Big Stone County, Minnesota Genealogy

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Big Stone County

Guide to Big Stone County, Minnesota ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


Big Stone County, Minnesota
Map of Minnesota highlighting Big Stone County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the U.S. highlighting Minnesota
Location of Minnesota in the U.S.
Founded February 20, 1862
County Seat Ortonville
Address Big Stone County Courthouse
20 SE 2nd Street
Ortonville, MN 56278-1544;
Phone: 320.839.2308
Big Stone County Website

County Information


The County was named for the Big Stone Lake. The County is located in the west central area of the state. [1]

Big Stone County, Minnesota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1881 1881 1881 1850 1873 1881

County Courthouse

County Recorder has birth, marriage and land records from 1881,
divorce and court records from 1885.
Court Judge has probate records. [3]


Parent County

  • 1862--Big Stone County was created 20 February 1862 from Pierce County, Eliminated 20 Feb 1862.  County seat: Ortonville [4]
  • For a brief history of how Big Stone County was named, click here, then select Big Stone County.

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

1885 Courthouse was destroyed by fire.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:


Populated Places


Barry | Beardsley | Clinton | Correll | Graceville | Johnson | Odessa | Ortonville


Akron Township | Almond Township | Artichoke Township | Big Stone Township | Browns Valley Township | Foster Township | Graceville Township | Malta Township | Moonshine Township | Odessa Township | Ortonville Township | Otrey Township | Prior Township | Toqua Township


Neighboring Counties



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
MNGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Minnesota Cemeteries for more information.


State Census


Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Minnesota Church Records.


Emigration and Immigration


The county register of deeds keeps land records once the land was transferred to private ownership. Abstracts and indexes for these records are generally available at the county courthouse.

Land records for Minnesota are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Local Histories

Local histories are available for Big Stone County, Minnesota 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 Minnesota Local Histories.


Roberts CountyGrant CountyTraverse CountyStevens CountySwift CountyLac qui Parle CountyMN BIG STONE.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

1874 Map of Big Stone, Grant, Stevens, and Traverse counties



  • The Ortonville Independent (May 1920-Current; Weekly)
  • The Northern Star (Jan 1966-Current; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Journal (Jan 1927-Sep 1927; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Star (Jan 1927-Sep 1927; Weekly)
  • Ortonville Journal Star (Oct 1927-Apr 1930; Weekly)
  • The Journal-Star (Sep 1926-Jan 1927; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Journal (Jan 1913-Sep 1926; Weekly)
  • Ortonville Herald Star (Jan 1888-Dec 1912; Weekly)
  • Big Stone County Journal (1892 [?]-Dec 1912; Weekly)
  • The Beardsley News (Apr 1908-Jun 1959; Weekly)
  • The Odessa Tribune (Mar 1898-After Jan 1902 [?]; Weekly)
  • The Phenix (1894-Nov 1912; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript (Aug 1890-1894; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript and Democrat (Jul 1889-Aug 1890; Weekly)
  • The Graceville Democrat (May 1888-Jul 1889; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Headlight (1884-After Mar 1887 [?]; Weekly)
  • The People's Vindicator (1884-Dec1884; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript (Oct 1883-Jul 1889; Weekly)
  • Big Stone County Herald (Aug 1879-Dec 1887; Weekly)
  • Ortonville North Star (Jun 1878-Dec1887; Weekly)
  • The Odessa Times (1940 [?]-Sep 1941; Weekly)
  • Graceville Enterprise (1894-Apr 1966; Weekly)
  • The Clinton Advocate (1894 [?]-Apr 1966; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Star (1920 [?]-Sep 1926; Weekly)
  • The Beardsley News (1896 [?]-Sep 1907; Weekly)
  • The Clinton Advocate (Aug 1892-Jul 1895; Weekly)

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Big Stone County, Minnesota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:



Probate records may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. They may include the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. See Minnesota Probate Records for additional information.

Online Probate Records


Minnesota tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Minnesota Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Minnesota State Registrar of Vital Records, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred], order electronically online ($) or download an application for Minnesota Birth Certificate and Death Certificates Applications to mail.

See also Minnesota Vital Records or How to order Minnesota Vital Records. For information about restrictions and costs for certificates, see the CDC Where to Write for Vital Records site.


Societies and Libraries

Big Stone County Historical Society
985 US Highway 12
Ortonville, MN 56278
Telephone: 320-839-3359

Ortonville Public Library
412 NW 2nd Stret
Ortonville, MN 56278
Telephone: 320-8390-2494

Graceville Public Library
415 Studdart Avenure
PO Box 457
Graceville, MN 56240
Telephone: 320-748-7332

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.



  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Big Stone County, Minnesota" in,_Minnesota accessed 8 Nov 2018
  2. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 385-403. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Big Stone County, Minnesota page 362, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Minnesota Historical Society Library Catalogue:Big Stone County Newspapers. (accessed December 5, 2011).