Belknap County, New Hampshire Genealogy
Guide to Belknap County, New Hampshire ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Belknap County, New Hampshire|
Location in the state of New Hampshire
|Address|| Belknap County Courthouse|
64 Court Street
Laconia, NH 03246-3679
Belknap County Website
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 Quick Facts
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Biography
- 4.2 Cemeteries
- 4.3 Census
- 4.4 Church Records
- 4.5 Court Records
- 4.6 Directories
- 4.7 Gazetteers
- 4.8 Genealogy
- 4.9 History
- 4.10 Land and Property
- 4.11 Maps
- 4.12 Military
- 4.13 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 4.14 Newspapers
- 4.15 Probate Records
- 4.16 Taxation
- 4.17 Town Records
- 4.18 Vital Records
- 5 Archives, Libraries, and Societies
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
Town or City Clerks have birth, marriage and death records. The Clerk of the Superior Court has divorce and court records. Probate Judge has probate records from 1841. Register of Deeds has land records from 1841.
The area that is now Belknap County was up to 1841 part of Strafford and Merrimack counties. Thus if you are looking for ancestors in this area before 1841 you may want to try deeds, probate records, court records, etc. of Strafford County and Merrimack County. Please see the wiki articles about those two counties.
Towns Organized before 1800:
Centre Harbor 1797
New Hampton 1777
The area that is now Belknap County was up to 1841 primarily part of Strafford County, posssibly part of Merrimack County. Thus if you are looking for ancestors in this area before 1841 you may want to try deeds, probate records, court records, etc. of Strafford Couonty. Please see the wiki article about Strafford County. Belknap County was created 22 December 1840 from Strafford County. 
Note: The book Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, edited by Alice Eichholz, published in 2004, page 436, states that Belknap County was created from Strafford and Merrimack counties. Was part of what is now Tilton in Merrimack County? We will need to consult old maps to find out. The rest of Belknap County surely seems to have been taken from Strafford County.
Before 1841 the Belknap County area was part of Strafford County.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
Places / Localities
- Center Harbor
- New Hampton
- Weirs Beach
- Biographical Review Publishing Company, Biographical review containing life sketches of leading citizens of Belknap and Strafford Counties, New Hampshire, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969). Available online at Internet Archive. Also available at the Family History Library, FHL US/CAN Film 1000199 Item 1, or FHL US/CAN Film 599185 Item 1.
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See New Hampshire Cemeteries for more information.|
- The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association has the most complete list of cemeteries.
- [http://conwaypubliclibrary.org/index.php?page=cemeteries Conway Public Library
The following online sites may also be helpful:
- Barnstead Centre Graveyard, Belknap County, New Hampshire Cemetery, hosted by AccessGenealogy, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- Laconia State School Cemetery, hosted by I Dream of Genealogy, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- Belknap County Cemeteries, hosted by Findagrave, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- Belknap County Cemetery List, hosted by USGenWeb, (accessed 20 August 2011).
Censuses for 1790 through 1940, except for the 1890 population schedules, are available on several internet sites. The FamlySearch Historical Record Collections (free) has indexes for almost all of these census records. Heritagequest.com ($) and Ancestry.com ($) also have many census indexes, with photos of the original records, and are also available at Family History Centers.
The 1890 census, except for the list of Civil War veterans or their widows, was destroyed by a fire in Washington, D. C. in 1921. An interesting help for 1890 is the Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire, published in 1892 in Boston by the D. H. Hurd Company. The atlas has maps for almost every city, town, and village in New Hampshire. The maps show the locations of homes, and the map gives the name of the person living in the home. The above web site is from the University of New Hampshire Library. The website images are not yet clear enough to have legible names.
Note: the 1890 census veterans' schedules for New Hampshire were preserved. They are available at familysearch.org, and ancestry.com, also on microfilms from the Family History Library. You can search for veterans' names or their widows' names.
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about New Hampshire denominations, view the New Hampshire Church Records wiki page.
