March 28, 2023, 9:49 am
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General Information On Washington Genealogy Records
Washington genealogy records can be a challenge to find. That is because there are many records available that are available only at the local level. If you hope to build a family tree, a good place to start is with the most locally available information and then to work outward. The good news is that there are various resources available and you can create a complete family tree if you put enough time and attention into the process. The key is making it work for you.
Where should you start if you are looking to build a Washington genealogy records project? The state did not have any laws in place requiring that local counties and towns report vital records such as births and deaths to the state until 1891. If you need any records prior to this, it is best to turn to local areas including local town clerks. Keep in mind that the Washington Territory was not established until 1853, which means that counties were not readily available either. The best sources for these records are local ones.
If you are looking for birth records or death records from 1891 through 1907, you will also need to turn to the county level. These were not kept at the state level thoroughly until 1907. If you are looking for birth or death records from July of 1907 onward or marriage records from January of 1968 or onward, the best place to do so is with the Department of Health. You can write to them or visit them at the following address:
Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
PO Box 9709
Olympia, Washington 98507
It is possible that older records will be available through this resource. However, if that is not the case, there are still other ways to build your Washington genealogy records. One surprising location that contains a great deal of information is the cemeteries. The state has a number of locations and some of them are very old. For example, in Garfield County, the Pataha Flat Cemetery has a great deal of information on record. In Kititas County, visit High Value, Holly Cross, IOOF or Thorp cemeteries to gather information. In King County, check out Pioneer, Mountain View or Gethsemane cemeteries. Pierce County is home to the Old Settlers Cemetery and photos of the tombstones are available there.
For other resources to create Washington genealogy records, consider options like census records. The state did participate in the 1910 census but records were kept at a low level. You will find some military records dating back to the 1800's but not all of these are readily available either.
Keep in mind that because the state does not have a long history of being a part of the country in total, it is hard to locate records at the state level. Rather, it is best to turn to local counties, churches and even town clerks to learn about these parts of your family's history. It can provide you with some of the best resources available.
Washington Genealogy Records
  • State Archives

    State Archives
    PO Box 40238
    Olympia, WA 98504-0238
    p (360) 586-1492
    f (360) 664-8814
  • Washington State Genealogical Society

    Washington State Genealogical Society
    P.O. Box 1422
    Olympia, WA 98507-1422
Washington Resource Links

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