DeSoto County, Florida Genealogy

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DeSoto County

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


DeSoto County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting DeSoto County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Location of Florida in the U.S.
Founded May 19, 1887
County Seat Arcadia
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County Information

DeSoto County, Florida Record Dates

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1899 1887 1899 1887 1887 1887 1830
*Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1899. General compliance by 1920.

County Courthouse

De Soto County Courthouse
 115 Oak Street
Arcadia, FL 33821
Phone: 862.993.4876

County Judge has probate records from 1887.
Clerk Ciruit Court has divorce, court and land records from 1887. [2]


Parent County

1887--DeSoto County was created 19 May 1887 from Manatee County.
County seat: Arcadia [3]


The county was named for Hernando de Soto, Spanish explorer. The County Seat is Arcadia and the county was created May 1887.[4] The County is located in the Southwest area of the state.[5]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Florida county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Florida County Boundary Maps" (1821-1997) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

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

Places / Localities

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
  • Brownville
  • Cubitis
  • Fort Ogden
  • Hull
  • Platt
  • Southfort
  • Tryon
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Neighboring Counties

Charlotte  • Glades  • Hardee  • Highlands  • Manatee  • Sarasota


African American


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

The following web sites may have additional information on DeSoto County cemeteries.


Desoto County Federal Census Index-FLGenWeb Project,Inc.

For tips on accessing DeSoto County, Florida Genealogy census records online, see: Florida Census.


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 Florida denominations, view the Florida Church Records wiki page.

Churches of Desoto Co



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

Florida Territorial Land Records

Local Histories

Local histories are available for DeSoto County, Florida 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 Florida Local Histories.


Manatee CountyHardee CountySarasota CountyCharlotte CountyGlades CountyHighlands CountyFL DESOTO.PNG
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Civil War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War


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


  • USGenWeb Obituary transcriptions from Florida counties Obituaries Project


Probate records are held by the DeSoto County, Florida Genealogy Clerk of Court and are housed at the DeSoto County, Florida Genealogy Courthouse. See the wiki page Florida Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, and adoptions.

Online Probate Records

  • 1784 – 1990 FamilySearch Florida Probate Records 1784-1990
  • 1810 – 1974 $ Florida Wills and Probate Records 1810-1974


Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and slaves aged 21 to 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district. For more information see the wiki page Florida 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 Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred or order electronically online. See also How to order Florida Vital Records

For some online statewide indexes, see the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for Florida.

Birth Records
  • 1880 - 1935 - FamilySearch Florida, Births and Christenings, 1880-1935
Death Records
Divorce Records
Marriage Records

Societies and Libraries

DeSoto County Historical Society, Inc.
PO Box 1824
Arcadia, FL 34265
Telephone Number: 863-993-3277

Genealogical Society of Sarasota, Inc.
PO Box 1917
Sarasota, FL 34230-1917

Lemon Bay Historical Society
PO BOx 1245
Englewood, FL 34293-1245
Telephone Number: 941-473-8491

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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), DeSoto County, Florida . Page 133-137 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), 143-145.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), DeSoto County, Florida Page 134 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Genealogy Trails History Group, “DeSoto County, Florida Genealogy and History”, accessed 04/24/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "DeSoto County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Florida 04/24/2017.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "DeSoto County, Florida," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Florida, accessed 10 December 2018.