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Columbia County, Washington Genealogy

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Guide to Columbia County Washington ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1875, when the county was formed.

Historic railway depot in Dayton, Columbia County, Washington
County QuickStart:



WA ORP.png

Columbia County, Washington
Map
Map of Washington highlighting Columbia County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Facts
Founded 11 November, 1875
County Seat Dayton
Courthouse
Address Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321
Columbia County Website


County Overview[edit | edit source]


Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the Columbia River. The County is located in the southeast area of the state.[1]

Parent County(s)[edit | edit source]

Columbia County, Washington was created 11 November 1875 from Walla Walla County.[2]

County seat: Dayton [3] See also Towns and Communities in Columbia County, Washington Genealogy. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Washington County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Washington County Boundary Maps" (1843-1915) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Columbia County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Franklin | Garfield | Walla Walla | Whitman | Oregon counties: Umatilla | Wallowa

Columbia CountyWalla Walla CountyAsotin CountyWhitman CountySpokane CountyLincoln CountyAdams CountyGrant CountyFranklin CountyBenton CountyGarfield CountyBenewah CountyLatah CountyNez Perce CountyUmatilla CountyWallowa CountyColumbia County.JPG

Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321

County Clerk has divorce records from 1886,
probate records from 1891 and court records from 1890.
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907
and marriage records from 1853. [5]

See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Columbia County, Washington Genealogy.

Dates of Major County Records[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[6]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1891 1876 1891 1891 1864 1891 1850
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1907.
General compliance by 1917.
Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Topics for Columbia County, Washington Genealogy[edit | edit source]

The topics or headings on this page describe records that are used for genealogy and family history. They include links to web sites with indexes, images, or information about the county.

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

 

Biography[edit | edit source]

Biographical information is often found in state and local histories or genealogies. See also Washington Biography.

Business and Commerce[edit | edit source]

 

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
FindAGrave Family History Library FindAGrave
Tombstone Project WorldCat Interment.net
Billion Graves (name) Washington Periodicals WA State Digital Archives
Billion Graves Linkpendium
WAGenWeb Genealogy Trails
EPodunk
See Washington Cemeteries for more information.

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.


Census[edit | edit source]

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.



Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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 Columbia County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can clarify family relationships, places of residence, occupations, and family history. See Washington Court Records for courts used through the years.

ArrowGreen.svg.png

For specialized court records, see Divorce  · Guardianship  · Land  · Naturalization · Probate

  • Columbia Frontier Justice. Part of "Frontier Justice’’: Guide to the Court Records of Washington Territory, 1853-1889 at Washington State Digital Archives. (Free Index, no images)
    • The court procedures of Frontier Justice touch nearly all pioneers of the Washington Territory. The index has many abstracts that provide names and what is happening in disputes, settlements in civil and criminal cases as well as probate, equity and admiralty cases.

Directories[edit | edit source]

 

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

 

Ethnic, Political and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

 

American Indian[edit | edit source]
Japanese[edit | edit source]
  • 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.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

 

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

 

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.
Many local libraries and societies have collections of family genealogies. County histories or biographies often include brief genealogies of the featured persons. 

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Guardianship of orphans or adults unable to manage their own affairs were handled by the probate and the District courts. See Washington Court Records.

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories for Columbia 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[edit | edit source]

Columbia Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library[7]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Phil Dougherty. Columbia County -- Thumbnail History, [1] Essay 7801.

  • The lower Snake River was home to bands of Palouse and other Sahaptin-speaking people, including Nez Perce, Yakama, Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Wanapum.
  • 1805 - October 12-13, Lewis and Clark canoed on the Snake River along the boundary separating Columbia and Whitman counties.
  • 1834 - Captain B. L. E. Bonneville crossed Columbia County on the Nez Perce Trail, surveying the Northwest on behalf of the United States government.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1855 - One of the first white settlers in Columbia County was Henry M. Chase. Chase and another man, P. M. Lafontain, built cabins and possibly a small fort early in 1855 at the site of present day Dayton.
  • 1859 - Permanent settlement reached Columbia County with claims taken up along the Touchet and Tucannon rivers and along Patit Creek.
  • 1859 - Frederick Schnebley homesteaded at the Dayton site of the former Chase homestead, which had been destroyed in the 1855 Indian attack.
  • 1860s - Settlers slowly drifted into the county, but in the early 1870s settlement rapidly increased.
  • 1875 - November 29, Columbia County officially came into existence.
  • 1881 - July, The railroad arrived in Dayton.
  • 1934 - The Blue Mountain Cannery was built in Dayton.
  • 1935 - As part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, two Civilian Conservation Camps were established in Columbia County.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

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.

  • 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.

Maps[edit | edit source]

WhitmanAsotinGarfieldWalla WallaFranklinWallowa County, ORUmatilla County, ORWA COLUMBIA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Most residents came to Washington from other states or crossed the border from Canada. (See Seattle Passenger Lists for those who came from other countries.) Although few other migration records exist, try:

Censuses (use birthdates and places of children as clues)
Land (1st deed may reveal previous residence)
Death-related records of children may give town or county of birth
• Records of relatives and neighbors

Military[edit | edit source]

 

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

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.

