Florida History

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

The following important events in the history of Florida affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movement.

  • 1565 The Spanish founded St. Augustine, the first permanent white settlement in what is now the United States. Pensacola was founded by the Spanish in 1698, but there was little significant European settlement in Florida until the late eighteenth century.
  • 1763: At the close of the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War), Britain gained control of Florida. Settlers from Europe and the American colonies to the north began to move into the area. The provinces of East Florida and West Florida were formed.
  • 1783: Most of the British settlers left when Spain regained the Floridas.
  • 1812: The United States annexed portions of West Florida to Louisiana and to the Mississippi Territory.
  • 1812, 1816 and 1817: Seminole Indian Wars (Osceola; Seminole Chief 1804-1838)
  • 1819: Spain ceded the remainder of West Florida and all of East Florida to the United States for $5,000,000. Official United States occupation took place in 1821.
  • 30 March 1822: Florida Territory organized.
  • 18 September 1822: Treaty of Fort Moultrie between the United States and the Seminole Indians.
  • 1835-1842: The Second Seminole War was caused by reaction to the Treat of Payne's Landing (1832) and the attempts by the U.S. to remove them from Florida. The Seminole's, led by Chief Osceola, Wild Cat, Alligator and Aripeka, conducted a guerrilla war. Over 1,500 U.S. troops lost their lives.
  • 1842: At the close of the Seminole War, most of the Indians were removed west to present-day Oklahoma, but a few hundred escaped into the swamps.
  • 3 March 1845: Florida became a state.
  • 21 January 1850: Western migration of the Florida Indians began. This removed most Indians from the Atlantic seaboard. A few remained on isolated reservations. Today some Seminole Indians live in the Lake Okeechobee area.
  • 1861: Florida seceded from the Union. It was readmitted in 1868.
  • 1870-1900 The post-Civil War boom brought many settlers to Florida, as developers from the North built railroads and resorts.
  • 1911: The Hollywood Indian Reservation was established for the Seminole Indians.
  • 1921-1925 The last 13 of the state's 67 counties were organized as the Florida land boom attracted new settlers from the north.
  • 1938: Big Cypress and Brighton Indian reservations were established.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search.

Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies.

  • Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. FHL book 973 H23bi;Worldcat.
  • Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. FHL book 973 A3ka; Worldcat.

State Histories[edit | edit source]

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the lauditory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. One of the best sources for studying Florida history is: 

  • Dovell, Junius E. Florida: Historic-Dramatic-Contemporary. Four Volumes. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1952. Family History Library book 975.9 H2do.

United States History[edit | edit source]

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history. FHL book 973 H2alm; Worldcat.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. (FHL book 973 H2ad; Worldcat. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam, 1971. This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information. FHL book 973 H2v. Limited view at Google Books. Worldcat.
  • Writings on American History by American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921. FHL book 973 H23w. Worldcat </ref>Has the full text available at Google Books.

To find more books and articles about Florida's history use the Internet Google and search for phases like "Florida history." FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search lists many more histories under topics like:


Websites[edit | edit source]