County Histories



An often overlook resource are the county history books and pamphlets done in the late 19th century and early 20th century. There was a big push for counties to record their history and include the local residents who helped establish the county. The former Confederate states of the south were the only ones to have the fewest county’s devote their efforts to writing their history.

Using the ‘Genealogy Branches‘ online site for county histories there just might be some unknown information about your ancestors from a specific county. Again, there might not be available a history book on your family’s home county.

The site has the states listed with what is listed. Some sources have a general title such as for Florida with its Heritage Collection of Florida Counties. Some states also have biographies for its leading citizens along with obituaries.

If you were looking about Butler Co., Kansas there is a wonderful write-up covering all aspects of that county and its citizens, written in 1883. Another good one is Cook County in Wisconsin for the late 19th century.  

Your ancestral county might not be on the list but you should try contacting the county’s local museums and historical societies for any histories they may own. Checking with those local county museums is good just to see if they have photos, news articles or information of specific families you are searching. Reminder, counties over the years did change and join other counties.

Photos: Harry Smith of Forsyth Co., Montana; and Illustration of Philip Arman of Cook Co., Wisconsin.

Related Familytree.com Blogs:

Changing County Boundaries

Try Another Approach

Digital State Archives

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