If you know the name of the town or city, and the denomination, you may wish to contact the historical societies in the towns where your ancestors lived. They may have volunteers who can send you the names and addresses of churches of that denomination for the town.
Or, if you know the town of residence and the ancestor's denomination, see the Church Records section in the general information in the New Hampshire wiki article. That section lists archives and other record keepers for the various religious denominations.
If you do not know the denomination, search for a marriage record. This may give the name of the minister. Then you can contact a historical society and learn at which church he was the minister. Also search for an obituary, which may mention the church the person attended. The death certificate may list the name of the cemetery. You can then write to the cemetery and ask if it is affiliated with a local church. The death certificate may mention the funeral home. Their file may have the name of the church, cemetery, or a copy of the obituary. Also, relatives might know the denomination. You can also search for a marriage announcement in the local newspaper.
Different churches contain a variety of types of records. Many churches keep baptism, marriage, and burial records. Sometimes birth and death information is included. The church records of brothers and sisters, etc. may give clues.
Belknap County, Church, (accessed 20 August 2011). Hosted by US Genweb. The following bullets have links from this website.
- Smith Meeting House, Gilmaton, NH (Deaths 1788-1818)
- Membership Records of the Smith Meeting House of Gilmanton, NH
- Marriages Performed by Rev'd Isaac Smith, Smith Meeting House, Gilmanton, NH
- Records from the SMITH MEETING HOUSE at Gilmanton, NH
The records of the Smith Meeting House at Gilmanton were originally copied by Mary Lovering Holman, 1911. The Smith Meeting House in Gilmanton was the first church in that part of New Hampshire. Gilmanton has now been divided into Gilmanton, Gilmanton Iron Works, Gilford and Belmont. I received a photocopy of the typewritten manuscript by Mary Lovering Holman from the NHHS. Here on the Internet with the permission of the NHHS. All spellings are kept as they were in the manuscript. Trish Elliott-Kashima Courtesy of pkashima@InfoAve.Net (Trish Kashima).
- New Hampshire. Superior Court (Belknap County), Court judgements, 1841-1917; indexes to judgements, 1841-1921, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976, 1990). Contains records of the Court of Common Pleas, 1841-1859; Supreme Judicial Court, 1855-1874; Circuit Court, 1874-1876; Supreme Court, 1876-1900; and Superior Court, 1901-1917. There are plaintiff and defendant indexes. In plaintiff indexes, volumes 1-5 are listed as volumes A-E. Available at the Family History Library, 10 FHL US/CAN Films.
On 1 July 2011, the New Hampshire legislature merged the District Court, Probate Court and Family Division Court into one Circuit Court system to improve the court system and to improve services. Jurisdictions for the Circuit Court are the same as their prior jurisdictions. There are now ten (10) circuit courts, one for each of the states counties. Some of the largest counties have more than one circuit court clerk assigned to manage divisions in more than one city or town. The locations of the district, family, and probate divisions are listed by county and/or town at: New Hampshire Judicial Branch.
- Laconia (New Hampshire) city directories, (Woodbridge, Connecticut : Research Publications, [199-?]). Available at the Family History Library, 4 microfilm reels, FHL US/CAN Film.
- The town register Meredith, Tilton, Gilmanton, Sanbornton, Gilford, Belmont, New Hampton, 1908, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008). Available online at Internet Archive. Also available at the Family History Library,
- Ancestry.com has city directories available online for many New Hampshire cities.
- The Family HIstory Library has a large collection of city directories available on microfilm and microfiche. See the Library Catalog, New Hampshire, [name of town or city] - Directories.
- Belknap County, New Hampshire Town Entries from Merrill's 1817 Gazetteer of the State of NH, (accessed 20 August 2011). Source: The Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire (in three parts), compiled from the best authorities, by Eliphalet Merrill and the Late Phinehas Merrill, Esq., Printed by C. Norris and Co. , Exeter, NH, ©1817, pg 79. For additional gazetteers see the New Hampshire wiki article- Gazetteers.
