Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finding Records Online – Florida

Florida has a wealth of records for you to find online. Many of these records are housed at the Florida Memory Project. The Florida Memory Project is a collection of historical archives, photographs, and government documents. This site can be found at Some of the documents that can be searched from this webpage include Spanish Land Grants, Confederate Pension Applications, World War I Service Records, as well as others. All of these records are free to download digital copies. This is a great resource for finding your southern ancestors. 

The Spanish Land Grants can be found at These were land claims filed by settlers in Florida after the transfer of the territory from Spain to the United States in 1821. These grants were used to prove ownership of lands that were granted to settlers by Spain beginning in 1790. These records include descriptions of the property claims and land uses. Some records may include supporting records such as wills, deeds and other correspondence proving ownership.

Florida Confederate Pension Files can be found at  These records include the complete veterans’ pension request files as well as the widows’ applications. These records start in 1885. The veterans’ claims usually include full name, date and place of birth, unit of service, date and place of enlistment, date and place of discharge, any wounds or outstanding service, place of residence, and other pieces of information needed to verify their service. The widows’ applications include the same information plus date and place of marriage, date and place of husband’s death, and her place of residence. 

The WWI Service Cards is located at These are index cards with the name, age, serial number, race, place of birth, and residence for those service men and women from Florida during WWI. Additionally, these cards have dates of service, where served, and rank during that period. There are over 42,000 Floridians included in this collection. 

Another potentially useful site is the Florida Department of State Library and Archives. This site can be found at  This site allows you to search over 40,000 cubic feet of state and local government records from 2,700 collections. The search results will link to the collection that is housed in the State Archives. If you get some good hits here you might want to think about making a trip to Tallahassee to check out the archives. You can also search the Archives collection at

The Florida Electronic Library is another potentially useful site.  This site is found at You will need a library card from one of the libraries in Florida to access this database. Once you are able to access it you will find records such as newspapers, including obituaries, magazines, journals, books and other resources. 

In addition to these sources, FamilySearch is beginning to place more Florida records online at Currently, parts of the 1885, 1934 and 1945 Florida State Census are available to browse.

Well, that should keep all the people in Florida busy for a few days. I think tomorrow I will talk about the records from Georgia.

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