Clay County, Kansas Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
Clay County

Guide to Clay County, Kansas ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Clay Center
Organized: February 20, 1857
Parent County(s): Original county [1]
Neighboring Counties
Cloud  • Dickinson  • Geary  • Ottawa  • Riley  • Washington
See County Maps
Location Map
200px-Map of Kansas highlighting Clay County svg.bmp

County Information


The county is named after U.S. Speaker of the House Henry Clay (1777-1852).[2]The County has Clay Center as its seat and the County was created February 20, 1857. The County is located in the north central area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Clay County Courthouse
712 5th Street
P.O. Box 98
Clay Center, Kansas 67432-0098
Phone: 785.632.2552
Clay County Website

County Clerk has birth, marriage and death records 1885-1911.
Clerk District Court has divorce, probate and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [1]

Clay County, Kansas Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1885 1885 1885 1868 1866 1868 1855
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1911. General compliance by 1917.[5]

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
  • Althelstane
  • Bateham
  • Broughton
  • Browndale
  • Exeter
  • Fact
  • Fancy Creek
  • Garfield Center
  • Gatesville
  • Idana

History Timeline

Henry Clay


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Clay County, Kansas online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Kansas Cemeteries for more information

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 163
1870 2,942 1704.9%
1880 12,320 318.8%
1890 16,146 31.1%
1900 15,833 −1.9%
1910 15,251 −3.7%
1920 14,365 −5.8%
1930 14,556 1.3%
1940 13,281 −8.8%
1950 11,697 −11.9%
1960 10,675 −8.7%
1970 9,890 −7.4%
1980 9,802 −0.9%
1990 9,158 −6.6%
2000 8,822 −3.7%
2010 8,535 −3.3%
Source: "".

Kansas became a territory in 1854 and the first territory census taken was in 1855. It was also enumerated as Kansas Territory in the 1860 Federal Census, although there were 15 counties that were marked with "no population" in them. The state continued to take state censuses after it was admitted to the Union in 1861.[7] See links listed below.

State and Territorial Census Records

Federal Census Records

The 1870 Census was the first Federal Census taken for Kansas after it became a state in 1861.[8] For links to Federal Census indexes, see Kansas Census.

Church Records

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 Kansas Church Records.

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

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 Kansas Land and Property for additional information about early Kansas land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

For more information see Kansas Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Clay County, Kansas 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 Kansas Local Histories.

Online County Histories

Maps and Gazetteers

Washington CountyRiley CountyGeary CountyDickinson CountyClay CountyOttawa CountyCloud CountyClay, Kansas.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Civil War

Men from Clay County enlisted in the 11th Cavalry Regiment, Company L and the 6th and 13th Infantry Regiments.

Online Collections

These collections are unique to Kansas. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and Kansas Military Records.

Collections Covering Multiple Wars

Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898)

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

For further information see Kansas Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship


For more information, see Kansas Newspapers.

Kansas Newspapers Online

Kansas Newspaper Catalogs


Other Records

Voter Records


Probate Records

In most counties in Kansas, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, inventories, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Kansas, Clay and click Probate records.

Online Records

School Records

Tax Records

Kansas tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Kansas 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 Kansas Office of Vital Statistics or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Kansas Vital Records. For information about restrictions and costs for certificates, see the CDC Where to Write for Vital Records site.





Research Facilities


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.




Clay County Historical Society
2121 7th
Clay Center 67432

The Clay County Historical Society is the primary source for historical genealogical material in the county, and can be contacted at the Clay County Museum, where they are housed. 


Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Kansas. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. "Henry Clay," Wikipedia.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Kansas" 8/10/2017.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Kansas. Page 249 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 234.
  5. “Kansas Research Outline”, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Department, 2000), 40.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Kansas#Communities, accessed 13 September 2017.
  7. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 118-119.
  8. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 119.