Chelan County, Washington Genealogy

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Guide to Chelan County Washington ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1899, when the county was formed.

The north end of Lake Chelan, Stehekin, Chelan CO., Washington
County QuickStart:

Chelan County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Chelan County
Location in the state of Washington (disambiguation)
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded March 13, 1899
County Seat Wenatchee
Washington, Chelan County Courthouse.png
Address Chelan County Courthouse
350 Douglas Street
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Phone: 509.667.6380
Chelan County Website

County Overview[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for a Chelan Indian word meaning "deep water," likely a reference to 55-mile (89 km)-long Lake Chelan, which reaches a maximum depth of 1,486 feet (453 m). The County is located in the northcentral area of the state.[1]

Parent County(s)[edit | edit source]

Chelan County, Washington Genealogy was created 13 March 1899 from Kittitas and Okanogan counties[2]

County Seat: Wenatchee[3]. See also Towns and Communities in Chelan 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 website.

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Chelan County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Douglas | King | Kittitas | Okanogan | Skagit | Snohomish

Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Chelan County Courthouse
350 Douglas Street
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Phone: 509.667.6380
Chelan County Website

County Auditor has birth and death records 1900-1907 and marriage records from 1900.
City Clerk has burial records.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records. [5]

Dates of Major County Records[edit | edit source]
Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[6]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1900 1900 1900 1876 1882 1888 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 Chelan 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
Billion Graves (name) Washington Periodicals WA State Digital Archives
WAGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Billion Graves Genealogy Trails
WAGenWeb FamilySearch Places
See Washington Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 3,931
1910 15,104 284.2%
1920 20,906 38.4%
1930 31,634 51.3%
1940 34,412 8.8%
1950 39,301 14.2%
1960 40,744 3.7%
1970 41,355 1.5%
1980 45,061 9.0%
1990 52,250 16.0%
2000 66,616 27.5%
2010 72,453 8.8%
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.

    • Federal 1910
    • These were indexed by local societies and individuals.

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

List of Churches and Church Parishes

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.


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

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]


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


American Indian[edit | edit source]

The Colville Indian Reservation is located in southern Ferry and southern Okanogan Counties, including a small portion of Chelan County.

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]

  • Funeral Home Records (Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society, (WAGS)). From Jones & Jones Funeral Home, when it merged with Betts Funeral Home of Wenatchee. 27,000 records between the years 1906-2001 for Jones & Jones of Wenatchee, Kuelbs or Braun of Cashmere, Waterville of Waterville and a few from Wards of Leavenworth have been archived and indexed. Records may include only the funeral card with/without parents, etc. Other records may include death certificates, obituaries, gift lists, military records, etc. See WAGS database to search for information on your family members, and options for ordering that information.

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 Chelan 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]

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 Wilma, David. Chelan County -- Thumbnail History, History Essay 7624.

  • 1803 - Before this time, the Wenatchi (also spelled Wenatchi) lived along the Wenatchee River, which flowed from the Cascades into the Columbia.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1863 - The first non-Indians to live in the Chelan and Wenatchee valleys were Chinese prospectors looking for gold in the rivers and streams, starting at about this time.
  • 1886 - Lake Chelan’s first white settlers were William Sanders and William Dumke. They arrived at the south end of the lake the hard way, from the north.
  • 1899 - March 13, Washington State Legislature created Chelan County.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land records (especially deeds) may give the name of a spouse, heirs, and witnesses, who are sometimes 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.
  • Land 1888 - 2012 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
  • Plats and Surveys Records at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
  • Recorded Agreements and Contracts 1974 - 2008, 1900 - 2008 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)

Maps[edit | edit source]

SkagitOkanoganDouglasKittitasKingSnohomishWA CHELAN.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 Records: (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, foreign and "Americanized" names, residence, and date of arrival. See Washington Naturalization and Citizenship for more information. Note: Until 1922 in the United States, women's citizenship was based on that of their husbands.

