Coös County, New Hampshire Genealogy
This is a guide to Coös County New Hampshire genealogy. You will find historical background information, a map, and information about birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, military records, and other records.
|Coös County, New Hampshire|
Location in the state of New Hampshire
|Founded||December 24, 1803|
|Address|| Coös County Courthouse|
PO Box 309
Lancaster, NH 03584-0309
Coös County Website
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 Quick Facts
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Cemeteries
- 4.2 Census
- 4.3 Church Records
- 4.4 Court Records
- 4.5 Directories
- 4.6 Gazetteers
- 4.7 Genealogy
- 4.8 History
- 4.9 Land and Property
- 4.10 Maps
- 4.11 Military Records
- 4.12 Naturalizations
- 4.13 Newspapers
- 4.14 Probate Records
- 4.15 Taxation
- 4.16 Town Records
- 4.17 Vital Records
- 5 Archives, Libraries, and Societies
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
Town or City Clerks have birth, marriage, death and burial records. A courthouse fire destroyed the probate records that existed before 1885. The Clerk of the Superior Court has divorce and court records from 1887. The Register of Probate has probate records from 1885. The Register of Deeds has land records. See notes below under Land Records.
Towns Organized Before 1800:
- The name Coös derives from the Algonquian Indian term meaning crooked, the Indian name of the Connecticut River, which rises in the northernmost end of the county.
- 24 December 1803, Coös County was created with northern portion from Grafton County, organized at Berlin as the county seat. 
- The seat was moved to Town of Lancaster.
The Coös County Courthouse burned on November 5, 1886. Some damaged records were saved, for example some deed volumes were saved. Many damaged deed volumes where transcribed and they are on films available at Family History Centers.You can study the Inventory of the County Records of New Hampshire, No. 4. Coös, which is online at ancestry.com. This explains which records remain.
Coös County was established from Grafton County in 1803. If your ancestors lived in towns before 1803, you can search Grafton County records such as deeds, probate records, court records.
Because many county records were destroyed in 1886, you will want to check town records such as birth, marriage, and death records. Those records were kept by the town clerks and were not destroyed. You might find helpful clues about your ancestors in the filmed Index to Early Town Records of New Hampshire, Early to 1850. (See Town Records section.)
One record source that would be helpful, but was destroyed, is the 1890 census. There was a fire in Washington, D. C. in 1921 which badly damaged the records. None of the New Hampshire population records remain. The 1890 census veterans' lists were kept in a different building and were saved. They are available on microfilms and at www.ancestry.com. You can search for veterans' or widows' names.
An interesting help for 1890 is the Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire, (FHL book 974.2 E3 Folio) published in 1892 in Boston by the D. H. Hurd Company. This atlas has maps for almost every city, town, and village in New Hampshire. The maps show the locations of homes, and the map gives the name of the person living in the home. The above internet site is from the University of New Hampshire Library. On the internet it is difficult to read the small type with the names. Many large libraries, including the Family History Library have copies of this atlas where you would be able to read the names better.
Places / Localities
Extinct Town: Wentworth's Location
An excellent way to gain information is to contact the local town historical society. The best list of these is found at the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire. At that site, click on the Directory and scroll down to the town.
Birth, marriage, and death records of many New Hampshire towns and villages are available on-line at www.familysearch.org, That site has birth records early to 1900, and marriage and death records, early to about 1948. Many of the town birth, marriage, and death records were microfilmed and are listed in the Family History Library Catalog.
▪ Dixville Notch ▪ Groveton
The findagrave.com organization provides a way for you to request that a volunteer will take a photograph of a gravestone. Often a volunteer will respond and will e-mail you the photo and add it to the web site. See also that billiongraves.com internet site for photos and information about ancestors' gravestones.
The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association has the most complete list of cemeteries.
The Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire has a list of almost all the town historical societies. Those societies may have cemetery records, and may be able to find someone to check books and cemetery records collections for records of your ancestors.
See also the following internet sites:
- Northern New Hampshire graveyards and cemeteries
- Miscellaneous cemeteries of Carroll, Coös and Strafford Counties, New Hampshire
- Grave lists of cemeteries in and near the province of Quebec
- In the 1810 Federal Census there were 3,991 residents. By 1870 there were nearly 15,000.
