Polk County, Florida
Genealogy and Facts

Polk County

Polk County was created on February 8, 1861 from Brevard County and Hillsborough County. This county was named for James K. Polk (1795–1849), the 11th President of the United States.

The Polk County Seat is located in Bartow also, the county government website is www.polk-county.net/.

Areas bordering to Polk County are Lake County (north), Orange County (northeast), Osceola County (east), Okeechobee County (southeast), Highlands County (southeast), Hardee County (south), Manatee County (southwest), Hillsborough County (west), Sumter County (northwest), Pasco County (northwest).

Incorporated Cities and Towns located in Polk County include Auburndale, Bartow, Davenport, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lakeland, Lake Wales, Mulberry, Polk City, Winter Haven Dundee, Hillcrest Heights, Lake Hamilton. Villages Include Highland Park.

Polk County vital records can be found at the Florida Office of Vital Records which has copies of Birth & Deaths reported 1917 to present and Divorce & Marriages since June 6, 1927. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Florida for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Polk County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Florida Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Application to mail.

Polk County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Polk Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1870 and 1880. Polk Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1870 and 1880. Polk Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Polk Co. Historical Events (published in 1944):

  • The early Spanish explorers and missionaries left wild orange trees in numerous places.
  • The region was made part of the Seminole reservation and so there were no American settlers until after the Indian wars had ended.
  • Many veterans of these wars settled in Polk County. P
  • olk has become Florida's greatest citrus fruit producing county and a leading cattle raising county.
  • It is a delightful region of hills and lakes and possesses the highest point in the state, where Bok Tower is located.
  • It produces more pebble phosphate than any other county in the United States.
  • South Florida Military Institute founded by Gen. E. M. Law, September, 1894.

Polk County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Polk County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Polk County Courthouse and Government Records


Polk County Courthouse

Researchers often fail to notice the importance of Polk County court, probate, and land documents as a source of family history and genealogy information and facts. Hidden away in Florida courthouses and archives everywhere tend to be the desires and worries of the many Florida residents.


Old Polk County Courthouse

The chances are great that your chosen ancestors have left a detailed record of at least a number of factors of their lives in the Polk County court records. Even if your forefathers is not referred to in a Court case, take into consideration all of the other methods which could have lead to her or him to appear in court records.

The following indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Polk county. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered.

Make sure you call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other details before visiting or inquiring about information because of in some cases changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The records are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. A lot of employees will assist individuals in obtaining the materials, but it is up to the person to undertake the researching.
  • Polk County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: P.O. Box 9000, Drawer CC-1, Bartow, FL 33831 or 255 N. Broadway, Bartow, FL 33830
  • Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court / County Clerk is custodian of all records of all predecessor courts, whether justice of the peace, city, county, probate, civil, or criminal.
    • Phone: (863) 534-4000
    • Marriage Records: 1862
    • Land Records: 1862
    • Probate Records: 1861 
    • Court Records: 1867
  • Polk County Tax Collector collects all real estate taxes including postponed and delinquent, all county revenues in addition to the research and issue tax deed applications. Our department is the holder of tax records and assessed values.
  • Polk County Health Department has copies of Birth & Death certificates. Also has computer access from 1917 to present for birth records for the entire state as well as births that occurred in this county.

Polk County Links

The following are links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Polk County. A lot of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a fee. This is just a directory which has been collected or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site over another. Feel free to submit your own preferred Polk County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Polk Co. FL Books, Newspapers & Publications

Polk Co. FL Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Polk Co. FL Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Polk Co. FL Census Records

Polk Co. FL Cemeteries & Graveyards

Polk Co. FL Church & Bible Records

Polk Co. FL Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Polk Co. FL General and History Websites

Polk Co. FL Immigration & Naturalization

Polk Co. FL Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Polk Co. FL Military Records

Polk Co. FL Schools & Directories

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