Welcome to Washington County

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Minnesota Genealogy and History

Minnesota Genealogy and History
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So, dust off those old scrapbooks you have in your attic, dig out those old newspapers, or anything else you feel is of interest to this County, and send them our way. We are looking for obituaries, newspaper stories, biographies, Birth, Death and Marriage records, as well as interesting newspaper tidbits from years gone past - the items YOU used to put together your family trees. If you have information that you'd like to share with us on the history of this county and its people, please
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County Information

Washington County was one of the nine original counties created when the Minnesota Territory was organized in 1849. The county was officially established October 27, 1849, named after George Washington.

Early development in the area was on the St. Croix River, which forms the eastern boundary of the county. The river not only provided a means of transportation to move people upstream, but also move logs downstream. The area was heavily forested and the early economy was dependent on the logging and lumber industries.

The first settlement and seat was named Dacotah, and was located as early as 1838 in what is now north Stillwater, where Brown's Creek flows into the St. Croix River. The creek's name is from the founder of this settlement, Joseph Renshaw Brown. However, a sawmill was built at Marine-on-St.-Croix in 1839, and another was built in the current location of downtown Stillwater in 1844. The success of these soon attracted the settlers from Dacotah, and Stillwater became the county seat in 1846.

During this early period, the region was part of the Wisconsin Territory, but Wisconsin became a state in 1848. Brown and other leaders called together settlers in this now-ungoverned territory to what has become known as the “Stillwater Convention "on August 26, 1848. Held in John McKusick’s store, the settlers drafted a Memorial to Congress that a new territory be created with the name “Minnesota,” and elected Henry Hastings Sibley to deliver this citizen’s petition to the U.S. Congress. Because of this convention, Stillwater calls itself the “Birthplace of Minnesota.”

After officially becoming a territory, growth continued, with the first Sheriff of Washington County appointed by Governor Alexander Ramsey in 1849, and the county's school district founded in 1850.

After the forests were depleted, the economy of Washington County became primarily agricultural. With the growth of neighboring Ramsey County and St. Paul, some of Washington County developed based on tourism and recreation, as with Mahtomedi and Landfall. Late in the 20th century, the population greatly increased with the suburban expansion of St. Paul.



Baytown Township
Denmark Township
Forest Lake Township
Grey Cloud Island Township
May Township
New Scandia Township
Stillwater Township
West Lakeland Township

Birchwood Village
Cottage Grove
Forest Lake
Hastings (a small section)
Lake Elmo
Lake St. Croix Beach
Lakeland Shores

Marine on St. Croix
Oak Park Heights
Pine Springs
St. Marys Point
St. Paul Park
White Bear Lake (a small section)

 Online Data


Church Histories / Records

County Records

Death Records

Family Bibles

Miscellaneous Data

School Records

Wills/Probate Records

Website Updates:

BIRTHS: Delayed Birth Index 1870 - 1981 (Over 2,700) transcribed by Judy Ziesmer

NEWS : Community News-Riot at Stillwater-1858
NEWS : Fire News-Stillwater Fire-1866
TOWNS : Stillwater Growing Fast-1871

Prior Updates


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North Dakota -- South Dakota -- Minnesota -- Wisconsin -- Michigan


St. Croix Collection - Stillwater Public Library
Local Oral Histories, Census Records, Stillwater City Directories, Cemeteries Index, Naturalization Records

Washington County Historical Society
Warden's House Museum, Research, Special Events, e-Photo Album, Schools of the Past

Minnesota Historical Society
Research Center/Libraries, 651-296-6126
General Information, Birth and Death Records prior to 1870.


Minnesota Genealogical Society
5768 Olson Memorial Highway
Golden Valley, MN 55422


Adjacent Counties
* Chisago County (north)
Polk County, Wis (northeast)
St. Croix County, Wis (east)
Pierce County, Wis (southeast)
Dakota County (southwest)
Ramsey County (west)
Anoka County (northwest)

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