Censuses for 1790 through 1940, except for the 1890 population schedules, are available on several internet sites, such as familysearch.org and ancestry.com. (Ancestry.com is available free at Family History Centers.) You can also search most censuses at heritagequest.com at Family History Centers.
The 1890 census, except for the list of Civil War veterans or their widows, was destroyed by a fire in Washington, D. C. in 1921. An interesting help for 1890 is the Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire, published in 1892 in Boston by the D. H. Hurd Company. The atlas has maps for almost every city, town, and village in New Hampshire. The maps show the locations of homes, and the map gives the name of the person living in the home. The above web site is from the University of New Hampshire Library.
Note: the 1890 census veterans' schedules for New Hampshire were preserved. The schedules list Civil War veterans or their widows, and are available at ancestry.com.
If you know the name of the town or city, and the denomination, you may wish to contact the historical society in the town where your ancestors lived. They may have volunteers who can send you the names and addresses of churches of that denomination for the town. See the internet site of the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire for names, addresses, telephone numbers of societies.
Or, if you know the town of residence and the ancestor's denomination, see the Church Records section in the general information in the New Hampshire wiki article. That section lists archives and other record keepers for the various religious denominations.
If you do not know the denomination, search for a marriage record. This may give the name of the minister. Then you can contact a historical society and learn at which church he was the minister. Also search for an obituary, which may mention the church the person attended. The death certificate may list the name of the cemetery. You can then write to the cemetery and ask if it is affiliated with a local church. The death certificate may mention the funeral home. Their file may have the name of the church, cemetery, or a copy of the obituary. Also, relatives might know the denomination.
Different churches contain a variety of types of records. Many churches keep baptism, marriage, and burial records. Sometimes birth and death information is included. The church records of brothers and sisters, etc. may give clues.
- Records of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Berling, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
The court records are at the courthouse. There are films of court records available through the Family History Centers of the Family History Library. Following is a link to a collection of court record films available from the Family History Library that includes indexes for the records for 1901-1920:
City and town directories are available for many towns in New Hampshire. Contact the local historical society to see if they have them for the years you need.
The Family History Library has some city directories also. You can order Family History Library film 2,310,391 item, 2 for North Country (New Hampshire) Directories. This has city and town directories for several Coös County towns, for 1928-1930. Click on the link to see a list of the towns.
Some city directories are also available at www.ancestry.com. Do a search in their card catalog for city directories. Ancestry appears to be gathering city directories for the time period 1821-1989.
To learn about New Hampshire gazetteers, go to the gazetteer section in the New Hampshire article in this wiki. That section mentions New Hampshire gazetteers published in 1823, 1849, and 1874. Those gazetteers can be ordered on microfilms from the Family History Library. Check at your Family History Center to see if they already have the microfilm you are interested in.
How to get started?
1. Check familysearch.org and go to the Family Tree and see if your ancestor's information is listed there.
2. Check familysearch.org and see if your family's vital records of births, marriages, and deaths are listed.
3. Check familysearch.org and see if your family is listed on the U. S. census records of 1850-1940. You can also see those censuses at the Family History Center using Heritage Quest, and ancestry.com.
4. If you know the county where your ancestor lived, take a look at the free internet site www.usgenweb.com. A volunteer helper gathers information about ancestors who lived in that county. You might find biographies, cemetery records, deeds, obituaries, queries, vital records, etc. You can leave a query.
5. If you know the town where they lived, look for a town history with a genealogical section. See the section below for how to find out if there is a town history.
6. Read the wiki articles on Coös County, and on New Hampshire, for ideas of sources. Study the Records Selection Table in the New Hampshire article. This can help you think of new sources to try.
7. Enter your ancestor's information on the familysearch.org Family Tree, genforum.com, or ancestry.com. You can also share your quest with the local historical society, genealogical socieety, or town library and ask for help. Send them a family group form and a pedigree chart related to your present search..
