Cowley County, Kansas Genealogy
Guide to Cowley County, Kansas ancestry, family history and genealogy and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.
|Cowley County, Kansas|
Location in the state of Kansas
Location of Kansas in the U.S.
|Founded||February 26, 1867|
|Address|| Cowley County Courthouse|
311 E. 9th Ave.
Winfield, Kansas 67156-2864
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Web Sites
- 8 References
Cowley County, Kansas Record Dates
Cowley County Courthouse
311 E 9th Avenue
Winfield, KS 67156
City Clerk has birth records.
Probate Court has marriage, divorce and probate records 1870 and death records.
Clerk District Court has court records.
Appraisers Office has land records. 
Registar of Deeds
The central location for vital records and land records for Cowley County. The Register of Deeds maintains a variety of records and prepares reports of some complexity; assists the public in preparing forms, answering inquiries, certifying copies of military discharges, and looking up records; receives, records, and indexes grantor, grantee, and related records; records plats and maps; files chattel mortgages; makes lien searches; maintains various office records; computes and posts figures; etc.
Phone: 620.221.5461; Fax: 620.221.5463
Location: County Courthouse; 311 E. 9th; Winfield, KS 67156
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 741; Winfield, KS 67156
Records minutes of Commission meetings and maintains files for minutes and resolutions; Assist in budget preparation, accounting, payroll, etc.; Manages elections and voting; Selling of hunting and fishing licenses, etc; Birth and death records from the 1800's to 1911 for the county are available; Land records from the 1800's are also available.
Phone: 620.221.5400 or 620.441.4500; Fax: 620.221.5498
Location: County Courthouse; 311 E. 9th; Winfield, KS 67156
- 1867--Cowley County was created 26 February 1867 from Butler County. County seat: Winfield 
- These lands belonged to the Osage and were not opened to white settlement though many settlers crossed over from Butler County. In January 1870, settlers paid head money to Chetopa, the Osage chief, to remain on Osage lands and laid out towns along the rivers.
- On 28 Feb 1870, Cowley County was officially organized and on 15 Jul 1870, the Osage lands were opened for settlement.
- Between 1870 and 1874, the land in Cowley was divided and redivided into townships and communities, the boundaries changing frequently with the changing population.
- In 1874 and 1875 swarms of grasshoppers devoured the drought damaged crops causing many settlers to leave the county and state. In 1880 drought caused another exodus.
A flood damaged or destroyed some records at the county offices. Contact the county clerk for details on what is missing and what was salvaged.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
Cowley County cemeteries web page. Not all cemeteries have been transcribed. If transcribed, gives the name, date of birth and death and comments if any.
Topographic Map Cemetery Features in Cowley County, Kansas lists the larger cemeteries and their gps locations. Also, links to topigraphical maps containing the cemetery locaions.
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Kansas Cemeteries for more information.|
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.
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- Arkansas City
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.
See Registar of Deeds above.
Local histories are available for Cowley 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.
The History of Cowley County, Kansas. (1990) index and some pages transcribed available online through the Cowley, KS GenWeb site.
Cutler, William G., Cowley County, History of the State of Kansas, published 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.
Cowley County GIS Maps A very detailed set of interactive and pdf maps of Cowley County including township lines, roads and water ways, towns, schools, and cemeteries.
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Cowley County, Kansas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
Newspaper Files Transcribed by Mary Ann Wortman from Microfilm contains transcribed articles for various newspapers 1868-1895 and 1918-1922.
Kansas State Historical Society houses one of the largest newspaper collections. They have 1321 reels of Cowley newspapers which may be available through interlibrary loan. Titles include Arkansas City Traveler 1876 - 2008, Cowley County Reporter 1967 - 1996, Winfield Daily Courier 1885 - 2007, and many more.
