Welcome to the Mississippi Genealogy & History Network!

 

The recorded history of Mississippi began with the coming of the Europeans. More specifically, with the expedition of Hernando De Soto, who is credited with the discovery of the Mississippi River. However, long before De Soto arrived in the area now known as Mississippi, perhaps as much as 10,000 years earlier, Native Americans inhabited, planted and hunted the land. They navigated the "Father of Waters", fished and built their villages along its shores, and raised countless new generations teaching them each in succession to respect the land and to live in harmony with it.

By the 16th century, there were three predominant Native American tribes living in the area. The Chickasaw occupied the lands in the northern and eastern portions of the state. The powerful Choctaw tribe lived in the central portion of the state ranging northward to the Chickasaw lands in the northwest and southward in the east. The Natchez occupied the lands in Southwestern Mississippi.

With the arrival of the Europeans, the record of Mississippi history began to change and grow rapidly as the new settlers interacted with the natives. The settlers traded with the Native Americans, learned from them about the wildlife and vegetation of this new country, and domesticated the land from which they pushed them. It was the continuation of an old story that would last for another 350 years.

The entire Mississippi valley was claimed by France in the latter part of the 17th century and the first permanent European settlement was constructed near what is now Ocean Springs in 1699.

The Natchez, tiring of the increasing European encroachment on their lands, attacked the French settlers hoping to reclaim their lost territory. The French, nonetheless, rose to the occasion, eventually defeating the Natchez. This, the first of many area conflicts later to be known as the "Indian Wars", resulted in the general dispersion of the Natchez people which subsequently ceased to exist as a factor in Mississippi history thereafter. The French now faced the Chickasaws at various battle sites of Southwestern and West central Mississippi.

Following the French and Indian wars, in 1763 France, weary of the fight, ceded its possessions to Great Britain retaining only New Orleans. In 1779 the Spanish rose to capture Natchez and, under the Treaty of Paris, (ending the American Revolutionary War) also gained control of West Florida which included the southern half of Mississippi. The new America, however, now clearly possessed, without challenge, that part of Mississippi north of 32 degrees 28 minutes North latitude.

In 1798 the path to statehood was started as the original Mississippi Territory was created by the U.S. Congress. This "first cut" at defining and expanding the boundaries of the fledgling United States, created the territory as a strip of land about 100 miles wide from the Mississippi River to the Chattahoochee River on the Georgia border.

The land area of the territory was increased by the West Florida rebellion of 1810 and the end of the War of 1812. Finally the area of Mississippi Territory reached from the Mississippi River in the West to the Chattahoochee in the East and from Tennessee in the North southward to the Gulf of Mexico including all of the lands of both present day Mississippi and Alabama. In 1817 the U.S. Congress divided the Mississippi Territory into the Mississippi and Alabama territories. Later that same year, Mississippi became the twentieth state.

Over the next two decades, various treaties with the Choctaw made greater and greater land areas of the territory accessible to Americans until with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first treaty of the era under which Native Americans were literally removed from their homelands, Mississippi was ready for settlement.

The Mississippi capital was first located at Natchez but was removed in 1802 to nearby Washington, a small town near the Natchez Trace. Washington was, in turn, replaced by the current location at Jackson in 1822.

(Written by Bill White)

 



