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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Spokane County
Glaiser Conservatory, Spokane County, Washington


Guide to Spokane County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1879, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:


800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Spokane County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Spokane County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded January 29, 1858
County Seat Spokane
Courthouse
Address Spokane County Courthouse 1116 W. Broadway Spokane, WA 99260 Spokane County Website

Contents

County Overview

Parent County(s)

Parent County: Spokane County, Washington was created 30 October 1879 from Stevens County.[1]


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

Boundary Changes

Neighboring Counties

Spokane County, Washington is surrounded by: Lincoln | Pend Oreille | Stevens | Whitman | Benewah | Bonner | Kootenai
Spokane CountyWhitman CountyAdams CountyLincoln CountyStevens CountyFerry CountyPend Oreille CountyBoundary CountyBonner CountyKootenai CountyBenewah CountyBritish ColumbiaSpokane County.jpg

Courthouse

Spokane County Courthouse
1116 W. Broadway
Spokane, WA 99260

The Spokane County Courthouse was completed in 1895, see history of building.

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[4]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1882*
1880*
1889*
1879
1880
1878
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Topics for Spokane 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.


Spokane Cemeteries

Contact each cemetery for burial information.

  • Fairmount Memorial Park, 5200 West Wellesley, Spokane, WA 99205, 509–326-3800. Search memorials at Find A Grave[1]
  • Greenwood Memorial Terrace, 211 N. Government Way, Spokane, WA 99224, 509–838-1405. Search memorials at Find A Grave[2]
  • Riverside Memorial Park] 508 N. Government Way, Spokane, WA 99224, 509–838-1405. Search memorials at Find A Grave[3]
  • Spokane Memorial Gardens, 5909 S. Cheney-Spokane Road, Spokane, WA 99224, 509–448-2620. Search memorials at Find A Grave[4]
  • Woodlawn Cemetery, 909 S. Thierman Road, Spokane, WA 99212, 509–326-3800. Search memorials at Find A Grave[5]

Other Spokane cemeteries [6]

Spokane 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 Spokane County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Dishman
  • Spokane
  • Spokane Central
  • Spokane N.

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

Spokane County Courthouse has Superior Court Records from 1880 to present. Criminal cases, divorces, probates, and other civil cases. Adoption records sealed by court order.

  • Spokane 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 procedure of Frontier Justice touch nearly all pioneers of 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.

  • Guardianship records 1890-1911 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Order appointing guardian 1911 Dec-1927; Record of bonds 1880 Apr-1892; Record of bonds and oaths 1890-1895.

History

Local histories for Spokane 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[5]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Ann M. Colford. Spokane County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7686.

  • Three bands of Spokane Indians -- Upper, Middle and Lower -- called the Spokane River watershed home at the time of first contact with European and American explorers.
  • 1810 - British fur trader and explorer David Thompson of the North West Company sent two men, Jaco Finlay and Finan McDonald, to establish a trading house in the territory of the Spokanes.
  • 1840s–1850s - the trickle of white settlers into the area became more persistent, ultimately leading to increased conflict with the indigenous population.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1858 - A group of Spokanes and Coeur d’Alenes surprised U.S. troops under the command of Colonel Edward Steptoe.
  • 1858 - In retaliation, the Army dispatched Colonel George Wright, who came north from Fort Walla Walla.
  • 1858 - Wright met with tribal representatives under the pretense of seeking peace but instead captured the warrior Qualchan.
  • 1858 - Wright’s campaign effectively ended resistance among the Plateau tribes and opened the region to further American settlement and development.
  • 1858 - January 29, Spokane County (extinct) was created by legislative act four times. Twice it was not organized by the agents appointed for that purpose.
  • 1859 - January 18, An act named new commissioners for the proposed new county all to hold office till the next election. No location for a county seat was specified.
  • 1860 - January, The geopolitical entity known as Spokane County came into existence. County seat was temporarily located “on the land claim of Dr. Bates.” in the Colville valley.
  • 1864 - January 19, Spokane County (extinct) dissolved, lost all territory to Stevens County.[6]
  • 1870s - Spokane became the hub for the mining, timber, and railroad industries of the Inland Northwest.
  • 1881 - Spokane County boomed during the 1880s with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

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.

  • Land Records 1886-1890 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Assessment rolls 1886; Assessment tax rolls 1886; Delinquent tax rolls 1881-1890.

Maps

 

Waspokane.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.

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 State Digital Archives has digitized various types of naturalization-related records, including declarations of intentions, delayed birth files, naturalization affidavits, notifications of application for admission to US citizenship, orders fixing naturalization terms, petitions and records, petitions, receipts for certificates of citizenship, record of final decrees of citizenship and record of petitions dockets. Depending on the county, records range from 1854-1988.

