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Guide to Lee County Florida Genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Lee County, Florida
Map
Map of Florida highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Florida
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Location of Florida in the U.S.
Facts
Founded May 13, 1887
County Seat Fort Myers
Courthouse
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Contents

County Courthouse

Lee County Courthouse
2115 2nd St;
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Ph. 941.335.2283

Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce, probate court and land records. [1]

History

Parent County

1887--Lee County was created 13 May 1887 from Monroe County.
County seat:  Fort Myers [2] The county was named for Robert E. Lee, Confederate general in the American Civil War.

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Florida county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Florida County Boundary Maps" (1821-1997) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.


Record Loss

For a list of record loss in Florida counties see: Florida Counties with Burned Courthouses

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

  • Charlotte - Charlotte County was established April 23, 1921 named for the Bay of Charlotte Harbor. Punta Gorda is the only incorporated city in Charlotte County.
  • Collier - Collier County was created in 1923 from Lee County. It was named for Barron Collier, an advertising mogul and real estate developer from New York City.
  • Glades - Glades County was created in 1921 and is named for the Florida Everglades.  The Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation is located in the county.
    Hendry - Hendry County was formed from Lee County on May 11, 1923 and named for Major Francis A. Hendry, one of the first settlers.  Hendry County is the site of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

African American

Biographies

Frierson Home at Fort Thompson-FLGenWeb Project,Inc.

Cemeteries

Individual cemeteries:

Census

For tips on accessing Lee County, Florida census records online, see: Florida Census.

Census  - Southwest Florida Pioneers Historical Society

Church

Church records and the information they provide 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 Florida denominations, view the Florida Church Records wiki page.

Court

Land

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 Florida Land and Property for additional information about early Florida land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Florida Territorial Land Records

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Lee County, Florida. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories see the wiki page section Florida Local Histories.

Maps

Fllee.png

Military

Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lee County, Florida newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries

  • Florida Obituaries  -  Obituary transcriptions from Florida counties -  USGenWeb Obituaries Project
  • Obituary Index created by the Lee County Genealogical Society, Florida. These individuals were extracted from the Fort Myers News-Press.

Probate

Probate records are held by the Lee County, Florida Clerk of Court and are housed at the Lee County, Florida Courthouse. Microfilmed records can be found online at Florida Probate Records, 1784-1990. See the wiki page Florida Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, and adoptions.

Taxation

Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and slaves aged 21 to 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district. For more information see the wiki page Florida 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 Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred or order electronically online. See also How to order Florida Vital Records

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

Fl-genweb Project,Inc. Collier County Marriages - page 1

Fl-genweb Project, Inc. Collier County Marriages - page 2

Lee County, Florida Marriages 1887-1924, published by the Lee County Genealogical Society in 1992, abstracts records found in the Lee County Courthouse. It includes names of the bride and groom, their residences, marriage date, witnesses, the presiding official, and the book and page number of the original record.

Lee County was formed in May 1887 from a portion of Monroe County. Some marriage records were moved to Fort Myers while others may still be found in Key West. 

Although this book is currently out of print, digitized pages can be found at the Lee County Genealogy website under "Public Downloads". 
 

Societies and Libraries

The Lee County Genealogical Sociey, Inc. assists anyone with an interest in tracing their "roots".  We help beginners get started and guide them in their family research. We welcome experienced genealogists and encourage them to share their knowledge with others. We learn from and teach each other in small and large group meetings. 

Our members have come from many parts of the United States to beautiful Lee County in Southwst Florida. We are from a wide variety of occupations and our age range is broad. What brings and keeps us together is our interest in family history. As we share our knowledge, our research skills grow and so do our family trees.

Please explore our website. Check our Events calendar to see what’s happening in our Society, other Southwest Florida Societies, and where you can find local and national genealogy classes, workshops and seminars.  Use our searchable database for the Genealogy Department Shelf List at the Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First Street, Fort Myers, Florida, which is presented as a service to library patrons and to distant researchers. Currently there are over 9,000 individual genealogical references available at the Library.  We also offer a searchable databse of Surnames submited by our members.  We also offer for viewing Lee County, Florida Marriages 1887-1924, published by the LCGS in 1992, abstracts records found in the Lee County Courthouse. It includes names of the bride and groom, their residences, marriage date, witnesses, the presiding official, and the book and page number of the original record. This book is currently out of print. Our newest compilation is the Voter Registration Records, Town of Fort Myers and Lee County, Florida 1885-1909.  A limited printing was done with copies being donated to the Fort Myers Regional Library, the Southwest Florida Museum of History, the Southwest Florida Historical Society, the State Library of Florida, and the Lee County Genealogical Society.

Our meetings are free and open to the public consisting of a business meeting, followed by refreshments and time for networking.  A program is presented at all meetings.  We meet monthly on the third Thursday of the month and quarterly on he second Saturday in March, May, September and November.  Directions can be found at our website.

Need help?  Wan more informaton?  Visit us at one of our meetings, email us at GenHelp@LCGSFL.org or mail us at Post Office Box 150153, Cape Coral, FL 33915-0153.

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The Bonita Genealogy Club (Post Office Box 366471, Bonita Springs, FL 34136) meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at the Bonita Springs Public Library on Pine Street in Old Bonita. Contact jgil387867@aol.com for more information or visit their webpages at Bonita Springs Genealogy.

