Whatcom County, Washington Genealogy

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Revision as of 13:26, 25 September 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Whatcom County
Upper Falls in Whatcom Falls Park, Bellingham, Whatcom CO., Washington


Guide to Whatcom 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
Whatcom County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Whatcom County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 9, 1854
County Seat Bellingham
Courthouse
Address Whatcom County Courthouse
311 Grand Avenue; PO Box 1144;
 Bellingham, WA 98227
Phone: 360.676.6777 
Whatcom County Website

Contents

County Overview

County Seat: Bellingham [1]. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Parent County(s)

Whatcom County, Washington was created 9 March 1854.[2]

County Seat: Bellingham [1]. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Neighboring Counties

Whatcom County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Okanogan | San Juan | Skagit

Boundary Changes

Dates of Major County Records

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

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Land
Probate
Court
1891*
1854*
1891*
1854
1872
1883
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries

Record Loss

Topics

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 Whatcom County, Washington Genealogy entries with names, images, or information.

Bible Records

Biography

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.



Map of Whatcom County cemeteries (PDF)

  • 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

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.



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

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

Gazetteers

Genealogy

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 Federal District courts. See Washington Court Records.

History

Local histories for Whatcom 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[4]

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

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

Wawhatcom.jpg
This map highlights the county within the state of Washington. The map soon will have inter-active links.

Migration

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.)

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

Finding More Washington Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Whatcom 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)

Obituaries

Periodicals

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

Repositories

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 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. .

Birth
  • Washington State Digital Archives has a database of Whatcom County Birth Records. This database contains the names and birth records of people who were born or whose births were recorded in Whatcom County from 1891 to 1907. The names were transcribed and images scanned from the Whatcom County Birth Returns.
Marriage
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
  • 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.

Websites

Archives, Libraries, etc.

Resources for Whatcom 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.

Courthouse

Whatcom County Courthouse
311 Grand Avenue; PO Box 1144;
 Bellingham, WA 98227
Phone: 360.676.6777 

County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907,
marriage records from 1869 and land records;
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records.

FamilySearch Centers
Libraries
Museums
Societies

Towns and Communities

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

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. 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.
  3. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  4. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.