Idaho County records differ vastly from county to county in both quality and quantity. Some have already been very carefully maintained while some have been substantially misused and mistreated. A certain amount of Idaho records have simply disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Idaho there’s no valuable replace to have an on-site search of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Idaho Counties

The county seat holds many county historical resources. The county recorder’s office has land records on file. Probate records can be accessed through the probate clerk. The district court clerk, meanwhile, holds court records. Some counties have vital records on file from before the time when it was mandatory to record such records. Court records, including minutes and judgments, from before the counties were formed are also available, along with some land records. The district court clerk’s office holds naturalization records, which generally start at the time when the county was founded. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Ada1864Boise CountyBoise
Adams1911Washington CountyCouncil
Bannock1839Bingham CountyPocatello
Bear Lake1875Oneida CountyParis
Benewah1915Kootenai CountySt. Maries
Bingham1885Oneida CountyBlackfoot
Blaine1895AlturasHailey
Boise1863Original countyIdaho City
Bonner1907Kootenai CountySandpoint
Bonneville1911Bingham CountyIdaho Falls
Boundary1915BonnerBonners Ferry
Butte1917Bingham, Blaine, and Jefferson countiesArco
Camas1917Blaine CountyFairfield
Canyon1891Ada CountyCaldwell
Caribou1919Bannock CountySoda Springs
Cassia1879Owyhee CountyBurley
Clark1919Fremont CountyDubois
Clearwater1911Nez Perce CountyOrofino
Custer1881Alturas and Lemhi countiesChallis
Elmore1889AlturasMountain Home
Franklin1913Oneida CountyPreston
Fremont1893Bingham CountySaint Anthony
Gem1915Boise and Canyon countiesEmmett
Gooding1913Lincoln CountyGooding
Idaho1864Original countyGrangeville
Jefferson1913Fremont CountyRigby
Jerome1919Gooding and Lincoln countiesJerome
Kootenai1864Nez Perce CountyCoeur d'Alene
Latah1864Nez Perce CountyMoscow
Lemhi1869Idaho CountySalmon
Lewis1911Nez Perce CountyNezperce
Lincoln1895LoganShoshone
Madison1913Fremont CountyRexburg
Minidoka1913Lincoln CountyRupert
Nez Perce1861Original countyLewiston
Oneida1864Original CountyMalad City
Owyhee1863Original countyMurphy
Payette1917Canyon CountyPayette
Power1913Bingham, Blaine, and Oneida countiesAmerican Falls
Shoshone1864Original countyWallace
Teton1915Bingham, Fremont, and Madison countiesDriggs
Twin Falls1907Cassia CountyTwin Falls
Valley1917Boise and Idaho countiesCascade
Washington1879Ada CountyWeiser


Interactive Map of Idaho Counties Formation

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


Idaho Extinct Counties

Idaho seems to have counties that no longer are in existence. They were recognized by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Many of these counties were created and disbanded within the Nineteenth century; county boundaries have evolved very little since Nineteen hundred in the great most of states. These counties need to be researched when performing genealogy and family history research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or merged with some other county.

  • Alturas County(1864-1895) – was a county in Idaho Territory and later the state of Idaho from 1864 to 1895. It covered an area larger than the states of Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware combined. Most present-day southern Idaho counties were created at least in part from the original Alturas County area. The name Alturas comes from a Spanish word for “mountain summits” or “mountainous heights.” Alturas County was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in February 1864. Later that year the mining camp of Rocky Bar was designated the county seat. The county seat was moved to Hailey in 1882. In 1889, the Idaho Territorial Legislature created Elmore County and Logan County from parts of Alturas County. On March 5, 1895, to circumvent a recent state supreme court decision striking down an earlier county reorganization, the Idaho Legislature combined Alturas and Logan Counties into a new county called Blaine. Two weeks later on March 18, the southern portion of the newly-created Blaine County was split off to form Lincoln County with its county seat at Shoshone. Hailey remained the county seat of what was now Blaine County and Alturas County disappeared from the Idaho map.
  • Lah-Toh County (1864-1867) – was a county in Idaho Territory from 1864 to 1867. Lah-Toh County was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1864 with Coeur d’Alene as its county seat. The name is Nez Perce for “the place of pine trees and sestle”. The county was abolished in 1867, although sources disagree whether the area was absorbed by Nez Perce County or Kootenai County. It is most likely Kootenai since Coeur d’Alene serves as that county’s county seat. The county was re-established in 1888 with different boundaries as Latah County.
  • Logan County (1889-1895) – was a county in Idaho Territory and later the state of Idaho from 1889 to 1895. Logan County was created from parts of Alturas County by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1889 with Bellevue as its county seat. Six years later, the Idaho Legislature attempted to return Bellevue to Alturas County, but the plan was struck down by the state supreme court. In response on March 5, 1895, the Idaho Legislature combined Logan and Alturas Counties into a new county called Blaine. Two weeks later on March 18, the southern portion of the newly-created Blaine County was split off to form Lincoln County with its county seat at Shoshone and Logan County ceased to exist. Bellevue became part of Blaine County.


Idaho Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Idaho courthouses considerably has a effect on genealogists in just about every way. Not only are these historic buildings ripped from our lifetimes, so are the files they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they are gone permanently. Despite the fact that they have already been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn as well. The most tragic aspect of this is the reason why nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist. Although, don’t assume all records were damaged or lost. Many Idaho counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.