Douglas County, Kansas Genealogy
Guide to Douglas County, Kansas ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
- 1 County Information
- 2 Resources
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Biographies
- 2.3 Business, Commerce, and Occupations
- 2.4 Cemeteries
- 2.5 Census Records
- 2.6 Church Records
- 2.7 Court Records
- 2.8 Directories
- 2.9 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.10 Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
- 2.11 Funeral Homes
- 2.12 Genealogies
- 2.13 Guardianship
- 2.14 Land and Property Records
- 2.15 Local Histories
- 2.16 Maps and Gazetteers
- 2.17 Migration
- 2.18 Military Records
- 2.19 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.20 Newspapers
- 2.21 Obituaries
- 2.22 Other Records
- 2.23 Periodicals
- 2.24 Probate Records
- 2.25 School Records
- 2.26 Tax Records
- 2.27 Vital Records
- 3 Research Facilities
- 4 Societies
- 5 Websites
- 6 Research Guides
- 7 References
The County was named for Stephan A. Douglas, famous orator and United States senator. The County has Lawrence as its seat and the County was created August 25, 1855. The County is located in the northeast area of the state.
Douglas County Courthouse
111 E. 11th Street
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Douglas County Website
Clerk District Court has probate and court records from 1863 naturalization records 1867-1953.
Registrar of Deeds has land records.
Spencer Research Library has marriage 1863-1912. 
Douglas 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.
1863 During the American Civil War, county records were destroyed on 21 August. Some marriage records have been reconstructed.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
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:
Business, Commerce, and Occupations
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. See links listed below.
State and Territorial Census Records
- 1855-1925 - Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 at Ancestry — ($), Index and images; covers census years 1855-1859, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925
- 1860 - 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Kansas Territory at FamilySearch — Index and images
- 1860 - 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Kansas Territory at Ancestry — ($), Index and images
- 1865 - Kansas State Census, 1865 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1875 - Kansas State Census, 1875 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1885 - Kansas State Census, 1885 at FamilySearch — images
- 1895 - Kansas State Census, 1895 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1915 - Kansas State Census, 1915 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1919-1961 - Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961 at Ancestry — Partial index (4 counties) and images
Federal Census 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.
Emigration and Immigration
Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
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
- 1857 Shawnee Indian Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1900 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1857 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1873 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1887 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1902 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1909 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1921 Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- 1857 Shawnee Indian Land Plat book for Douglas County - image of plat book
- Land Patent Search - index to federal patents and homesteads on the Bureau of Land Management website, some images available
- 1796-1907 - U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 at Ancestry - index, info taken from Bureau of Land Management website
- 1863-1908 - U.S. Homestead Records 1863-1908 at Ancestry.com - ($), index and images
For more information see Kansas Land and Property
Local histories are available for Douglas 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
- Lecompton, Kansas : the Capital Worth Remembering. By Lecompton Historical Society. Lecompton, Kan. : The Society. Online at:FamilySearch Books Online.
- Portrait and Biographical Record of Leavenworth, Douglas and Franklin Counties, Kansas. 1899. Chicago, IL : Chapman Publishing Company. Online at: Hathitrust,Internet Archive, Google Books; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Rural Schools and Schoolhouses of Douglas County, Kansas. By Goldie Piper Daniels. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Territorial Days : a Story of Historic Lecompton, Kansas. 1980. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat).
Maps and Gazetteers
Plat Book and Complete Survey of Douglas County, Kansas, 1909 including township and town maps with land owners. Published by Albert W. Armstrong. Available on Kansas Memory.
Early migration routes to and from Douglas County, Kansas Genealogy for European and African American settlers included:
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
- Kansas Military Index at Kansas Historical Society - Index only, includes Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts
- Records of the Deaths and Burials at the Kansas State Soldiers Home - Index only, the home is located in Fort Dodge, Ford County, Kansas.
- Men from Douglas county enlisted in the 1st Infantry Regiment, Company A and 20th Regiment, Company H.
The following Civil War battle was fought in Douglas County.
- Map showing Civil War battles in Kansas.