How to get Started?
1. Check familysearch.org for Family Tree and see if your ancestor's information is listed there.
2. Check familysearch.org and see if your family's vital records of births, marriages, and deaths are listed.
3. Check familysearch.org and see if your family is listed on the U. S. census records of 1850-1940. You can also see those censuses at a Family History Center where you can use heritagequest.com, and ancestry.com.
4. If you know the county where your ancestor lived, take a look at the free internet site www.usgenweb.com. A volunteer helper gathers information about ancestors who lived in that county. You might find biographies, cemetery records, deeds, obituaries, queries, vital records, etc. You can leave a query.
5. If you know the town where they lived, look for a town history with a genealogical section. See the Genealogy - Town Histories section just below for how to find out if there is a town history.
6. Read the wiki articles on Belknap County. See also the New Hampshire general wiki, for ideas on sources. Study the Records Selection Table in the New Hampshire wiki. This can also help you think of new sources to try.
7. Enter your ancestor's information on familysearch.org. Family Tree, genforum.com, or ancestry.com. You can also share your quest with the local historical society, genealogical society, or town library and ask for help. Send them a family group form and a pedigree chart.
Town Histories often have Genealogical Sections
Following is a list of the towns for which the Family History Library has town history books with a section of genealogies about families of that town. To find the book or film numbers go to familysearch.org, click on Catalog, and type in the name of the town plus New Hampshire. Look for the headings Genealogy or History.
Gilmanton - in book form and can be borrowed on microfilm, and seen as digital images.
Laconia - these are records collected by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and are available on microfilm.
Meredith - in book form, and can be borrowed on microfilm.
New Hampton - available on microfilm.
Sanbornton - in book form and can be ordered on film.
Local histories are available for Belknap County, New Hampshire Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section New Hampshire Local Histories.
There are local history books at the Family History Library for all Belknap cities and towns listed above in the Places/Localities list, except for Belmont, Tilton, and Weirs Beach. See the FamilySearch Catalog, and type in New Hampshire - [name of city or town] - History, and see if the book is available. You can view the book at the Family History Library
Local historical societies in New Hampshire should have the books about their town and may be able to search the index for the names of your ancestors. To find the names of local historical societies see the internet site of the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire.
Belknap New Hampshire Genealogy and History, (accessed 20 August 2011). This web site is a resource for researchers of family tree (genealogy) and history in Belknap County, New Hampshire. Towns and Cities are listed separately with history and links available for research.
The New Hampshire State Library in Concord, New Hampshire has a vast collection of books about New Hampshire towns and counties. Check their internet catalog for a town of interest.
The New Hampshire Historical Society also in Concord has a very large collection of local history books and other publications.
Land and Property
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See New Hampshire Land and Property for additional information about early New Hampshire land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.
You can view films at the Family History Library that have the indexes to deeds for 1841-1901, and deed books for 1841-1915. Deed books 1-105 are filmed. For deeds before 1841 you will need to go to the deed records of Strafford County, New Hampshire, which is the parent county of Belknap County.
New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds, (accessed 29 August 2012). If you have patience and a good computer you can go to this site and search the deed buyer (grantee) and seller (grantor) indexes from 1841 to the present for Belknap County, and then you can type in the volume number, and page, and view an image of the page from the deed volume. As you learn how to use this system, you will be able to save the page image on your computer and then print the page.
- Colored town outline map of Belknap County, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- 1895 Map of Belknap County NH, (accessed 20 August 2011).
The most complete listing of New Hampshire Revolutionary War soldiers is found in volumes 14-17 of the New Hamsphire State Papers. You can go to the New Hampshire state government site. There you will find an every-name index to volumes 14-17. Then you can go, at that same site, to the needed volume and page for information on the soldier. Often the place of residence is given.