  • Naturalization and Citizenship 1900-1948 Part of the Washington County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images). Includes:
    • Facts for declarations of intention1900-1945; Naturalization certificate stubs 1921-1926; correspondence files 1907-1915; depositions 1904-1945; petitions vol 10 1900-1948; proceedings 1907-1915; records 1900-1906; Oath of allegiance applications 1940-1945; Preliminary declarations of intention 1926-1927; Preliminary petitions for citizenship 1924-1926; Index to naturalization 1925-1928.

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 Chelan 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.

The Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society (WAGS) has an Obituary database that contains an index of over 110,000 obituaries from the Wenatchee Area from 1895 to 2014. These obituaries may be ordered thru WAGS. See

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.

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.

  • Public Records 1923. Part of Washington County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Cashmere Municipal Government Special Election Poll Book and Tally Sheet 1 1923 and Mothers' pensions 1913-1937.

School Records[edit | edit source]


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]

For earlier or unrecorded births, search:

  • Washington Delayed Birth Certificates often include statements of witnesses to the birth.
  • Death Records often give birth date, place, parents
  • Censuses to learn age, family members, location, etc.
  • School Censuses in Washington give date of birth and name of parent or guardian
  • Cemeteries usually give birth date or age, and sometimes birth place
  • Obituaries often include birth info, living and deceased family members, and more
Marriage[edit | edit source]
  • 1900-1920 - Washington State Digital Archives has a database for Marriage Records.This database is an index to marriage records filed with the Auditor in Chelan County, Washington Genealogy, from 1900 to 1920. The records contained within this index include Marriage Returns (1900-1910) and Marriage Certificates (1911-1920).
  • 1900-2004 Marriage Records1900-2004 Part of: Washington, County Records, 1856-2009. Part of FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Index to affidavits 1999; Index to certificates 1900-1983; Index to licenses direct and reverse 1900-1983; Index to licenses 1900-1907 and 1974-1983; Affidavits 1900-2001; Application returns 1939-1945; Certificates 1900-1970; Returns 1900-1939.
Divorce[edit | edit source]

The county clerk has the divorce records. To order certificates, see Washington State Department of Health. Online Records

Death[edit | edit source]

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

Check back often with websites. Local societies and libraries may know of other websites.

Sites with online indexes or images of records
Chelan County WAGenWeb Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
The USGenWeb Archives Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or 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.
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society Small Fee Master Index includes Cemetery, Funeral Home, Obituaries, Family Books and Manuscripts and more.
FamilySearch Historical Collections Free Search indexes or browse images at
  • 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 Chelan County, Washington Genealogy
Websites at RootsWeb - Chelan WA Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($) Free "Chelan County, Washington Facts"
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society Small Fee for copies Database with index of Records from Cemetery, Obituaries, Funeral Homes, Manuscripts and Family Books Free "Washington Genealogy Network Group on Facebook"
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Chelan 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.
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society Library The library contains books, microfilm, manuscripts, maps, etc to aid your genealogical research.
Allen County Public Library (Indiana)
See also local libraries and Washington Archives and Libraries

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

Listed below are archives in {{{1}}} County. For state-wide facilities, see Washington Archives and Libraries.

Resources for Chelan 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.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

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.

North Central Regional Library System

Museums[edit | edit source]


Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in {{{1}}} County. For state-wide genealogical and historical societies, see Washington Societies.

  • Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society
    127 S Mission
    Wenatchee, WA
    (509) 888-6246
Has a genealogical library located in the Annex adjacent to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. The WAGS library is rich with resources that share the data and history of families of the region.

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:[8]

Unincorporated communities
  • Malaga
  • Merritt
  • Monitor
  • Peshastin
  • Plain
Native American communities
Census-designated places
  • Chelan Falls
  • Manson
Ghost towns
  • Blewett
  • Moore
  • Winesap

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Chelan County, Washington," in,_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), Chelan 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), Chelan 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. Wikipedia contributors, "Chelan County, Washington," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Washington, accessed 4 March 2019.