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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Lewis County
Lower Falls Lewis River, Lewis County, Washington

Guide to Lewis County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1861, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:

800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Lewis County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Lewis County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded December 21, 1845
County Seat Chehalis
Address Lewis County Courthouse
351 NW North Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
Phone 360.740.2704
Lewis County Website


County Overview

Parent County(s)

Lewis County, Washington was created 21 December 1845.[1]

Parent County: organized 21 December 1845 as an original county in the Oregon Territory.

  • County seat: Chehalis [2]

County Seat: Chehalis [3]. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Neighboring Counties

Lewis County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Cowlitz | Grays Harbor | Pacific | Pierce | Skamania | Thurston | Wahkiakum | Yakima
Lewis CountyPierce CountyYakima CountyKittitas CountyKing CountyKitsap CountyMason CountyGrays Harbor CountyPacific CountyWahkiakum CountyCowlitz CountySkamania CountyThurston CountyJefferson CountyLewis County.jpg

Boundary Changes

Dates of Major County Records

Note: The dates you see below have not yet been adapted to Lewis County, Washington Genealogy.

Beginning dates for major county records
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries

Record Loss


The types of records that follow are used for genealogy and family history. Most tell what you may learn and how to locate the records. Links to Internet sites usually go directly to Lewis County, Washington Genealogy entries with names, images, or information.

Bible Records



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.


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.

  • See Washington Census for online indexes and images of US federal censuses. of: 1856, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940.
  • See statewide printed indexes, including 1856.
  • Check county indexes when online indexes fail. Created by people who knew the families of the area, they are often more accurate and they may have added insights. See periodicals and local libraries or other record holders.
  • 1890 Veterans
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930
  • 1940

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 Lewis County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Chehalis
  • Records of the America Lutheran Church, Alpha, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

Court 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.

For specialized court records, see Divorce  · Guardianship  · Land  · Naturalization  · Probate

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups

American Indian

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




A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.


Guardianship of orphans or adults unable to manage their own affairs were handled by the probate and the Federal District courts. See Washington Court Records.


Local histories for Lewis County, Washington Genealogy 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 Wilma, David. Lewis County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7449.

  • Native Americans calling themselves Chehalis and Meshall lived along the banks of the Chehalis River.
  • 1818-1846 - The United States and Great Britain jointly occupied Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
  • 1838 - The Hudson's Bay Company established the Puget Sound Agricultural Company.
  • Cowlitz Farms, a part of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, represented the first white settlement in the future Lewis County.
  • 1845 December 21 - The Oregon Territorial Legislature delineated Lewis County.
  • 1853 - Congress split off the land north of the Columbia to be Washington Territory.
  • 1855 February - Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens convinced coastal tribes to sign the Quinault Treaty with the U.S. government.

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.




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.)


Finding More Washington Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lewis County, Washington Genealogy 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)



Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

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.

Public Records


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 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. See Washington Vital Records for details and history of the records. .


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.

  • County Deaths, 1891-1907 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
  • 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.


Archives, Libraries, etc.

Resources for Lewis County, Washington Genealogy are available in libraries, archives, and other repositories at all levels: the town, the county, the state (including universities), and the nation.


Lewis County Courthouse
351 NW North Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
Phone 360.740.2704

County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907
and marriage records from 1850.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1870’s. [6]

FamilySearch Centers

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Lewis County per Wikipedia.


  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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  5. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lewis County, Washington page 733, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.


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