La Plata County, Colorado Genealogy

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United States
La Plata County

Guide to La Plata County, Colorado ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Durango
Organized: February 10, 1874
Parent County(s): Conejos and Lake [1]
Neighboring Counties
Archuleta  • Dolores  • Hinsdale  • Montezuma  • San Juan  • San Juan (NM)
See County Maps
Location Map
Colorado La Plata County.png

County Information


The County was named for the La Plata River and the La Plata Mountains "La plata" is the Spanish language word for "silver". The County has Durango as its seat and the County was created February 10, 1874. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

La Plata County Courthouse
1060 E 2nd Ave
Durango, CO 81301-5157
Phone: 970.382.6219
La Plata County website

County Clerk has marriage records from 1878 and land records from 1876;
Clerk District Court has divorce and probate records;
County Court has court records;
San Juan Basin Health Department has birth, death and burial records[3]
Early records are with Vital Statistics Registrar, City Hall, Durango: also clerk and recorder's office 1900-1912.
Some early marriages in San Juan County clerk and recorder's office.[4]

La Plata County, Colorado 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[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1895 1878 1895 1874 1876 1874 1860
Statewide registration for births in 1910 and deaths in 1910. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

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:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns
  • Greysill Mines
  • La Plata

History Timeline


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of La Plata County, Colorado online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Colorado Cemeteries for more information


Census Records

In 1860, present-day Colorado was enumerated in the Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah Territories. Colorado Territory was created in 1861 and was enumerated as such in the 1870 Census. A state census was taken in 1885 for Colorado.[14] See links listed below.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 1,110
1890 5,509 396.3%
1900 7,016 27.4%
1910 10,812 54.1%
1920 11,218 3.8%
1930 12,975 15.7%
1940 15,494 19.4%
1950 14,880 −4.0%
1960 19,225 29.2%
1970 19,199 −0.1%
1980 27,424 42.8%
1990 32,282 17.7%
2000 43,941 36.1%
2010 51,334 16.8%
Source: "".

State and Territory Census Records

Federal Census Records

The 1880 Census was the first Federal Census for Colorado after it became a state in 1876.[15] For links to Federal Census indexes, see Colorado Census.

  • 1860-1940 Colorado Census Records from 1860 to 1940 at — index/images

Church Records

Church records 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 Colorado denominations, view the Colorado Church Records wiki page.

Online Church Records
Presbyterian Church

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Allison
  • Durango
  • Kline
  • Pine River
  • Redmesa

Court Records

Numerous records are available at Colorado Archives. To use this link scroll down the page to where it asks for Record Type. Click there and scroll down the list to the records you want and select. The next field asks for county. Select the county you want and then click on Search. You can narrow the search by adding the additional information it asks for.

1935-1942 An Index of the WPA Employment Case Files between 1935 and 1942 was compiled from the official record of the Colorado Department of Public Welfare, La Plata County Office. The information contained in the record generally shows:

  • Name of the applicant
  • Date of the filing
  • Case number
  • Name(s) and location of next of kin
  • Date applicant accepted for employment
  • Military service dates
  • General work experience record and qualifications


Online Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



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 Colorado Land and Property for additional information about early Colorado land grants.

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where current records are also housed.

Online Land Records

For more information see Colorado Land and Property

Local Histories

Maps and Gazetteers

Dolores CountySan Juan CountyHinsdale CountyArchuleta CountyRio Arriba CountySan Juan CountyMontezuma CountyCO LA PLATA.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Online Collections

These collections are unique to Colorado. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and Colorado Military Records.

All Veterans

Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898)

World War I

Vietnam War

For further information see Colorado Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Online Records


For more information, see Colorado Newspapers.

Colorado Newspapers Online

Colorado Newspaper Catalogs

  • 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


Other Records


Probate Records

Probate records have been kept by the county courts. Colorado probate records include bonds, affidavits, letters, claims, appraisals, fee accounts, minutes, judgments, dockets, calendars, case files, and wills. The Family History Library does not have copies of probate records from Colorado.

You may obtain copies of documents from the clerk's office in the county courthouse.

Online Records

School Records

Tax Records

Colorado tax records complement land records and can be used as supplements to censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records. To find tax records in the FamilySearch Catalog, do a Place Search for the county.

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 Vital Records Section Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

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

Colorado Vital Records Search 


Birth records may become public records when 100 years have elapsed after the date of birth. EXCEPTION: The birth record of any individual who is known to be currently alive will remain confidential even if they are 100 years of age or greater. [16]


Online Records


Death records may become public records when 75 years have elapsed after the date of death. [16]


Online Records

Research Facilities


The Colorado State Archives has the following records available for La Plata County, Colorado Genealogy in this online database Archives Search. For a full list of online holdings, click here.
1880-1939 Divorce Index
1883-1900 Mine Accidents, Non - fatal
1897-1920 Horseshoers
1936-1942 Civilian Conservation Corps Enrollments
1966-1968 Vietnam Deaths

1935-1942 La Plata County WPA Enrollments

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.


Pine River Public Library District/Bayfield
395 Center Drive
Bayfield, CO 81122
Phone: (970) 884-2222

Durango Public Library
1188 E Second Ave
Durango, CO 81301
Phone: (970) 375-3380

Ignacio Library District
470 Goddard Ave
Ignacio, CO 81137
Phone: (970) 563-9287



La Plata County Historical Society & The Animas Museum
PO Box 3384
3065 West 2nd Ave.
Durango, CO 81301-4209
Telephone: 970-259-2402

Four Corners Genealogy Society
PO Box 2636
Durango CO 81302

Genealogical Research Society Of Durango
2720 Delwood
Durango CO 81301


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, "La Plata, Colorado Genealogy and History", 6/29/2017.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), La Plata County, Colorado. Page 99 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources. Edited by Alice Eichholz. (Ancestry, Provo; 3d ed, 2004.) Colorado article by Birdie Monk Holzclaw and Marsha Hoffman Rising. page 93.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), La Plata County, Colorado. Page 99 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), 93.
  6. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "La Plata County, Colorado," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, Plata_County,_Colorado, accessed 28 May 2017.
  8. [ Durango
  9. Bayfield
  10. 2
  11. Hermosa locator
  12. 2]
  13. Parrott
  14. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 51-54; Alice Eichholz, ‘’Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources,’’ 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 2004), 86. Free online version; FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004; WorldCat entry.
  15. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 54.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Letter from Colorado State Registrar, Dated September 1, 2011. Policy Number 2011- 08.