Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy
United States Washington Grays Harbor County [[Image:Template:WAGraysHarborAllieMay]]
Guide to Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1854, when the county was formed.
|Grays Harbor County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
|Founded||february 27, 1907|
|Address|| Grays Harbor County Courthouse|
102 West Broadway Room 203
Montesano, WA 98563
Grays Harbor County Website
- 1 County Overview
- 2 Topics
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Biography
- 2.3 Business Records
- 2.4 Cemeteries
- 2.5 Census
- 2.6 Church Records
- 2.7 Court Records
- 2.8 Directories
- 2.9 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.10 Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups
- 2.11 Gazetteers
- 2.12 Genealogy
- 2.13 Guardianship
- 2.14 History
- 2.15 Land and Property
- 2.16 Maps
- 2.17 Migration
- 2.18 Military
- 2.19 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.20 Newspapers
- 2.21 Obituaries
- 2.22 Periodicals
- 2.23 Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- 2.24 Probate Records
- 2.25 Public Records
- 2.26 Taxation
- 2.27 Vital Records
- 2.28 Websites
- 3 Archives, Libraries, etc.
- 4 Towns and Communities
- 5 References
|Before 1854—and perhaps until the newly-formed county was fully operational—search records of the parent county(s).|
Grays Harbor County was created by the legislature from Chehalis County February 27, 1907. However, this change never took effect.
- County Seat: Montesano . For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc. See also Towns and Communities
Dates of Major County Records
|Beginning dates for major county records|
|* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries|
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 Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy entries with names, images, or information.
|Don't overlook Grays Harbor 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.|
Commercial fishing, the lumber industry were major industries historically. Tourism is more recent.
- Mining Claims 1881-1928 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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.|
(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).||World Cat||Interment.net|
|Billion Graves Switch to "Person Lookup"||Washington Periodicals||Washington State Digital Archives Put county name in Search box|
|USGenWeb Tombstone Project|
|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
- Census indexes at Washington State Digital Archives
(indexed by local societies and individuals): (Free)
|Censuses indexed by local societies or groups may be more accurate, due to familiarity with local surnames.|
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 Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
LDS Ward and Branch 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.
- Power of Attorney Records 1981 - 2013 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
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 Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories.
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. Grays Harbor County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7766.
- The original residents of what would become Chehalis, then Grays Harbor County, were members of the Quinault Tribe.
- 1787 - The largest village in the area was at the mouth of the Quinault River and was so named.
- 1792 May 7 - Boston fur trader Robert Gray crossed the bar into the bay he called Bullfinch Harbor, but which later cartographers would label Chehalis Bay, then Grays Harbor.
- 1824 - Irishman John Work of the Hudson's Bay Company explored the area.
- The county’s first permanent white settler was Irishman William O’Leary.
- 1907 February 27 - Grays Harbor County was founded.
- Early 1900s - Grays Harbor County boomed. Immigrants from all over the world flocked to jobs offering cash wages.
- Beginning in the 1920s, the wood-products industry -- logging, milling, and pulp manufacture -- started a long, slow decline.
Land and Property
|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.
- 1858-1928 Part of:"County Land Records, 1850-1954" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Land Records 1981 - present at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Plats and Surveys Records 1980 - 2013 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Recorded Agreements and Contracts 1981 - present at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
The BLM also has Cadastral and other survey information at Oregon and Washington Land Status and Cadastral Record, please note this is separate from the survey dropdown on the main glorecords.blm.gov page.
Some military records for this county have been digitized at the Washington State Digital Archives.
Naturalization and Citizenship
- 1884-1944 Part of:"County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Declarations of Intention, 1884-1971 Declarations of Intention, 1884-1971
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.)
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.
- Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy Newspapers (Sortable by towns, years, and titles)
Finding More Washington Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
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.Newspapers • Libraries • Societies • Funeral Homes • Obituaries of neighboring counties or of the person's previous residence • Family records.
- Newspapers of Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy
- Local Funeral Homes, Libraries, or family records.
- Obituaries of neighboring counties
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
- County Probate Case Files, 1832-1950 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1884-1929 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 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.
- Postmaster Indexes prior to 1965 Part of: County Records, Prior to 1965 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
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. .
Aberdeen City Clerk, Birth Register, 1890-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives
- 1891-1908 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1891-1930 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Birth Register, 1891-1908 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- 1893-1922 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Marriage Records, 1871-2013 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
|Witnesses or affiants may be relatives or close family friends. The affidavits also include physician's certificates.|
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.
- 1852-1950 Part of:"County Divorce Records,1888-1926" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- 1891-1937 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- County Deaths, 1891-1907 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
- Death Register, 1891-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
- Washington Death Certificates 1907-1960 A free internet index to the 1907-1960 death certificates can be found at FamilySearch, 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.
|Check back often with these websites. Internet offerings are growing at record rates.|
Sites with online indexes or images of records:
- Web Sites at RootsWeb - Grays Harbor WA (Free)
- The Grays Harbor County WAGenWeb Project (free), a member of The WAGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project (free) for Grays Harbor County. (Mirror site)
- Current Collections at Washington State Digital Archives (Free) Type county name, click Search, then select a collection. Collections were posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page in November, 2013.
- Historical Collections at FamilySearch.org. (Free) Click "Last Updated." Collections through October 2013 have been posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page.
Sites that search the Internet for Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy records online:
Major catalogs to offline genealogical records:
Catalogs refer to books, microfilm, manuscripts, and/or Internet images and indexes for various topics.
- FamilySearch catalog for Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy (Select topics. Add comma to select towns.)
- WorldCat To find libraries near you that have items of interest, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
- Allen County Public Library (Indiana)
- See also local libraries and Washington Archives and Libraries
Archives, Libraries, etc.
Resources for Grays Harbor 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.
- Check websites and catalogs, such as items in FamilySearch Library (Utah) or Allen County Public Library (Indiana) for Grays Harbor County, Washington Genealogy. When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy
Grays Harbor County Courthouse
102 West Broadway Room 203
Montesano, WA 98563
County Clerk has probate, divorce and court records from 1860.
County Auditor has marriage records from 1891.
County Assessor has land records from 1855.
County Health Department has birth and death records. 
Family History Centers
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
- Elma Washington Family History Center 702 Main St E, Elma, WA 98541-9353
- Ocean Shores Washington Family History Center 928 Albatross ST., Ocean Shores, WA 98569
- Westport Washington Family History Center 708 Englewood Ln., Westport, WA 98547
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.
|A library's Unique Collections may include card indexes of local records, newspapers, scrapbooks, genealogy papers, files of a genealogical or historical society, and other unpublished manuscripts.|
(see link for library addresses)
Towns and Communities
See a list of towns and communities in Grays Harbor County per Wikipedia.
- The Evolution of Washington Counties by Newton Carl Abbott, pg 41.
- http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/WA_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm#GRAYS%20HARBOR Atlas of Historical County Boundaries] by Newberry Library.
- 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.
- 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.
- John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Grays Harbor County, Washington page 733, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.