Benewah County, Idaho Genealogy
701 W College Ave.
St. Maries, ID 83861
23 January 1915: Benewah County, Idaho was created from Kootenai County.
- Named after a chief of the Coeur d'Alene Indian tribe. 
Many of the older court, land, naturalization, probate, pension, and vital records for Benewah County have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and 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 Saint Maries. 
There are many cemeteries in Benewah County. For a list of those that have been identified, and links to transcriptions and/or photographs of tombstones, go to Benewah 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.
Church History and Records
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 Benewah 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 Benewah County courthouse in St Maries, Idaho, and can be accessed by making a visit there.
Some of the Benewah County court records that have been microfilmed are:
- Journal, 1915-1930
- Power of attorney, 1890-1968
(Includes divorces, probate documents, civil and criminal actions and many other court actions.)
- Judgments, 1911-1930; general index, 1911-1930
Miscellaneous records are outlined in the Miscellaneous Series betow
The Idaho State Archives has in its collections copies of many city, county, state and regional directories.
The Idaho State Historical Society holds archival materials and photographs on the history of Benewah County.
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 Benewah County, Idaho, one may visit the courthouse in St Maries, Idaho.
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed many county records of Benewah County and these can be accessed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has microfilmed some Benewah County records pertaining to land and property. The following can be viewed in the Library in Salt Lake City or in any of its Family History Centers:
- Deeds, 1890-1909; general index, 1890-1948
- Patents, 1897-1919; general index, 1897-1985
The following may also be helpful:
Abstract titles, Spokane County, Washington which includes titles from Benewah County
- A digital Benewah County map of Idaho is available online.
- Map of Benewah County, Idaho is available online.
Military History and Records
World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918, for Benewah County have been microfilmed. Copies of these records are available at the Family History Library (their microfilm number 1452220) 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.
Both the Idaho State Archives in Boise, Idaho, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah have copies of the miscellaneous record of Benewah County. The originals are held in the Benewah County courthouse in St Maries, Idaho and can be accessed by visiting there. Copies in the Idaho State Archives are available for viewing in Boise. Those held by the Family History Library can be viewed either at the Library in Salt Lake City or at any of its Family History Centers.
The Idaho State Archives has in its collection copies of many Idaho newspapers, among which are newspapers from Plummer and St Maries.
Any existing original probate records for Benewah County should be housed in its county courthouse in St Maries, Idaho. These can be accessed by visiting the courthouse.
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed copies of many of the early probate records of Benewah County which can be accessed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City also has copies of early Benewah County probate records, and the following can be viewed at the Library in Salt Lake City or in any of its Family History Centers:
- Inventory and Appraisement records 1915-1927
- Letters of administration testamentary and wills, 1915-1943; bond of executors and administrators, 1915-1955
- Probate Court Journal, 1915-1928; general index, ca. 1915-1928
- Register of estates, 1925-1946
Any existing tax assessment rolls for Benewah County should be in the courthouse in Saint Maries and would need to be accessed by visiting there.
Birth records, 1911 to present, for individuals born in Benewah 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 Recordssection under the subject Idaho for more details.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has made available online Idaho births and christenings 1856-1965. Among these are 572 Benewah County births.
Over 1200 marriages, 1913-1939, are listed on the Western States Marriage Index.
From the Family History Library's online Idaho Marriages 1878-1898, 1903-1948, are 231 Benewah County marriages.
Deaths occurring in Benewah County after 1915 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 Archives in Boise, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 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.
See also the Family History Library's online Idaho deaths and burials 1907-1965, where there are 314 deaths recorded for Benewah County.
Societies, Libraries and Museums
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.
- Plummer Public Library
800 D St
Plummer, ID 83851
Phone: (208) 686-1812
- St Maries Public Library
822 College Ave
St Maries, ID 83861
Phone: (208) 245-3732
- Benewah District Library
4345 Fox Rd
Tensed, ID 83870
Phone: (208) 274-3002
Family History Centers
- The Benewah County ID GenWeb Project, a member of The IDGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project
- Family History Library Catalog
- Benewah County, Idaho Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Official website of the State of Idaho
- 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