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Mount St. Helens, Cowlitz County, Washington, United States Forest Service.


Guide to Cowlitz County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1861, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:


800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Cowlitz County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Cowlitz County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded April 21, 1854
County Seat Kelso
Courthouse
Address Cowlitz County Courthouse
207 4th Ave North
Kelso, WA 98626-1798
Phone 360.577.3016
Cowlitz County Website

Contents

County Overview

Parent County(s)

Parent County: created 21 April 1854 from Lewis

County Seat: Kelso. See also Towns and Communities in Cowlitz County, Washington. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Boundary Changes

Neighboring Counties

Cowlitz County, Washington is surrounded by: Clark | Lewis | Skamania | Wahkiakum | Columbia County, Oregon
Cowlitz CountyClark CountySkamania CountyLewis CountyPacific CountyWahkiakum CountyClatsop CountyColumbia CountyMultnomah CountyHood River CountyCowlitz County.JPG

Courthouse

Cowlitz County Courthouse
207 4th Ave North
Kelso, WA 98626-1798
Phone 360.577.3016

County Auditor has marriage record from 1867,
death record 1891-1907 and land records.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1874,
naturalization and adoption records from 1869. [2]

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[3]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1891*
1854*
1891*
1854
1860
1872
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Topics for Cowlitz 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.


Cowlitz 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
Cowlitz County Genealogical Society online and available books 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 Cowlitz County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Kelso
Lutheran
  • Records of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Castle Rock, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

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

  • Cowlitz 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 or 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 Cowlitz 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[4]

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. Cowlitz County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7482.

  • The original inhabitants of the lands drained by the Cowlitz River were variously called The Cawalitz, Cow-a-lidsk, Cowalitsk, Cow-e-lis-kee, Cowelits, Cowlitch, Co-litsick, Kawelitsk, Cowalitsk, Kowlitz, Kowlitz.
  • 1792 - The first Europeans to visit the county were British seafarers.
  • 1805 - November 5, Lewis and Clark camped at the mouth of the Kalama River, under orders from President Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1825 - Permanent settlers arrived from the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) at Fort Vancouver.
  • 1828 - The first white man credited with ascending the Cowlitz River was HBC Factor George Simpson.
  • 1820s (late)- 1830s - The Cowlitz became an important artery for trappers and for communication with Fort Vancouver subposts at Cowlitz Farms and Nisqually Farms.
  • 1847 - December 25, The first American to settle in the future Cowlitz County was Scotsman Peter W. Crawford (1822-1889), who took a Donation Claim on the left bank of the Cowlitz near the mouth of the Coweeman.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1854 - April 21, The Washington Territorial Legislature formed Cowlitz 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.

Maps

 

Wacowlitz.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.

  • Washington County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 at Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Included in this collection: Application & oaths 1938-1950; Declaration on intention 1906-1951; Final record 1890-1916, Vol 1 & 2; Index cards 1930-1979 Aalberberg, Gerardus Johannes Marinus-Riney, Inez Marie; Index cards 1930-1979 Riney, Inez Marie-Zybach, Mrs Lenora Christine; Jouranl of citizenship 1886-1890; Petition records 1906-1950; Petition records index 1910-1950.
  • Naturalization Records, 1856-1980 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
    • The records include petitions, declarations of intention, certificates, depositions and final papers.

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 Cowlitz 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.

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.

School Records

 

  • County Records, 1856-2009 Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes collections of various records: vital, probate, school, tax, naturalization and other records.
    • School Registers are arranged by grade and gives names, ages, attendance.
    • School Censuses include names, birth dates, parents or guardians.

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.

  • County Records, 1856-2009 Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections.
    (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes collections of various records: vital, probate, school, tax, naturalization and other records.

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.[5]

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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.


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

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....[6]

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
Cowlitz 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 Cowlitz County, Washington
Web Sites at RootsWeb - Cowlitz 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 "CowlitzCounty, Washington Facts" (mis-labeled "Cowlitz County, Alabama Facts")
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Cowlitz 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 Cowlitz 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


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.



Kalama Public Library, 312 N 1st, Kalama 98625 Phone: (360) 673-4568
Online Resources: American Ancestry Records, Family History Records and Vital Records
Unique Collections:
Kelso Public Library, 314 Academy St., Kelso 98626 Phone: (360) 423-8110
Online Resources: (None found October 2013)
Unique Collections:
Longview Public Library, 1600 Louisiana Street, Longview 98632 Phone: (360) 442-5300
Online Resources: Lower Columbia Genealogical Society
Unique Collections:
Woodland Community Library, 770 Park Street, Woodland 98674 Phone: (360) 225-2115
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest and others.
Unique Collections:
Museums

 

Societies

 

Towns and Communities

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

References

  1. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  5. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  6. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 13 February 2014, at 22:45.
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