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The Lehigh Acres Genealogical Society,  (Post Office Box 965, Lehigh Acres, FL 33970-0965) can be contacted by emailing hpedie@earthlink.net.

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The Southwest Florida Pioneers Historical Society  (Post Office Box 274,Boca Grande FL 33921) offers their webite Lee County - Past to Presentfor researchers with ancestors in Southwest Florida.  Society membrs have roots in early Lee County along with an abiding interest in preserving the importance of the contributions made by their pioneer ancestors.  While any website is a work in preogress, you can currently find many public records, obituaries, cemetery transcriptions, a message board and more.

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Fort Myers Regional Library

The Fort Myers Regional Library houses the main genealogy reference collection in Lee County, Florida. The Fort Myers Regional Library is located at 2450 First Street in downtown Fort Myers.

Research Assistance:
Our hours of operation are: Monday-Wednesday 9am-8pm; Thursday 9am-6pm; Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm. Research access is available during all hours of operation. Research assistance is available free of charge by appointment. Assistance is also available in partnership with the Lee County Genealogical Society. For more information on the society and their services, please visit their website at http://www.lcgsfl.org


The Fort Myers Regional Library has been granted Family Search Library Affiliate status. This privilege allows us to offer access to the microfilmed holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City which houses the largest genealogical library in the world. Through the Family Search Library Affiliates, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City makes many of their holdings available in microform to genealogy researchers on a loan basis, for a processing fee of $7.50 per roll of microfilm and $4.75 for microfiche. Orders for microfilm/fiche are made by appointment only.


The Fort Myers Regional Library also offers genealogical research classes all year round. These classes cover a wide variety of topics for genealogists from beginners to seasoned research veterans. All classes are free and open to the public. Patrons may view the latest announcements on upcoming classes as well as the monthly genealogical newsletter column on the genealogy homepage for the Lee County Library System at the following link: http://library.lee-county.com/lifelearn/genealogy/Pages/default.aspx.  

For information on genealogical collection resources, research assistance, or any other related matters, please contact our genealogy coordinator Bryan L. Mulcahy. Mr. Mulcahy may be reached using the following options:
Mailing Address: 2450 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901
Telephone: (239) 533-4626 Fax: (239) 485-1160
E-Mail: bmulcahy@leegov.com 
 
Collection Highlights:
The genealogy collection contains materials from all 50 states, and 41 foreign countries with over 9,800 reference titles as of May 2014, available for research. The primary focus areas include states east of the Mississippi River, Canada, the British Isles, and the northwestern/central tier of Europe.
Some brief examples of materials available for research include:
1. Indexes to primary source records: land records, vital records (births, marriages, divorces, and death records), military service and pension records, township, city, and state records (tax, voters registrations, licenses, etc.).
2. Bibliographies of holdings in genealogical research repositories in the U.S. and Europe.
3. Published family histories.
4. Personal narratives of historical events.
5. Selected genealogical periodicals.
6. Self-help books on specific genealogical research topics.
7. One hundred-forty research/study guides and outlines covering a wide variety of topics of interest to genealogists at all levels of experience.
8. Information for contacting family associations, genealogical/historical societies, organizations, and repositories, both local and worldwide.
9. Free access to subscription databases: Ancestry Library Edition (in library access only), fold3 (access only at Fort Myers Regional Library) and Heritage Quest.
10. Newspapers: Fort Myers-News Press 1884-Present; New York Times 1851-Present

The basic Genealogy Shelf List categories include: General Reference (001 through 899), Geography (901.9 through 917.8), Family Histories (929.2), General Genealogy Reference (920 through 929.9, excluding 929.2 Family Histories), United States and World History (940 through 999), Individual State Reference Books and International Reference Books. Using the searchable database at the Lee County Genealogy Society website http://www.lcgsfl.org/library.php, researchers can search the collection which includes the above books as well as periodical articles that have been preserved.


Obituary and Genealogical Research Queries
Queries from patrons are accepted by mail or e-mail. Queries received via e-mail will be answered via e-mail reply unless our search turns up significant amounts of information. Queries should be kept brief and contain specific names, dates, and places of residence. All queries must be accompanied by a business-sized self addressed stamped envelope with the correct postage. Your request will be handled on a staff available basis. We cannot guarantee a return date but every effort is made to work on incoming requests as soon as possible. We are unable to respond to research requests received without a self-addressed stamped envelope.


For obituary requests, the primary newspaper for the Lee County area is the Fort Myers News-Press. The Fort Myers Regional Library keeps an archive of the local newspaper on microfilm from 1884 to the present. If you are not in Lee County, you can request an obituary notice from the paper by mail or email through the library. The procedures for obtaining copies of obituaries are listed below:
1. Obituary requests must include the deceased's name, date of death, city of residence, and any other information that could help verify the obituary. Also, please include your full name and complete address in the letter.
2. Enclose a business-sized self-addressed stamped envelope.
3. Send the request to: Bryan L. Mulcahy, Reference Department, Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901 or via e-mail at bmulcahy@leegov.com.

4. Requests can also be sent to through the Lee County Genealogical Society via GenHelp@lcgsfl.org.

Family History Centers

Web Sites

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lee County, Florida Page 135 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).

 

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  • This page was last modified on 23 September 2014, at 21:28.
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