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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Columbia County
Historic railway depot in Dayton, Columbia County, Washington


Guide to Columbia County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1875, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:


800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Columbia County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Columbia County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded 11 November, 1875
County Seat Dayton
Courthouse
Address Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321
Columbia County Website

Contents

County Overview


Parent County(s)

Columbia County, Washington was created 11 November 1875 from Walla Walla County.[1]

County seat: Dayton [2] See also Towns and Communities in Columbia County, Washington. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

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

Columbia County, Washington is surrounded by: Franklin | Garfield | Walla Walla | Whitman | Oregon counties: Umatilla | Wallowa

Columbia CountyWalla Walla CountyAsotin CountyWhitman CountySpokane CountyLincoln CountyAdams CountyGrant CountyFranklin CountyBenton CountyGarfield CountyBenewah CountyLatah CountyNez Perce CountyUmatilla CountyWallowa CountyColumbia County.JPG

Courthouse

Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321

County Clerk has divorce records from 1886,
probate records from 1891 and court records from 1890.
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907
and marriage records from 1853. [4]

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[5]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1891*
1876*
1891*
1864
1878
1874
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Topics for Columbia 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.


Columbia 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.


  • Census Rolls 1885-1892 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

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 Columbia 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

  • Columbia Frontier Justice. Part of "Frontier Justice’’: Guide to the Court Records of Washington Territory, 1853-1889 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 and Religious Groups

 

American Indian
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 Columbia 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[6]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Phil Dougherty. Columbia County -- Thumbnail History, [1] Essay 7801.

  • The lower Snake River was home to bands of Palouse and other Sahaptin-speaking people, including Nez Perce, Yakama, Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Wanapum.
  • 1805 - October 12-13, Lewis and Clark canoed on the Snake River along the boundary separating Columbia and Whitman counties.
  • 1834 - Captain B. L. E. Bonneville crossed Columbia County on the Nez Perce Trail, surveying the Northwest on behalf of the United States government.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1855 - One of the first white settlers in Columbia County was Henry M. Chase. Chase and another man, P. M. Lafontain, built cabins and possibly a small fort early in 1855 at the site of present day Dayton.
  • 1859 - Permanent settlement reached Columbia County with claims taken up along the Touchet and Tucannon rivers and along Patit Creek.
  • 1859 - Frederick Schnebley homesteaded at the Dayton site of the former Chase homestead, which had been destroyed in the 1855 Indian attack.
  • 1860s - Settlers slowly drifted into the county, but in the early 1870s settlement rapidly increased.
  • 1875 - November 29, Columbia County officially came into existence.
  • 1881 - July, The railroad arrived in Dayton.
  • 1934 - The Blue Mountain Cannery was built in Dayton.
  • 1935 - As part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, two Civilian Conservation Camps were established in Columbia County.

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

 

Wacolumbia.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

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 Citizenship 1890-1955 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Journal of naturalization 1890-1906; Letters of administration 1887-1965; Naturalization correspondence 1908-1955; Naturalization depositions 1910-1920; Orders of the court 1925-1950; Petition and record 1908-1928.

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 Columbia 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 Records 1896-1943 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Clerks files of wills ca 1896-1917; Declarations of intention 1890; 1890-1906; 1890-1941; Estate files 1877-1915; Facts for declarations of intention 1901-1907; Homestead records 1882-1898; Probate case files 1878-1943; Probate fee books 1891-1898; Probate journal 1891-1932; Territorial letters of administration of wills annexed ca 1876-1877.

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.

  • Public Records 1923-1945Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical 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]

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

  • Washington State Digital Archives has a free database of Columbia County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Columbia County from June 1891 – August 1913. The names were taken from the Columbia County Register of Births.
  • Index to marriage licenses (direct and indirect) 1922-1939 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits 1904-1961; Marriage certificates 1885-1946; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-indirect 1922-1939; Marriage returns 1902-1947; Marriage statistics 1891-1910; Register of marriages 1891-1910; Territorial marriage certificates 1876-1890.

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 1922-1939 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits 1904-1961; Marriage certificates 1885-1946; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-indirect 1922-1939; Marriage returns 1902-1947; Marriage statistics 1891-1910; Register of marriages 1891-1910; Territorial marriage certificates 1876-1890.
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]

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
WAGenWeb for Columbia County 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 Columbia County, Washington
Web Sites at RootsWeb - Columbia 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 ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Genealogyinc.com Free Columbia 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 Columbia 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 Columbia County, Washington are available in libraries, archives, and other repositories at all levels: the town, the county, the state (including universities), and the nation.

  • When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy

See also Courthouse · FamilySearch Centers · Libraries · Museums · Other Repositories · 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.


Columbia County Rural Library District, 111 S 3rd St., Dayton 99328 Phone: (509) 382-4131
Online Resources: Heritage Quest and other genealogical links
Unique Collections: Revolutionary War records and Bounty-Land Warrant Application files
Dayton Memorial Library, 111 S 3rd St, Dayton 99328 Phone: (509) 382-4131
Online Resources: Headstone Images, Whitman County Heritage documents and others.
Unique Collections:
Museums

 

Societies

 

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Columbia 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), Ferry 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. 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 2 May 2014, at 19:19.
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