Welcome to the DeSoto County Mississippi Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your DeSoto County, Mississippi genealogy or history information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information to share for other Mississippi Counties, visit the Mississippi Genealogy & History Network state website and choose the appropriate county.
DeSoto County, formed on February 9, 1836, is located in the extreme North-Eastern corner of Mississippi, bordering both the states of Tennessee and Arkansas.
The county is named for Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, first European to reach the Mississippi River. The county seat, Hernando, is also named in his honor. De Soto allegedly died in that area in May 1542, although some believe that he died near Lake Village, Arkansas. Some scholars speculate that DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River west of present-day Lake Cormorant, built rafts there and crossed to present-day Crowley's Ridge, Arkansas.
Native American artifacts collected in DeSoto County link it with prehistoric groups of Woodland and Mississippian culture peoples.
Negotiations begun in 1816 between the United States government and the Chickasaw nation, concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Pontotoc in 1832. During these 16 years, government officials pressed the Chickasaw for cessions of land to enable European-American settlement. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, authorizing forcible removal if necessary to extinguish Native American claims in the Southeast. From 1832 to 1836, government surveyors mapped the 6,442,000 acres of the Chickasaw domain. The Mississippi Legislature formed 10 new counties, including DeSoto, Tunica, Marshall and Tate, from this territory.
By treaty the land was assigned by sections of 640 acres to individual Indian households. The Chickasaw, a numerically small tribe, were assigned 2,422,400 acres of land using this formula. The government disposed of the remaining 400,000 acres at public sale. The Indians received at least $1.25 per acre for their land. The government land sold for 75 cents per acre or less.
The county has a total area of 497 square miles, of which 476 square miles is land and 21 square miles (4.2%) is water. The population recorded in the 1840 Federal Census was 7,002. The 2010 census recorded 161,252 residents in the county.
Neighborig counties are Shelby County, Tennessee (north), Crittenden County, Arkansas (west), Tunica County (southwest), Tate County (south), and Marshall County (east). Communities in the county include Hernando, the county seat, as well as Horn Lake, Olive Branch, Southaven, Walls, Bridgetown, Lynchburg, Cockrum, Days, Eudora, Lake Cormorant, Lake View, Lewisburg, Love, Mineral Wells, Nesbit, Norfolk, Pleasant Hill, West Days.
DeSoto County MSGHN has many records here on our website. Marriage Records, Cemetery listings, tombstone photos, census records, and more. Look at the DeSoto County Data links for a list of available data.
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 DeSoto County marriage records here on our website. 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 DeSoto County marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the DeSoto County Circuit Clerk's office.
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, DeSoto County divorce proceedings were filed in the DeSoto County Chancery Clerk's office.
DeSoto County is located in the located in the northwestern portion of Mississippi.
A list of DeSoto County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
Marriage information is an important part of any family genealogy. These dates may assist you in your DeSoto County, Mississippi research.
For a list of DeSoto County, Mississippi Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of DeSoto County, Mississippi Churches with photos and additional information for many.