Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy

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Guide to Douglas County, Minnesota ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Douglas County, Minnesota
Map of Minnesota highlighting Douglas County
Location in the state of Minnesota, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Minnesota
Location of Minnesota in the U.S.
Founded March 8, 1858
County Seat Alexandria
Address Douglas County Courthouse
305 Eighth Avenue West
Alexandria, MN 56308
Phone: 320-762-3033
(Court Administration)
Phone: 320-762-3877
Douglas County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Stephen Douglas, of Illinois. The County is located in the west-central area of the state.[1]

Douglas County, Minnesota Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1890 1890 1890 1867 1862 1868 1836
Statewide registration started for births in 1900 and deaths in 1908. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Recorder has birth, marriage, and death records from 1890, land records from late 1800s and military records.
Clerk of Courts has divorce, probate and court records.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

  • 1858--Douglas County was created 8 March 1858 from Cass and Pembina (Old) Counties. County seat: Alexandria [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • In 1858 the territory of Douglas County was attached to Stearns County for civil and judicial purposes.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1862 Records from pre-1862 were lost, except the first census of 1860.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
  • Leaf Valley
  • Rose City

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
MNGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project FamilySearch Places
Billion Graves
See Minnesota Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 4,239
1880 9,130 115.4%
1890 14,606 60.0%
1900 17,964 23.0%
1910 17,669 −1.6%
1920 19,039 7.8%
1930 18,813 −1.2%
1940 20,369 8.3%
1950 21,304 4.6%
1960 21,313 0.0%
1970 22,892 7.4%
1980 27,839 21.6%
1990 28,839 3.6%
2000 32,821 13.8%
2010 36,009 9.7%
Source: "".

State Census

Church[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information, see Minnesota Church Records.

Forty-four churches were established between 1860 and 1910 by key ethnic groups in Douglas County. These ethnic groups included Norwegian (11 churches), German (10 churches), Swedish (20 churches), Finnish (2 churches), Danish (1 church), and American/British ethnicity (8 churches).

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

First English Lutheran Church, Alexandria

  • Records of First English Lutheran Church, Alexandria, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

East Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield

  • Records of East Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

Farwell Lutheran Church

  • Records of Farwell Lutheran Church in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

Our Savior's Lutheran Congregation, Evansville

  • Records of Our Savior's Lutheran Congregation, Evansville, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

Trysil Lutheran Church, Farwell

  • Records of Trysil Lutheran Church, Farwell, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

West Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield

  • Records of West Moe Lutheran Church, Garfield, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]

Churches founded in Douglas County between 1860 - 1910[edit | edit source]

Norwegian Churches:[edit | edit source]

  • Alexandria Township: First Lutheran Church (founded 1872); Bethesda Lutheran Church (founded 1907)
  • Brandon Township: Chippewa Lutheran Church (founded 1871); Grace Lutheran Church (founded 1881)
  • Evansville Township: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (founded 1869)
  • Moe Township: West Moe Lutheran Church (founded 1867); East Moe Lutheran Church (founded 1886)
  • Urness Township: St. Petri Lutheran Church (founded 1887)
  • Osakis Township: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
  • Holmes City Township: Trysil Lutheran Church (founded 1870)
  • Solem Township: Solem Lutheran Church (founded 1876)

Danish Church[edit | edit source]

  • Osakis Township: Danish Lutheran Church (founded 1871)

Finnish Churches[edit | edit source]

  • Urness Township: Finnish Apostolic Church (founded 1877)
  • Moe Township: St. Paul's Lutheran Church (founded 1902)

Swedish Churches[edit | edit source]

  • Alexandria Township: First Baptist Church (founded 1881); Svea (Calvary) Lutheran Church (founded 1877)
  • Osakis Township: Fahlun Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
  • Holmes City Township: Trinity Lutheran Church (founded 1875); Oscar Lake Lutheran Church (founded 1866); Swedish Baptist Church (founded 1904)
  • Urness Township: Fryksende Lutheran Church (founded 1877)
  • Lund Township: Christian Lake Lutheran Church (founded 1871)
  • Millerville Township (founded ca. 1880)
  • Ida Township: St. Luke's Lutheran Church (founded 1869); Ida Mission Covenant Church (founded 1889)
  • Solem Township: Wennersborg Lutheran Church (founded ca. 1879); Kensington Covenant Church (founded 1875)
  • Evansville Township: Immanuel Lutheran Church (founded 1883); Zionsborg Lutheran Church (founded 1884); Calvary Mission Covenant Church (founded 1887)
  • Spruce Hill Township: Free Mission Covenant Church (founded 1886); Rose City Swedish Baptist Church (founded ca. 1890); Spruce Hill Methodist Church (founded 1890s); Spruce Hill Lutheran Church (founded 1876)

German Churches[edit | edit source]

