Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy
Guide to Douglas County, Minnesota ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Douglas County, Minnesota|
Location in the state of Minnesota
Location of Minnesota in the U.S.
|Founded||March 8, 1858|
|Address|| Douglas County Courthouse|
305 Eighth Avenue West
Alexandria, MN 56308
Douglas County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Cemeteries
- 5.2 Census
- 5.3 Church
- 5.4 Court
- 5.5 Emigration and Immigration
- 5.6 Land
- 5.7 Local Histories
- 5.8 Maps
- 5.9 Military
- 5.10 Naturalization Records
- 5.11 Newspapers
- 5.12 Obituaries
- 5.13 Probate
- 5.14 Taxation
- 5.15 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Websites
- 8 References
Douglas County, Minnesota Record Dates
County Recorder has birth, marriage, and death records from 1890, land records from late 1800’s and military records.
Clerk of Courts has divorce, probate and court records
- 1858--Douglas County was created 8 March 1858 from Cass and Pembina (Old) Counties. County seat: Alexandria 
- For a brief history of how Douglas County was named, click here, then select Douglas County.
- In 1858 the territory of Douglas County was attached to Stearns County for civil and judicial purposes.
1862 Records from pre-1862 were lost, except the first census of 1860.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
- Burned Counties Research in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
- Arlene Eakle, When the Records are Gone in the Tennessee Genealogy Blog.
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle.
Alexandria Township | Belle River Township | Brandon Township | Carlos Township | Evansville Township | Holmes City Township | Hudson Township | Ida Township | La Grand Township | Lake Mary Township | Leaf Valley Township | Lund Township | Millerville Township | Miltona Township | Moe Township | Orange Township | Osakis Township | Solem Township | Spruce Hill Township | Urness Township
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|MNGenWeb Archives||WorldCat||Billion Graves|
|See Minnesota Cemeteries for more information.|
There are seventy-one cemeteries and burial sites in the twenty townships located in Douglas County. This website has a detailed listing of these cemeteries and their locations in the various townships.
- 1865 - Minnesota State Census, 1865 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1885 - Minnesota State Census, 1885 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1905 - Minnesota State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch — index and images
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.
Forty-four churches were established between 1860 and 1910 by key ethnic groups in Douglas County. These ethnic groups included Norwegian (11 churches), German (10 churches), Swedish (20 churches), Finnish (2 churches), Danish (1 church), and American/British ethnicity (8 churches).
First English Lutheran Church, Alexandria
- Records of First English Lutheran Church, Alexandria, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
East Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield
- Records of East Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Farwell Lutheran Church
- Records of Farwell Lutheran Church in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Our Savior's Lutheran Congregation, Evansville
- Records of Our Savior's Lutheran Congregation, Evansville, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Trysil Lutheran Church, Farwell
- Records of Trysil Lutheran Church, Farwell, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
West Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield
- Records of West Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Churches founded in Douglas County between 1860 - 1910
- Alexandria Township: First Lutheran Church (founded 1872); Bethesda Lutheran Church (founded 1907)
- Brandon Township: Chippewa Lutheran Church (founded 1871); Grace Lutheran Church (founded 1881)
- Evansville Township: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (founded 1869)
- Moe Township: West Moe Lutheran Church (founded 1867); East Moe Lutheran Church (founded 1886)
- Urness Township: St. Petri Lutheran Church (founded 1887)
- Osakis Township: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
- Holmes City Township: Trysil Lutheran Church (founded 1870)
- Solem Township: Solem Lutheran Church (founded 1876)
- Osakis Township: Danish Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
- Urness Township: Finnish Apostolic Church (founded 1877)
- Moe Township: St. Paul's Lutheran Church (founded 1902)
- Alexandria Township: First Baptist Church (founded 1881); Svea (Calvary) Lutheran Church (founded 1877)
- Osakis Township: Fahlun Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
- Holmes City Township: Trinity Lutheran Church (founded 1875); Oscar Lake Lutheran Church (founded 1866); Swedish Baptist Church (founded 1904)
- Urness Township: Fryksende Lutheran Church (founded 1877)
- Lund Township: Christian Lake Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
- Millerville Township (founded ca. 1880)
- Ida Township: St. Luke's Lutheran Church (founded 1869); Ida Mission Covenant Church (founded 1889)
- Solem Township: Wennersborg Lutheran Church (founded ca. 1879); Kensington Covenant Church (founded 1875)
- Evansville Township: Immanuel Lutheran Church (founded 1883); Zionsborg Lutheran Church (founded 1884); Calvary Mission Covenant Church (founded 1887)
