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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Vital Records

Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Washington Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.




Contents

 
Vital Records Collage.JPG
  

Vital Records for Washington start the following years:

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1891 County formation 1891
Statewide Registration 1907 1968 1907
General Compliance 1917 1968 1917

Online Records

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Washington Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Washington Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

If you are aware of other online databases, please feel free to add them.

Birth and Death Records

Statewide registration of births and deaths in Washington began in 1907 and was generally complied with by 1917. For copies of state birth and death records, contact Washington State Center for Health Statistics or write:

Vital Records
P. O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98504-9709
Telephone: 360-753-5936
Fax: 360-753-4135
  • The Family History Library has copies of many of the state records from 1907 to 1952.
    • These include Birth certificates, 1907-1960, and five soundex indexes, 1907-1954. [1]
    • Death certificates, 1907-1957, and five soundex indexes, 1907-1979. [2]
    • Delayed Birth Records (catalog entry) and accompanying soundex indexes issued from 1936 to 1953 (65 films beginning with film 2034094).


Click for sample images of Birth and death records and their genealogical contents.

County Records

Although a few counties began recording births and deaths several years earlier, most Washington counties began keeping records in 1891. County birth and death records from the earliest dates to 1906 are at each county auditor's office or county health department. Some of the larger counties have copies of records after 1906, but most counties do not.

The Family History Library does not have copies of the county birth and death records. However, the library has some published birth and death records for a few counties, such as the Snohomish County death records from 1891 to 1914.

City Records

Some Washington cities have kept birth and death records. For example, Tacoma birth and death records from 1887 to the present are available at the Pierce County Health Department. For information about city records, write to the appropriate county health department. Some city records have been indexed.

Adoption Records

open/closed/state statutes

Marriage Records

The following records are available:

  • State marriage and divorce records. Statewide registration of marriages and divorces began in 1968. For copies of these records, write to the Vital Records office (address above). The Family History Library does not have copies of these records.
  • County marriage records. Most counties began recording marriages soon after the county was organized. The records of some counties begin as early as the 1850s. Each county auditor has copies of county marriage records from the earliest dates to the present. The Family History Library does not have copies of these records, but has copies of transcribed marriage records published for a few counties, such as Clark County from 1862 to 1913.
  • Gretna Greens. When a Washington State couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Port Orchard for the greater Seattle area, or Coeur d'Alene ID for Spokane and western Washington.[3]

Click for sample images of the various marriage documents and their genealogical contents.

Divorce Records

  • County divorce records. County divorce records generally begin in 1889, although a number of counties kept records prior to that date. Some county divorce records begin as early as the 1850s. These records are available from the county clerk.
  • Territorial divorce records. Some divorce records from 1853 to 1889 are included in the Washington territorial records. These early divorce proceedings are interfiled with other territorial records and have not been indexed. The Washington State Library has copies of the territorial records.

Click for sample images of divorce records and their genealogical contents.

Substitute Records

School Census Records give birth information. These are available at existing schools.

Washington Church Records

Washington Cemetery Records

Washington Census

Washington Newspapers

Washington Periodicals

Washington Military Records

Tips

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some  vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Washington to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Indexes

Key to Place Codes Washington Vital Records Indexes

136 Quincy City


183 Port Orchard City  


274 Buckley City


330 Stevens Co.


397 Selah City


Record Content

Birth Contents

Marriage Contents

LINKS TO SAMPLE DOCUMENTS WITH CONTENT NOTED
CLICK ON BLUE TITLE TO SEE ITEM MARRIAGE AFFIDAVIT PARENTAL CONSENT MARRIAGE RETURN MARRIAGE RETURN #2 MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE #2
date + place of marriage Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png
spouses names + Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png
witnesses' names,residences Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png
parents' names + Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png Green check.png
wife's maiden name if previously married Green check.png
person performing marriage name + title Green check.png

Divorce Contents

LINKS TO SAMPLE DOCUMENTS DEFINITIONS
PETITION FOR DIVORCE petition = request to Court
DEMUR TO PETITION FOR DIVORCE demur = objection
REQUEST FOR CHILD CUSTODY habeas corpus - objection to current child custody and request for alternative custody of children

SHERIFF'S RETURN OF PRAECIPE SERVICE

praecipe = summons
STIPULATION AND AGREEMENT between the husband and wife
DECREE OF DIVORCE

INTERLOCUTORY DECREE OF DIVORCE

interlocutory = temporary



Links To More Sample Images

Petition For Divorcepage 2page 3page 4page 5

Objection (Demur) To Petition For Divorce

Request for Order regarding custody of minor child

Notice between attorneys

Request to Court

Attorney request to Court to issue Summons (Precipe)

Receipt from Court

Dismissal of Case Order

Command from Court to Sheriff of County to subpoenapage 2

Affidavit of Divorce Notice publication

Death Contents

Links To Sample Images

Register of Deaths of the City of Aberdeen, Aug 1890 - Jun 1907, image 1 of 2 Register of Deaths of the City of Aberdeen, Aug 1890 - Jun 1907, image 2 of 2

State Of Washington Census Office, Standard Certificate Of Death, 1906

Register of Deaths, Cowlitz County, 17 March 1907 - 23 July 1891, image 1 of 2 Register of Deaths, Cowlitz County, 17 March 1907 - 23 July 1891, image 2 of 2

Genealogical facts in Death Return, Chehalis County, 1894

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age at death
  • Race and gender
  • Marital status
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Father's name and birthplace
  • Mother's maiden name and birthplace
  • Name of attending physician

Genealogical facts in State of Washington Census Office, Standard Certificate Of Death, 1906

  • Name of deceased
  • Age at death
  • Date and place of death
  • Race and gender
  • Usual residence
  • Marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Name and address of attending physician
  • Birth place and date of deceased
  • Father's name and birthplace
  • Mother's maiden name and birthplace
  • Name and address of informant
  • Burial or removal date and place

Genealogical Facts In Register of Deaths, Cowlitz County, 17 March 1907 - 23 July 1891

  • Record number
  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Age at death
  • Race and gender
  • Cause of death
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Father's name and birthplace
  • Mother's maiden name and birthplace
  • By whom Returned

Genealogical Facts In Register of Deaths, City of Aberdeen, August 1890 - June 1907

  • Entry number
  • Name of deceased
  • Birth place
  • Father's birth place
  • Mother's birth place
  • Occupation
  • Race and gender
  • Marital status
  • Residence
  • Death date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age at death
  • Name of attending physician
  • Date Certificate filed
  • Remarks

References

  1. 1,432 Family History Library films beginning with film 1711751).
  2. 521 Family History Library films beginning with film 230399).
  3. Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/ (accessed 8 January 2011).

 

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  • This page was last modified on 18 July 2014, at 23:09.
  • This page has been accessed 27,916 times.