Grays Harbor County, WashingtonEdit This Page
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Guide to Grays Harbor County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1854, when the county was formed as Chehalis County.
|Grays Harbor County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
|Founded||February 27, 1907|
|Address|| Grays Harbor County Courthouse|
102 West Broadway Room 203
Montesano, WA 98563
Grays Harbor County Website
|Before 1854—and perhaps until the newly-formed county was fully operational—search records of the parent county(s).|
|Grays Harbor County was created by the legislature from Chehalis County February 27, 1907. However, this change didn't take effect until 1915.|
Grays Harbor County Courthouse
102 West Broadway Room 203
Montesano, WA 98563
County Clerk has probate, divorce and court records from 1860.
County Auditor has marriage records from 1891.
County Assessor has land records from 1855.
County Health Department has birth and death records. 
See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Grays Harbor County, Washington.
- County Seat: Montesano .
See also Archives, libraries, etc.
Dates of Major County Records
|Beginning dates for major county records|
|* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries|
See also Towns and Communities in Grays Harbor County, Washington
Topics for Grays Harbor 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 Grays Harbor 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.|
Commercial fishing, the lumber industry were major industries historically. Tourism is more recent.
- Mining Claims 1881-1928 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.
(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).||World Cat||Interment.net|
|Billion Graves Switch to "Person Lookup"||Washington Periodicals||Washington State Digital Archives Put county name in Search box|
|City of Hoquiam Interment Records. Links to PDF.||Linkpendium|
|USGenWeb Tombstone Project|
|Find your ancestor in every census taken while he/she was alive. This includes territorial and state-funded censuses. (More Census Tips.)|
|Names, ages, birthplaces||1850–1940|
|Month and year of birth||1900 only|
|Birthplaces of parents||1880–1940|
|Family and Neighbors||All years|
Censuses 1) Give names, ages, and more about the family; 2) Pinpoint the area to find other records; and 3) Provide clues that help as you research further.
- Washington Online federal census indexes and images found at FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, HeritageQuestOnline and others, including the years:
- User:AdkinsWH/Sandbox Census Years#1850 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 local societies or groups 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 Grays Harbor County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
LDS Ward and Branch Records
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.
- Power of Attorney Records 1981 - 2013 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
Emigration and Immigration
Ethnic, Political or 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
Local histories for Grays Harbor County, Washington may include biographies, history of churches, schools, and local government, and military information. See Washington Local Histories.
- "1885 Grays Harbor County" online
- "1889 Grays Harbor County" online
- "1881 Grays Harbor County Census" online
- "1892 Grays Harbor County" online
- "Grays Harbor County, Alabama (Washington) Facts" online
- "Grays Harbor Genealogical Society" online
- "Grays Harbor County, Washington Public Records" online
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. Grays Harbor County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7766.
- The original residents of what would become Chehalis, then Grays Harbor County, were members of the Quinault Tribe.
- 1787 - The largest village in the area was at the mouth of the Quinault River and was so named.
- 1792 - May 7, Boston fur trader Robert Gray crossed the bar into the bay he called Bullfinch Harbor, but which later cartographers would label Chehalis Bay, then Grays Harbor.
- 1824 - Irishman John Work of the Hudson's Bay Company explored the area.
- 1800s (mid) - The county’s first permanent white settler was Irishman William O’Leary.
- 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
- 1907 - February 27, Grays Harbor County was founded.
- Early 1900s - Grays Harbor County boomed. Immigrants from all over the world flocked to jobs offering cash wages.
- 1920s - The wood-products industry -- logging, milling, and pulp manufacture -- started a long, slow decline.
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 Grays Harbor County, Washington:
- 1858-1928 Part of:"County Land Records, 1850-1954" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Land Records 1981 - present at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Plats and Surveys Records 1980 - 2013 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Recorded Agreements and Contracts 1981 - present at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
The BLM also has Cadastral and other survey information at Oregon and Washington Land Status and Cadastral Record, please note this is separate from the survey dropdown on the main glorecords.blm.gov page.
Some military records for this county have been digitized at the Washington State Digital Archives.
Naturalization and Citizenship
- 1884-1944 Part of:"County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Declarations of Intention, 1884-1971 Declarations of Intention, 1884-1971
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.)
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.
- Grays Harbor 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 Grays Harbor 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 Grays Harbor County, Washington
- Local Funeral Homes, Libraries, or family records.
- Obituaries of neighboring counties
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- County Probate Case Files, 1832-1950 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1884-1929 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.
- Grays Harbor County Postmaster Index. Part of Washington, Postmaster Indexes, Prior to 1965, FamilySearch Historical Collections for Washington. (Free, browse images)
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.
Aberdeen City Clerk, Birth Register, 1890-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives
- 1891-1908 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1891-1930 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Birth Register, 1891-1908 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
For earlier or unrecorded births, search:
- Death Records to learn birth date, place, parents
- Census to learn age, family members, location, etc.
- School Censuses give date of birth and name of parent or guardian
- Cemeteries for birth date or age, maybe birth place
- Obituaries for any of the above and more
- See also Neighboring and Parent counties and How to Find Washington Birth Records.
|To learn a maiden name, check records of her children.|
|Date of Marriage or License|
|Names of Bride and Groom|
|Names of Parents|
|Minister or Officiator|
Marriage records include certificates, marriage returns, license applications or affidavits. Search all documents that exist for a marriage, since information on them will vary.
- 1893-1922 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Marriage Records, 1871-2013 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.
- 1852-1950 Part of:"County Divorce Records,1888-1926" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1891-1937 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- County Deaths, 1891-1907 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Death Register, 1891-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Washington Death Certificates 1907-1960 A free internet index to the 1907-1960 death certificates can be found at FamilySearch, 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:
- Web Sites at RootsWeb - Grays Harbor WA (Free)
- The Grays Harbor County WAGenWeb Project (Free)
- The USGenWeb Archives Project (free) for Grays Harbor County. (Mirror site)
- 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 Grays Harbor County, Washington records online:
Indexes, books, or microfilm of genealogical records
|FamilySearch catalog||Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.|
|WorldCat||To find libraries near you that have items of interest, see WorldCat Online Catalog.|
|Allen County Public Library (Indiana)|
Archives, Libraries, etc.
- Check websites and catalogs, such as items in FamilySearch Library (Utah) or Allen County Public Library (Indiana) for Grays Harbor County, Washington. When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy
Family History Centers
Centers provide: • Personal one-on-one assistance • Access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program • Free how-to classes (varies by location). See Introduction to LDS Family History Centers for more information.
Centers in Grays Harbor County, Washington: (If no centers are listed, see Neighboring Counties)
- Elma Washington Family History Center 702 Main St E, Elma, WA 98541-9353
- Ocean Shores Washington Family History Center 928 Albatross ST., Ocean Shores, WA 98569
- Westport Washington Family History Center 708 Englewood Ln., Westport, WA 98547
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.|
(see link for library addresses)
Towns and Communities
See a list of towns and communities in Grays Harbor County per Wikipedia.
- ↑ The Evolution of Washington Counties by Newton Carl Abbott, pg 41.
- ↑ http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/WA_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm#GRAYS%20HARBOR Atlas of Historical County Boundaries] by Newberry Library.
- ↑ 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), Grays Harbor County, Washington page 733, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- ↑ The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 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 12 December 2013, at 16:21.
- This page has been accessed 6,778 times.
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