"Births and deaths of Cowley County, Kansas as abstracted from the Winfield Daily Courier and other sources, 1875-1969" [compiled by members of the Cowley County Genealogical Society including Cheryl Voigtlander and Ruby Mussen ; data entered by Connie Lea Becker Lawrence] is available from the Family History Library as book 978.189 V2b or FHL US/CAN Film 2055496 Item 1
"Obituary notices, Winfield Daily Courier" by Gale J. Bunner covering Dec. 1988-Mar. 1995 available as FHL US/CAN Book 978.189/W1 V4b 1988-1995
"Deceased persons from the Winfield daily courier : Winfield, KS, April 1995 to February 1998" compiled by Gale J. Bunner available as FHL US/CAN 978.189/W1 V4b 1995-1998 or FHL US/CAN Film 1425480 Item 8
- Arkansas City Traveler (620) 442-4200; 200 E. Fifth Avenue / P. O. Box 988, Arkansas City, KS 67005
- Cowley County Reporter (620) 438-2370; Burden, KS 67019
- Winfield Daily Courier (620) 221-1050; 201 E. Ninth Street / P.O. Box 543, Winfield, KS 67156
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, Cowley 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.
See County Offices above.
- 1818 - 1936 Kansas, Births and Christenings, 1818-1936 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1885 - 1911 Kansas, Births and Christenings Index, 1885-1911 at Ancestry.com — 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 $
- 1811 - 1911 Kansas, Marriages, 1811-1911 at FamilySearch — index
- 1840 - 1935 Kansas, Marriages, 1840-1935 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1855 - 1911 Kansas County Marriages, 1855-1911 at FamilySearch — images
- 1855 - 1911 Kansas, County Marriages, 1855-1911 at Ancestry.com — images $
Societies and Libraries
Cowley County Genealogical Society
PO Box 102
Arkansas City 67005
Cowley County Historical Society
- Arkansas City Public Library (620) 442-1280; 120 E. 5th Avenue, Arkansas City, KS 67005
- Southwestern College Library (620) 229-6225; 100 College Street, Winfield, KS 67156
- Udall Public Library (620) 782-3435; 109 E. First, Udall, KS 67146
- Winfield Public Library (620) 221-4470; 605 College, Winfield, KS 67156
- The Cowley County Genealogical Library is located in the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum, 31639 Us 77, Arkansas City, KS 67005. The library houses Cowley County Cemetery records, Arkansas City Traveler obituaries, Cowley County Birth, Death and Marriage records, the Robert Docking collection and much, much more.
- Cowley County Historical Museum (620) 221-4811; 1011 Mansfield, Winfield, KS 67156
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.
- Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum (620) 442-6750; Attn: Heather Ferguson, Director/ P.O. Box 778; 31639 US 77; Arkansas City, KS 67005 The mission of the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret, natural material culture and documentary items which focus on the history and development of the South-Central Kansas and North-Central Oklahoma areas as it relates to Arkansas City. The emphases will include Native Americans, Land Settlement, and the Cherokee Strip/Outlet Run.
- Cowley County Historical Museum (620) 221-4811; 1011 Mansfield, Winfield, KS 67156 The museum is dedicated to preserving the past for the future. In pursuit of this goal, the museum preserves historical documents, artifacts, and genealogy records pertaining to the rich history of the region.
- Udall Community Historical Society; 113 E. First, Udall, KS 67146
- Cowley County Genealogical Society(620) 221-4591; 1518 East 12th, Winfield, KS 67156
- Cowley County Historical Society, 1011 Mansfield, Winfield, KS 67156
- Cowley County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 102, Arkansas City 6700
- East Central Cowley County Historical Society c/o Emory Lewis, 123 Easy Street, Burden, KS 67019; 620-438-3384 Our purpose is to preserve the past of East Central Cowley County in digital form and present it on the internet and at our new home, the old Burden City building. Online databases include lots of photographs of early people, places and things, plus birth and death records, Family Trees, early school records, and more.
- Kansas State Historical Society, 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka KS 66615-1099
- Kansas Genealogical Society, PO Box 103, Village Square Mall; Library located at 2601 Central Avenue, Dodge City, KS 67801; (620) 225-1951. The Kansas Genealogical Society Library is co-located with the Kansas Society Daughters of The American Revolution Library
- Cowley County, KS USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county.
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Cowley County, Kansas Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 232-245. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Cowley County, Kansas 249 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL. COWLEY COUNTY.