Florida Genealogy & History Guide

Florida Genealogy Resources:

FIRST NAME

LAST NAME

Florida Department of State
Bureau of Archives & Records Management
500 S. Bronough St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
(850)245-6700
Florida State Archives

General Resources:

Florida quick facts:

  • Statehood:
    3 March 1845
  • State Capital:
    Tallahassee
  • State Nickname:
    Sunshine State
  • State Flower:
    Orange Blossom
  • State Tree:
    Palmetto
  • State Bird:
    Mockingbird
  • State Song:
    "Swanee River"
  • State Motto:
    "In God We Trust"

Florida Genealogy Research Guide:

Spanish Florida Census Records:

The Spanish took a number of censuses during their occupation of Florida (1565-1763 and 1783-1821). Most are in print, but the early censuses may be impossible to find. The 1783 Spanish Census of East Florida was taken after the Treaty of Paris when Britain, who had controlled the area for only 20 years, ceded Florida back to Spain. The British settlers were given 18 months to make the choice of leaving and losing all their lands or staying under Spanish rule. The 1783 census reflects that choice or in some cases, indecision. This census was translated and published in issues 39, 40, 41, and 42 of the Georgia Genealogical Magazine (1971). Around one-quarter of this census is online.

Florida Federal Census Records

 (taken every ten years) available to the public include years:

  • 1830
  • 1840
  • 1850
    Includes Industry and Agriculture Schedules, Mortality Schedules, and Slave Schedules.
  • 1860
    Includes Industry and Agriculture Schedules, Mortality Schedules, and Slave Schedules.
  • 1870
    Includes Industry and Agriculture Schedules, and Mortality Schedules.
  • 1880
    Includes Industry and Agriculture Schedules, and Mortality Schedules.
  • 1885
    Includes Industry and Agriculture Schedules, and Mortality Schedules. Florida was one of five states that took advantage of Federal moneys to take an 1885 Census.
  • 1890
    Florida Federal Census Records were lost in a warehouse fire. The Florida Widows and Veterans census schedules for this year also burned.
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930

Free Census Extraction Forms - Form formats changed as the years went by. Extraction forms allow you to record information in the same format as the year it was taken.

Florida State Census Records

The state of Florida conducted censuses for the years 1845, 1855, 1867, 1875, 1935, and 1945, finally abolishing them in 1949. The Florida State Archives has the following State Census Records:

  • 1845
    Includes Alachua, Benton, Columbia, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Hillsborough, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Madison, Marion, Orange, St. Johns, Walton, Wakulla, and Washington Counties.
  • 1855
    Marion County only.
  • 1867
    Hernando, Madison, Orange, and Santa Rosa Counties, and miscellaneous fragments.
  • 1875
    Alachua County only.
  • 1885
    Leon County only.
  • 1895
    Nassau County only.
  • 1935
    Complete Census
  • 1945
    Complete Census

Florida Military Service Records:

  • Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
    Florida was under Spanish rule during the Revolutionary War. Many British loyalists moved there during the war as a means of escaping the conflict.
  • War of 1812 (1812-1815)
    This war occurred prior to the United States' acquisition of Florida also, although the National Park Service, Historic Battlefield Project lists seventeen military actions occurring in Florida. War of 1812, Military Actions by State-Florida.
  • Indian (Seminole) Wars
    This refers to the First Seminole War (1817-1818), Second Seminole War (1835-1842), and Third Seminole War (1855-1858). Service records and muster rolls, along with pension applications can be found at the National Archive (NARA).
    • The Florida State Archives holds some of these Indian Wars records on microfilm. The following microfilm series cover these years:
      • Series 608 - 1835-1858
      • Series 973 - 1815-1858
      • Series 1277 - 1826-1849
      • Series 1281 - 1836-1841 and 1856-1858
      • Microfilm series may also be ordered and viewed at local Family History Libraries.
  • Mexican - American War (1846–1848) (also called the U.S. Mexican War)
    • Mexican-American War records at the Florida State Archives:
      • Series 1282 - Mexican War Muster Rolls of Florida Independent Companies, 1847-1848.
  • Civil War (1861–1865)
    • The Florida State Archives holds many rolls of microfilm that document the service records and muster rolls of both Confederate and Union soldiers from Florida. Other online information from the Archives:
      • History - A brief history of Florida's role in the Civil War.
      • Photographs of the Civil War era from the Florida State Archives Photographic Collection
      • Florida Timeline of events in the Civil War from 1860-1865.
      • Florida Confederate Pensions Online
        Pension records can be searched by surname or application number. Includes images of the original records and official copies may be ordered from the Florida State Archives.
    • Microfilm held at the National Archives relating to Florida in the Civil War:
      • M225
        Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations From the State of Florida.
      • M251
        Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Florida.
      • M264
        Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Florida.
      • M400
        Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Florida.
  • Spanish - American War (1898)
    • Microfilm records of the Spanish-American War at the Florida State Archives:
      • Series 1302 - Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served in the Florida Infantry During the War With Spain, 1898-1899.
      • Series 1283 - Spanish-American War Muster Rolls of Florida Companies, 1898-1899.
      • Series 1303 - Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900.
  • World War I (1914-1918)
    • World War I Service Cards
      "The World War I service cards provide name; age; serial number; race; place of birth; and residence; for service men and women who were either from Florida or who entered service in Florida." floridamemory.com
  • World War II (1939-1945)

Ordering Military Records:

  • The two main repositories for records relating to military service are:
    • The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
    • The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri.
      • Holdings
      • To Order Records from the St. Louis branch:
        • Veterans or next-of-kin of a deceased veterans may order records from vetrecs.archives.gov.
        • Non veterans may order records using
          Standard Form 180. All requests must be in writing, signed and mailed to this address:
          • National Personnel Records Center
            Military Personnel Records
            9700 Page Avenue
            St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Florida Vital Records:

Birth and Death Records:

Birth and death records from January 1917 to the present are kept by the Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, PO Box 210, Jacksonville, Florida 32231-0042.

Birth records under 100 years old are not available to the general public. One of three requirements to get a recent copy (not older than 100 years) of a birth record must be met:

  • be the child named on the certificate and over
    eighteen years of age
    or,
  • be the parent, guardian, or legal representative,
    of the child named on the certificate
    or,
  • have a court order for the birth certificate

Delayed birth certificate registration began around 1942, by persons who did not have a birth certificate or record of birth. Copies of birth certificates issued prior to 1917 and delayed birth certificates may be obtained from local county health departments.

Death certificate registration in some counties began as early as 1877 and death records are open to the general public. The cause of death section of the record is not open to the public until 50 years after the date of death. Death records earlier than those kept by the Florida Department of Health can be obtained from many county health departments.

Marriage and Divorce Records:

Marriage certificates, from June 1927 to the present may be obtained from the Florida Department of Health. Marriage certificate copies dated much earlier than 1927 can also be obtained from most county courthouses. Copies of marriage license applications can only be obtained from the Clerk of Courts at the county courthouse in which a marriage took place.

Divorce records, and Annulments from June 1927 to the present may be obtained from the Florida Department of Health or the Clerk of Courts at the county courthouse in which a decree was issued. The county courthouse may also have decrees issued prior to 1927.


Condensed History of Florida

Once called "the Land of Swamps and Bugs", Florida has become one of the United States most popular areas to retire in. County boundaries have changed several times, the most notable being in 1821 after the acquisition from Spain, in 1900 when the railroad joined both sides of Florida, and after World War I. Several major hurricanes and extreme weather has caused economic depression, but according to the 2000 Census, Florida is the fourth most populated state.

The Spanish were first foreign settlers in Florida Territory which then included the present state and much of the Gulf Coast. After years of skirmishes with French settlers, Spain and France finally banded together to keep English settlers out of the area. The end of the Seven Year War resulted in Spain ceding Florida to England (1763) in exchange for British occupied Havana and all claims on Cuba.

By statehood in 1845, four sovereign flags had flown over Florida; Spain, France, England, and the United States.

http://www.shgresources.com/fl/timeline/

http://palmm.fcla.edu/fh/outline/outline.html

http://www.floridamemory.com/Timeline/

 

Orange blossom graphics courtesy of Santa Lady