Decatur County, Kansas Genealogy

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United States
Kansas
Decatur County

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

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County Facts
County seat: Oberlin
Organized: March 6, 1873
Parent County(s): unorganized territory [1]
Neighboring Counties
Furnas (NE)  • Hitchcock (NE)  • Norton  • Rawlins  • Red Willow (NE)  • Sheridan  • Thomas
See County Maps
Courthouse
KansasDecaturCourthouse.jpg
Location Map
200px-Map of Kansas highlighting Decatur County svg.bmp
Adoption

County Information

Description

The County was named for Commodore Stephen Decatur, of the United States Navy. [2] The County has Oberlin as its seat and the County was created March 20, 1873. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Decatur County Courthouse
120 E. Hall
P.O. Box 89
Oberlin, Kansas 66749-0089
Phone: 785.475.8102
Decatur County Website

Clerk District Court has birth, marriage and death records 1885-1913, divorce and court records from 1881, probate records from 1891 and naturalization records from 1880.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1878 and military discharge records from 1862. [1]

Decatur 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 1881 1878 1891 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

The following are locations in Decatur County, Kansas:[6]

Cities
Unincorporated communites
Townships
  • Allison
  • Altory
  • Bassettville
  • Beaver
  • Cook
  • Custer
  • Cook
  • Dresden
  • Finley
  • Garfield
  • Grant
  • Harlan
  • Jennings
  • Liberty
  • Lincoln
  • Logan
  • Lyon
  • Oberlin
  • Olive
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Prairie Dog
  • Roosevelt
  • Sappa
  • Sherman
  • Summit


History Timeline

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Decatur 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

Decatur County Cemeteries gives the location of each cemetery and a transcription of graves in that cemetery.  Some cemeteries have not been transcribed as yet.

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 4,180
1890 8,414 101.3%
1900 9,234 9.7%
1910 8,976 −2.8%
1920 8,121 −9.5%
1930 8,866 9.2%
1940 7,434 −16.2%
1950 6,185 −16.8%
1960 5,778 −6.6%
1970 4,988 −13.7%
1980 4,509 −9.6%
1990 4,021 −10.8%
2000 3,472 −13.7%
2010 2,961 −14.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Guardianship

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 Decatur 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.


Maps and Gazetteers

Hitchcock CountyRed Willow CountyFurnas CountyRawlins CountyNorton CountyThomas CountySheridan CountyGraham CountyDecatur, Kansas.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration

Military Records

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

Newspapers

For more information, see Kansas Newspapers.

Kansas Newspapers Online

Kansas Newspaper Catalogs

Obituaries

Other Records

Voter Records

Periodicals

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, Decatur 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.


Birth

Marriage

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

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.

Libraries

Museums

Societies

Decatur County Genealogical Society
258 South Penn
Oberlin KS 67749

Websites

Research Guides

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Decatur County, Kansas. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Decatur, Kansas Genealogy and History”, "http://genealogytrails.com/kan/decatur/ 8/10/2017."
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Decatur, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decatur_County,_Kansas" 8/10/2017.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Decatur County, Kansas. Page 249 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. “Kansas Research Outline”, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Department, 2000), 40.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "DecaturCounty, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_County,_Kansas#Communities, accessed 14 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.