Nevada Counties and Historical Facts

Nevada County records vary widely from county to county in both quality and quantity. Some have been carefully preserved while others have been much abused and neglected. Some Nevada records have simply disappeared.

For genealogists doing research in Nevada there is no effective replace for an on-site search of county courthouse records.

Nevada County Records

Map of Nevada Counties
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Map of Nevada Counties

Nevada is divided into 16 counties. Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864 with eleven counties. In 1969, Ormsby County and Carson City were consolidated into a single municipal government known as Carson City.

Carson City, the state capital, is also an independent city, which doesn’t belong to any county. However, it has a similar status to that of the 16 counties in the state. Carson City used to be the county seat of Ormsby County, but the two were consolidated in 1969.

Each of the 16 counties in Nevada has a sheriff, board of commissioners, district attorney, public administrator, and other various officials with specific jobs to do.

Each town and city in Nevada was granted a charter from the state legislature, and many of the cities and towns operate using a governmental system including town council members and a mayor.

Each county may have its own records on file. However, many county records can be found on microfilm at the FHL and at the Nevada State Library and Archives.

County recorders are responsible for most county land records. However, two counties have their land records at the county assessor’s office.

The court records are maintained by the clerk of the courts and the probate records are maintained by the county clerks in each county.

The Nevada State Library and Archives has a list of which county offices hold which types of records. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Nevada Extinct Counties

Nevada has counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county.

A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have changed very little since 1900.

These are important for genealogy research purposes. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or joined with some other county.

See the History of Nevada Counties for more details.

List of Nevada Counties with Burned Courthouses

Nevada burned county courthouse
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The damage to courthouses greatly has a bearing on genealogists in every way.

Not only are these historic structures torn from our lifetimes, so are the records they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others.

Once destroyed they’re lost forever. Although they have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too.

However, not all records were damaged or lost in some counties.

  • White Pine County Courthouse – In early 1880’s, the county courthouse in Hamilton was burned down along with much of the business section by an embezzling county treasurer.In 1885, a store owner caused a devastating fire which burned down the Court House which had been moved to the Withington Hotel. Only a pitiful few records from the Sheriff’s office were salvaged.The town of Hamilton had suffered previous fires before the last which resulted in its faster demise.

List of Nevada Counties

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Carson City 1969 Founded 1858, consolidated with Ormsby County in 1969. Carson City
Churchill 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Fallon
Clark 1909 Lincoln County Las Vegas
Douglas 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Minden
Elko 1869 Lander County Elko
Esmeralda 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Goldfield
Eureka 1873 Lander County Eureka
Humboldt 1855 Original County in the Nevada Territory Winnemucca
Lander 1862 Original County in the Nevada Territory Battle Mountain
Lincoln 1866 Nye County and territory ceded by Arizona. Pioche
Lyon 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Yerington
Mineral 1911 Esmeralda County Hawthorne
Nye 1864 Esmeralda County Tonopah
Pershing 1919 Humboldt County Lovelock
Storey 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Virginia City
Washoe 1861 Original County in the Nevada Territory Reno
White Pine 1869 Lander County Ely
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