Genealogical Forum of Oregon

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Genealogical Forum of Oregon

Contact Information[edit | edit source]

Contact Us
Website
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Address: 2505 SE 11th Ave., Suite B-18
Portland, OR 97202
Telephone: 503-963-1932
Hours of Operation: Mon, Tue, Thur: 9:30am-5pm, Wed: 9:30am-8pm, Fri, Sat: 9:30am-3pm, Sun: Noon-5pm (Closed during the pandemic. Offering lookup services and remote access for GFO members. Check the GFO website for details before coming in.)

First Monday of each month is Free.
Directions (Google Map)

Parking Map (Scroll down page)

Description of Collections[edit | edit source]

With 52,000 holdings, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon (GFO) operates the largest genealogy library in the Pacific Northwest. The library serves as a state and regional resource emphasizing, but not geographically limited to, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and North American genealogical research, complementing the holdings of the Oregon Historical Society. About 85 percent of the collection covers all of the United States and other countries. In particular, the GFO has one of the largest French Canada collections outside of Canada, as well as an extensive set of Virginia resources.

Pacific Northwest holdings include military, vital records, donation land claims, Masonic proceedings in Oregon from 1851-1910, as well as pioneers and early Oregonians. The GFO holds the original Multnomah County Marriage Records books dating back to 1855. More than 39,722 marriages have been indexed. Another set includes Multnomah County Estates, Wills and Guardianship Abstracts 1852-1901, 1904, and 1908.

Our library offers access to eight online databases including Ancestry World Edition, Fold3, Find My Past, American Ancestors, HistoryGeo, and Newspapers.com.

You may search the GFO Library Catalog online and click-to-compile a bibliography in advance of your visit.

Services[edit | edit source]

Seventeen Special Interest Groups offer free classes throughout the year. These include African American, British, three DNA groups, Family Tree Maker, French Canada, Genealogy Problem Solvers, Great Lakes Region, Irish, Italian, Learn & Chat, Mexican, Virginia, and a Writers' Forum.

Research and Look-Up services are available for those who cannot come to the library. There is a small volunteer staff who will search GFO resources for up to one hour for $15 per half hour, ($15 minimum) and includes up to 15 emailed digital images or 5 printed and postal-mailed images.

A number of GFO members offer professional research for clients as well.

History[edit | edit source]

In 1946, three members of the Daughters of the American Revolution founded the Genealogical Forum of Oregon for the purpose of promoting genealogical research through education and providing tools, assistance, and offering expertise to its members. The name was chosen because it reflected the spirit of a roundtable discussion of family history.  For the next 20 years, the GFO held meetings at the Meier and Frank building, the Portland Public Library, and other public meeting places.

For many years it held its growing library collection at a member’s home. By 1955, the GFO was offering genealogical classes and working with others, such as the Oregon State Archives, to identify and catalog genealogical resources in Oregon. In 1968, the GFO moved into its first devoted library space, a room in the Governor Building on Southwest Second Avenue.

Since then, the GFO has moved three more times, jumping the river to the Central Eastside in 1999.

In 1991, the GFO successfully hosted the National Genealogical Conference in the States, the first national conference of its kind held in the Pacific Northwest.  Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts proclaimed Family History Week in honor of the GFO and the conference. The GFO hosted the NGS again in 2001, and at the time was the only organization to host the Conference twice.

In 2011, the GFO moved to its present location in the historic Ford Building at Southeast Eleventh Avenue and Division Street.

Tips for Your Visit[edit | edit source]

Parking Lots

All parking lots around the building are pay to park.

Street Parking

Street parking directly adjacent to the building has various restrictions, so be sure to read the signs! Most side streets south and west of our location also have time restrictions. Many of these streets have Zone G parking. An all-day pass for these spaces may be purchased at the reception desk for $1. Side streets east of S.E. 11th and north of Division (including S.E. 12th) have few if any restrictions. Parking can typically be found there within three to four blocks of the GFO.

Disabled Parking

The lot behind the Ford building has one designated ADA spot. It has a three-hour limit and is pay to park. Portland has specific rules addressing parking on the street:

  • Time Zone Parking Privileges in Portland: No Time Limit at over 30 minutes. Observe time limit in zones 30 minutes or less.
  • Parking Prohibited: Disabled person plates or permit do not allow parking privileges except as described above. Disabled person plates or permit do not extend time limits in areas designated for special use and do not allow vehicle storage over 24 hours on the public right-of-way.

Limitations - Parking privileges for all types of disabled person parking permits do not apply to a zone where:

  • Parking is permitted for only 30 minutes or less.
  • Stopping, parking or standing of all vehicles is prohibited.
  • Late evening or overnight parking is prohibited.
  • Parking is reserved for special types of vehicles or activities.

Guides[edit | edit source]

Handy Guide to Searching GFO Library Catalog