History and Genealogy of Winnebago County, Iowa

Genealogy Trails logo


Welcome to Iowa Genealogy Trails!
Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy

Our goal is to help you track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical
and historical data and placing it online for the free use of all researchers.
We're looking for folks who share our dedication to putting data online and
are interested in helping this project be as successful as we can make it.

This county website is in need of a permanent host.
If you are interested joining our group as webmaster for this website,
or any of our websites, view our
Volunteer Information page.

A desire to transcribe data and know-how to make a basic webpage is required.


County Information

County Seat: Forest City
Year Organized: 1847
Square Miles: 400

126 South Clark Street
County Courthouse
Forest City, IA 50436-1706
Phone: (641)585-3412
Fax: (641)585-2891 Research Help

Winnebago County was named in honor of the Winnebago Indian tribe that resided in the area. The term Winnebago means "Men of the Bad Smelling Waters", or "People of Stinking Water". Winnebago. In 1840 this tribe went to the Neutral Ground in Iowa assigned to them by treaty of September 15, 1832, whence they removed in 1848 to Minnesota.

The county was established in 1851. The earliest white settler of Winnebago County was George W. Thomas in 1855. The county was organized in the fall of 1857, the following being the first officers elected: Robert Clark, county judge; C.H. Day, treasurer and recorder; B.F. Denslow, clerk of courts; John S. Blowers, sheriff; and C.W. Scott, superintendent of schools and surveyor.

The first and only county seat of Winnebago County is Forest City. Forest City, which was platted by Robert Clark in 1856, was named after the abundance of timber found there.

The first courthouse was a two-room log cabin that was located on the courthouse square. In 1860 a petition was circulated calling for a more appropriate building. Soon after, $20,000 in bonds was sold for the construction of this building. After the construction had begun, the conservative members of the board opposed such an expensive building. Consequently, a less expensive, two-story soft brick building was constructed. This building, like the previous building, was located on the courthouse square. A frame addition was completed in 1877.



Births Biographies Cemeteries
Census Data Churches Geographical Features
Historical Information Marriages Military Data
News Articles Obituaries/Deaths Schools
Towns And Villages Townships

Website updates:
07 July 2018:
Births: Birth Index 1904-06

Past Updates


We'll be adding data to this site as we can. You can help us to get this site growing by sending in your family's data.

Subscribe to our mailing lists to get notification when we update this and our other midwestern websites.

Submit your Iowa Obituaries HERE.

Submit Cemetery Records For Any Cemetery in Iowa Using This Form!

Regretfully we are unable to perform personal research.

Visit the National
Visit the National Genealogy Trails site.
Genealogy Trails Site


Back to Iowa Genealogy Trails State Site

Surrounding Counties

Faribault County, MN (northwest)
Freeborn County, MN (northeast)
Worth County (east)
Hancock County (south)
Kossuth County (west)
Cerro Gordo County (southeast)

Copyright © Genealogy Trails
All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.