For a military history of New Hampshire, see:
Potter, Chandler Eastman, The Military History of the State of New Hampshire. Concord, N.H.: McFarland and Jenks, 1866. (Family History Library film 1033664; fiche 6046858.) You can search this book for the name of your ancestor at ancestry.com. You can look at this book page by page at the Library of Congress site, however the name search function does not work very well. This history comprises events from the first settlements in New Hampshire to the rebellion in 1861. It includes biographical notices of many of the officers and explanatory notes.
War of 1812
See Potter's book above for information on the War of 1812. See also the New Hampshire Online Records box at the beginning of this wiki article.
- 1861-1866 - New Hampshire Civil War Service and Pension Records 1861-1866 at FamilySearch — index and images
Regiments. Civil War service men from Belknap County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are many companies or regiments that were formed from men of Belknap County:
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Cavalry, Troops B, C, E, F, G, and H.
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Company G.
- - 4th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company D.
- - 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company E.
- - 6th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company I.
- - 8th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, F and G.
- - 12th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, B, C, D, E, G, H, and I.
- - 15th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, G, and H.
- - 18th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company C.
Additional Resources for soldiers from Belknap County:
FamilySearch.org is a free source for locating names of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com is available free at FamilySearch Centers and is also valuable for finding names of soldiers and sailors.
You can go to ancestry.com and search for names in The Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, by Augustus D. Ayling. This book gives the age, residence, and service information about approximately 32,000 New Hampshire Civil War veterans. The book is also available on microfilm or microfiche from the Family History Library.
Town history books are available through the Family History Library, and other large libraries, for most of the towns in Belknap County.
Following is an example of what might be found in a history book:
- Sanbornton Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, (accessed 20 August 2011). History of Merrimak and Belknap Counties New Hampshire, Edited by D. Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis and Company, 1885.
World War I
A very helpful source for World War I is World War I Draft Registration Records, 1917-1918, searchable by the relative's name at ancestry.com. All men between ages eighteen and forty-five were required to register. Their birth date and sometimes birth place, address, and sometimes the name of nearest kin, are listed on the card. The man's signature is shown, information on the color of his eyes and hair, and the date of registration. Many of these men served in the war.
World War II
Belknap County, New Hampshire World War II Casualties Army and Air Force, hosted by Access Genealogy, (accessed 20 August 2011).
There is an index on ancestry.com of the 1942 World War II draft registrations for New Hampshire, of men between forty-five and sixty-four, who had not yet served in the war. The records contain name, address, birth date and place, name of kin or friend, name and address of employer, and signature. (See ancestry.com for further information.)
Naturalization and Citizenship
Belknap County naturalization record are at the courthouse at Loconia. The records for 1842-1930 are available on Family History Library films:
1. Name indexes to the records for 1842-1906 (on film 1,007,605). The indexes give the file number.
2. Naturalizations papers, 1842-1906 by file number. See the index film above for the file number.
3. Dockets for naturalizations 1870-1904. These are like indexes.
4. Declarations of intention to become a citizen, 1906-1929, with name indexes in each volume.
5. Petitions and records, 1907-1930, with indexes in each volumes.
At www.genealogybank.com they are making available digital images of some New Hampshire newspapers. You can search their site for the name of your ancestor. For example they have some newspapers for Concord, Dover, Exeter, and Portsmouth as of August 2012. Check this site for the town or city of interest.
Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. You can search it free at Family History Centers. It is listed under Premium Websites at the Family History Center Portal. Their database has Portsmouth,NH newspapers from the early 1900's covering local news that included residents from Belknap County communities.
Finding More New Hampshire Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Belknap County, New Hampshire Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
Probate records from 1841 to the present are kept at the county courthouse, 64 Court St., Laconia, NH 03246. Belknap County was established in 1840 from Strafford County, New Hampshire. If your ancestors lived in the area before 1841, you may wish to search Strafford County probate records. See the wiki article about Strafford County.
