Polk County, Florida Genealogy

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Guide to Polk County, Florida ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Polk County, Florida
Map
Map of Florida highlighting Polk County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Location of Florida in the U.S.
Facts
Founded February 8, 1861
County Seat Bartow
Courthouse
Florida Polk Courthouse.jpg
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County Information

Polk County, Florida Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1892 1862 1830 1862 1861

County Courthouse

Polk County Courthouse
255 N Broadway Ave
Bartow, FL 33830-3912
Phone: 863.534.4540

Boundaries changed 1871.
Clerk Circuit Court has marriage, divorce, court, and land records from 1861. [2]

Quick Facts

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: Polk County, Florida
A bit of history of creation from Hillsborough County.

Parent County

8 February 1861: Polk County was created from Hillsborough County.
County seat: Bartow [3]

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

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

Places / Localities

Resources

African-Americans

Biography

Cemeteries


Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
FLGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
FLGenWeb Archives Interment.net
Tombstone Project Veterans Administration National Cemeteries
Florida Gravestones
Billion Graves

Census

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

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 Records

Immigration

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

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.

Maps

Flpolk.png


Military

Civil War
Korean War
Vietnam War

Newspapers

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

Obituaries

Probate

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

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.

Birth Records
Death Records
Divorce Records
Marriage Records

Societies and Libraries

Imperial Polk Genealogical Society
PO Box 10
Kathleen, FL 33849
863-858-2738 Email: ipgslakeland@gmail.com
Website

Polk County Historical/Genealogical Library
100 E. Main St
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: 863 534-4380
Website

Bartow Historical Library

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.

Websites

References

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. WorldCat 50140092 FHL Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)