Adams County, WashingtonEdit This Page

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Guide to Adams County, Washington genealogy. Birth, marriage, and death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1883, when the county was formed.

United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Adams County
Drum Heller Channels in Columbia Valley, Adams County, Washington.


County QuickStart:




800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Adams County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Adams County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded November 28, 1883
County Seat Ritzville
Courthouse
Address Adams County, Washington Courthouse
210 W. Broadway
Ritzville, WA
Phone: (509) 659–3240

Contents

County Overview

Parent County(s)

Adams County was created 28 November 1883 from Whitman County

County Seat: Ritzville [1]. See also Towns and Communities in Adams County, Washington.

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Washington County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Washington County Boundary Maps" (1843-1915) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Neighboring Counties

Adams County, Washington is surrounded by:Franklin | Grant | Lincoln | Whitman

Adams CountyFranklin CountyLincoln CountySpokane CountyWhitman CountyAsotin CountyWalla CountyBenton CountyDouglas CountyColumbia CountyGrant CountyGarfield CountyAdams.JPG

Named for John Adams, 2nd President of the United States. Originally mostly cattle ranching, the big wheat crop shifted the agriculture from cattle to wheat farming in 1897.

Courthouse

Adams County Courthouse
210 W Broadway Avenue
Ritzville, WA 99169-1860
Phone: (509) 659–3257

County Auditor has birth and death records to 1907 and marriage records.
County Clerk has divorce and probate records.
County assessor has land records[3]

See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Adams County, Washington.

Dates of Major County Records
Beginning dates for major county records[4]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1891*
1891*
1891*
1884
1885
1890
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Topics for Adams County, Washington

The topics or headings on this page describe records that are used for genealogy and family history. They include links to web sites with indexes, images, or information about the county.

Bible Records

 

Biography

Biographical information is often found in state and local histories or genealogies. See also Washington Biography.

Business and Commerce

 

Cemeteries

Cemetery records often reveal birth, death, relationship, military, and religious information. Tombstones, sextons (caretakers) records, and burial records each have slightly different information. See Washington Cemeteries.


Listings for Adams County Cemeteries can be found at the following websites:

Adams County, Washington cemeteries from state and national resources
Online County-wide Name Searches
Published Grave
Transcripts
Lists of Cemeteries
(Several will also link to names)
FindAGrave (Add a name to the search) FamilySearch Library Click Cemeteries. Press space bar to select town FindAGrave
WA State Archives - Digital Collections Click any cemetery for search window, select county, enter name(s). WorldCat Interment.net
Billion Graves Switch to "Person Lookup" Washington Periodicals Washington State Digital Archives Put county name in Search box
Linkpendium
Billion Graves
USGenWeb Tombstone Project
Genealogy Trails
See Washington Cemeteries for details about these and other sites.

Census

Federal Census Contents
Names, ages, birthplaces 1850–1940
Birthplaces of parents 1880–1940
Relationships 1880–1940
Family and Neighbors All years
Immigration year 1900–1930
Citizenship 1910–1940

Censuses 1) Give names, ages, and more about the family; 2) Pinpoint the area to find other records; and 3) Provide clues for further research.


Church Records

The information church records provide depends upon the church practices and the record keepers. Records may include names, ages, and dates of events such as baptism, marriage, or burial. See Washington Church Records.

Lutheran
  • Records of Emanuel Lutheran Church, Adams County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).[5]

Court Records

Your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can clarify family relationships, places of residence, occupations, and family history. See Washington Court Records for courts used through the years.

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For specialized court records, see Divorce  · Guardianship  · Land  · Naturalization · Probate

  • Adams Frontier Justice Part of "Frontier Justice": Guide to the Court Records of Washington Territory, 1853-1888 at Washington State Digital Archives. (Free Index, no images)
    • The court procedures of Frontier Justice touch nearly all pioneers of the Washington Territory. The index has many abstracts that provide names and what is happening in disputes, settlements in civil and criminal cases as well as probate, equity and admiralty cases.

Directories

 

Emigration and Immigration

 

Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups

 

American Indian
Japanese
  • Japanese Internment World War II Files, 1942-1946. Public Welfare/Social Security Department at Washington State Digital Archives.
    • Assistance Cases, Evacuee Referrals for Resettlement and Assistance, 1945-1946

Funeral Homes

 

Gazetteers

 

Genealogy

A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.

Many local libraries and societies have collections of family genealogies. County histories or biographies often include brief genealogies of the featured persons.

  • Adams County History Book, 2 v. by Adams County Historical Society, online index to vol 1. "The book contains over 300 family histories"

Guardianship

Guardianship of orphans or adults unable to manage their own affairs were handled by the probate and the District courts. See Washington Court Records.

History

Local histories for Adams County, Washington may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories.

  • Adams County History Book, 2 v. Adams County Historical Society
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See photo gallery at Adams County Historical Society


History Timeline

Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library[6]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Paula Becker. Adams County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7835.

