Clay County, Minnesota Genealogy

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United States
Clay County

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


Clay County, Minnesota
Map of Minnesota highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the U.S. highlighting Minnesota
Location of Minnesota in the U.S.
Founded March 18, 1858
County Seat Moorhead
Address Clay County Courthouse
807 11th Street North
Moorhead, MN 56560
Phone: 218-299-5002 (Administration)
Phone: 218-299-5031
Clay County Website

County Information


The County was named for the American statesman Henry Clay, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century. The County is located in the west central area of the state. [1]

Clay County, Minnesota Record Dates

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1872 1872 1872 1931 1872 1885 1836
Statewide registration started for births in 1900 and deaths in 1908. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse

County Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records
from 1872 and military records from 1917.
Court Administration has divorce and court records from 1931
and probate records from from 1885. [3]


Henry Clay.JPG

The county is named after U.S. Speaker of the House Henry Clay (1777-1852).[4]

Parent County

1858--Clay County was created 18 March 1858 from Pembina (Old) County. 
County seat: Moorhead [5]

  • For a brief history of how Clay County was named, click here, then select Clay County.

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Minnesota County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Minnesota County Boundary Maps" (1849-1960) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

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


Populated Places


Barnesville | Comstock | Dilworth | Felton | Georgetown | Glyndon | Hawley | Hitterdal | Moorhead | Sabin | Ulen


Alliance Township | Barnesville Township | Cromwell Township | Eglon Township | Elkton Township | Elmwood Township | Felton Township | Flowing Township | Georgetown Township | Glyndon Township | Goose Prairie Township | Hagen Township | Hawley Township | Highland Grove Township | Holy Cross Township | Humboldt Township | Keene Township | Kragnes Township | Kurtz Township | Moland Township | Moorhead Township | Morken Township | Oakport Township | Parke Township | Riverton Township | Skree Township | Spring Prairie Township | Tansem Township | Ulen Township | Viding Township



Unincorporated Areas

Baker | Dale | Downer | Kragnes | Muskoda | Rollag | Winnipeg Junction

Neighboring Counties



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
USGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
MNGenWeb Archives
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.


Clay County

  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Clay County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

Dillworth Lutheran Church

  • Records of Dillworth Lutheran Church in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]


  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Hawley, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Barnesville

  • Records of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Barnesville, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead

  • Records of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).


  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Ulen, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).


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:


A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records, 1872-1947

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Clay 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.


Norman CountyMahnomen CountyBecker CountyOtter Tail CountyWilkin CountyRichland CountyCass CountyMN CLAY.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources



Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Clay 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


Online Records

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Minnesota, Clay County School Census Records (FamilySearch Historical 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

Clay County Historical Society
202 First Avenue North
Moorhead, MN 56560
Telephone: 218-299-5511

Barnesville Heritage Society
PO Box 126
412 6 St Ne
Barnesville, MN 56514
Telephone: 218-354-2364

Ulen Historical Museum
PO Box 182
Ulen MN 56585
Telephone: 218 596-8121

Red River Valley Genealogical Society
PO Box 9284
112 N University Drive Suite L116
Fargo ND 58106
Telephone: 701-239-4129

Clay County Historical Society
PO Box 501
Moorhead 56560

See also a List of Minnesota Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

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, "Clay County, Minnesota" in,_Minnesota accessed 8 Nov 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Minnesota. Page 362-370 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), 362-365.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Minnesota page 363, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. "Henry Clay," Wikipedia.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society,, accessed 10 June 2013.