Josephine County, Oregon Genealogy

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Guide to Josephine County, Oregon ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Josephine County, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Josephine County
Location in the state of Oregon, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Oregon
Location of Oregon in the U.S.
Founded January 22, 1856
County Seat Grants Pass
Oregon, Josephine County Courthouse.png
Address Josephine County Courthouse
500 NW 6th Street
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Phone: 541.474.5243
Josephine County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for a stream in the area called Josephine Creek, which in turn is probably named after Virginia Josephine Rollins Ort. The County is located in the southwest area of the state. [1]

Josephine County, Oregon Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1906 1857 1906 1854 1857 1848 1845
*Statewide registration for births and deaths in 1903. General compliance year unknown.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Clerk has marriage and land records from 1857.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce, probate and court records. [3]

Records Held at the Courthouse[edit | edit source]

  • Record Loss:

Quick Facts[edit | edit source]

Named for Virginia Josephine Rollins Ort, the first white woman to settle in southern Oregon.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

22 January 1856: Created from Umpqua County. [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Oregon County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Oregon County Boundary Maps" (1843-1975) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Places / Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in the county:[5]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Defunct Post Offices[edit | edit source]

  • Almeda: The post office was established February 15, 1912 and was discontinued July 15, 1920. Josephine Donoghue was the first of three postmasters.
  • Aloysius: Aloysius post office apparently operated at the Leonard Ranch in the Althouse district. Mary E. Leonard was the postmaster. Aloysius post office was established July 12, 1888, and was discontinued November 30,1889. The available business was turned over to Althouse. Named for William Aloysius Leonard, born in 1875, died in 1915, son of Lawrence Leonard and Mary Ellen Leonard, his wife.
  • Altamont: Altamont post office was established April 16, 1884, with Benjamin M. Parker first and only postmaster. The office was closed June 21, 1886. The available geographic information is meager about this place, but may be sufficient for its importance. Early gazetteers show a place called Alta and also Altamont at a point on the railroad about 21 miles north of Grants Pass and that was doubtless the location of the post office.There had been an earlier post office named Leland near the highway crossing on Grave Creek about four miles east of the railroad. After Altamont post office was closed in 1886, Leland office was moved west to the railroad, but the exact date of this move cannot be determined from the records, may be in the early 1890s.

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Curry | Douglas | Jackson | California counties: Del Norte | Siskiyou

Trivia Tidbits[edit | edit source]

Information about localities, too small or too brief to describe in separate pages. Exception to this are Post Offices. > Trivia Tidbits

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
ORGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
ORGenWeb Archives FamilySearch Places
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Oregon Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,623
1870 1,204 −25.8%
1880 2,485 106.4%
1890 4,878 96.3%
1900 7,517 54.1%
1910 9,567 27.3%
1920 7,655 −20.0%
1930 11,498 50.2%
1940 16,301 41.8%
1950 26,542 62.8%
1960 29,917 12.7%
1970 35,746 19.5%
1980 58,855 64.6%
1990 62,649 6.4%
2000 75,726 20.9%
2010 82,713 9.2%
Source: "".

Church History and Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Douglas CountyJackson CountyCurry CountyDel Norte CountySiskiyou CountyOR JOSEPHINE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

World War I[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Oregon Online Historical Newspapers - identifies historical archived and digitized newspapers available online on both free and pay-to-access websites.

Historic Oregon Newspapers  as a division of the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program has digitzied more than 644,000 pages of newspapers throughout Oregon. Dates range from 1846-1922 with selected issues continuing through 1973.

Of particular interest to Josephine County researchers:

Grants Pass Daily Courier (Grants Pass)
Rogue River Courier (Grants Pass)

Probate[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Rivers and Waterways[edit | edit source]

Details about the rivers and waterways where farms and settlements are often found along them. >> Rivers and Waterways

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See also How to order Oregon Vital Records, order electronically online or download an application for Oregon Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Application to mail.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Delayed Birth Certificates

Birth Registers

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

Death Records[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Rogue Valley Genealogical Society
500 NW Sixth Street, RM 170
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Telephone: 541-474-5240
Fax: 541-474-5246

Josephine County Historical Society
512 SW 5th St
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Facebook Page

Josephine Community Library - Four Branches
200 NW C St
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Facebook Page

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

Websites[edit | edit source]

Josephine County Oregon Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Josephine, Oregon" in,_Oregon accessed 27 Nov 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Josephine County, Oregon . Page 572-574 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), 563-564.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Josephine County, Oregon page 573, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. WorldCat 50140092FHL Collection Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Josephine County, Oregon," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Oregon, accessed 10 November 2018.