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Washington Fast Facts and Key Resources

By Leslie Stroope Premium

Statehood: 1889

US territory status: part of Oregon Territory in 1848, became Washington Territory in 1853

First federal census: 1860

Territorial censuses: sporadic from 1857 to 1892

Statewide birth and death records begin: 1907

Statewide marriage records begin: 1968

Counties: 39

Public-land state

Contact for vital records:

Washington Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507
(360) 236-4300


Web Sites

1895 US Atlas: Washington


Center for Columbia River History


Cyndi’s List: Washington


The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History


Pacific Lutheran University Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection


University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections: Civil War Letters Collection


University of Washington Scandinavian Archives


Washington GenWeb Project


Washington History: Historical Maps


Washington State University: Early Washington Maps



Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, & Washington 1727-1900 Marriage Index CD (

Early Washington: Overland Stage Routes, Old Military Roads, Indian Battle Grounds, Old Forts, Old Gold Mines by Ralph N. Preston (Western Guide Publishers)

Exploring Washington’s Past: A Road Guide to History by Carmela Alexander and Ruth Kirk (University of Washington Press)

The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and Erin Nevius (Family Tree Books)

Historical Atlas of Washington by James W. Scott and Roland L. De Lorme (University of Oklahoma Press)

Newspapers on Microfilm in the Libraries of the State of Washington: A Union List by Hazel E. Mills (Washington State Library)

Washington Atlas of Historical County Boundaries by John H. Long (Charles Scribner’s Sons)

Washington State Place Names: From Alki to Yelm by Doug Brokenshire (Caxton Press)

Organizations and Archives

NARA Pacific Alaska Region — Seattle

6125 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, (206) 336-5115, <>

Seattle Genealogical Society

6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, (206) 522-8658, <>

Seattle Public Library

1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 386-4636, <>

Tacoma Public Library Genealogy Collection

1102 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, WA 94802, (253) 591-5666, <>

Washington State Archives

1129 Washington St. SE, Box 40238, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 586-1492, <>

Washington State Genealogical Society

Box 1422, Olympia, WA 98507, <>

Washington State History Research Center

315 Stadium Way, Tacoma, WA 98403, (253) 798-5914.


Washington State Library

Box 42460, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 704-5200, <>


From the September 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine.   

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