Town Histories often have Genealogical Sections
Following is the name of the one Coös County town history book with a genealogy section:
History of the Town of Stratford, New Hampshire, 1773-1925, by Jeanette R. Thompson. (FHL book 974.21/S1 H2t; FHL film 1321380 item 11.)
Contact the local historical society in the town where your ancestors lived. Ask if they have a town history or collection, with family history information.
There are history books for many of the towns in Coös County. Major libraries that have family history collections may have the books. For example, the Family History Library has histories for the following cities and towns in Coös County and many are available on films: Colebrook, Dummer, Errol, Jefferson, Lancaster, Milan, Pittsburgh, Randolph, Stratford, and Whitefield.
Check with the local historical society as they may have histories. See the internet site Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire for addresses, and telephone numbers.
The New Hampshire State Library in Concord, New Hampshire has a vast collection of books about New Hampshire towns and counties. Check their internet catalog for a town of interest.
The New Hampshire Historical Society also in Concord has a very large collection of local history books and other publications.
Following are example of histories. The ones for Coös County and Lancaster are available in digital images on the internet:
- History of Coös County, New Hampshire
- History of Coös Turnpike
- What's news in Coös County : Vol 1
- History of Lancaster, New Hampshire
- Pioneers of the Magalloway from 1820 to 1904
Land and Property
Deeds records for Coös County are at the courthouse. Microfilms of deed records are available through the Family History Centers. Deeds for the period 1803-1885 were damaged in a fire, however those that were readable were transcribed (see Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd edition, 2004, page 436). The following are the Family History Library Catalog titles for deeds, including the transcriptions of the burned records. Also see the 1861 land ownership map:
- Coös County land records, 1772-1902; indexes to land records, 1772-1900
- Coös County, New Hampshire land ownership map, 1861
Many major libraries have maps and atlases for New Hampshire. See the New Hampshire wiki article, Maps section, for information on New Hampshire maps. Local historical societies can be a valualbe source for local maps. For addresses go to the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire internet site.
There is a land ownership map for 1861 for Coös County available on Family History Library fiche 6079665. This gives the names of persons who owned pieces of land. You can order the fiche through Family History Centers of the Family History Library.
The most complete listing of New Hampshire Revolutionary War soldiers is found in volumes 14-17 of theNew Hampshire State Papers. You can go to google.com, and look for New Hampshire State Papers with the link to ancestry.com. There you will find a name index to voloumes 14-17, then you can go to the needed volume and page for information on the soldier. Often the place of residence is given.
For a military history of New Hampshire, see:
Potter, Chandler Eastman, The Military History of the State of New Hampshire. Concord, N.H.: McFarland and Jenks, 1866. (Family History Library film 1033664; fiche 6046858.) You can search this book on-line by going to google.com. Look for ancestry.com as the internet way to search this book. This history comprises events from the first settlements in New Hampshire to the rebellion in 1861. It includes biographical notices of many of the officers and explanatory notes.
War of 1812
See Potter's book above for information on the War of 1812.
Familysearch.org is a free source for locating names of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com is available free at FamilySearch Centers and is also valuable for finding names of soldiers and sailors.
You can go to ancestry.com and search for names in The Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, by Augustus D. Ayling. This book gives the age, residence, and service information about approximately 32,000 New Hampshire Civil War veterans. The book is also available on microfilm or microfiche from the Family History Library.
Town history books are available through the Family History Library, and other large libraries, for many of the towns in Coös County. They often contain extensive information concerning the war and the soldiiers. For example:
- Northern New Hampshire Civil War Veterans - Veterans listed from Berlin, Dummer, Milan, Gorham, Shelburne, and Errol/Grants. A Photo Gallery is also posted.
- History of Coös County, New Hampshire, by Georgia Drew Merrill - Town of Lancaster, Page 291 names their first volunteers in the War of the Rebellion.
- History and Genealogy of Milan, New Hampshire - "the quota for the town of Milan was 10."
- Civil War service men from Coös County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are many companies or regiments that were formed from men of Coös County.
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Companies H, I, and L.
- - 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company F.
- - 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company G.
- - 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company B.
- - 13th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company H.
- - 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies E and F.
