Clearwater County, Idaho Genealogy
County CourthouseClearwater County Courthouse
150 Michigan Avenue, Orofino, ID 83544
Many of the older court, land, naturalization, probate, pension, and vital records for Clearwater County have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through their family history centers. They are also available at the Idaho State Archives in Boise. Details of the county records in these respective institutions can be obtained from their online catalogs or listings. Original records which have been microfilmed and more recent records are in the county courthouse in Orofino.
There are many cemeteries in Clearwater County. For a list of those that have been identified, and links to transcriptions and/or photographs of tombstones, go to Clearwater County, Idaho Cemetery Records.
For the cemeteries in or immediately adjacent to the cities, please see the city pages for the cities listed above.
For a summary of census records for the state of Idaho, see Idaho Census Records.
Churches and Church Records
Check each town/city in the county for churches in that area. There are churches in Orofino, Peirce, Weippe and Elk River. Contact each church for what records they might have available.
County Commissioners' Records
The minute books of the County Commissioners contain interesting tidbits of history about the county as well as the names of individuals appealing to the County Commissioners for action on issues of concern to them. Minutes of those meetings were recorded from the formation of the county, for most counties. Some counties now post the minutes of current meetings online.
Most of these records have been preserved in the county courthouses of the State of Idaho. Few have been microfilmed. Contact the county clerk for information about years covered and availability.
Some of the early court records of Clearwater County, Idaho have been microfilmed and are available at the Idaho State Archives in Boise, Idaho. The records filmed include civil suits, divorce papers, judgment dockets, etc. Copies of these microfilmed court records are also available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah or at any of the Library's Family History Centers. Additional court records and more recent records are housed at the Clearwater County courthouse in Orofino, Idaho, and can be accessed by making a visit there.
Some of the records of the courts of Clearwater County that have been microfilmed include:
- Court records, 1911-1935
- Index, 1883-1987; power of attorney, 1883-1951
- Judgments, 1888-1938
Miscellaneous records are listed under the Miscellaneous Series
Published historical works include:
- Pioneer Timbermen : A History of the Rush to Acquire the White Pine Forests of the Clearwater Country in Idaho, by Ralph S Space
- The Clearwater story : a history of the Clearwater National Forest, by Ralph S Space
- The Clearwater Historical Society Newsletter, published quarterly, available at the University of Idaho Library
- Early Selway River History, 1906-1931, by LeRoy W Lewis, available at the University of Idaho Library
Land and Property
Land and Property records are generally recorded in the county courthouse of the county in which the transaction took place. For original records of Clearwater County, Idaho, one may visit the courthouse in Orofino, Idaho.
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed many of the early county records of Clearwater County and these can be accessed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has microfilmed the following records pertaining to land and property in Clearwater County, which can be viewed in the Library in Salt Lake City or in any of its Family History Centers:
- Declaration of homesteads, 1911-1951; index, 1911-1987
- Estates, 1911-1933; inventories and accounts, 1910-1931; index to orders affecting real estate, 1911-1986
- Index to deeds, 1871-1906; deeds, 1884-1911
- Map of Clearwater County, Idaho is available online.
World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918, for Clearwater County have been microfilmed. Copies of these records are available at the Family History Library (their microfilm number 1452213) and are also available online at Ancestry.com, for a subscription fee. The original cards are maintained in the Southeast Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in East Point, Georgia and have been microfilmed by the National Archives as their Microcopy M1509.
Often overlooked by the genealogist, this group of volumes may contain affidavits for citizenship, final disposition of estates, divorce decrees, and many other types of valuable documents. The content varies from county to county, year to year and from clerk to clerk. When the estate case files, civil or criminal files are not available or have been destroyed, you may find key documents recorded here. Most counties will have an index to this series and it is a must search if the information you are seeking is not found elsewhere.