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 Spokane 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)
  • Spokesman Review
  • Spokane Daily Chronicle
  • Spokane Valley Herald

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.

Also check:


  • Obituaries from the Spokesman Review newspaper have been indexed by the Spokane Public Library. Search by name. Results include name/date/newspaper/page number needed to obtain the obituary. Contact the library at telref@spokanelibrary.org for an image of the actual obituary. The obituaries are complete from January 1, 2008, with additional obituaries added from requests. To find date of death search the Washington State Digital Archives.

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.

Courthouse has probate files from 1880 to present.

  • Probate Records 1880-1944 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Certificate of will 1912-1928 Probate bonds 1933-1951; Probate records 1911-1951Real property rolls 1893-1897; and Record of probate claims 1917-1920.

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 1891-1981 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Attorney's register 1920-1934; Medical Register 1891-1981.

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.

  • Taxation Records 1888-1892 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Personal property assessment rolls 1893; Personal tax rolls 1892 and Tax rolls 1888.

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 database of Spokane County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Spokane County 1890-1907. The names were taken from the Spokane County Birth returns.

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 1880-2009 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 applications 1939-2009; Applications and certificates 1930-1939; Certificate index 1880-1889; Certificates 1880-2000; Index 1890-1905; License index 1891-1911; Licenses 1899-1924; Marriage returns (new series) 1927-1947 & 1891-1916; Marriages 1882-1897; Record of marriage licenses 1897-1906.
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.

  • The Family History Library has Washington State Death Certificates on microfilm 1907-1961.
  • Death Records 1888-1907 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

Voting Registers

 

Websites


Sites with online indexes or images of records
WAGenWeb for Spokane County Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb 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 Spokane County, Washington
:*Web Sites at RootsWeb - Spokane 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 "Spokane County, Washington Facts" (mis-labeled "Spokane County, Alabama Facts")
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Spokane 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 Spokane 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.


Spokane Public Library, 906 W. Main Ave., Spokane 99201 Phone: (509) 444-5300. has a genealogy department. The downtown branch has a growing genealogy section.
Online Resources:
Unique Collections: • Obituaries from the Spokesman Review newspaper [see Spokane County Obituaries] • Washington Death Index on microfilm 1907-2004
Airway Heights Library, 1213 S. Lundstrom, Airway Heights 99001 Phone: (509) 244-5510
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Cheney Library, 610 First Street, Cheney 99004 Phone: (509) 235-7333
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Deer Park Library, 208 S. Forest, Deer Park 99006 Phone: (509) 276-2985
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Fairfield Library, 305 E. Main, Fairfield 99012 Phone: (509) 283-2512
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 1421 N. Meadowwood Ln, Suite 130, Liberty Lake 99019 Phone: (509) 232-2510
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Medical Lake Library, 321 E. Herb, Medical Lake 99022 Phone: (509) 299-4891
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Otis Orchards Library, 22324 E. Wellesley Avenue, Otis Orchards 99027 Phone: (509) 921-1500
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Spokane Public Library, 906 W. Main Ave., Spokane 99201 Phone: (509) 444-5307
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
East Side Branch Library, 524 S. Stone, Spokane 99202 Phone: (509) 444-5375
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
South Hill Branch Library, 3324 S. Perry, Spokane 99203 Phone: (509) 444-5385
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Shadle Branch Library, 2111 W. Wellesley, Spokane 99205 Phone: (509) 444-5390
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Hillyard Branch Library, 4005 N. Cook, Spokane 99207 Phone: (509) 444-5380
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Indian Trail Branch Library, 4909 W. Barnes Road, Spokane 99208 Phone: (509) 444-5395
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road, Spokane 99212 Phone: (509) 926-4334
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Spokane County Library District, 4322 N Argonne Rd, Spokane 99212 Phone: (509) 893-8200
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
North Spokane Library, 44 E. Hawthorne Road, Spokane 99218 Phone: (509) 467-5250
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Moran Prairie Library, 3022 E. 57th, Suite 19, Spokane 99223 Phone: (509) 443-6663
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Avenue, Spokane Valley 99206 Phone: (509) 926-6283
Online Resources:
Unique Collections:
Museums

 

Societies

 

  • Eastern Washington Genealogical Society celebrated its 75th birthday in 2010. The Society meets the first Saturday of the month in February, March, April, May, November and December. Meetings for January and June are usually luncheon meetings, held in different locations. There are no meetings held in July and August, and the September meeting can sometimes be the second Saturday, depending on how Labor Day falls. (We don't meet on Labor Day weekend.) The regular meetings officially begin at 1:00pm, but the "Coffee, Cookies & Conversation" part of the meeting begins at 12:30.

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Spokane 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. 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.
  5. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  6. Durham, Nelson W. Spokane and the Inland Empire. Published 1912, p 265.
  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 13 February 2014, at 23:03.
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