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Idaho: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Courthouse Records

County level research is essential in the pursuit of family and local history. The list below highlights the most common county courthouse records used by genealogists, but there are many more record sets available. Use the guides below and explore the specific resources for the counties of interest to assure that you locate all pertinent documents.

When requesting courthouse records, inquire about both docket books and paper files. Often both types of material exist for each record. While the two formats may merely repeat the data, one may be easier to read than the other. And, in many cases, there are further details, unique notations, over-sized pages such as maps, and so on, that are filed in only the docket book or in only the paper file. Seeing both will provide a more complete review of the record.

Birth Records
  • Before 1907: Look for records created by churches, midwives, mortuaries, and physicians.
  • County Level, 1907: County Recorder
  • State Level, 1911 to present: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

(Also see the Vital Records section of this guide.)

Civil Lawsuits
  • Generally maintained by: County Clerk

Note: Some divorce cases were handled in Church Courts in southeast Idaho, which was part of the "Mormon Theocracy."

Coroner's Inquests
  • Coroners are elected in Idaho. Reports are collected by the county Sherriff's Department and can be requested after the close of the investigation. Some counties have an appointed medical examiner instead. Medical examiners are medical doctors, but may not be trained in pathology.

Note: If the cause of death is suspicious or unknown, the Coroner's office is responsible for conducting an investigation with the assistance of the police.

Criminal Court
  • Generally maintained by: County Clerk

Note: Court cases from 1995-present can be electronically accessed through iCourt.

Death Records
  • Before 1907: Look for records created by any clergyman, physician, coroner, or undertaker who cared for the deceased during the last sickness or arranged for the burial and reported to the County Recorder.
  • County Level, 1907: County Recorder
  • State Level, 1911 to present: Department of Health and Welfare

(Also see the Vital Records section of this guide.)

  • Generally maintained by: County Land Assessor
Divorce Records
  • 1864: District Courts
  • State Level, 1947: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Vital Statistics Unit, Boise

(Also see the Vital Records section of this guide.)

Marriage Records
  • 1895-1947: Records may be found in county courthouses. Also check with local churches.
  • State Level, 1947 to present: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Vital Statistics Unit, Boise

(Also see the Vital Records section of this guide.)

  • Generally maintained by: U.S. District Court in each county or a neighboring county. The Idaho Supreme Court has some records from 1890. May be in the National Archives.
  • Generally maintained by: Idaho State Tax Commission.
Will and Probate
  • Generally maintained by: County Courthouse or District Court.

Online Resources for Courthouse Records

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Using Ancestry Library Edition for Idaho

Begin your search through Ancestry's vast collections, by viewing the list designated as Idaho records External.

Using FamilySearch for Idaho

FamilySearch provides useful state and county wikis that make excellent starting points for research. The Idaho Wiki External includes links to each of its counties.

FamilySearch has digitized many of its microfilms containing county courthouse records. Not all records have been indexed yet, so search engine results may NOT show you the full range of FamilySearch data. You must browse the FamilySearch catalog External listings for each county to view the full set of records available. The vast amount of accessible original records is well worth your time to explore.

There is no fee to use FamilySearch, but you must create a free, personal account to access the databases and digital records.

Courthouse documents that have been indexed and centralized into a database include:

Published Courthouse Records

Below are selected print publications for statewide courthouse records. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

To locate additional published materials, go to the Print Resources section of this guide for search tips on locating published county courthouse records, abstracts, and indexes that may aide you in locating original records at the county level.