Research in Washington Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

It is wise to familiarize your self with any repository in Washington that you might visit by communicating to the appropriate archive or library beforehand.

The majority of, if not all, Washington repositories have printed materials that introduce its collections as well as research policy.

Washington archives and historical agencies generally have Online sites which provide the same important information. Quite a few also contain downloadable resources for some or parts within their collections.

Washington Archives

  • Washington State Archives – Digital Archives
  • Washington State Archives, 520 Union Ave. SE, P.O. Box 40220, Olympia, WA 98504-0220; The central repository receives and catalogs materials for the entire state, and publishes a number of guides to its various collections, the titles of which can be found on its website. Records of a local government nature are collected and preserved in the five regional branch archives, each serving several counties as follows:
    • Pacific Alaska Region – Seattle, The National Archives, 6125 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-7999; Phone 206-336-5115
    • Eastern Regional Branch—Washington State Archives, Eastern Washington University, 211 Tawanka, Cheney, WA 99004; Covers Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Oreille Pend, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman.
    • Central Regional Branch—Washington State Archives, Central Washington University, MS-7547, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7547; Covers Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima.
    • Puget Sound Regional Branch—Washington State Archives, Pritchard-Fleming Bldg., 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, MS-N100, Bellevue, WA 98007-6484; Covers King, Kitsap, and Pierce.
    • Northwest Regional Branch—Washington State Archives, Western Washington University, MS-9123, Bellingham, WA 98225-9123; Covers Clallam, Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom.
    • Southwest Regional Branch—Washington State Archives, 1129 Washington St. SE, P.O. Box 40238, Olympia, WA 98504-0238; Covers Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum.
  • Washington State DIGITAL ARCHIVES It has the following collections to search;
    • Agreements and Contracts
    • Audio Recordings
    • Birth Records
    • Cemetery Directories
    • Census Records
    • Court Cases
    • Corporations Records
    • Death Records
    • E-Publication Records
    • Frontier Justice
    • Indian Census Records
    • Institution Records
    • Land Records
    • Map Records
    • Marriage Records
    • Military Records
    • Minute Records
    • Misc Auditor Records
    • Misc Family History
    • Naturalization Records
    • Oaths of Office Records
    • Ordinance Records
    • Photographs
    • Plats and Surveys
    • Power of Attorney Records
    • Professional License Records
    • Real Property Record Cards
    • Resolution Records
    • Uniform Commercial Code Recordings
  • Washington State Library, Point Plaza East, 6880 Capitol Blvd., Tumwater, WA 98501; Mailing Address: P.O. Box 42460l, Olympia, WA 98504-2460
  • The National Archives – Pacific Alaska Region – 6125 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98115-7999; (Archival Research Room, Microfilm Research Room, Records Center Research Room)
  • Clark County Archives – Record Division,1300 Franklin Street, Suite 650, Vancouver, WA 98660
  • King County Archives, 1215 E. Fir Street, Seattle, WA 98122
    Phone: 206-296-1538

Washington Museums

Washington Libraries

Washington Periodicals

Washington state periodicals are full of information that can be useful in genealogical research. That information includes census records, cemetery indexes, historical articles and church records. In some cases, letters and Bible records not published anywhere else can also be found in periodicals. The website for the Washington State Genealogical Society has links to various resources where periodicals for the state can be found.

  • Columbia Magazine, which is published by the Washington State Historical Society, is full of historical articles. An index of all of the articles that have been published in Columbia Magazine is located at the Washington State Historical Society.

Washington Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. In addition to their own work, Washington groups many times help synchronize the efforts of area societies from the Washington. Their particular publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those produced by way of the area societies.

Regional and State

County, Township and City

Religious and Ethnic

Washington Newspapers & Publications

Washington Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) include all types of beneficial information regarding specific ancestors, entire lineages and families, places in time, and regarding all types of genealogical records and repositories. They allow you to identify a wealth of facts about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These kinds of sources can often bolster public records and provide information that is not recorded someplace else. Here, one can learn much more about your ancestor’s possible every day activities by setting them in the framework of their time.

The Washington State Library, which is located in Olympia, has microfilmed copies of all extant newspapers for the state. The library has an interlibrary loan program, which makes those records more accessible for researchers. The website for the library lists indexes and links of holdings for selected older newspapers, as well as current newspapers.

Various newspaper clippings from 1900 to 1942 have been collected together in the "Pacific Northwest Clippings Collection" and published online by Washington State University. Around 10,000 pictures have also been placed on the website.

Books

Newspapers – Washington newspapers can offer all types of evidence about historical occasions, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and a lot more.