Automobile Registrations for Florida 1905-1917 Digitized & Indexed Online

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Every now and then items get posted online that genealogists may not have considered before. In all my years of searching for documentary evidence of my ancestors, I’ve never searched for auto registrations. That just changed!

The following excerpt is from the page for Early Auto Registrations, 1905-1917, located at the Florida Memory website. As most of you know, the site is published by the State Library & Archives of Florida.

This collection contains Florida’s first automobile registrations, which were recorded by the Florida Department of State between 1905 and 1917. Each registration, which was handwritten in a ledger, indicates the name and post office address of the registrant plus the manufacturer, style, horsepower and factory number of the vehicle. Each entry was dated and assigned a unique registration number, which was sent to the registrant on a certificate.

Local historians can use these records to identify the earliest automobile owners in a given Florida community. Genealogists will find them useful for determining whether and where their ancestors may have registered automobiles in Florida during the 1905-1917 period.

Searches can be made by name, county, and automobile type. A screen like that below will come up showing the hits. Click on any name and get a digital image. Click on the image and zoom to read the original document.

Click here to search.

I did a search for anyone by the surname of Canfield and came up with four of them.
Four hits for 3 individuals were found. They were for:

Heth Canfield, of St Augustine. He drove an 18 horsepower Schact dely car (most likely delivery car), registered Oct. 1, 1913

C.G. Canfield, of Ft. Lauderdale. He drove a 30 horsepower Velie touring car, registered April 30, 1914

W.C. Canfield, of St. Petersburg. He drove a 25 horsepower Ford touring car, registered February 25, 1915.

W.C. Canfield, of St. Petersburg. He later drove a 37 horsepower Hudson touring ca, registered November 13, 1916.

See the following illustration.

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Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Do you know of any similar databases for old auto registrations? If so, please add a comment about it. I could find none using a Google search. Thanks…

3 thoughts on “Automobile Registrations for Florida 1905-1917 Digitized & Indexed Online

  1. One of the databases on Ancestry.com is Oregon, Motor Vehicle Registrations, 1911-1946. I live in Oregon with a number of family who lived here and have found it very interesting and helpful.

  2. Joanne, I was amazed when I saw this was on Ancestry.com, then I recalled that a few years ago, the State of Oregon Library agreed to have Ancestry staff scan the genealogical materials in the library in return for a subscription for the Institution version of Ancestry.com. I am not sure of the materials that were moved during this past year to the Salem Public Library, but that may be among them. A Salem resident, and a member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, had used the DMV records when they were at the State Library to make up lists that could eventually be used by the members of HCCA.

  3. Archive.org has several years (cca 1913 thru 1922) of early automobile registration data for California and Connecticut. I found them useful in finding early owners of 2 makes of early electric cars that i’m into. I even found one VIN# match to an existing car that we didn’t know the history on. I’ve also found online the “1915 NY Auto Digest & Register” which covers some of the N.E. states as I recall. Additionally, the 1915, 1918 and 1921 Vermont Automobile Yearbooks sold yesterday on Ebay (above my budget—they went for $50-$120 each)—I have the 1923 Vermont Yearbook coming in the mail to me as we speak. Keep in mind that when you do text searches on the scanned documents you can miss a lot—the optical character recognition SW doesn’t do a perfect job and you may have to let your eyes be the judge—or try searching subsets of the key word you want to match. I’m keenly interested in finding 1920-1925 listings or databases for Illinois and Indiana registrations.

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