Clark County, Washington Genealogy
Guide to Clark County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1861, when the county was formed.
|Clark County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
|Founded||June 27, 1844|
|Address|| Clark County Courthouse|
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Clark County Website
- 1 County Overview
- 2 Topics
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Biography
- 2.3 Cemeteries
- 2.4 Census
- 2.5 Church Records
- 2.6 Court Records
- 2.7 Directories
- 2.8 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.9 Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups
- 2.10 Gazetteers
- 2.11 Genealogy
- 2.12 Guardianship
- 2.13 History
- 2.14 Land and Property
- 2.15 Maps
- 2.16 Migration
- 2.17 Military
- 2.18 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.19 Newspapers
- 2.20 Obituaries
- 2.21 Periodicals
- 2.22 Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- 2.23 Probate Records
- 2.24 Public Records
- 2.25 Taxation
- 2.26 Vital Records
- 2.27 Websites
- 3 Archives, Libraries, etc.
- 4 Towns and Communities
- 5 References
|Before 1888—and perhaps until the newly-formed county was fully operational—search records of the parent county(s).|
- Clark County, Washington was created 27 June 1844.
County Seat: Vancouver Parent County: Original county, formerly Vancouver County
Dates of Major County Records
Note: The dates you see below have not yet been adapted to Clark County, Washington Genealogy.
|Beginning dates for major county records|
|* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries|
1890--Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire. 
Below are resources used for family history and genealogy, with dates, value of records, and how to access them for Clark County, Washington Genealogy. Internet links may contain names, images, or more information for the county.
|Don't overlook Clark County, Washington Genealogy 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. Tombstones, sextons (caretakers) records, and burial records each have slightly different information. See Washington Cemeteries.
|Check every person buried in the plot, as they may be close relatives.|
City of Camas Cemetery: Began in 1883: Courtesy of the City of Camas
Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery and Funeral Chapel
www.evergreenmemorialgardens.com - (360) 892-6060
City of Vancouver: Park Hill Cemetery
The Old City Cemetery - the Old City Cemetery located at the corner of Grand Blvd. and Mill Plain Blvd in Vancouver.
The Old City Cemetery is a repository of unique genealogical, historical, religious, cultural and societal information. Many of Clark County’s first pioneers and leaders are buried in this cemetery. The Old City Cemetery use began in 1867. Some of the initial interments were graves that were moved from the Old Post Cemetery on the property of the Vancouver Barracks.
CCGS envisions this grant request as the first phase of a longer term effort to restore and rehabilitate the Old City Cemetery. The Historical Promotions grant will provide resources for repair and restoration of stones and markers that have been damaged due to vandalism or through the effects of weather or age.
The Old City Cemetery is owned, managed and maintained by the City of Vancouver.
Fishers Cemetery - 1st Cemetery in Vancouver, WA
Listing of those buried there has been done by the USGS - click here
Images of Fishers and the beach along the Columbia River at this historic spot.
Vancouver Funeral Chapel
www.vancouverfuneralhome.com - (360) 693-3633
Clark Co Cemetery Records Online - Intermet.net
- County Farm Cemetery (Marble Mount Cemetery)
- La Center Cemetery (Mount Zion Cemetery)
- Old City Cemetery
- Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver BillionGraves
- Sacred Heart Cemetery (Dublin Cemetery)
Clark County Genealogical Society
717 Grand Blvd, Vancouver
|Names, ages, birthplaces||1850–1940|
|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 for further research.
Click for more census tips
- Washington online census links to FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest and others.
- Statewide printed indexes of federal censuses
- 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
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 Clark County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
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.
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 Clark County, Washington Genealogy may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories. For a good look at the pioneers of Clark County, A book "Clark County Pioneers--A Centennial Salute" is a good place to start. The book contains information on the pioneers of Clark County and their families with many photos of those pioneers. The book has 675 pages plus an index. It has a copyright date of 1989.
Two other books in that same series, "Clark County Washington Territory" and "Clark County Pioneers--Through the turn of the Century" both contain valuable information. These books are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. All Clark County books have a catalogue number of 979.786.
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. Clark County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 5644.
- For hundreds of years before Western explorers intruded on their shores, the Chinook Indians had lived along the banks of the Columbia River.
- The Chinook's first contact with non-Indian people may have been in 1792, when the Columbia Rediviva, an American ship captained by Robert Gray (1755-1806), made its way up the river.
- 1805 - November - Lewis and Clark passed through what is now Clark County.
- 1825 - March - The British-owned Hudson's Bay Company opened Fort Vancouver on the future site of the City of Vancouver.
- The first American of note in the Fort Vancouver area was Henry Williamson, who laid out his land claim west of the fort in 1844.
- 1845 - August - 20 - Clark County was the first county of Washington. It was created by the provisional government of Oregon Territory, and at that time covered the entire present-day state of Washington.
- In 1846, Amos Short measured his land claim from a "witness tree" (a tree used by surveyors to establish a corner of a section of land) by carving his initials in a cottonwood that stood near the bank of the Columbia River.
- Congress approved the formation of Washington Territory in 1853, and in 1855 the Territorial Legislature formally changed the town's name from Columbia City to Vancouver.
Land and Property
- County Land Records, 1850-1954 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
|Yes or Maybe ⇒||Y||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.
- County Recorder's Office: check deeds, file mining claims, get assistance in finding ownership of a particular property, and obtain copies of county plat maps. This office has county plat records dating back to 1878, prior records having been destroyed in a fire.
Early migration routes to and from Clark County, Washington Genealogy for European and African American settlers included:
- World War II (1941–1945) army enlistments at the county GenWeb site has about 400 entries, mostly from Okanogan and other counties. Key (at end of the list) explains codes and columns. Gives year and state of birth. Free.
Naturalization and Citizenship
- Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 FamilySearch Historical Collections (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.
Finding More Washington Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Clark County, Washington Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
Newspapers for Vancouver, Washington can be seen at the e-mail address for "The Columbian", email@example.com for the years after 1994. For years prior to 1994, go to the Ft. Vancouver Library.
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- County Probate Case Files, 1832-1950 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.
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 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. .
- Washington State Digital Archives has a database of Clark County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Clark County from June 1891 – August 1913. The names were taken from the Clark County Register of Births.
- Marriages from 11 Jun 1840-1 Aug 1903 are available at the Western States Marriage Index website.
- County Divorce Records, 1852-1950FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.
- Family History Library Catalog
- Clark County, Washington Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Clark County, Washington--USGenWeb Project
Archives, Libraries, etc.
- Check websites and catalogs, such as items in FamilySearch Library (Utah) or Allen County Public Library (Indiana) for Clark County, Washington Genealogy. When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy
Clark County Courthouse
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
County Auditor has birth and death records 1890-1906,
marriage records from 1890 and land records from 1850.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1890. 
- Introduction to LDS Family History Centers
- Clark County Genealogical Society
- Vancouver Washington West Family History Center
- Vancouver Washington North Family History Center
- Vancouver Washington Family History Center
Towns and Communities
See a list of towns and communities in Clark 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.
- GenDisasters.com - Vancouver, WA Courthouse Fire, Feb 1890 http://www3.gendisasters.com/washington/7339/vancouver-wa-courthouse-jail-fire-feb-1890
- John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
- Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map VI" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap6.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clark County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.