History & Facts of Idaho Counties

Idaho Counties  •  Idaho Extinct Counties  •  Idaho Burned Courthouses

Idaho County records differ vastly from county to county in both quality and quantity. Some have already been very carefully maintained while some have been substantially misused and mistreated. A certain amount of Idaho records have simply disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Idaho there's no valuable replace to have an on-site search of county courthouse records. Idaho is divided into 44 counties.

Idaho Counties

The county seat holds many county historical resources. The county recorder's office has land records on file. Probate records can be accessed through the probate clerk. The district court clerk, meanwhile, holds court records. Some counties have vital records on file from before the time when it was mandatory to record such records. Court records, including minutes and judgments, from before the counties were formed are also available, along with some land records. The district court clerk's office holds naturalization records, which generally start at the time when the county was founded.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Ada December 22, 1864 Boise County Boise
Adams March 03, 1911 Washington County Council
Bannock March 06, 1839 Bingham County Pocatello
Bear Lake January 05, 1875 Oneida County Paris
Benewah January 25, 1915 Kootenai County St. Maries
Bingham January 13, 1885 Oneida County Blackfoot
Blaine March 05, 1895 Alturas Hailey
Boise January 12, 1863 Original county Idaho City
Bonner February 21, 1907 Kootenai County Sandpoint
Bonneville February 07, 1911 Bingham County Idaho Falls
Boundary January 23, 1915 Bonner Bonners Ferry
Butte February 06, 1917 Bingham, Blaine, and Jefferson counties Arco
Camas February 06, 1917 Blaine County Fairfield
Canyon March 07, 1891 Ada County Caldwell
Caribou February 11, 1919 Bannock County Soda Springs
Cassia February 20, 1879 Owyhee County Burley
Clark February 01, 1919 Fremont County Dubois
Clearwater February 27, 1911 Nez Perce County Orofino
Custer January 08, 1881 Alturas and Lemhi counties Challis
Elmore February 07, 1889 Alturas Mountain Home
Franklin January 30, 1913 Oneida County Preston
Fremont March 04, 1893 Bingham County Saint Anthony
Gem March 19, 1915 Boise and Canyon counties Emmett
Gooding January 28, 1913 Lincoln County Gooding
Idaho February 04, 1864 Original county Grangeville
Jefferson February 18, 1913 Fremont County Rigby
Jerome February 08, 1919 Gooding and Lincoln counties Jerome
Kootenai December 22, 1864 Nez Perce County Coeur d'Alene
Latah December 22, 1864 Nez Perce County Moscow
Lemhi January 09 1869 Idaho County Salmon
Lewis March 03, 1911 Nez Perce County Nezperce
Lincoln March 18, 1895 Logan Shoshone
Madison February 18, 1913 Fremont County Rexburg
Minidoka January 28, 1913 Lincoln County Rupert
Nez Perce December 20, 1861 Original county Lewiston
Oneida January 22, 1864 Original County Malad City
Owyhee December 31, 1863 Original county Murphy
Payette February 28, 1917 Canyon County Payette
Power January 30, 1913 Bingham, Blaine, and Oneida counties American Falls
Shoshone February 04, 1864 Original county Wallace
Teton January 26, 1915 Bingham, Fremont, and Madison counties Driggs
Twin Falls February 21, 1907 Cassia County Twin Falls
Valley February 26, 1917 Boise and Idaho counties Cascade
Washington February 20, 1879 Ada County Weiser

Idaho Extinct Counties

Idaho seems to have counties that no longer are in existence. They were recognized by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Many of these counties were created and disbanded within the Nineteenth century; county boundaries have evolved very little since Nineteen hundred in the great most of states. These counties need to be researched when performing genealogy and family history research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or merged with some other county.

  • Alturas County(1864-1895) - was a county in Idaho Territory and later the state of Idaho from 1864 to 1895. It covered an area larger than the states of Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware combined. Most present-day southern Idaho counties were created at least in part from the original Alturas County area. The name Alturas comes from a Spanish word for "mountain summits" or "mountainous heights."¬†Alturas County was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in February 1864. Later that year the mining camp of Rocky Bar was designated the county seat. The county seat was moved to Hailey in 1882.¬†In 1889, the Idaho Territorial Legislature created Elmore County and Logan County from parts of Alturas County. On March 5, 1895, to circumvent a recent state supreme court decision striking down an earlier county reorganization, the Idaho Legislature combined Alturas and Logan Counties into a new county called Blaine. Two weeks later on March 18, the southern portion of the newly-created Blaine County was split off to form Lincoln County with its county seat at Shoshone. Hailey remained the county seat of what was now Blaine County and Alturas County disappeared from the Idaho map.
  • Lah-Toh County (1864-1867) - was a county in Idaho Territory from 1864 to 1867. Lah-Toh County was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1864 with Coeur d'Alene as its county seat. The name is Nez Perce for "the place of pine trees and sestle". The county was abolished in 1867, although sources disagree whether the area was absorbed by Nez Perce County or Kootenai County. It is most likely Kootenai since Coeur d'Alene serves as that county's county seat. The county was re-established in 1888 with different boundaries as Latah County.
  • Logan County (1889-1895) - was a county in Idaho Territory and later the state of Idaho from 1889 to 1895. Logan County was created from parts of Alturas County by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1889 with Bellevue as its county seat. Six years later, the Idaho Legislature attempted to return Bellevue to Alturas County, but the plan was struck down by the state supreme court. In response on March 5, 1895, the Idaho Legislature combined Logan and Alturas Counties into a new county called Blaine. Two weeks later on March 18, the southern portion of the newly-created Blaine County was split off to form Lincoln County with its county seat at Shoshone and Logan County ceased to exist. Bellevue became part of Blaine County.

Idaho Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Idaho courthouses considerably has a effect on genealogists in just about every way. Not only are these historic buildings ripped from our lifetimes, so are the files they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they are gone permanently. Despite the fact that they have already been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn as well. The most tragic aspect of this is the reason why nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist. Although, don't assume all records were damaged or lost. Many Idaho counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

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