Ouray County, Colorado Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Ouray
Organized: January 18, 1877
Parent County(s): San Juan [1]
Neighboring Counties
Gunnison  • Hinsdale  • Montrose  • San Juan  • San Miguel
See County Maps
Location Map
Colorado Ouray County.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Chief Ouray, a distinguished Ute Indian chief. The County is located in the southeast central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Ouray County Courthouse
541 4th St
Ouray, CO 81427
Phone: 970-325-4961
Ouray County Website

County Clerk has marriage and land records from 1881  County 
Treasurer has birth records from 1877 and death records from 1894;
Court Clerk has divorce, probate and Court records[3]
For early records see Vital Statistics Registrar, Ouray. For deaths 1880-1907 see clerk and recorder's office.[4]

Ouray County, Colorado Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1877 1881 1894 1873 1887 1877 1860
*Statewide registration for births in 1910 and deaths in 1910. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1877--Ouray county (original, renamed) was created from San Juan County on January 18, 1877. [6] This is not quite the same county as the present day county of Ouray.
  • 1881--Ouray county lost land to creation of Dolores county on February 19, 1881. [7]
  • 1883--Ouray county lost land to creation of Uncompahgre County (extinct) on February 27, 1883; Ouray County regained the lost portion three days later. [8]
  • 1883--Ouray County was renamed San Miguel County and Uncompahgre County (extinct) was renamed Ouray County on March 2, 1883. Ouray County in effect regained the area it lost three days earlier to the creation of Uncompahgre County and lost all the territory that became San Miguel County. [9]
  • County seat: Ouray[10]
  • Interactive Formation Boundary Map of Colorado - shows boundary changes for Colorado Counties
  • Colorado Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library

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:[11]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information
*For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries For early records see Vital Statistics Registrar, Ouray. For deaths 1880-1907 see clerk and recorder's office.[4]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Ouray County, Colorado online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Colorado Cemeteries for more information


Census Records[edit | edit source]

In 1860, present-day Colorado was enumerated in the Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah Territories. Colorado Territory was created in 1861 and was enumerated as such in the 1870 Census. A state census was taken in 1885 for Colorado.[12] See links listed below.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 2,669
1890 6,510 143.9%
1900 4,731 −27.3%
1910 3,514 −25.7%
1920 2,620 −25.4%
1930 1,784 −31.9%
1940 2,089 17.1%
1950 2,103 0.7%
1960 1,601 −23.9%
1970 1,546 −3.4%
1980 1,925 24.5%
1990 2,295 19.2%
2000 3,742 63.1%
2010 4,436 18.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

State and Territory Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census Records[edit | edit source]

The 1880 Census was the first Federal Census for Colorado after it became a state in 1876.[13] For links to Federal Census indexes, see Colorado Census.

  • 1860-1940 Colorado Census Records from 1860 to 1940 at FamilySearch.org — index/images

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Colorado denominations, view the Colorado Church Records wiki page.

Online Church Records

Presbyterian Church

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Numerous records are available at Colorado Archives. To use this link scroll down the page to where it asks for Record Type. Click there and scroll down the list to the records you want and select. The next field asks for county. Select the county you want and then click on Search. You can narrow the search by adding the additional information it asks for.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Colorado Land and Property for additional information about early Colorado land grants.

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where current records are also housed.

Online Land Records

For more information see Colorado Land and Property

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Montrose CountySan Miguel CountyDolores CountySan Juan CountyHinsdale CountyMineral CountySaguache CountyGunnison CountyCO OURAY.JPG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Online Collections[edit | edit source]

These collections are unique to Colorado. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and Colorado Military Records.

All Veterans

Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898)

World War I

World War II

Vietnam War

For further information see Colorado Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For more information, see Colorado Newspapers.

Colorado Newspapers Online

Colorado Newspaper Catalogs

  • U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records have been kept by the county courts. Colorado probate records include bonds, affidavits, letters, claims, appraisals, fee accounts, minutes, judgments, dockets, calendars, case files, and wills. The Family History Library does not have copies of probate records from Colorado.

You may obtain copies of documents from the clerk's office in the county courthouse.

Online Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Colorado tax records complement land records and can be used as supplements to censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records. To find tax records in the FamilySearch Catalog, do a Place Search for the county.

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 Vital Records Section Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

For some online statewide indexes, see the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for Colorado.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Birth records may become public records when 100 years have elapsed after the date of birth. EXCEPTION: The birth record of any individual who is known to be currently alive will remain confidential even if they are 100 years of age or greater. [14]

  • 1891-1902 Ouray County Births at Colorado State Archives - index, select record type for search

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Death[edit | edit source]

Death records may become public records when 75 years have elapsed after the date of death. [14]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Ouray County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Colorado Archives and Libraries.

The Colorado State Archives has the following records available for Ouray County, Colorado Genealogy in this online database Archives Search. For a full list of online holdings, click here.
1880-1939 Divorce Index
1883-1900 Mine Accidents, Non - fatal
1897-1920 Horseshoers
1936-1942 Civilian Conservation Corps Enrollments
1966-1968 Vietnam Deaths

1878-1919 Ouray County Probate Cases
1891-1902 Ouray County Births

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • 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

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Ouray County. For state-wide library facilities, see Colorado Archives and Libraries.

Ouray Library District
320 6th Ave
Ouray, CO 81427
Telephone: 970-325-4616

Ridgway Library District
300 Charles
Ridgway, CO 81432
Telephone: 970-626-5252

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Ouray County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Colorado Societies.
Ouray County Historical Societybr>PO Box 151
Ouray, CO 81427
Telephone: 970-325-4576

Southeastern Colorado Genealogical Society, Inc.
PO Box 1407
Pueblo, CO 81002
Telephone: 719-362-0380

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, "Ouray, Colorado Genealogy and History", http://genealogytrails.com/colo/ouray/ 7/05/2017.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ouray County, Colorado. Page 100 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources. Edited by Alice Eichholz. (Ancestry, Provo; 3d ed, 2004.) Colorado article by Birdie Monk Holzclaw and Marsha Hoffman Rising. page 93.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ouray County, Colorado. Page 100 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), 93.
  6. Colo. Laws 1876, 1st sess., ch. 21, par. 385-392/pp. 207-209
  7. Colo. Laws 1881, 3d sess., pp. 92-96
  8. Colo. Laws 1883, 4th sess., pp. 139-142
  9. Colo. Laws 1883, 4th sess., sec. 1/p. 123
  10. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Ouray County, Colorado," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouray_County,_Colorado, accessed 18 May 2017.
  12. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 51-54; Alice Eichholz, ‘’Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources,’’ 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 2004), 86. Free online version; FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004; WorldCat entry.
  13. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 54.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Letter from Colorado State Registrar, Dated September 1, 2011. Policy Number 2011- 08. http://www.colorado.gov