  • Naturalization and Citizenship, 1890-1955 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Journal of naturalization 1890-1906; Letters of administration 1887-1965; Naturalization correspondence 1908-1955; Naturalization depositions 1910-1920; Orders of the court 1925-1950; Petition and record 1908-1928.

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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.

Finding More Washington Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Columbia 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[edit | edit source]

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.

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See also: NewspapersLibrariesSocietiesFuneral Homes • Obituaries of neighboring counties or of the person's previous residence • Family records.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

 

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Clerks files of wills ca 1896-1917; Declarations of intention 1890; 1890-1906; 1890-1941; Estate files 1877-1915; Facts for declarations of intention 1901-1907; Homestead records 1882-1898; Probate case files 1878-1943; Probate fee books 1891-1898; Probate journal 1891-1932; Territorial letters of administration of wills annexed ca 1876-1877.

Public Records[edit | edit source]

Public records are documents created by civil authorities that either don't fit comfortably in another topic, or that could fit in several topics.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

School Records[edit | edit source]

 

Part of: Washington County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)

Taxation[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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.

Visit the Washington State Department of Health website to order a Washington Birth, Death, Marriage or Divorce Certificate. See Washington Vital Records for details and history of the records. .

Birth[edit | edit source]
Birth Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Child Green check.png  
Birth Date and Place Green check.png  
Parent's Names Green check.png  
Mother's Maiden Name Green check.png  
Parent's Ages   Green check.png
Parents' State or Country of Birth Green check.png  
Name of Doctor or Midwife Green check.png  

In 1891, coroners, physicians, and midwives were to "return" births and deaths to the county auditor. Many went unrecorded. In 1907, the State Center for Health Statistics assumed this responsibility.[8]

ArrowGreen.svg.png

See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Birth Records.

  • Washington State Digital Archives has a free database of Columbia County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Columbia County from June 1891 – August 1913. The names were taken from the Columbia County Register of Births.
  • Index to marriage licenses (direct and indirect) 1922-1939 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits 1904-1961; Marriage certificates 1885-1946; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-indirect 1922-1939; Marriage returns 1902-1947; Marriage statistics 1891-1910; Register of marriages 1891-1910; Territorial marriage certificates 1876-1890.

For earlier or unrecorded births, search:


Marriage[edit | edit source]
Marriage Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Date of Marriage or License Green check.png  
Names of Bride and Groom Green check.png  
Ages Green check.png  
Birth Places Green check.png  
Residences Green check.png  
Names of Parents   Green check.png
Husband's Occupation   Green check.png
Witnesses Green check.png  
Minister or Officiator Green check.png  

Marriage records include certificates, marriage returns, license applications or affidavits. Counties kept the records until 1968, when the state took over.


ArrowGreen.svg.png

See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Marriage Records.

  • 1922-1939 - Marriage Records, 1922-1939 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage affidavits 1904-1961; Marriage certificates 1885-1946; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-direct 1922-1939; Marriage licenses index-indirect 1922-1939; Marriage returns 1902-1947; Marriage statistics 1891-1910; Register of marriages 1891-1910; Territorial marriage certificates 1876-1890.
Divorce[edit | edit source]

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. Online Records

Death[edit | edit source]
Death Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Deceased Green check.png  
Death Date and Place Green check.png  
Age or Birth Date and Place Green check.png  
Parent's Names Green check.png  
Mother's Maiden Name Green check.png  
Name of Spouse   Green check.png
Residence Green check.png  
Occupation Green check.png  

In 1891, coroners, physicians and midwives were to report (or return) all births and deaths under their supervision to County Auditors. On July 1, 1907, the State took over....[9]

ArrowGreen.svg.png

See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Death Records.

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

 


Websites[edit | edit source]



Sites with online indexes or images of records
WAGenWeb for Columbia County Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Washington State Digital Archives Free Includes indexes, some linked to images.
  • Type county name, click Search, then select a collection.
  • Collections were posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page in December, 2013.
FamilySearch Historical Collections Free Search indexes or browse images at FamilySearch.org.
  • Click "Last Updated." Collections through December 2013 have been posted to the appropriate topics for this Wiki page.
Sites that search for links pertaining to Columbia County, Washington Genealogy
Websites at RootsWeb - Columbia WA Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Genealogyinc.com Free Columbia County, Washington Facts
google.com Free Washington Genealogy Network Community on Google+
Facebook.com Free Washington Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Columbia County, Washington Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library (Indiana)
See also local libraries and Washington Archives and Libraries

Archives, Libraries, etc.[edit | edit source]

See also a List of Washington Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies  

Resources for Columbia 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.

  • When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy

See also Courthouse · FamilySearch Centers · Libraries · Museums · Other Repositories · Societies

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

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.


  • Columbia County Rural Library District
    Dayton Memorial Library
    111 S. Third Street
    Dayton, WA 99328
    Phone: 509-382-4131
    Website
Museums[edit | edit source]

 

Societies[edit | edit source]

 

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[10]

Cities
Towns
Unincorporated communities
  • Covello
  • Huntsville
  • Jackson
  • Long
  • Marengo
  • Turner
Ghost towns
  • Alto
Delaney
Grange City


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Columbia County, Washington," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_County,_Washington. accessed 15/07/2019
  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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ferry County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Columbia County, Washington . Page 732-735 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 733-734.
  7. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  8. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  9. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Columbia County, Washington," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_County,_Washington, accessed 4 March 2019.

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