The Amelia Island Genealogical Society has collected numerous genealogical records for individuals who have lived in Nassau County Florida. The records have the following categories:
- 1850 Federal Census for Nassau County Florida
- 1864 Census of Fernandina
- 1895 Florida State Census for Nassau County Florida
- Nassau County Florida Marriage Index, 1867 – 1894
- General Land Office (GLO) index for Nassau County Florida.
- Nassau County Wills Index, 1870-1908
- Civil War Confederate Pension Applications
- Civil War Muster Records for Nassau County Florida
- Nassau County Florida Obituaries
- Nassau County Cemeteries
- Fernandina Deaths & Burials 1896 – 1916
- Nassau County Florida Current Obituaries
1850 Federal Census for Nassau County Florida
The 1850 Federal Census for Nassau County, Florida was taken by Charles W. Pilot between October 28th and November 29th, 1850 and reflected the population on June 1, 1850, and includes 1087 individuals in Nassau County Florida. The census pages for Nassau County begins at 341 and go through 367. The Census is searchable by both first and last name, but also typically contains: Age, Sex, Occupation, Birthplace, Birth Year, and Birthplace (generally the state where the individual was born) and a few notes.
1864 Census of Fernandina
In March 1862, a Union fleet of some 26 vessels under the command of Navy Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont arrived at Fernandina from its base at Port Royal, South Carolina. Confederate troops had been withdrawn in the face of this overwhelming Union force and both Fernandina and nearby Fort Clinch were captured without violence. Most of the community’s residents also fled the island for Confederate held areas in the interior. For the remainder of the war, Fernandina was a center of operations for the Union Navy’s South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, a rest center for Union troops, and a base for Union raiding expeditions into the adjacent areas of Florida and Georgia. After this occupation, Fernandina became a haven for Unionist refugees and escaped slaves from Florida and Georgia.
On the 8th day of December 1864 Captain John H. Brinker, who was a captain of the 107th Ohio Volunteers, and the Provost Marshall for Fernandina, completed a census of the the civilian population under the protection of the Union Army in Fernandina. This was part of a larger census ordered for the east coast of Florida including Jacksonville, Fernandina and St. Augustine.
During the Civil War, Confederate-owned slaves who sought refuge in Union military camps or who lived in territories that fell under Union control were declared “contraband of war”. This policy was first articulated by General Benjamin F. Butler in 1861, in what came to be known as the “Fort Monroe Doctrine,” established in Hampton, Virginia. By war’s end, the Union had set up 100 contraband camps in the South. Many adult freedmen worked for wages for the Army at such camps, teachers were recruited from the North for their schools by the American Missionary Association, and thousands of freedmen enlisted from such camps in the United States Colored Troops to fight with the Union against the Confederacy. Therefore, it is an important link for blacks who haven’t established their family background.
This is an important document for several reasons; it lists the last place of residence and the date of arrival in the area, as well as the previous owner of the “Contraband” (the term used to describe freed slaves) living in Union controlled areas before the Emancipation Proclamation. This census does not contain many of the names of early residents of Fernandina as most of them left, going to other areas ahead of the arrival of Union Troops. The names used in this census may not be exactly the same as the name used by the family today, so we encourage experimentation with similar sounding names to find the family, or exploration using the browse function. It is searchable by last name, and viewable by census page and by browsing the entire document. Similarly, the names of the prior owners listed may be approximations of the real name heard for the first time by a census taker. This document came to us through Edith Mixon of Jacksonville who discovered it in the National Archives. The individual pages were written on both sides and “four folded”, so that creases can be seen in the copies. These data was originally published in the first three volumes of the The Nassau County Genealogist by Jean Mann, who has also copied them into a format that could be used in our online database. It was integrated into our database to make it more available to individuals who might have ancestors who were in Fernandina during this critical period.
1895 Florida State Census for Nassau County Florida
A State Census is an extremely valuable tool for research covering the period between 1880 and 1900, since the Federal Census for 1890 was almost completely destroyed. Florida conducted statewide censuses in both 1885 and 1895, and a transcription of the 1895 Nassau County census data is posted here on this website.
Only the records for Nassau County from 1895 are available at the Florida State Archives. They were also published by the Jacksonville Genealogical Society. Citation: 1895 state census, Nassau County, Florida; Jacksonville Genealogical Society (Florida); Books/Monographs; Jacksonville, Florida; Jacksonville Genealogical Society, ©1976.
While data from almost all of the Florida counties exist from the 1885 Census, data from Nassau County and three other Florida counties is missing. So, the 1895 census of Nassau County is the only census data available to you for that critical “twenty year” gap in the Federal Census records.
