State Courthouse Records
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Minnesota Government records cover a broad range of genealogy subject areas that can help you as part of your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalization’s. Given that Minnesota court records cover such a wide selection of topics, they could aid you in many different ways. As an example, they could aid you in finding ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, determine citizenship status, or shed light on relationships between individuals. The whole thing relies upon on the type of court records that the ancestors” names show up in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Minnesota Courthouse records change extensively from county to county in both level of quality and volume. You will find different kinds of court records that are most likely to possess information related for your genealogical research below.

State Court Records
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Minnesota Court Records

The county courthouse’s district court office may have some naturalization records on file. Most of the records, however, are now at the Research Center at the Minnesota Historical Society. The county courthouse may also have records on file regarding coroner’s reports, bonds, professional registrations and criminal case indexes. Some of the things included in civil case records are: Name Changes, Divorces, Adoptions, Monetary Suits, Garnishments

For instance, the Wright County district court records that are at the Research Center at the Minnesota Historical Society feature 1858 to 1929 criminal case files, 1858 to 1928 dockets, various court minutes, 1857 to 1866 judgment dockets and, of course, 1879 to 1899 civil action registrations. The repository’s records carry quite a bit depending on the county and the type of record involved. Some counties are not even represented at the repository. Their information is still held at the county seat district court office.

On June 1, 1847, the first district court term was convened in Minnesota. That took place in Stillwater on the second floor of a store belonging to John McKusick. See Also Research In Court Records.

State Land Records
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Minnesota Land Records

There are a total of 12 General Land Office districts in Minnesota, which is what is called a public-domain state. The first of those opened up in Wisconsin in a place called Falls Saint Croix River, back in 1848. Long before that ever occurred, though, pioneers were making claims in that area. Once tribal treaties were created, which was in 1838, the area was settled by several European settlers. They started the logging industry in the area and illegally took over the land. It took a long time for the federal government to actually do land surveys in the area, which finally took place in 1847, after investors and settlers complained. As of 1841, when the Pre-Emption Act was created, settlers could pay $1.25 per acre to purchase some of the160 acres of public domain land that was opened up for settlement.

The Minnesota Historical Society holds a lot of the state’s land records. For example it has sales and accounting records, state land records from the state auditor and the land department and even U.S. General Land Office files. Those files contain homestead records, accounting records and various types of correspondence. Those records go back to 1848 for the Stillwater District, although most districts don’t go back quite that far. There are copies of the records for the U.S. Surveyor General’s Office are on file at the Research Center at the Minnesota Historical Society. They also have files that include the 1901 White Earth Reservation land allotments.

The county recorder holds the county record for Minnesota. The county recorder’s office will have village and township plat records, power of attorney records, leases, contracts, mortgage records, deed records grantor-grantee indexes. See Also Guide to U.S. Land Records Research

State Probate Records
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Minnesota Probate Records

The county district court clerk’s office keeps various probate records. Those include guardianship records, as well as executor and administrator bonds, wills and inventories. County probate records are currently being recorded onto microfilm by both the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Genealogical Society of Utah.

Records regarding insanity, guardianship, wills, estates and juvenile court are generally housed at each county’s probate office. The Research Center at the Minnesota Historical Society holds probate records for Washington, Winona, Pope and Freeborn County. They also have summary volumes for several other counties on file there. If an ancestor died outside of Minnesota, probate records for Minnesota may help to point you in the direction of the death record, since probate records often pre-date death records for the state. See Also Guide to U.S. Probate Records Research

  • Minnesota, Will Records, 1849-1985 ( This project was indexed in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. Name indexes of the Probate Court will books for the counties of the state and territory of Minnesota. Some testators who resided outside of Minnesota recorded their wills in these Probate Courts. Three Minnesota counties are not in this collection: Hennepin, Marshall, and St. Louis.
  • Minnesota Probate Record Books (

State Tax Records