A large collection of county records from Mississippi can be found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on microfilm. However, it is not a complete collection. The FHL can also provide copies of those records on microfilm.
However, the various courthouses in each county should still be consulted, since some records may not have been moved to the archives yet. Many of those records, including probate records and marriage licenses, can contain genealogical data.
Researchers should note that marriage records for both African Americans and white people can be found at the chancery clerk’s office at the county courthouse in each county, along with probate records and deeds.
Deeds, probate records, and divorces may be found at the chancery clerk at the county courthouse. Microfilmed marriage books for both whites and blacks are indicated, in that order, under “Marriages” and can be found in the county Clerk of Circuit Court.
Mississippi contains counties that no longer exist. They were organized by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration.
Most of these counties were established and disbanded in the Nineteenth century; county borders have changed little since 1900 in the vast majority of states.
These counties needs to be considered when you are performing family history and genealogy research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or consolidated with another county.
Bainbridge County: Formed from Lawrence County and Wayne County renamed Covington County
Bourbon County: Organized by Georgia in 1785 out of disputed Yazoo lands in present day Mississippi; dissolved in 1788.
Colfax County: Formed in 1871, renamed Clay County in 1876
Davis County: Originally called Jones Co; name changed to Davis Co. in 1865; name changed back to Jones Co. in 1869
Pickering County: Formed in 1799 from the Natchez District , renamed Jefferson County in 1802
Pearl County: 1872-1878, later reformed as Pearl River County, Mississippi
Sumner County: Formed in 1874 from Montgomery County and Choctaw County , renamed Webster County in 1882
List of Mississippi Counties with Burned Courthouses
The harm to Mississippi courthouses tremendously has a effect on family historians in almost every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from each of our lifetimes, so are the archives they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others.
Once destroyed they are lost forever. Despite the fact that they happen to have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too. The most tragic side of this is the reason why almost all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist.
Though, don’t assume all records were destroyed. Many Mississippi counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.
Alcorn County Courthouse – Corinth – Record Loss in 1917
Attala County Courthouse – Kosciusko – 1858, 1860 and 1896
Bolivar County Courthouse – Rosedale and Cleveland – Fire in 1863, Flood in 1865
Calhoun County Courthouse – Pittsboro – Fire in 1922
Chickasaw County Courthouse – Houston – Fire in 1863
Choctaw County Courthouse – Ackerman – Fire 1874, 1888
Covington County Courthouse – Collins – Record loss in 1904
Desoto County Courthouse – Hernando – Record loss in 1940
Franklin County Courthouse – Meadville – Fire in 1877
Greene County Courthouse – Leakesville – Fire in 1875
Holmes County Courthouse – A courthouse fire in 1884 destroyed many of the records, but the deeds were housed in a separate building and Will Book I was rescued.
Jackson County Courthouse – Pascagoula – Fire in 1875
Jefferson County Courthouse – Fayette – Record loss in 1904, Fire in 1990
Jones County Courthouse – Laurel and Ellisville – Unknown Date
Kemper County Courthouse – DeKalb – Fire in 1882
Lee County Courthouse – Tupelo – Fire in 1873 & 1904
Lincoln County Courthouse – Brookhaven – Unknown 1893
Montgomery County Courthouse – Winona – Record loss, 1903.
Newton County Courthouse – Decatur – Record loss, 1877 and 1910.
Oktibbeha County Courthouse – Starkville – Record loss, 1880.
Panola County Courthouse – Sardis – Record loss, 1886
Perry County Courthouse – New Augusta – Record loss, 1877
Pike County Courthouse – Magnolia – Record loss, 1882
Prentiss County Courthouse – Booneville – Record loss, 1912.
Simpson County Courthouse – Mendenhall – Record loss, 1840, 1872
Smith County Courthouse – Raleigh – Record loss, 1892, 1915
Sunflower County Courthouse – Indianola – Record loss, 1870.
Tallahatchie County Courthouse – Charleston/Sumner – Record loss at Sumner, 1908
Tippah County Courthouse – Ripley – Record loss, 1863
Union County Courthouse – New Albany – Record loss, 1882
Wayne County Courthouse – Waynesboro – Record loss, 1892