Note regarding census page numbers: and content:
Due to an overlapping numbering system, the census page numbers are separated by listing Fernandina with page numbers beginning with F. These include page numbers F5 through F39. The rest of the county is listed with page numbers 4 through 128. This is not a complete census of everyone who lived n Nassau County Florida in 1895. While it contains the names of many who lived here during this period, the transcription is incomplete!
Nassau County Florida Marriage Index, 1867 – 1894
The Marriage data for Nassau County from 1867 to 1894 have been extracted from the County Marriage Books and are included in this data group. 1969 marraige records are included and they are searchable by either Bride or Groom.
General Land Office (GLO) index for Nassau County Florida.
These data included 127 land transactions for Nassau County Florida, and included the name of the individual who purchased the land, the signature date, the document number and the Florida Land transaction reference number. The General Land Office Records are available for Florida online at the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records.
Nassau County Wills Index, 1870-1908
The Index of wills for Nassau County Florida from 1870 to 1908 contains 105 Wills which are summarized in this data set. They are also contained in their complete form on Family History Library microfilm, # 954987.
Civil War Confederate Pension Applications
The first Confederate pensions in Florida were authorized in 1885 and granted to veterans the sum of $5.00 per month. The next three decades saw a new Confederate pension bill introduced at nearly every session of the Legislature. Residency requirements were added and adjusted, militia members and widows were declared eligible, various financial qualifications were added and changed, and the amount and method of distribution were changed many times.
Civil War Muster Records for Nassau County Florida
The CSA Muster Records on the website were extracted by Lori Bragg primarily from Ron Thompson’s website of Civil War Military Units in Florida, and contain the known musters from nine Florida CSA Companies. The CSA records are known to be inaccurate, and our records probably contain individuals from other counties, and have some people missing. However, they represent a detailed effort to capture Nassau County members of the CSA who could be your ancestors. Obviously, this work should be verified by other sources.
Nassau County Florida Obituaries
A compilation of obituaries extracted from the newspaper microfilm located at the Fernandina Beach branch of the Nassau County Public Library. The library has a collection of 125 microfilm rolls containing the archived Nassau County Florida Newspapers for the twelve newspapers which existed in the county from 1880 to 2002. The Amelia Island Genealogical Society (AIGS) is in the process of abstracting these records, and we now have online the following records: Complete Years, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1949 through 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1972 . In addition we have partial year results for 1878, 1886, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1918, 1920, 1923, 1925, 1927 and 1930.
Nassau County Cemeteries
The surveys for 69 Nassau Nassau County Florida cemeteries are contained in our database, and are searchable by both first and last name. AIGS is working on a program to photograph the headstones in their latest surveys.
Fernandina Deaths & Burials 1896 – 1916
These records were found in 2014 in the City Hall vault, the Amelia Island Museum of History took custody of them and arranged for the Florida Memory Project to scan & transcribe them. The museum has custody of them currently.
Each death certificate was completed by the medical professional who examined the deceased and determined the cause of death. In most cases this was a physician, although in some cases midwives filled out the certificates. The burial records are mainly for Bosque Bello Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Fernandina. Some of the earlier records list burials in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Cemetery and other locations.
In instances where the deceased died away from Fernandina, the death certificate was often provided as part of a corpse’s transportation permit. Over time, the State of Florida developed strict guidelines regarding how the bodies of deceased persons were to be transported and handled. As a consequence, family members had to obtain a permit from the State Board of Health before transferring their loved one’s remains to their final destination. The permit and death certificate traveled with the person in charge of the corpse, while a “paster” detached from the bottom of the form was attached to the coffin itself. The paster identified the body, its escort (if there was one) and the routing and ticket information for both.
Generally, the records for each deceased person indicate the individual’s name, age, sex, race, occupation, marital status and descent. They also identify the date and cause of death and the name of the physician or other medical professional who examined the deceased. Where a transportation permit and/or paster are available for an individual, additional information may include the place of death, the railroad(s) used to transfer the body to Fernandina and the name of the family member who served as its escort.
This data resides on the Florida Memory Project Server. The link allows you to browse by Name, Date, and Cause of Death.
Nassau County Florida Current Obituaries
An index of obituaries and death notices from the Fernandina Beach News-Leader, January 2016 – Present plus all obituaries from the News-Leader and some obituaries from the Florida Times- Union from October 1992 through December 2007. Obituaries from Nassau County Record from January 2017 – Present are now included.