Minnesota Counties records differ vastly from county to county in either quality as well as quantity. Some happen to have been carefully preserved while others have been much neglected and mistreated. Some Minnesota records have simply disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Minnesota you will find no effective replace to have an on-site research of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia
Minnesota Counties – There are 87 counties that exist in Minnesota. Each one holds records that may include: Land, Estates, Taxes, Vital Records, Divorces, Naturalizations, Voter Registration, Court Records. Other records may also be included. However, other resources do need to be consulted.
On October 27, 1849 nine counties were established. Among them were Benton, Dahkotah, Itasca, Ramsey, Mahkahta, Pembina, Wabasha, Washington, and Wahnata. Of these Benton, Dakota, Itasca, Ramsey, Wabasha, and Washington still exist as their original names. With the foundation of Kittson County on March 9, 1878, Pembina County no longer existed. When Minnesota was organized as a state, 57 of the present 87 counties were established. The last county to be created was Lake of the Woods County in 1923.
The names of many of the counties pay tribute to the long history of exploration. Over ten counties names pay tribute to the state’s various Native American groups that are resident in parts of what is now Minnesota. Another fifteen counties are named after physical geographic features, with the remainder being named after politicians.
Minnesota is divided into 87 counties. There are several offices that are responsible for recording various types of county records for Minnesota’s counties. The county recorder is responsible for land records, while the court administrator’s office is responsible for vital records, including death, birth and marriage records. Probate files are found at the probate judge’s office and the court administrator’s office holds records from civil and criminal court cases. Note that death, birth and marriage records may not be entirely complete. Mortgage, deed and grantor-grantee indexes are also available, but the starting year doesn’t necessarily include all the information from that year. Wills and probate files are among the earliest probate records that were recorded. Early criminal files may have been filed as part of civil court files, instead. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.