Mississippi Counties

COUNTY
YEAR FORMED
COUNTY SEAT
PARENT COUNTY OR LAND
1799
Natchez
Natchez District
1870
Corinth
Tippah - Tishomingo
1809
Liberty
Wilkinson
1833
Kosciusko
Choctaw Cession
1870
Ashland
Marshall - Tippah
1836
Cleveland & Rosedale
Choctaw Cession
1852
Pittsboro
Chickasaw - Lafayette - Yalobusha
1833
Carrollton & Vaiden
Choctaw Cession
1836
Houston & Okolona
Chickasaw Cession
1833
Ackerman
Choctaw Cession
1802
Port Gibson
Jefferson
1833
Quitman
Choctaw Cession
1871
West Point
Chickasaw - Lowndes - Monroe - Oktibbeha
1836
Clarksdale
Chickasaw Cession
1823
Hazlehurst
Hinds
1819
Collins
Lawrence - Wayne
1836
Hernando
Land obtained by the Indian Removal Act
1906
Hattiesburg
Perry
1809
Meadville
Adams
1910
Lucedale
Greene - Jackson
1811
Leakesville
Amite - Franklin - Wayne
1870
Grenada
Carroll - Yalobusha - Montgomery - Tallahatchie - Webster - Choctaw
1812
Bay Saint Louis
Mobile District
1841
Gulfport & Biloxi
Hancock - Jackson
1821
Jackson & Raymond
Choctaw Cession
1833
Lexington
Yazoo
1918
Belzoni
Holmes - Washington - Yazoo - Sunflower
1844
Mayersville
Washington
1836
Fulton
Chickasaw Cession
1812
Pascagoula
Mobile District
1833
Bay Springs & Paulding
Land obtained by the Indian Removal Act
1799
Fayette
Natchez
1906
Prentiss
Covington - Lawrence
1826
Laurel & Ellisville
Covington - Wayne
1833
De Kalb
De Kalb
1836
Oxford
Chickasaw Cession
1904
Purvis
Marion - Pearl River
1833
Meridian
Choctaw Cession
1814
Monticello
Marion
1833
Carthage
Choctaw Cession
1866
Tupelo
Itawamba - Pontotoc
1871
Greenwood
Carroll - Sunflower - Tallahatchie
1870
Brookhaven
Franklin - Lawrence - Copiah - Pike - Amite
1830
Columbus
Monroe
1828
Canton
Yazoo
1811
Columbia
Amite - Wayne - Franklin
1836
Holly Springs
Chickasaw Cession
1821
Aberdeen
Chickasaw Cession
1871
Winona
Carroll - Choctaw
1833
Philadelphia
Choctaw Cession
1836
Decatur
Neshoba
1833
Macon
Choctaw Cession
1833
Starkville
Choctaw Cession
1836
Batesville & Sardis
Chickasaw Cession
1890
Poplarville
Hancock - Marion
1820
New Augusta
Greene
1815
Magnolia
Marion
1836
Pontotoc
Chickasaw Cession
1870
Booneville
Tishomingo
1877
Marks
Panola - Coahoma
1828
Brandon
Hinds
1833
Forest
Choctaw Cession
1876
Rolling Fork
Warren - Washington - Issaquena
1824
Mendenhall
Choctaw Cession
1833
Raleigh
Choctaw Cession
1916
Wiggins
Harrison
1844
Indianola
Bolivar
1833
Charleston & Sumner
Choctaw Cession
1873
Senatobia
Marshall - Tunica - DeSoto
1836
Ripley
Chickasaw Cession
1836
Iuka
Chickasaw Cession
1836
Tunica
Chickasaw Cession
1870
New Albany
Pontotoc - Tippah
1910
Tylertown
Marion - Pike
1809
Vicksburg
Natchez District
1827
Greenville
Warren - Yazoo
1809
Waynesboro
Mississippi Territory's original Washington County
1874
Walthall
Montgomery - Chickasaw - Choctaw - Oktibbeha
1802
Woodville
Adams
1833
Louisville
Choctaw Cession
1833
Water Valley & Coffeeville
Choctaw Cession
1823
Yazoo City
Hinds
HISTORIC COUNTIES (no longer in existence)
Bainbridge
1823 - 1824
Created from Covington County.  In 1824 merged back into Covington County.
Bourbon
1785 - 1788
Land that is currently Adams and Wilkinson Counties.
Colfax
1871 - 1876
Created from  Chickasaw, Lowndes, Monroe, & Oktibbeha in 1871.  In 1876 the name was changed to Clay County.
Davis
1865 - 1869
Jones County changed its name to Davis in 1865. In 1869 the name was changed back to Jones County.
Pickering
1799 - 1802
In 1802, when Claiborne was formed from Pickering County, Pickering's name was changed to Jefferson County.
Sumner
1874 - 1882
Created from Montgomery, Chickasaw, Choctaw Counties in 1874, and  part of Oktibbeha County in 1875. The name was changed to Webster County in 1882.


 

Mississippi Records

Mississippi Genealogy & History Network has many records on our county websites. Thousands of County marriage records are located on each county's site. Many counties have cemetery listings complete with tombstone photos. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.

Birth Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains records of births after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by mail by using this birth record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official birth records before November 1, 1912 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.

Death Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains births recorded after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by mail by using this death record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official death records before November 1, 1912 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.

Marriage Records - We have thousands of county marriage records on our county websites. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. The Mississippi Department of Health can provide you with this for marriages that took place between January 1, 1926 to June 30, 1938, and for January 1, 1942 to present by mail by using this marriage record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health.

All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Circuit Clerk's office in which the marriage was held.

Divorce Records - Prior to 1859, divorce proceedings were introduced as private bills in the Mississippi State Legislature. References to these can be found in the books Index of Mississippi Session Acts 1817 - 1865 and Index to the Laws of the Mississippi Territory. These books can be found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as well as many other genealogy repositories and libraries across the state. After 1859, county divorce proceedings were filed in the county's Chancery Clerk's office.