  • 1803 - Before this time, the land that would later make up Adams County was part of the territory of the Palouse tribe.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1863 - January 20, Washington Territorial Legislature creates Stevens County.
  • 1869 - George Lucas, an Irish emigrant, was Adams County's first permanent white settler. He established a way-station at Cow Creek along the road to Fort Colville
  • 1871 - November 29, Washington Territorial Legislature creates Whitman County (out of Stevens).
  • 1880 - James G. Bennett harvested a small wheat crop near Ritzville.
  • 1881 - May, The Northern Pacific Railway began laying track through Adams County.
  • 1883 - November 28, Washington Territorial Legislature creates Adams and Franklin counties (out of Whitman).
  • 1884 - Brothers Ben and Sam Hutchinson built a cabin on lower Crab Creek.
  • 1889 - November 11, Washington becomes a state.
  • 1897 - Adams County bumper wheat crop spurs shift from cattle ranching.
  • 1901 - The first homesteaders arrived.
  • 1928-1931, During a severe drought that resulted in dustbowl conditions, many people left the area.
  • 1942 - Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942.
  • 1950 - Construction on the Columbia Basin Project reached the Othello area, bringing the water of the Columbia River to irrigate Adams County's dry land.

Land and Property

Land Records reveal
Yes or Maybe  Y  M
Seller (Grantor) Green check.png  
Seller's Spouse Green check.png  
Buyer (Grantee) Green check.png  
Heirs   Green check.png
Witnesses Green check.png  
Land Description and Dates Green check.png  
Tips -or- Land Contents

Land records (especially deeds) may give the name of a spouse, heirs, and witnesses, who may be relatives or in-laws.

County deeds, mortgages, and leases show transfers from person to person. See also Court Records for actions involving real estate. See Washington Land for government-to-person records.

  • County Recorder's Office: check deeds, file mining claims, get assistance in finding ownership of a particular property, and obtain copies of county plat maps. This office has county plat records dating back to 1878, prior records having been destroyed in a fire.
  • Land Records 1988 - 2012 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free: Index - some images)
  • Plats and Surveys 1988-2012 at Washington State Digital Archives Collections. (Free: Index - some images)
  • Adams Contracts, 1988 - 2012. Part of Recorded Agreements and Contracts at Washington State Digital Archives. (Free: Index - some images)
    • Typically agreements and contracts recorded in the auditor’s office deal with real property.
  • Land Records 1895-1920 Part of Washington County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Land Index 1895-1920; Petitions for sale of real estate 1903-1910.

Maps

 

  • 1909 Map at Adams County Historical Society site.

Waadams.jpg This map highlights the county within the state of Washington. The map soon will have inter-active links. See Neighboring Counties

Migration

Most residents came to Washington from other states or crossed the border from Canada. (See Seattle Passenger Lists for those who came from other countries.) Although few other migration records exist, try:

Censuses (use birthdates and places of children as clues)
Land (1st deed may reveal previous residence)
Death-related records of children may give town or county of birth
• Records of relatives and neighbors

Military

 

Naturalization and Citizenship

Declarations of Intent before 1906 often include the nation of origin, his* foreign and "Americanized" names, residence, and date of arrival. See Washington Naturalization and Citizenship for more information.     *Women were not naturalized until 1922 in the United States.

  • Naturalization and Citizenship1890-1945 Part of Washington County Records 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Naturalization card index 1890-1945; Naturalization records-miscellaneous 1917-1927; Naturalization records 1898-1906.

Newspapers

Small town newspapers provide historical content and contain obituaries, birth or death notices, legal notices, and community news, such as visits to or from out-of-town relatives. See Washington Newspapers for tips, resources, and details.

Finding More Washington Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Adams County, Washington newspapers in online catalogs like:

  • WorldCat (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog).
  • Do a search for these and other records in the FamilySearch Catalog. To select a county in Washington, add a comma, slide way down to the county list, then click Search. (Almost every state seems to have a Washington County)

Obituaries

Obituaries may mention birth, marriage, spouse, parents, living family members, education, occupation, and more. See Washington Obituaries for state level collections and United States Obituaries for tips and insights.

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See also: NewspapersLibrariesSocietiesFuneral Homes • Obituaries of neighboring counties or of the person's previous residence • Family records.

Periodicals

 

Probate Records

Probate records identify heirs of the decedents, give the (approximate) death dates, and provide specifics about property holdings. The records were kept by the county judge.

These include wills, inheritance records, dockets, and other documents regarding property and estates of individuals who have died. See also Court Records for civil actions involving estates. Also see Washington Probate Records.

  • Probate Records1885-1931 Part of: Washington County Records 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Probate bonds 1903-1923; Probate claims 1903-1917; Probate letters 1904-1927; Probate records1885-1931; Will record index 1885-1920; Will records 1888-1959; Letters of Administration 1888-1964.

