Oregon, Columbia County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Gotoarrow.png Oregon Gotoarrow.pngColumbia County

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Oregon, Columbia County Records,1854-1958 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Columbia, Oregon, United States
Oregon flag.png
Flag of Oregon
US Locator Map Oregon Columbia.PNG
Location of Columbia, Oregon
US Locator Oregon.png
Location of Oregon
Record Description
Record Type County Courthouse Records
Collection years 1854-1958
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in the Collection?

This collection of various county records was obtained from the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens, Oregon. The collection includes indexes and images of of the following records:

  • Land and Property (1854-1920)
  • Civil Registration - Marriages (1854-1958)
  • Naturalization / Citizenship 1891-1945)
  • Tax (1898-1908)

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Oregon, Columbia County Records,1854-1958.


Collection Content

Coverage Map

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Oregon marriages click here.

Sample Images


Land and Property Records

Individuals who settled in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1855, were eligible to receive donation land claims. The earlier, provisional claims were voided. The size of the piece of land was dependent upon the date of the arrival and the marital status of the claimant. The applications for these free lands may provide birth, marriage, citizenship, migration, or other valuable information.

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions are recorded by the county auditor in the form of deeds and mortgages. These may be obtained from the appropriate recorder or clerk in each courthouse. The Family History Library has not acquired land records from the counties, except for the deed indexes of Douglas County for 1857 to 1974.

Land and property records during the period, 1845 to 1849, were filed with the provisional recorder. These papers are now in the Oregon State Archives. The record contains a description of the land claimed, and may name adjoining land holders.

Marriage and Civil Registration

Marriages were usually recorded by the clerk of the district court for each county from the time the county was formed. Persons desiring to marry obtained a license that they presented to the minister or other person authorized to marry, such as a justice of the peace. Once the marriage was performed, the officiator sent a return to the clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred.

Naturalization and Citizenship

In the territorial era, immigrants could apply for citizenship at any U.S. district court. Naturalization records filed as part of the “donation land” laws are at the National Archives.

After statehood in 1859, the circuit court had primary jurisdiction over naturalization. The county clerk served as clerk of the circuit court and kept the records. You can obtain copies of declarations and petitions from the clerk's office in each county. Some naturalization records may also be found in county court journals or U.S. district court records. The Family History Library has copies of some naturalization records for Oregon.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information typically found in Land and Property Records includes:

  • Name of owner
  • Legal description of real and personal property
  • Names and ages of property owners and possible relationships
  • Number of acres of land
  • Town plot description
  • Name of city or town

Information found in these marriage records includes:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the groom and bride and their residences
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name of officiator at marriage
  • Family History Library Microfilm and item numbers for the source materials

Information typically found in tax records includes:

  • Name of owner
  • Legal description of real and personal property
  • Names and ages of property owners and possible relationships
  • Original grantee
  • Number of acres of land
  • Value
  • Town plot description
  • Name of city or town
  • Kind, number, and value of livestock
  • Kind, quantity, and value of farm commodities
  • Amount of state taxes
  • Amount of county taxes


How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The name or names of the primary individuals.
  • The approximate date of the event.
  • The county where the event occurred or where your ancestors lived.


Compare the information on the image to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several images before you find your ancestor. Check the indexes at the beginning or end first. Check the index for the family name (surname) and then the given name. Indexes enable you to access records quickly by searching for the names of the primary individuals. Realize that some entries in earlier years may have been missed or misspelled.


View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Pagethen select the appropriate Record Type, Date Range and Volume.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age to calculate the birth date to find other records such as birth, christening, marriage, census, and death records.
  • Use the probate date as a substitute death date.
  • Use the name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery to find funeral and cemetery records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Use the occupations to find employment or military records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Oregon, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Oregon Archives and Libraries.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Oregon, Columbia County Records, 1854-1958" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing County Courthouse, St. Helens.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Oregon, Columbia County Records,1854-1958.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.