Custer County, Idaho Genealogy
County CourthouseCuster County Courthouse
801 E. Main Ave.
P.O. Box 385
Challis, ID 83226
County Clerk has marriage, divorce, court and land records from 1872,
Probate Court has probate records. 
Many of the older court, land, naturalization, probate, pension, and vital records for Custer County have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through their family history centers. They are also available 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 Challis.
There are many cemeteries in Custer County. For a list of those that have been identified, and links to transcriptions and/or photographs of tombstones, go to Custer 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.
The 1890 federal census for Idaho was destroyed. However, the Idaho State Archives is creating a list of 1890 Idaho residents by indexing a variety of records, 1885-1894. This reconstructed list will substitute for the destroyed 1890 federal census. Custer County is included in this reconstructed census.
Church History and Records
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
The following are local congregations (wards) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which existed in Custer County, Idaho prior to 1950. Many of the original records of these church units are in the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. Many of the membership records covering these units from the date of their creation to about 1948 have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or in its Family History Centers.
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 Custer 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 Custer County courthouse in Challis, Idaho, and can be accessed by making a visit there.
Some of the records of the courts of Custer County that have been microfilmed include:
- Bonds, 1881-1913; index, 1881-1895
- Power of attorney, 1879-1924; index, 1881-1984
- Judgments, 1881-1968; index, 1881-1968
Be sure to check the Custer County Miscellaneous Series
The History of Custer County, Idaho by Jesse R Black was published in 1900. It is available online and at various US libraries.
Additional works are:
- Settlement of Idaho by Utah pioneers : Lemhi, Butte, Custer, and Madison Counties by Mary N Porter Harris
- People of the Yankee Fork by Patricia L Packard
- A History of Gold Mining on the Yankee Fork River, Custer County, Idaho by George C Stephens
- The Lure of Gold and Silver : The Story of Central Idaho's Pioneers and Mining by Roberta H Green
Land and Property
Land Records are generally held in the county offices of the county in which the transaction took place. To view Custer County records it would be necessary to visit the county courthouse in Challis, Idaho.
The Idaho State Archives has microfilmed some of Custer County's early records and these can be accessed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
- Deeds, 1872-1913; index, 1873-1908
- Homesteads, 1883-1968; index 1888-1968
- Judgments, 1881-1968; index, 1881-1968
- Separate property of married women, 1881-1896; index, 1881-1896
- An 1895 map of Ada and surrounding counties is available online.
- A digital Custer County Idaho map is available online.
- Map of Custer County, Idaho is available online.
World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918, for Custer County have been microfilmed. Copies of these records are available at the Family History Library (their microfilm number 1452214) 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 Custer County. The originals are held in the Custer County courthouse in Challis, 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 microfilmed the following Custer County newspapers:
Challis Messenger: 1912:3:19- 9999
Houston Press, 1901: 1901:08:31
Idaho Messenger: 1886:10:05
Idaho Messenger: 1888:7:10-1889:7:16
Mackay Miner: 1906:2:16-1975:12:18
Mackay Telegraph: 1901:10-1905:7
Mackay Telegraph: 1903:7:7-1903:7:11
Prospector: 1904:1:3, 1904:2:20
Silver Messenger: 1894:7:31 -1912:3:12
Yankee Fork Herald: 1879: 7: 24-1882: 4:
Yankee Fork Herald: 1881:04:23
Probate records can generally be found in the county courthouse of the county in which the transaction took place. The Custer County courthouse is in Challis, Idaho.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake has microfilmed some Custer County probate records (1889-1934) and wills (1879-1944. These can be accessed in their Library in Salt Lake City, or in any of their Family History Centers.
The Idaho State Archives has also microfilmed copies of some of the earlier Custer County probate records, and these can be viewed by visiting the Archives in Boise, Idaho.
Any existing tax assessment rolls for Custer County should be in the courthouse in Challis and would need to be accessed by visiting there.
The Birth Registers for Custer County, 1907-1911 have been microfilmed and are available at the Idaho State Archives in Boise and at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Birth records, 1911 to present, for individuals born in Custer 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 Records section under the subject Idaho for more details.
There are Custer Co marriages at FamilySearch in the Idaho Marriages.
The death registers for Custer County, 1907-1911 have been microfilmed and are available at the Idaho State Archives in Boise, the BYU-Idaho Library in Rexburg and at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After 1911, deaths occurring in Custer County 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, the Family History Library, 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.
Idaho Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records) gives details about the collection that covers the years of 1907-1965.
Societies and Libraries
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.
- Challis Public Library
6th And Main St
Challis, ID 83226
Phone: (208) 879-4267
- Mackay District Library
320 Capitol Ave
Mackay, ID 83251
Phone: (208) 588-3333
- Stanley District Library
33 Ace Of Diamonds St
Stanley, ID 83278
Phone: (208) 774-2470
- Stanley Museum (Sawtooth Interpretive and Historial Assn.)
PO Box 75, Stanley Idaho
- South Custer County Historical Society
Mackay, ID 83521
Family History Centers
- The Custer County Idaho GenWeb Project, a member of The IDGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project
- Family History Library Catalog
- Custer County, Idaho Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Custer, Idaho page 178, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 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