- Spruce Hill Township: Free Mission Covenant Church (founded 1886); Rose City Swedish Baptist Church (founded ca. 1890); Spruce Hill Methodist Church (founded 1890s); Spruce Hill Lutheran Church (founded 1876)
- Alexandria Township: St. Mary's Catholic Church (founded 1879); Zion Lutheran Church (founded 1880)
- Carlos Township: Immanual Lutheran Church (founded 1874)
- Belle River Township: St. Nicholas Catholic Church (founded 1870)
- Ida Township: St. John's Lutheran Church (founded 1910)
- Brandon Township: St. Ann's Catholic Church (founded 1902)
- Leaf Valley Township: Ebenezer Lutheran Church (founded 1875)
- Miltona Township: St. Paul's Lutheran Church (founded 1890)
- Millerville Township: Trinity Lutheran Church (founded 1892); Church of Seven Dolors Catholic Church (founded 1867)
Yankee and British Churches
- Alexandria Township: First Methodist Church (founded 1879); Emmanuel Episcopal Church (founded 1868); United Methodist Church (founded 1867); Congregational Church (founded 1867)
- Ida Township: First Presbyterian Church of Garfield (founded ca. 1900)
- Carlos Township: Carlos Prebyterian Church (founded ca. 1900)
- Hudson Township: Free Methodist Church (founded ca. 1891); Forada Presbyterian Church (founded ca.1898)
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:
MINNESOTA, Douglas – LAND AND PROPERTY
- County Recorder has land records from the late 1800s.
- The government land office, headquarters for a large area of the northwest, was located in Alexandria beginning 1868.
- The land office moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 1876 because most of the land in Douglas County had either been bought or homesteaded.
- The Recorder's Office at the Douglas County Courthouse, located in Alexandria, Minnesota has all the Indexes and the Land Abstracts digitized. These records extend back to the late 1860s. In order to access these records you need to tell them the address of the house or farm or else the Plat map description so that they can determine the Block and Lot numbers. Copies of the Index listings for that Block and Lot Land description as well as the matching Land Abstracts can be obtained for $.50 per page, as of 1 Nov 2011.
- The original Land Transfer Books for Douglas County (previously kept at the Courthouse) are available at the Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria. They begin about 1869 and extend to about 1970. Information is recorded under the Township numbers and then Block and Lot numbers. The name of the last Grantee (person’s signature) and the Date of Transfer are also recorded.
Local histories are available for Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Minnesota Local Histories.
- Douglas County Album of the Ages. (Douglas County Historical Society: Taylor Publishing Co., 1982)
- Larson, Constant. History of Douglas and Grant Counties, Minnesota: their people, industries, and institutions. (Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen & Company, Inc, 1916).
- Family Maps of Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
- Douglas County Naturalization Records 1867 to 1947
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Douglas County newspapers which begin in 1871 are available on microfilm for searching at the Douglas County Historical Society. They can also be obtained through Interlibrary Loan from the Minnesota Historical Society. As of 10 Nov 2011 the charge by the Minnesota Historical Society is $3.00 per microfilm. The local library requesting the microfilm may also charge an additional fee, which is usually less than $10. For a list of the Alexandria area newspapers and the years they existed, see the website of the Douglas County Historical Society. (Click on the link on this page under Societies and Libraries.)
Probate records may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. They may include the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. See Minnesota Probate Records for additional information.
Online Probate Records
Minnesota tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Minnesota Taxation.
- Personal property tax records that cover the period of about 1869 to about 1950 are available at the Douglas County Historical Society. They provide information on the property held by an individual at a specific time period and the dollar value of the property.
A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Minnesota State Registrar of Vital Records, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred], order electronically online ($) or download an application for Minnesota Birth Certificate and Death Certificates Applications to mail.
- County Recorder has birth, marriage, and death records from 1890
Societies and Libraries
Douglas County Historical Society
1219 Nokomis St
Alexandria MN 56308-3712
Evansville Historical Foundation
PO Box 337
304 Gran St South
Evansville MN 56326
Osakis Area Heritage Center
PO Box 327
11 E. Main St.
West Central Minnesota Historical Center
University of Minnesota–Morris
Morris, MN 5626
Douglas County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 505
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.
- Douglas County, MN Genealogy Forum (GenForum)
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Douglas County GenWeb
- Cyndi's List: Douglas County
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 385-403. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Douglas County, Minnesota page 364, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- "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, http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/01009.xml, accessed 10 June 2013.