World War I
A very helpful source for World War I is an index at www.ancestry.com of World War I draft registration records, 1917-1918. All men between ages eighteen and forty-five were required to register. Their birth date and place, address, and sometimes the name of nearest kin, are listed on the card. Many of these men served in the war.
World War II
There is an index on www.ancestry.com of the 1942 World War II draft registrations for New Hampshire, of men forty-five to sixty-five. Some of these men served in that war. The records contain name, address, birth date and place, name of kin or friend, name and address of employer, and signature. (See www.ancestry.com for further information.)
The following naturalization records can be found on the Family History Library Catalog:
Naturalization Records, 1888-1900; Index to Natruralizations, 1886-1930. These are on two Family History Library films. These films contain petitions for naturalization.
The New Hampshire Newspaper Project was organized to collect newspapers from many New Hampshire cities and towns. See their list. The newspapers are at the New Hampshire State Library at Concord, New Hampshire.
A helpful internet site for locating newspapers is:
Another way to find newspapers is to contact the local historical society or public library. Often they have the older newspapers. See the internet site of the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire for address, telephone numbers, etc.
Finding More New Hampshire Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Coös County, New Hampshire Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
The probate records for 1803 to 1885 were badly damaged in a fire (see Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd edition, 2004, page 436). For background on existing records see the Inventory of the County Archives of New Hampshire, No. 4. Coös County. This is available online at ancestry.com. See the Archives section above which has a link to that record at ancestry.com. That inventory states that some probate information is included in deeds involving property.
Coös County probate records are at the courthouse. Many probate records are available on Family History Library films, such as the index for 1885-1992, and the probate packets for 1885-1931:
Many town tax records have been preserved by town clerks and town tax officials. Town tax records were generally taken each year. The Family History Library has many town records on microfilms. For film numbers of the town records see the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire - Grafton County - [name of town] - Town Records.
There is an index to the town records (which include many tax records) from the early settlement of the town to about 1850. This is the Index to Early Town Records of New Hampshire, Early to 1850 [FHL films 14942-15052]. The index cards list volume and page numbers for the town records, many of which are on Family History Library microfilms. When you see M. R. on a card this indicates there is a marriage record. When you see F. R., this indicates there is a record of family members.
Ancestry.com has online images of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax lists for New Hampshire and many other states for 1862-1866. Only persons who owned businesses, or valuable items such as carriages, were listed. You may wish to check ancestry.com to see if your ancestor was listed. The record gives the person's name, town of residence, business or valuable item, and amount of tax.
Town records are an important source of family history information from the 1600s to about the 1940s. The early New Hampshire town records to about 1850 have an every-name index on Family History Library microfilms, Index to Early Town Records of New Hampshire, Early to 1850. The film numbers are given above in the Taxation section. Many town records are still in the town offices and many have been microfilmed.
To see what types of information might be found in town records please see the New Hamsphire wiki article, and look at the Town Records section.
Certified copies of of birth, death, and marriage records are available from the State Division of Vital Records Administration or from the local city and town clerk where the event took place. Original records are kept by the city or town clerk and copies are sent to the state.
In 1905, when the state created the Bureau of Vital Records and Health, printed cards were distributed to the local clerks and earlier vital records were transcribed onto the cards and submitted to the state.
- New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900 are available online from FamilySearch.
- New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
- Coös County, NH and Essex County, VT Marriage Records 1870-1894
- New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
Archives, Libraries, and Societies
- New Hampshire, Coös - Archives and libraries - inventories, registers, catalogs. The book, Inventory of the County Archives of New Hampshire, no. 4. Coös County (FHL book 974.21 A3, film 1,415,263 item 3) was prepared by the New Hampshire Historical Records Survey in 1940. It contains a listing of the various records in the courthouse, and years for which they were available in 1940. You can view this valuable inventory online at ancestry.com. Some of the records are available on Family History Library films.
Family History Centers
- The Coös County NHGenWeb Project, an member of The NHGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Coös County
- FamilySearch.org Family History Library catalog for Coös County
- Coös County, New Hampshire Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Coös County, New Hampshire page 452, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.