Columbia County, WashingtonEdit This Page
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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.
|Columbia County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
|Founded||11 November, 1875|
|Address|| Columbia County Courthouse|
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Columbia County Website
|Before the newly-formed county was fully operational, search records of the parent county(s).|
Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
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. 
See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Columbia County, Washington.
Dates of Major County Records
|Beginning dates for major county records|
|* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries|
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.
|Don't overlook Columbia County, Washington items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Archives and Libraries.|
Cemetery records often reveal birth, death, relationship, military, and religious information. The spouse and infant children who died are frequently buried nearby.
Cemetery records include tombstones, sextons (caretakers) records, and interment (burial) records, each with slightly different information. See Washington Cemeteries.
- Alpha list of cemeteries in the county with links to online transcripts.
(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|
|USGenWeb Tombstone Project|
|Find your ancestor in every census taken while he/she was alive. This includes territorial and state-funded censuses. (See Census Tips.)|
|Names, ages, birthplaces|
|Month and year of birth|
|Birthplaces of parents|
|Family and Neighbors|
Censuses reveal specifics about the family, such as names, ages, birthplaces. (See Contents of Federal Censuses.)
Location! Location! Location! Census pinpoint the area where records about your ancestors were likely created. (See Using a Census to find other records.)
Every census of the family provides clues that help you learn even more about them.
- Washington Online federal census indexes and images found at FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, HeritageQuestOnline and others, including the years:
- 1850 • 1860 • 1870 • 1880
- 1900 • 1910 • 1920 • 1930 • 1940
- 1890 Veterans Schedule
- Statewide printed indexes of federal censuses
- Census indexes at Washington State Digital Archives: (Free)
|Censuses indexed by societies or groups in the area may be more accurate, due to familiarity with local surnames.|
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information with maiden names; and death date. For general information about Washington denominations, view the Washington Church Records wiki page.
- Church records (microfilmed originals or published transcripts) for Columbia County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
Many of your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence, occupations, and other family history information. See Washington Court Records for the various courts through the years.
Emigration and Immigration
Ethnic, Political and Religious Groups
- 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.
- Historic sketches of Walla Walla, Whitman, Columbia and Garfield Counties, Washington Territory, and Umatilla County, Oregon (If the link does not work, go to ancestry.com ($), click Search, select Card Catalog, paste Title into search box, click Search)
- "Genealogy Research in Columbia County, Washington" online
- "Columbia County, Alabama (Washington) Facts" online
- "Family History & Genealogy" online
- "Japanese Internment Collection Summaries" online
Local histories for Columbia County, Washington may include biographies, history of churches, schools, and local government, and military information. See Washington Local Histories.
Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library
Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Wilma, David. Columbia County -- Thumbnail History,  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.
- In the late winter of 1834, Captain B. L. E. Bonneville crossed Columbia County on the Nez Perce Trail, surveying the Northwest on behalf of the United States government.
- 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.
- Permanent settlement reached Columbia County in 1859, with claims taken up along the Touchet and Tucannon rivers and along Patit Creek.
- In the fall of 1859, Frederick Schnebley homesteaded at the Dayton site of the former Chase homestead, which had been destroyed in the 1855 Indian attack.
- Settlers slowly drifted into the county in the 1860s, but in the early 1870s settlement rapidly increased.
- 1875 - November - 29 - Columbia County officially came into existence.
- The railroad arrived in Dayton in July 1881.
- 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
|Usually or Maybe||U||M|
|Land Description and Dates|
Land records (especially deeds) may give the name of a spouse, heirs, and witnesses, who may be relatives or in-laws.
Land records recorded at the county courthouse include deeds, indexes, mortgages, and leases. For transfers from government to private ownership (grant or patent), see Washington Land and Property.
Specific records for Columbia County, Washington:
- 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.
- World War II (1941–1945) army enlistments at the county GenWeb site has about 400 entries, mostly from Okanogan and other counties. Key (at end of the list) explains codes and columns. Gives year and state of birth. Free.
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.)
- 1890-1955 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Journals of Naturalization Orders, 1890-1906 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Naturalization Records, 1908-1953 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Registers of Declarations of Intent, 1890-1941 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
Small town newspapers contain obituaries, birth or death notices, community news (such as the visit of someone's relatives), legal notices and provide historical content. See Washington Newspapers for tips, resources, and details.
- Columbia County, Washington Newspapers (Sortable by towns, years, and titles)
Finding More Washington Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Columbia County, Washington newspapers in online catalogs like:
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.
- Newspapers of Columbia County, Washington
- Local Funeral Homes, Libraries, or family records.
- Obituaries of neighboring counties
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
Probate records in Washington have been kept by the county judge at the courthouse. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets—documents created regarding property and estates of individuals who have died.
Probate records may locate relatives, provide death dates, and identify property. See Washington Probate Records for more information.
- 1878-1942 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Prior to 1965 Part of: County Records, Prior to 1965 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free) A-M
- Prior to 1965 Part of: County Records, Prior to 1965 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free) M-Z
- 1912-1932 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.
See Washington Vital Records for details and history of the 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.
For earlier births, search:
|To learn a maiden name, check records of her children.|
- Marriages from 4 Jan 1876 to 2 Nov 1912 are available from the Western States Marriage Index website.
- 1885-1961 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Marriage Affidavits, 1904-1939 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection.(Free)
- Marriage Certificate Volumes, 1888-1914 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Marriage Records, 1876-2003 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Probate Marriage Records, 1878-1890 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
|Witnesses or affiants may be relatives or close family friends. The affidavits also include physician's certificates.|
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.
- Washington Death Certificates 1907-1960 A free internet index to the 1907-1960 death certificates can be found at FamilySearch Record Search, no images are available. A transcribed death certificate may contain such information as name of the deceased, date and place of death, age, gender, birth date and birth place, mother’s maiden name and name of spouse, place of residence, occupation and certificate numbers.
|Check back often with these websites. Internet offerings are growing at record rates.|
Sites with online indexes or images of records:
- WAGenWeb for Columbia County (Free)
- USGenWeb Project
- Current Collections at Washington State Digital Archives (Free) Type county name, click Search, then select a collection. Collections were posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page in November, 2013.
- Historical Collections at FamilySearch.org. (Free) Click "Last Updated." Collections through October 2013 have been posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page.
Sites that search the Internet for Columbia County, Washington records online:
Major catalogs to offline genealogical records:
Catalogs refer to books, microfilm, manuscripts, and/or Internet images and indexes for various topics.
Archives, Libraries, etc.
- Check websites and catalogs, such as items in FamilySearch Library (Utah) or Allen County Public Library (Indiana) for Columbia County, Washington.
- When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy
Family History Centers
The goal of Family History Centers is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history. For more information, see Introduction to LDS Family History Centers.
Centers in Columbia County, Washington: If no centers are listed, see Neighboring Counties.
- Dayton Washington Family History Center 1114 S 3rd St., Dayton, Wa 99328
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.
|A library's Unique Collections may include card indexes of local records, newspapers, scrapbooks, genealogy papers, files of a genealogical or historical society, and other unpublished manuscripts.|
- 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:
Towns and Communities
See a list of towns and communities in Columbia County per Wikipedia.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- ↑ John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
- This page was last modified on 7 December 2013, at 04:44.
- This page has been accessed 4,570 times.
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