution as well as state and local laws. The clerk of courts in each county is custodian of all records of all predecessor courts, whether justice of the peace, city, county, probate, civil, or criminal. If you know of a Florida county that has an official government web site but is not linked, or if the link is in error, please contact us so we may edit our database. Florida State Government is located in Tallahassee.

State of Florida County & City Government Links


County Seat


County Seat


Alachua Gainesville Lake Tavares
Baker Macclenny Lee Fort Myers
Bay Panama City Leon Tallahassee
Bradford Starke Levy Bronson
Brevard Titusville Liberty Bristol
Broward Fort Lauderdale Madison Madison
Calhoun Blountstown Manatee Bradenton
Charlotte Punta Gorda Marion Ocala
Citrus Inverness Martin Stuart
Clay Green Cove Springs Miami-Dade Miami
Collier Naples Monroe Key West
Columbia Lake City Nassau Fernandina Beach
Desoto Arcadia Okaloosa Crestview
Dixie Cross City Okeechobee Okeechobee
Duval Jacksonville Orange Orlando
Escambia Pensacola Osceola Kissimmee
Flagler Bunnell Palm Beach West Palm Beach
Franklin Apalachicola Pasco Dade City
Gadsden Quincy Pinellas Clearwater
Gilchrist Trenton Polk Bartow
Glades Moore Haven Putnam Palatka
Gulf Port St. Joe Santa Rosa Milton
Hamilton Jasper Sarasota Sarasota
Hardee Wauchula Seminole Sanford
Hendry La Belle St. Johns Saint Augustine
Hernando Brooksville St. Lucie Fort Pierce
Highlands Sebring Sumter Bushnell
Hillsborough Tampa Suwannee Live Oak
Holmes Bonifay Taylor Perry
Indian River Vero Beach Union Lake Butler
Jackson Marianna Volusia DeLand
Jefferson Monticello Wakulla Crawfordville
Lafayette Mayo Walton DeFuniak Springs
Washington Chipley