  • Alexandria Township: St. Mary's Catholic Church (founded 1879); Zion Lutheran Church (founded 1880)
  • Carlos Township: Immanual Lutheran Church (founded 1874)
  • Belle River Township: St. Nicholas Catholic Church (founded 1870)
  • Ida Township: St. John's Lutheran Church (founded 1910)
  • Brandon Township: St. Ann's Catholic Church (founded 1902)
  • Leaf Valley Township: Ebenezer Lutheran Church (founded 1875)
  • Miltona Township: St. Paul's Lutheran Church (founded 1890)
  • Millerville Township: Trinity Lutheran Church (founded 1892); Church of Seven Dolors Catholic Church (founded 1867)

Yankee and British Churches[edit | edit source]

  • Alexandria Township: First Methodist Church (founded 1879); Emmanuel Episcopal Church (founded 1868); United Methodist Church (founded 1867); Congregational Church (founded 1867)
  • Ida Township: First Presbyterian Church of Garfield (founded ca. 1900)
  • Carlos Township: Carlos Prebyterian Church (founded ca. 1900)
  • Hudson Township: Free Methodist Church (founded ca. 1891); Forada Presbyterian Church (founded ca.1898)

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Land[edit | edit source]

The county register of deeds keeps land records once the land was transferred to private ownership. Abstracts and indexes for these records are generally available at the county courthouse.

Land records for Minnesota are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


  • County Recorder has land records from the late 1800s.
  • The government land office, headquarters for a large area of the northwest, was located in Alexandria beginning 1868.
  • The land office moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 1876 because most of the land in Douglas County had either been bought or homesteaded.
  • The Recorder's Office at the Douglas County Courthouse, located in Alexandria, Minnesota has all the Indexes and the Land Abstracts digitized. These records extend back to the late 1860s. In order to access these records you need to tell them the address of the house or farm or else the Plat map description so that they can determine the Block and Lot numbers. Copies of the Index listings for that Block and Lot Land description as well as the matching Land Abstracts can be obtained for $.50 per page, as of 1 Nov 2011.
  • The original Land Transfer Books for Douglas County (previously kept at the Courthouse) are available at the Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria. They begin about 1869 and extend to about 1970. Information is recorded under the Township numbers and then Block and Lot numbers. The name of the last Grantee (person’s signature) and the Date of Transfer are also recorded.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Minnesota Local Histories.

  • Douglas County Album of the Ages. (Douglas County Historical Society: Taylor Publishing Co., 1982)
  • Larson, Constant. History of Douglas and Grant Counties, Minnesota: their people, industries, and institutions. (Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen & Company, Inc, 1916).

Maps[edit | edit source]

Otter Tail CountyTodd CountyStearns CountyPope CountyStevens CountyGrant CountyMN DOUGLAS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization Records[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Douglas County, Minnesota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

  • Douglas County newspapers which begin in 1871 are available on microfilm for searching at the Douglas County Historical Society. They can also be obtained through Interlibrary Loan from the Minnesota Historical Society. As of 10 Nov 2011 the charge by the Minnesota Historical Society is $3.00 per microfilm. The local library requesting the microfilm may also charge an additional fee, which is usually less than $10. For a list of the Alexandria area newspapers and the years they existed, see the website of the Douglas County Historical Society. (Click on the link on this page under Societies and Libraries.)

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

Probate records may include wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. They may include the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. See Minnesota Probate Records for additional information. 'Online Probate Indexes and Records'

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Since Minnesota tax records include only persons who owned taxable property, many residents were not included. Still they complement land records and can be used in place of missing censuses or the years between censuses. There may also be gaps. For more information, see the wiki page Minnesota Taxation.

  • Personal property tax records that cover the period of about 1869 to about 1950 are available at the Douglas County Historical Society. They provide information on the property held by an individual at a specific time period and the dollar value of the property.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Minnesota Vital Records.

  • County Recorder has birth, marriage, and death records from 1890

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Douglas County Historical Society
    1219 Nokomis St
    Alexandria, MN 56308-3712
    Phone: 320-762-0382
  • Evansville Historical Foundation
    PO Box 337
    304 Gran Street South
    Evansville, MN 56326
    Phone: 218-948-2010
  • Osakis Area Heritage Center
    PO Box 8
    11 East Main Street
    Osakis, MN
    Phone: 320-859-3777
  • West Central Minnesota Historical Research Center
    University of Minnesota–Morris
    Morris, MN 5626
  • Douglas County Genealogical Society
    PO Box 505
    Alexandria, MN 56308

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Douglas County, Minnesota" in,_Minnesota accessed 12 Nov 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Douglas County, Minnesota. Page 362-370 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 362-365.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Douglas County, Minnesota page 364, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Douglas County, Minnesota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Minnesota, accessed 25 January 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society,, accessed 10 June 2013.