Public Records

Public records are documents created by civil authorities that either don't fit comfortably in another topic, or that could fit in several topics.

  • Adams County Auditor, Miscellaneous Recordings at Washington State Digital Archives Collections. (Free: Index + Images)
    • Includes a variety of documents, such as affidavits for wills or property, judgements, even occasional death records.
  • Adams Postmaster Index. Part of Washington, Postmaster Indexes, Prior to 1965, FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
  • Adams Ordinances passed. (Free: Index - some images)
    • Passed by various governing bodies in Adams County and recorded by the Adams County Auditor
  • Adams Powers of Attorney, 1988-2012 (Free, Indexes and some images)
    • One person (grantor) appoints another person (grantee) to act on his or her behalf in health, financial, and property issues.
  • Mothers pension records 1910-1938 Part of Washington County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Record Collections. (Free, browse images)

School Records

 

Taxation

Washington tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Washington Taxation.

Vital Records

The county auditors in Washington kept records of birth, marriage, and death. The county clerk has the divorce records - the earliest dates to the present.

See Washington Vital Records for details and history of the records. . See also How to order Washington Vital Records, order electronically online or download an application for Washington Birth or Death Certificate and Marriage or Divorce Certificate Applications to mail.

Birth
Birth Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Child Green check.png  
Birth Date and Place Green check.png  
Parent's Names Green check.png  
Mother's Maiden Name Green check.png  
Parent's Ages   Green check.png
Parents' State or Country of Birth Green check.png  
Name of Doctor or Midwife Green check.png  

In 1891, coroners, physicians, and midwives were to "return" births and deaths to the county auditor. Many went unrecorded. In 1907, the State Center for Health Statistics assumed this responsibility.[7]

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See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Birth Records.

For earlier or unrecorded births, search:


Marriage
Marriage Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Date of Marriage or License Green check.png  
Names of Bride and Groom Green check.png  
Ages Green check.png  
Birth Places Green check.png  
Residences Green check.png  
Names of Parents   Green check.png
Husband's Occupation   Green check.png
Witnesses Green check.png  
Minister or Officiator Green check.png  

Marriage records include certificates, marriage returns, license applications or affidavits. Counties kept the records until 1968, when the state took over.


ArrowGreen.svg.png
See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Marriage Records.

  • Marriage Records 1904-1995 Part of Washington County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage certificates 1951-1991; licenses 1923-1928; and returns 1904-1942.
Divorce

Divorce records give the names of the parties and may give the date and place of their marriage. See Washington Vital Records for excellent information.

Death
Death Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Deceased Green check.png  
Death Date and Place Green check.png  
Age or Birth Date and Place Green check.png  
Parent's Names Green check.png  
Mother's Maiden Name Green check.png  
Name of Spouse   Green check.png
Residence Green check.png  
Occupation Green check.png  

In 1891, coroners, physicians and midwives were to report (or return) all births and deaths under their supervision to County Auditors. On July 1, 1907, the State took over....[8]

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See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Death Records.

Voting Registers

 

Websites


Sites with online indexes or images of records
Adams County WAGenWeb Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Washington State Digital Archives Free Includes indexes, some linked to images.
  • Type county name, click Search, then select a collection.
  • Collections were posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page in December, 2013.
FamilySearch Historical Collections Free Search indexes or browse images at FamilySearch.org.
  • Click "Last Updated." Collections through December 2013 have been posted to the appropriate topics for this Wiki page.
Sites that search for links pertaining to Adams County, Washington
Web Sites at RootsWeb - Adams WA Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Genealogyinc.com Free "Adams County, Washington Facts"
google.com Free "Washington Genealogy Network Community on Google+"
Facebook.com Free "Washington Genealogy Network Group on Facebook"
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Adams County, Washington
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library (Indiana)
See also local libraries and Washington Archives and Libraries

Archives, Libraries, etc.

  See also a List of Washington Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Resources for Adams County, Washington are available in libraries, archives, and other repositories at all levels: the town, the county, the state (including universities), and the nation.

See these headings for Adams County, Washington details: Courthouse · FamilySearch Centers · Libraries · Museums · Societies

Family History Centers



Libraries

Local public libraries—even smaller ones—often have Unique Genealogical Collections that are not online for the area they serve. Many libraries in Washington have an area dedicated to local history and genealogy.


Othello Library, 101 E. Main Street, Othello 99344 Phone: (509) 488-9683
Online Resources: Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest, and others.
Unique Collections:
Ritzville Public Library, 302 W Main, Ritzville 99169 Phone: (509) 659-1222
Online Resources: (None seen Oct, 2013)
Unique Collections:

Museums

 

Societies

 

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Adams County per Wikipedia

References

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library,2006)online.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Adams County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 733-734. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  5. "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society, http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/01009.xml, accessed 10 June 2013.
  6. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  7. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  8. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 1 May 2014, at 21:05.
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