Clark County, WashingtonEdit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Clark County
Bridge over the Washougal River
Clark County, Washington State


Guide to Clark County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1844, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:


800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Clark County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Clark County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded June 27, 1844
County Seat Vancouver
Courthouse
Address Clark County Courthouse
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: 360.397.2292 
Clark County Website

Contents

County Overview

Parent County(s)

  • Clark County, Washington was created 27 June 1844[1] as an original county in the Oregon Territory and named Vancouver District. Renamed Clark County 3 September 1849[2]

County Seat: Vancouver Parent County: Original county, formerly Vancouver District. See also Towns and Communities in Clark County, Washington. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Boundary Changes

Neighboring Counties

Clark County, Washington is surrounded by: Cowlitz | Skamania | Oregon counties: Columbia | Multnomah

Clark CountySkamania CountyCowlitz CountyWahkiakum CountyPacific CountyLewis CountyMultnomah CountyColumbia CountyClatsop CountyClark County.JPG

Courthouse

Clark County Courthouse
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: 360.397.2292 

County Auditor has birth and death records 1890-1906,
marriage records from 1890 and land records from 1850.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1890. [4]

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[5]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1891*
1852*
1891*
1850
1890
1890
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

1890--Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire. [6]

Topics for Clark 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.

  • For a good look at the pioneers of Clark County, A book "Clark County Pioneers--A Centennial Salute" is a good place to start. The book contains information on the pioneers of Clark County and their families with many photos of those pioneers. The book has 675 pages plus an index. It has a copyright date of 1989.
  • Clark County Pioneers--Through the turn of the Century. Available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. All Clark County books have a catalog number of 979.786.

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.


Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery and Funeral Chapel
www.evergreenmemorialgardens.com - (360) 892-6060

City of Vancouver: Park Hill Cemetery
(360) 696-8156

The Old City Cemetery - the Old City Cemetery located at the corner of Grand Blvd. and Mill Plain Blvd in Vancouver.
The Old City Cemetery is a repository of unique genealogical, historical, religious, cultural and societal information. Many of Clark County’s first pioneers and leaders are buried in this cemetery. The Old City Cemetery use began in 1867. Some of the initial interments were graves that were moved from the Old Post Cemetery on the property of the Vancouver Barracks.
CCGS envisions this grant request as the first phase of a longer term effort to restore and rehabilitate the Old City Cemetery. The Historical Promotions grant will provide resources for repair and restoration of stones and markers that have been damaged due to vandalism or through the effects of weather or age.
The Old City Cemetery is owned, managed and maintained by the City of Vancouver.

Fishers Cemetery - 1st Cemetery in Vancouver, WA

Listing of those buried there has been done by the USGS - click here

Images of Fishers and the beach along the Columbia River at this historic spot.

Genealogy Archives - Vancouver Cemeteries

Clark County Cemeteries listed in ROOTSWEB

Vancouver Barracks Cemetery

Clark Co Cemetery Records Online - Intermet.net

  • County Farm Cemetery (Marble Mount Cemetery)
  • La Center Cemetery (Mount Zion Cemetery)
  • Old City Cemetery
  • Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver BillionGraves
  • Sacred Heart Cemetery (Dublin Cemetery)

Cemeteries and Memorial Sites of Politicians in Clark County

Richard Engstrom
Clark County Genealogical Society
717 Grand Blvd, Vancouver
Phone: 360-750-5668
Email: gensoc@ccgs-wa.org

Clark 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.

  • Church records (microfilmed originals or published transcripts) for Clark County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)

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.

ArrowGreen.svg.png
For specialized court records, see Divorce  · Guardianship  · Land  · Naturalization · Probate

  • 1890 - Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire.

Directories

 

Emigration and Immigration

 

Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups

 

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

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.

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

History Timeline

Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library[7]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Hanable, William S. Clark County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 5644.

  • For hundreds of years before Western explorers intruded on their shores, the Chinook Indians had lived along the banks of the Columbia River.
  • 1792 - The Chinook's first contact with non-Indian people may have occured when the Columbia Rediviva, an American ship captained by Robert Gray (1755-1806), made its way up the river.
  • 1805 - November, Lewis and Clark passed through what is now Clark County.
  • 1825 - March , The British-owned Hudson's Bay Company opened Fort Vancouver on the future site of the City of Vancouver.
  • 1844 - The first American of note in the Fort Vancouver area was Henry Williamson, who laid out his land claim west of the fort.
  • 1845 - August 20, Clark County was the first county of Washington. It was created by the provisional government of Oregon Territory, and at that time covered the entire present-day state of Washington.
  • In 1846, Amos Short measured his land claim from a "witness tree" (a tree used by surveyors to establish a corner of a section of land) by carving his initials in a cottonwood that stood near the bank of the Columbia River.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1890 - Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire. [6]

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.

Maps

 

Waclark.jpg
This map highlights the county within the state of Washington. The map soon will have inter-active links.

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

Early migration routes to and from Clark County, Washington for European and African American settlers included:

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.

  • County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982. at Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1890-1982] at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes name, age, gender, birth place, arrival at port, etc.
    • Included in this collection: Application & oaths 1939-1965; Declaration on intention 1906-1982; Declaration of intention index 1890-1937; Depositions 1933-1953; Final record 1880-1906; Military petitions 1919; Naturalization certificate receipts 1907-1926; Petition records 1906-1940; Petition records index Miscellaneous naturalization records 1924-1929 vol 5.

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 Clark County, Washington newspapers in online catalogs like:

Newspapers for Vancouver, Washington can be seen at the e-mail address for "The Columbian", columbian@newsbank.com for the years after 1994. For years prior to 1994, go to the Ft. Vancouver Library.

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.

ArrowGreen.svg.png
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.

  • 1890 - Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire. [6]
  • County Probate Case Files, 1832-1950 Part of: Washington, County Probate Records, 1832-1950 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • (A search of this collection did not bring up any Clark County records, Feb, 2014)

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.

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.

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.[9]

ArrowGreen.svg.png
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 1889-2000 Part of: Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits index 1900-1913; Marriage applications 1939-1979; certificates 1889-2000; Marriage register 1891-1914.
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....[10]

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

Voting Registers

 

Websites


Sites with online indexes or images of records
Clark County, Washington--USGenWeb 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 Clark County, Washington
Web Sites at RootsWeb - Clark WA Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
StateofUS.com Free "Clark County, Washington Facts" (mis-labeled "Clark County, Alabama Facts")
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Clark 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.

 

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

Family History Centers

Centers in Clark County, Washington: (If no centers are listed, see Neighboring Counties)

United States Location Map

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.


Museums

 

Societies

 

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Clark County per Wikipedia.

References

  1. The Evolution of Washington Counties by Newton Carl Abbott, Fred E. Carver, 1979. Published by the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society and Klickitat County Genealogical Society.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clark County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. 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.
  6. GenDisasters.com - Vancouver, WA Courthouse Fire, Feb 1890 http://www3.gendisasters.com/washington/7339/vancouver-wa-courthouse-jail-fire-feb-1890
  7. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  8. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map VI" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap6.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
  9. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  10. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.

 

Need additional research help? Contact our research help specialists.

Need wiki, indexing, or website help? Contact our product teams.


Did you find this article helpful?

You're invited to explain your rating on the discussion page (you must be signed in).

  • This page was last modified on 13 February 2014, at 22:44.
  • This page has been accessed 25,267 times.