- Kansas Civil War Soldiers at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index only
- 1862, 1863, 1868: Kansas, Civil War Enlistment Papers, 1862, 1863, 1868 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- 1866-1931: Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic Bound Post Records, 1866-1931 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- 1880-1940: Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic Post Reports, 1880-1940 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- 1889: Kansas, Enrollment of Civil War Veterans, 1889 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- Kansas Civil War Soldiers at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
Spanish-American War (1898)
- 1945-1970: Kansas, United Spanish War Veterans Reports of Deaths, 1945-1970 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
World War I
- History and Roster of the Kansas State Guard (WWI) at KSGenWeb - Taken from the book by the Adjutant General's Office
- 1917-1919: Kansas, World War I Veteran Collection, 1917-1919 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- 1930: Kansas, Enrollment of WWI Veterans, 1930 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
World War II
- 1940-1946: Web: Kansas, WWII Selective Service Index, 1940-1946 at the Ancestry.com - ($), Index and images
- World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing, State of Kansas, War Dept-June 1946 at KSGenWeb - Index only
For further information see Kansas Military Records.
Naturalization and Citizenship
- 1864 - 1972 - Kansas, Naturalization Abstracts, 1864-1972 at Ancestry — ($), Index
- 1865 - 1874 - Kansas Indian Naturalizations, ca. 1865-1874 at the National Archives — Index, District of Kansas, Record Group 21.
- 1865 - 1984 - Kansas, Federal Naturalization Records, 1865-1984 at Ancestry — ($), Index and images
- 1917 - 1918 - Kansas, Registration Affidavits of Alien Enemies, 1917-1918 at Ancestry — ($), Index and images, includes German and other aliens living in Kansas
For more information, see Kansas Newspapers.
Kansas Newspapers Online
- Kansas Newspapers at Newspapers.com - ($), free to Kansas residents through Kansas Historical Society
- GenealogyBank - ($), contains images of Kansas newspapers
- Newspaper Archive - ($), contains images of Kansas newspapers
- Chronicling America - contains images of some Kansas newspapers; searching tips
- Elephind - Free; search engine that retrieves newspaper images from other free newspaper websites
Kansas Newspaper Catalogs
- Kansas Online Historical Newspapers - contains a list of known Kansas newspapers online and the websites they are found on
- U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper
- 1854 - Kansas Election List, 1854 at Ancestry — ($), Index
- 1854 - 1856 - Kansas Voter Registration Lists, 1854-1856 at Ancestry — ($), Index
In most counties in Kansas, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, inventories, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Kansas, Douglas and click Probate records.
Kansas tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Kansas Taxation.
A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Kansas Vital Records. For information about restrictions and costs for certificates, see the CDC Where to Write for Vital Records site.
- 1800 - 1946 - United States Marriages – Kansas, 1800-1946 at findmypast — ($), Index and images
- 1811 - 1911 - Kansas, Marriages, 1811-1911 at FamilySearch — Index
- 1811 - 1911 - Kansas, County Marriages, 1811-1911 at Ancestry — ($), Index
- 1840 - 1935 - Kansas, Marriages, 1840-1935 at FamilySearch.org — Index
- 1854 - 1861 - KHS Kansas Marriage Index, 1854-1861 at Kansas Historical Society — Index
- 1885 - 1930 Kansas, Deaths and Burials, 1885-1930 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1885 - 1930 Kansas, Deaths and Burials, Index, 1885-1930 at Ancestry.com — index $
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.
Spencer Research Library—Kansas Collections (includes Douglas County Records)
University of Kansas
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
Phone: (785) 864-4334
Douglas County Historical Society
Douglas County Kansas Genealogical Society
PO Box 3664
Or, 1329 Kasold Dr. G-1
Lawrence, KS 66049
Kansas Historical Society
6425 SW Sixth Avenue
Topeka, KS 66615-1099
Phone: (785) 272-8681
Fax: (785) 272-8682
- USGenWeb project: Douglas County, Kansas. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county.
- FamilySearch Catalog The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection. Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records
- Douglas County, Kansas Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Douglas County, Kansas At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- Genealogy Trails History Group, “Douglas, Kansas Genealogy and History”, "http://genealogytrails.com/kan/douglas/ 8/10/2017."
- Wikipedia contributors, "Douglas, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_County,_Kansas" 8/10/2017.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Douglas County, Kansas. Page 250 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.
- “Kansas Research Outline”, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Department, 2000), 40.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Douglas County, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_County,_Kansas#Communities, accessed 14 September 2017.
- William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 118-119.
- William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 119.
- National Park Service, "(Auto Tour Route) Maps" in Oregon National Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/oreg/planyourvisit/maps.htm (accessed 18 July 2011).
- National Park Service, "(Auto Tour Route) Maps" in California National Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/maps.htm (accessed 18 July 2011).
- Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 2 August, 2012)