The Family History Library has microfilms of (1) indexes to the probate records for 1841-1925, and (2) probate volumes for 1841 to the 1930s. Some microfilms may be available for viewing at local family history centers. See the FamilySearch Catalog and use the Place Search for New Hampshire, Belknap - Probate records.
Online Probate Records
- 1635 – 1753 New Hampshire Probate Records 1635-1753 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1643 - 1982 New Hampshire Wills and Probate Records 1643-1982 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
Many town tax records have been preserved by town clerks and town tax officials. Town tax records were generally taken each year. The Family History Library has many town records on microfilms. For film numbers see the FamilySearch Catalog, Place Search, under New Hampshire - Belknap County - [name of town] - Town Records.
There is an index to the town records (which include many tax records) from the early settlement of the town to about 1850. This is the Index to Early Town Records of New Hampshire, Early to 1850, FHL films 14942-15052. The index cards list volume and page numbers for the town records, many of which are on Family History Library microfilms. The records are listed in the Library Catalog in the manner mentioned in the paragraph above.
Town records are an important source of family history information from the 1600s to about the 1940s. The early New Hampshire town records to about 1850 have an every-name index. The index and film numbers are listed just above in the Taxation section. On the cards M.R. indicates there is a marriage record, and F.R. indicates that the family members are listed. Many town records are still in the town offices.
To see the types of family history information you might find in town records please go to the heading Town Records in our New Hampshire wiki article.
Vital records are available free online at familysearch.org. See below for these searches.
The Family History Library has microfilms of town and city birth, marriage, and death records generally to about 1915, for Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Center Harbor, Gilmanton, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, New Hampton, Sanbornton, and Tilton. The Library does not have microfilmed vital records of Lakeport, Northfield, or Weirs Beach.
Certified copies of of birth, death, and marriage records are available from the State Division of Vital Records Administration or from the local city and town clerk where the event took place. Original records are kept by the city or town clerk and copies are sent to the state.
In 1905, when the state created the Bureau of Vital Records and Health, printed cards were distributed to the local clerks and earlier vital records were transcribed onto the cards and submitted to the state.
- 1656 - 1938 New Hampshire, Vital and Town Records Index, 1656-1938 at FamilySearch — index
Online Birth Indexes and Records
- New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900 are available online from FamilySearch.org .
- 1901-1915 New Hampshire, Birth Certificates, 1901-1915 at FamilySearch.org - browse images only
- 1637-1947 - New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.org .
- 1948–1959 - New Hampshire Marriage Certificates, 1948-1959 at FamilySearch — index and images
Archives, Libraries, and Societies
- Belknap County Historical Societies, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- Belknap County Public Libraries, (accessed 20 August 2011).
- Historical Records Survey (New Hampshire), Inventory of the County Archives of New Hampshire, no. 1, Belknap County, (Manchester, New Hampshire : The Survey, 1938). Available at the Family History Library, FHL US/CAN Book 974.245 A3h, or FHL US/CAN Film 1750733 Item 35.
- Historical Records Survey (New Hampshire),Inventory of the County Archives of New Hampshire, [No. 5, Grafton County] (Manchester, New Hampshire : The Survey, 1940). Database available online at ancestry.com$. This inventory is for Grafton County. It will give you an idea of the many types of records that can be found in a New Hampshire courthouse like the one for Belknap.
Family History Centers
Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
- There is a family history center in Concord, New Hampshire. See the family history center locator site to learn about other centers in New Hampshire and Maine.
- The Belknap County NHGenWeb Project, an member of The NHGenWeb Project.
- Belknap County New Hampshire Family History & Genealogy Linkpendium
- The USGenWeb Archives Project
- The USGenWeb Archives Project backup site
- Belmont, NH, Heritage Through the Years: Online resources for Belmont. Includes local histories, vital records, cemeteries, schools, war rosters and diaries. These are PDF images and require Adobe Acrobat.
- FamilySearch.org FamilySearch Catalog for Belknap County
- Belknap County, New Hampshire Genealogy and History
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Belknap County, New Hampshire page 452, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 181. [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].