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Manatee County was formed from Hillsborough County, January 9, 1855. The new county stretched from the Gulf of Mexico in the west to Lake Okeechobee in the east, from the Hillsborough County line in the north to what is now Lee County in the south, covering 50,000 square miles. In 1887 Desoto County was divided from Manatee County and in 1921 Sarasota County was formed from Manatee County. In that same year of 1921 Hardee, Highlands, Glades and Charlotte were formed from Desoto.

Some of the types of documents at the Records Library include:

  • Probate records from 1856
  • Deed Record Books from 1855 to 1977
  • Marriage licenses from 1856
  • County tax rolls for various years from 1858 to 1870, 1870 to 1977
  • Town of Manatee tax rolls 1941
  • City of Bradenton tax rolls 1940
  • County Court, Circuit Court and Chancery Court records
  • Board of County Commissioner minutes from 1856
  • Military discharges
  • Cattle brand registration book
  • County plat maps most are available on the website
  • Aerials of the county 1940, 1951, 1957
  • Mortgages, Chattel mortgages, Bills of Sale, Corporation Books to 1959
  • Official Record Books 1960 to 1977
  • Voter registration books by district 1887-1959
  • County tax appraisal cards (1961-1972)
  • Section maps of the County (1961-1972)
  • Several historical maps of area 1850-1870