Teton County, Idaho Genealogy
Teton County Courthouse
89 N Main #1
Driggs, ID 83422
The current courthouse is 85 years old. On June 13th in 2008, ground was broken for a new courthouse on the west side of Driggs. You can see a picture of the planned structure at: tetoncountyidaho.gov/courthouse.php. The county government website is at: tetoncountyidaho.gov/index.php.
It was named for the adjacent Teton mountains and the valley which covers most of the county. It is believed to have been first visited in 1808 by John Colter who had been a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. No particular Indian tribe made their permanent homes in the valley, but councils were held here and it was a hunting ground for many tribes. In 1882, the first permanent settlers came into the valley but substantial growth did not begin until 1888 when Mormon settlers from Salt Lake City began to establish the town of Driggs followed closely in 1889 by more Mormon settlers from the Cache Valley who formed Victor. The early settlers first called the area Teton Basin. The county population is roughly 8,000, up from 7,467 in 2005 and 5,999 in the 2000 census, which itself was up 74% from the 1990 census. The county's beauty and wide open spaces are attracting significant growth.
In 1882, when the first settlers came to Teton Valley it was part of Bingham County. In 1893 when much of Fremont County was created from Bingham, the southern part of Teton Valley (Victor area) remained in Bingham County while most of the valley became part of the new Fremont County. (See 1900 census note). Before 1910 the county line was adjusted and the Victor area also became part of Fremont County. In 1913 when Madison County was created from Fremont County, Teton Valley became part of Madison County. It was divided from Madison in January 1915.
The above list of places includes incorporated cities and towns, unincorporated towns and communities, and place names that may have been used in family histories. Some have well-organized records and even have web sites. Some are simply social communities with no official records, but which may be referenced in small-town newspapers. The list is provided to help researchers identify localities within the county. As records or histories of these localities are identified, a page will be added for each of these place names.
Many of the older court, land, naturalization, probate, pension, and vital records for Teton 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 Driggs.
The county is organized into 6 cemetery districts which govern 8 cemeteries. Two of the districts have two cemeteries each. In addition, there is another cemetery located just across the border in Teton County Wyoming in which county residents have been buried. These 9 cemeteries are: Bates, Cache-Clawson, Cedron, Darby, Driggs, Felt, Haden, Victor (all in the county) and Pratt (in adjacent Teton county Wyoming).
For more information about these cemeteries, including their location, GPS coordinates, maps with directions, photos, and further detail, see the following page at USGenWeb: www.tetonid.us/main_teton_cemeteries.php
Contact information for the cemeteries:
Bates - Kerry Buxton 208-354-2710; Cache-Clawson - Denny Thomas 208-456-2381; Darby & Driggs - Ronda Moss 208-354-2964; Haden - Dale Breckenridge 208-456-2652; Victor & Cedron - Carla Sherman 208-787-2445; Pratt - Jim Wilson 307-353-8116
All of the tombstones in these cemeteries were photographed by Jim Doman in 2006. They can be viewed at findagrave.com, an index to these photographs can be found at Valley of the Tetons Library in Victor, Idaho 208-787-2201, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tetons.lili.org
For additional information about the cemeteries of Teton County that have been identified, and links to transcriptions and/or photographs of tombstones, go to Teton County, Idaho Cemetery Records.
For the cemeteries in or immediately adjacent to the cities, please see the city pages for the cities listed above.
Teton Valley is surrounded by mountains. In spite of a straight line on a map for the Idaho/Wyoming border, putting a small eastern section (at the Mouth of Teton Canyon) in Wyoming, historically and culturally the Valley was one unit, feeling cut off from the rest of the world, because of the distance and difficulty getting out of the valley to anywhere else.
Although census records can be searched by name, it is helpful to know where residents of Teton Valley, most of which became Teton County, were enumerated before the County was organized.
1900 - residents in the south part of Teton Valley (Victor area) were enumerated in Teton Precinct (District 17), Bingham County. Other residents were enumerated in (District 50) - Chapin Precinct, Haden Precinct, in Fremont County. Those living in the area now called Alta, Wyoming, (then called "Pratt Ward" at the mouth of Teton Canyon were enumerated in Teton District (District 65) Unita County, Wyoming.
1910 - residents of Teton Valley were enumerated in Bates, Cache, Chapin, Driggs, Haden, Leigh, Victor townships in Fremont County. Those living on the Wyoming side at the mouth of Teton Canyon were enumerated in Alta District (District 138), Unita County, Wyoming.
1920 - Teton, now a county, residents enumerated in Bates, Cache, Chapin, Clementsville, Driggs, Felt, Leigh, Richvale, Tetonia and Victor townships. Those on the Wyoming side were enumerated in Alta township, Lincoln County, Wyoming. By 1930 those in Wyoming were in Alta township, Teton County, Wyoming
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 Teton County, Idaho prior to 1950. Many of the original records of these church units are in the Historical 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.
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.
Benjamin Woodbury Driggs, History Of Teton Valley, Idaho, (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Priinters, 1926)
Benjamin Woodbury Driggs, edited by Louis J Clements & Harold S Forbush, History of Teton Valley, Idaho, (Rexburg, ID, Eastern Idaho Pub. Co., c 1970)
Land and Property
- A digital Teton County Idaho map is available online.
- Map of Teton County, Idaho is available online.
World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918, for Teton County have been microfilmed. Copies of these records are available at the Family History Library (their microfilm number 1452222) 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.
The original naturalization records of Teton County that have been transferred to the Idaho State Archives in Boise have been indexed in their Index to Naturalizations.
Declaration of intent, 1916-1925; certificates of declaration of intent, 1911-1923 of naturalizations/citizenship records in Teton County have been microfilmed by the Family History Library and are available for viewing in Salt Lake City or in any of its affiliate family history centers.
Mothers' Pensions were provided by the State of Idaho for widows and/or orphans, under certain conditions. Petitions for those pensions were filed with the probate court in each county. The original papers for several counties have been transferred to the Idaho State Archives (PARL) in Boise. Those at PARL have been indexed. Teton County Mothers' Pensions are included in that index.
Old Age Pensions were also provided by the State of Idaho from 1931 to 1936. The original records for these pensions in PARL have also been indexed. Teton County Old Age Pensions are included in that index.
Some probate records from Teton County have been microfilmed by the Family History Libray in Salt Lake City. Copies are available for viewing either in Salt Lake City or one of its affiliate family history centers.
Birth records, 1911 to present, for individuals born in the Teton County area 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.
Nearly 1100 marriages, 1915-1942, are listed on the Western States Marriage Index.
Deaths occuring in Teton 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 mandated 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 (PARL) in Boise, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, 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 Idaho Death Index 1911-1956.
Deaths from other sources
A significant source of death and related information for eastern Idaho families can be found at the following website Eastern Idaho Death Index.
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.
- Valley Of The Tetons District
56 N Main
Victor, ID 83455
Phone: (208) 787-2201
- The Teton County ID GenWeb Project, a member of The IDGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project
- Family History Library Catalog
- 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.