Whatcom County, WashingtonEdit This Page
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Guide to Whatcom County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1861, when the county was formed.
|Whatcom County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
|Founded||March 9, 1854|
|Address|| Whatcom County Courthouse|
311 Grand Avenue; PO Box 1144;
Bellingham, WA 98227
Whatcom County Website
|Before the newly-formed county was fully operational, search records of the parent county(s).|
Whatcom County Courthouse
311 Grand Avenue; PO Box 1144;
Bellingham, WA 98227
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907,
marriage records from 1869 and land records;
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records.
See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Whatcom County, Washington.
Dates of Major County Records
|Beginning dates for major county records|
|* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries|
Topics for Whatcom 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 Whatcom 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.
- Woodlawn Cemetery burial list 1886-2007 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Bayview Cemetery
- Bethany Lutheran Cemetery (Bethania/Bethel)
- Blaine Cemetery
- Blaine Masonic Cemetery
- Buchanan Cemetery
- Case Cemetery
- Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery
- Enterprise Cemetery
- Glacier Cemetery
- Goshen Cemetery
- Greenacres Cemetery
- Greenwood Cemetery
- Haynie Cemetery
- Hillsdale Cemetery
- Hopewell Cemetery
- Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery
- Jobe Cemetery
- Kendall Cemetery
- King Mountain Cemetery (Terrace Land Memorial Garden of Psalms)
- Lakeside Cemetery
- Lummi Tribal Cemetery
- Lummi Island Cemetery
- Lynden Cemetery
- Lynden Jim Cemetery
- Maple Falls Cemetery
- Monumenta Cemetery
- Mount Calvary Cemetery
- Mount Hope Cemetery
- Mountain View Cemetery
- Nooksack Indian Cemetery
- Old Maple Falls (Cannon) Cemetery
- Perry Cemetery
- Point Roberts Cemetery
- Saint Anne's Cemeter
- Saint Joseph (Clipper) Cemetery
- Saint Peter's Catholic Cemetery
- Saxon Cemetery
- Semiahmoo Cemetery
- Sumas Cemetery
- Ten Mile Cemetery
- Van Zandt Cemetery
- Welcome (Kulshan) Cemetery
- Wickershame Cemetery
- Woodlawn Cemetery
- Zion Lutheran Cemetery
- 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. (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 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 Whatcom County, Washington are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Records of Central Lutheran Church, Bellingham, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
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.
- Earliest Directories for Fairhaven, Bellingham, Whatcom and New Whatcom/Sehome
- 1905-1906 Bellingham / Whatcom Directory (28,300K PDF)
- 1915 Bellingham / Whatcom Directory (44,200K PDF)
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 Whatcom County, Washington may include biographies, history of churches, schools, and local government, and military information. See Washington Local Histories.
- "Genealogy and Local History" online
- "Whatcom County, Alabama (Washington) Facts" online
- "Digital Collections" online
- "Family History & Genealogy" online
- "Whatcom County Genealogy & Family History" 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. Whatcom County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7327.
- In historic times there were three tribal groups in the county: the Lummi, Nooksack, and Semiahmoo.
- 1791 - Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper sent a sloop into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and "discovered" Mount Baker.
- 1827 - The Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Langley north of modern day Lynden.
- 1853 - Edward Eldridge arrived in Whatcom from California to work at the mill, bringing sawmill machinery.
- Settlers filed claims on the south end of the bay, setting the future site of Fairhaven, one of four towns that would develop on the shoreline.
- 1854 March 9 - Whatcom County was established by the Washington territorial government from a portion of Island County.
- 1857-1858 - Survey work began on the international boundary at the 49th parallel.
- 1859 - John Tennant and his Lummi wife Clara filed the first official claim on the Nooksack River.
- 1881 - The "Washington Colony," a group of utopian Kansans, re-established the mill at Whatcom Creek.
- 1899 - Whatcom County boomed when the Pacific American Fisheries (PAC) organized in Fairhaven.
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 Whatcom County, Washington:
- Some Whatcom County Military Records Mostly Civil War related
Naturalization and Citizenship
- Petitions, Declarations, Indexes 1872-1947 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Applications to take oath of allegiance 1921-1945 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Naturalization Records, 1872-1988 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
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.
- Whatcom 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 Whatcom County, Washington newspapers in online catalogs like:
- 1889-1995 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- County Probate Records, 1853-1929 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.
- Whatcom County recorded documents online
- Whatcom Postmaster Index. Part of Washington, Postmaster Indexes, Prior to 1965, FamilySearch Historical Collections for Washington. (Free, browse images)
School Censuses provide name of parent or guardian, name and age of child, and residence.
- School Census Records 1885-1933 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.
|Name of Child|
|Birth Date and Place|
|Mother's Maiden Name|
|Parents' State or Country of Birth|
|Name of Doctor or Midwife|
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.
- Birth returns 1891-1907, delayed births 1871-1907 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free)
- Birth Returns, 1891-1907 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.
- Marriage Indexes, Affidavits, Applications, Certificates, Licenses, 1869-2011 Part of Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free)
- Marriage returns (1891-1947) and marriage certificates (1899-1995 with images, at Washington State Digital Archives Collection.(Free)
|Witnesses may be relatives or close family friends.|
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.
- 1890-1907 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Death Returns, 1891-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection.(Free)
- Washington State Digital Archives also has a database of Whatcom County Death Records containing the names and death records of people who died or whose deaths were recorded in Whatcom County from 1891 to 1907.
- 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 Whatcom County
- 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.
- Web Sites at RootsWeb -Whatcom WA (Free)
Sites that search the Internet for Whatcom 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 Whatcom 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 Whatcom County, Washington: (If no centers are listed, see Neighboring Counties)
- Bellingham Washington Family History Center 2925 James St, Bellingham, WA 98225
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.|
- Bellingham Public Library
- Branches and Locations
- Bellingham Public Library Genealogy / Database Tools
- Special or Unique Collections (help needed from each branch)
- Whatcom County Library System
- Maple Falls Library
Towns and Communities
See a list of towns and communities in Whatcom 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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
- This page was last modified on 12 December 2013, at 16:43.
- This page has been accessed 5,987 times.
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