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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Whitman County
Palouse Hills seen from Steptoe Butte, Whitman County, Washington


Guide to Whitman County, Washington genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1871, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:


800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Whitman County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Whitman County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded November 29, 1871
County Seat Colfax
Courthouse
Address Whitman County Courthouse
N 404 Main Street Box 390;
Colfax, WA 99111-2031
Phone: 509.397.6240
Whitman County Website

Contents

County Overview

Parent County(s)

Whitman County, Washington was created 29 November 1871 from Stevens County.[1]

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

Boundary Changes

Neighboring Counties

Whitman County, Washington is surrounded by: Adams | Asotin | Columbia | Garfield | Franklin | Lincoln | Spokane | Walla Walla | Idaho counties: Benewah | Latah | Nez Perce

Umatilla CountyWallowa CountyNez Perce CountyLatah CountyBenewah CountyAsotin CountyGarfield CountyColumbia CountyWalla Walla CountyBenton CountyFranklin CountyAdams CountyGrant CountyLincoln CountySpokane CountyWhitman County.JPG

Courthouse

Whitman County Courthouse
N 404 Main Street Box 390
Colfax, WA 99111-2031
Phone: 509–397–6240

County Clerk has marriage records 1872-1891, probate records from 1870, divorce and court records from 1864, and naturalization records 1862-1942.
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907 and land records.

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[4]
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1873*
1872*
1891*
1874
1878
1871
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Topics for Whitman 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

 

  • 1885-1979 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)

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.


Albion Cemetery
Bethel Cemetery
Coleman Cemetery
Colfax Cemetery
Colton Cemetery
Colyar Cemetery
Dusty Cemetery
Eaton Cemetery (Rock Lake Cemetery)
Eden Valley Cemetery
Elberton Cemetery
Ewartsville Cemetery (Lone Pine Cemetery)
Farr Cemetery
Garfield Cemetery
Goldenrod Cemetery, Tekoa
Greenwood Cemetery
Gresham Cemetery
Hatley Cemetery
Hay Cemetery
Holy Rosary Cemetery
Johnson Cemetery
Lone Pine Cemetery
McConnell Cemetery
Mountain View Cemetery (Endicott)
Mountain View Cemetery (Farmington)
Myers Family Cemetery
Oakesdale Cemetery
Old German Methodist Cemetery
Onecho Cemetery
Pine City Cemetery
Pullman I.O.O.F. Cemetery
Riggs Cemetery
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery
Saint Boniface Cemetery
Saint John Cemetery
Selbu Cemetery
Sheahan Cemetery (Old Thornton)
Silver Creek Cemetery
Thornton Cemetery
Uniontown Community Cemetery
Whelan Cemetery
Winona Cemetery
Zion Lutheran Cemetery

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

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

  • Whitman 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

 

Election Records

  • 1892-1938 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)

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

Many local libraries and societies have collections of family genealogies. County histories or biographies often include brief genealogies of the featured persons.

A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.

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 Whitman County, Washington may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories.

Washington State University is located in Pullman.

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 Phil Dougherty. Whitman County -- Thumbnail History,History Link.org Essay 7882.

  • Whitman County, was home to bands of Palouse and other Sahaptin-speaking people, including the Nez Perce tribe.
  • 1805 - October 11-13, Lewis and Clark canoed on the Snake River along the southern boundary of Whitman County.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1859 - June, The first recorded Euro-American exploration along Union Flat Creek, the birthplace of settlement for Whitman County, by Lieutenant John Mullan of the United States Army.
  • 1871 - November 29, The county was formed from Stevens County.
  • 2002 - The county has a primarily agricultural history, with an emphasis on wheat (today it ranks first in wheat production among Washington counties and second among counties in the nation).

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

 

Wawhitman.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.

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 Whitman 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)

Walla Walla Statesman newspaper, online at the Washington State Library, may have articles covering early Whitman 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.

  • Probate Records 1876-1967 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Probate bonds 1877-1951; journal 1897-1967; minute book 1885-1954; Real estate index 1877-1882; Wills 1892-1937; Wills and bonds 1876-1878.

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 1876-1938 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Certificates of election and oath of office 1876-1930; Record of general elections 1892-1938; Record of primary elections 1892-1924.

Repositories

School Records

 

  • School Records1881-1932 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes School census records 1894-1932; School vouchers and orders paid 1881-1889

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.

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.[6]

ArrowGreen.svg.png
See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Birth Records.

  • Washington State Digital Archives has a database of Whitman County Birth Records. This database contains the names and birth records of people who were born in Whitman County from 1890 to 1907.
  • Births from Whitman County Jan. 1875 to Aug 1907.[7]

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 1872-1947 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits 1917-1939;; certificates 1872-1925; record index 1873-1947 register 1891-1943.
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.

Voting Registers

 

Websites


Sites with online indexes or images of records
WAGenWeb Whitman 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 Whitman County, Washington
Web Sites at RootsWeb -Whitman 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 "Adams County, Washington Facts"
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Whitman 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 Whitman 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.


  • Pullman (Niell Public Library)
Museums

 

Societies

 

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Whitman 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. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  7. Lemper, Margaret, Births from Whitman County, Washington, Lewiston, Idaho, Ilo Register, 1979
  8. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 13 February 2014, at 23:09.
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