Forrest County Data
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Welcome to Forrest County, Mississippi Genealogy & History Network!
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About Forrest County, Mississippi...
The state legislature approved an Act on April 19, 1906 calling for the creation of a new county to be called Forrest County, named for the famous Confederate Cavalry leader, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The legislature decided that a special election should be held within the limits of the proposed county on the first Tuesday of May, 1907 to submit the question to the qualified electors.
As a result of the favorable vote cast that day the Governor James K. Vardaman issued a proclamation calling for the organization of Forrest County on the first Monday of January, 1908. Its organization and establishment therefore dates from January 6, 1908, making Forrest County the seventy-eighth county in Mississippi. Its area was made to embrace the Second Judicial District of what was then Perry County.
Forrest County was the home of Mississippi's forty-sixth Governor, Paul B. Johnson, Sr. (1940-1943) and it's fifty-fourth governor, Paul B. Johnson, Jr. (1964-1967).
When Perry County was divided into two judicial districts Hattiesburg was made the seat of justice of the Second District, and after Forrest was created out of the Second District, Hattiesburg became the county seat.
In 1880, Captain William H. Hardy was surveying the area that is now Hattiesburg for the railroad. Finding the area to his liking, he decided to settle there and start a town. After four years, in 1884 a town government was founded, the town incorporated and named Hattiesburg, in honor of Captain Hardy's wife Hattie. By 1885 the population of Hattiesburg had reached 2000 folks.
Disaster struck the town in 1893, when a raging fire destroyed the entire business district. The citizens, with their tenacious personalities common in the area, quickly rebuilt. Business continued to thrive, with the town experiences modest but steady growth. Hattiesburg is known as "Hub City" due to its being about 100 miles from the Gulf Coast, Mobile, New Orleans, Jackson, and Meridian.
Camp Shelby, located on Hattiesburg's southern limits, has been an important military training facility for decades. During World War I and II, hundred's of thousands of troops were trained there. During WW II Camp Shelby housed thousands of German POWs.
Hattiesburg is home to the University of Southern Mississippi, the third largest institution of higher learning in the state. USM is known worldwide for its Polymer Science program. USM is also where noted NFL quarterback Bret Favre played his college ball.
The county has a total area of 409.10 square miles, of which 408.41 square miles is land and 0.70 square mile (0.17%) is water. The population recorded in the 1910 Federal Census was 12,860. The 2010 census recorded 12,487 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Jones County (northeast), Perry County (east), Stone County (south), Pearl River County (southwest), Lamar County (west), and Covington County (northwest). Communities in the county include Hattiesburg, Petal, Brooklyn, Carnes, Fruitland Park, McLaurin, and Palmer.
Forrest County, Mississippi Records
Forrest County, Mississippi Genealogy & History Network has many records here on our website. Thousands of Forrest County marriage records and more. Look at the Forrest County Records links in the menu on the left 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 Forrest County, Mississippi 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 county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the Forrest 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, county divorce proceedings were filed in the Forrest County Chancery Clerk's office.