Polk County, Florida Genealogy
Guide to Polk County, Florida ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Polk County, Florida|
Location in the state of Florida
Location of Florida in the U.S.
|Founded||February 8, 1861|
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 Quick Facts
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 African-Americans
- 4.2 Biography
- 4.3 Cemeteries
- 4.4 Census
- 4.5 Church
- 4.6 Court Records
- 4.7 Immigration
- 4.8 Local Histories
- 4.9 Land and Property
- 4.10 Maps
- 4.11 Military
- 4.12 Newspapers
- 4.13 Obituaries
- 4.14 Probate
- 4.15 Taxation
- 4.16 Vital Records
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
Polk County, Florida Record Dates
Polk County Courthouse
255 N Broadway Ave
Bartow, FL 33830-3912
Boundaries changed 1871.
Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce, court, and land records from 1861. 
Quick FactsA bit of history of creation from Hillsborough County.
8 February 1861: Polk County was created from Hillsborough County.
County seat: Bartow 
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.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
Places / Localities
- USGenWeb Florida African American Griots Project
- Afrigeneas - African Genealogy
- Heritage and History in Polk County
- Willow Lawn Cemetery- African American obituaries
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|Tombstone Project||Veterans Administration National Cemeteries|
For tips on accessing Polk County, Florida Genealogy census records online, see: Florida Census.
- 1783 Spanish Census USGenWeb
- 1821 Census/Tax List Index USGenWeb
- 1823 Census/Tax List Index USGenWeb
- 1880 Census African Born Blacks and Mulattos USGenWeb
- Federal Census Information from National Archives USGenWeb
- State Census Information from Florida State Archives USGenWeb
- Census of Pensioners Revolutionary Military Service USGenWeb
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.
NARA Ships Passenger Lists
These passenger lists cover:
1834 - 1897 Immigration of Russians to the United States
1/12/1846 -12/31/1851 Irish Famine
1850 - 1897 Germans to the United States
1855 - 1900 Italians to the United States
Local histories are available for Polk County, Florida 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 Florida Local Histories.
Land and Property
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.
- 1821-1997 Maps of Florida
- 1870 Gray's Atlas Panhandle Portion of StateUSGenWeb
- 1882 Rand McNally Panhandle Portion of StateUSGenWeb
- Exploring Florida, FCIT Maps University of South Florida
- Florida State Military Files USGenWeb
- Florida state pension records from various wars Pension Transcriptions USGenWeb
- 1861-1865 - Florida Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - Florida Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1885-1955 - Florida Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1955 at FamilySearch — images only
- Florida Casualties in the Korean Conflict distantcousin.com
- Florida Casualties in the Vietnam War distantcousin.com
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Polk County, Florida Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Early Florida Newspapers at the Florida State Library USGenWeb
- U.S. Hidden Ancestors Obituaries
- USGenWeb Obituaries Project Obituary transcriptions from Florida counties
Probate records are held by the Polk County, Florida Genealogy Clerk of Court and are housed at the Polk County, Florida Genealogy Courthouse. 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.
Online Probate Records
- 1784 – 1990 FamilySearch Florida Probate Records 1784-1990
- 1810 – 1974 Ancestry.com $ Florida Wills and Probate Records 1810-1974
- Florida State Archives $
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 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.
- 1877 - 1939 - Florida, Deaths, 1877-1939 at FamilySearch — index
- 1900 - 1921 - Florida, Deaths and Burials, 1900-1921 at FamilySearch — index
- 1877 - 1998 - Florida, Death Index, 1877-1998 at FamilySearch — index
- 1837 - 1974 - Florida, Marriages, 1837-1974 at FamilySearch — index
- 1830 - 1993 - Florida, Marriages, 1830-1993 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1830 - 1957 - Florida, County Marriages, 1830-1957 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1822 - 1875 and 1927 - 2001 - Florida, Marriage Index, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 at FamilySearch — index
Societies and Libraries
Polk County Historical/Genealogical Library
100 E. Main St
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: 863 534-4380
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.
- Lake Hamilton Florida Family History Center (Haines City)
- Lakeland Florida Family History Center
- Valdosta Florida Family History Center
- Polk County, FL History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- Florida Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- Florida Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Polk County, Florida Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Polk County, FLGenWeb Project, Inc.
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 123-139. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Polk County, Florida Page 136 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- WorldCat 50140092 FHL Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)