The original copies and later records can be accessed by visiting the Clearwater County Courthouse in Orofino, Idaho
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed copies of an index of Clearwater County's miscellaneous records (1905-1963) and these can be viewed at the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has a microfilmed copy of an Index to the Clearwater County miscellaneous series (1871-1963) which can be viewed at the Library in Salt Lake City or at any of its Family History Centers.
The original naturalization records of Clearwater County that have been transferred to the Idaho State Historical Society' Library in Boise have been indexed in their Index to Naturalizations.
The following newspapers have been published in Clearwater County, Idaho. Copies for the dates indicated are available at the Idaho State Archives in Boise.
|| Title of Newspaper
|| Issues Available
| Elk River
|| Elk River Sentinel
| Elk River
|| Elk River News
|| Clearwater Republican
|| Clearwater Tribune
|| Orofino Courier
|| Orofino Tribune
|| 1906, 1910-1922
| Pierce City
|| Pierce City Miner
Mothers' Pensions were provided by the State of Idaho for widows and/or orphans, under certain conditions. Petitions for those pensions were filed with the probate court in each county. The original papers for several counties have been transferred to the Idaho State Archives in Boise and have been indexed. Clearwater County Mothers' Pensions are included in that index.
Microfilmed copies of these records are also available at the Clearwater county courthouse in Orofino, Idaho as well as at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah or any of the Library's Family History Centers.
Old Age Pensions were also provided by the State of Idaho from 1931 to 1936. The original records for these pensions in the Idaho State Archives have also been indexed. Clearwater County Old Age Pensions are included in that index.
Any existing original probate records for Clearwater County should be available in the county courthouse in Orofino. These can be accessed by visiting there.
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed many of the earlier Clearwater County probate records and these can be viewed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has also microfilmed some of the early probate records of Clearwater County, and the following can be viewed at the Library in Salt Lake City or in any of its Family History Centers:
Any existing tax assessment rolls for Clearwater County should be in the courthouse in Orofino and would need to be accessed by visiting there.
Birth records, 1911 to present, for individuals born in Clearwater County are included in and recorded at the state level. These records are restricted for a period of one hundred years from the time of the individual's birth but can be obtained by following the guidelines as issued by the State of Idaho. See the Vital Records section under the subject Idaho for more details.
Idaho births and christenings (1856-1965) are available online.
Available online are Idaho Marriages 1878-1898, 1903-1942.
After 1911, deaths occurring in Clearwater County are included in the state-wide registration program. These records are restricted for a period of fifty years from the time of the individual's death but can be obtained by following the guidelines as issued by the State of Idaho. See the Vital Records section under Idaho for details.
Copies of death certificates from 1911-1954 are on microfilm and can be used at the Idaho State Historical Society Library, the Family History Library, BYU-Idaho University Library in Rexburg and several other locations.
A state-wide index to Idaho Deaths, 1911-1956 is available online. Efforts to expand this index to 1960 are underway. Another version is the US Genweb Idaho Death Index 1911-1956.
Here is yet another online version of Idaho Death and Burials (1907-1965).
Online Idaho Death Certificates 1911-1937 are also available.
Societies and Libraries
Many public libraries provide internet access to sites of value to the family historian. Some have special collections of historical and cultural interest, as well. The following libraries may have some resources of value, but use of some or all of them may require a visit to the library.
- Elk River District Library
203 Main St
Elk River, ID 83827
Phone: (208) 826-3539
- Clearwater District Library
204 Wood St
Weippe, ID 83553
Phone: (208) 435-4058
- Pierce District Library
208 S Main St
Pierce, ID 83546
Phone: (208) 464-2823
- Clearwater Historical Museum
Family History Centers
- Introduction to LDS Family History Centers
- Idaho Correctional Center Family History Center
- Orofino Idaho Family History Center
- The IDGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project
- Family History Library Catalog
- Clearwater County, Idaho Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series, Number 10, Counties and County Seats, Reissued July, 1991.
- census.gov - Idaho population by county, 1900-90 accessed 2009-05-03
- quickfacts.census.gov - Canyon County accessed 2009-05-03