Lewis County, Washington Genealogy

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Guide to Lewis County Washington ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1845, when the county was formed.

Lower Falls Lewis River, Lewis County, Washington
County QuickStart:

Lewis County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Lewis County
Location in the state of Washington (disambiguation)
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded December 21, 1845
County Seat Chehalis
Washington, Lewis County Courthouse.png
Address Lewis County Courthouse
351 NW North Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
Phone 360.740.2704
Lewis County Website

County Overview[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Meriwether Lewis. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[1]

Parent County(s)[edit | edit source]

Lewis County, Washington was created 21 December 1845[2] from Vancouver District, (later Clark County). Lewis was an original county in the Oregon Territory.

County Seat: Chehalis [3]. See also Towns and Communities in Lewis County, Washington Genealogy. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lewis County Courthouse
351 NW North Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
Phone 360.748.9121
Courthouse Website

Lewis County District Court
District Court Website

Lewis County Auditor
Auditor Website
Records from 1848 to the present

County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907 and marriage records from 1850.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1870’s. [5]

Dates of Major County Records[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[6]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1891 1847 1891 1847 1855 1855 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 Lewis 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
WAGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Billion Graves Genealogy Trails
WAGenWeb FamilySearch Places
See Washington Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 558
1860 384 −31.2%
1870 888 131.3%
1880 2,600 192.8%
1890 11,499 342.3%
1900 15,157 31.8%
1910 32,127 112.0%
1920 36,840 14.7%
1930 40,034 8.7%
1940 41,393 3.4%
1950 43,755 5.7%
1960 41,858 −4.3%
1970 45,467 8.6%
1980 56,025 23.2%
1990 59,358 5.9%
2000 68,600 15.6%
2010 75,455 10.0%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".
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.

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

Assembly of God

  • They do not have records, nor do they send records to a central repository.

Catholic Church

  • Old records had been sent to the Archdiocese in Seattle.
  • Local churches have only current records but that because the persons are still living, all local records are private and not for the public.
  • Anyone researching would have to contact the archdiocese. There is a fee.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Chehalis


  • Records of the America Lutheran Church, Alpha, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

List of Churches and Church Parishes[edit | edit source]
  • Contact local churches for possible records.

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

  • Lewis 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 procedure of Frontier Justice touch nearly all pioneers of 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 or 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]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]


Wahkiakum CountyCowlitz CountySkamania CountyYakima CountyPierce CountyThurston CountyGrays Harbor CountyPacific CountyWA LEWIS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Many local libraries and societies have collections of family genealogies. County histories or biographies often include brief genealogies of the featured persons.

A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

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

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories for Lewis County, Washington Genealogy may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories.

Online County 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 Lewis County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7449.

  • Native Americans calling themselves Chehalis and Meshall lived along the banks of the Chehalis River.
  • 1818-1846 - The United States and Great Britain jointly occupied Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
  • 1838 - The Hudson's Bay Company established the Puget Sound Agricultural Company.
  • 1838 - Late, Cowlitz Farms, a part of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, represented the first white settlement in the future Lewis County.
  • 1845 - December 21, The Oregon Territorial Legislature delineated Lewis County.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1855 - February, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens convinced coastal tribes to sign the Quinault Treaty with the U.S. government.

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 Land records, 1850-1954 Part of:"Washington County Land Records, 1850-1954" FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • NOTE: These are labeled as direct (grantor/seller) and indirect (grantee/buyer) indexes, yet several include copies of the deed books. After selecting the years you need, explore various images to determine if the deeds are included.

Maps[edit | edit source]


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.

  • County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982, part of Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • Included in this collection: Application & oaths (Repatriation) 1937-1965 no 1-26; Certificate of citizenship 1903-1906; Citizenship papers 1874-1896; Declaration of intention (Invalid) Depositions 1884-1921; Declaration of intention 1887-1972; Depositions 1907-1963; Card index 1930-1979; Certificate receipts 1907-1927; Index 1888-1962; Notices of application for citizenship 1909-1924; Petition records 1886-1947.

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 Lewis 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.

Also check:

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.

School Records[edit | edit source]

  • The school census from 1907 and older have just an age for each student as well as their parents or guardians. Starting in 1908, the actual birthdate for each student is listed.
  • The districts are listed by a number that was assigned to them by ESD 113 (The governing body for Lewis County and surrounding counties). If you don't know what school district the parents were in, it can be hard to decide where you need to look.

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]

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] See also Washington Birth Records.

  • Birth Register, 1891-1907 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

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]

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

  • 1914-1950 Marriage Returns,1914-1950, part of Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008 at FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
  • 1847-1900 Marriage Returns, 1847-1991 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • Includes:Marriage applications 1939-1991; Marriage certificates 1847-1900; Marriage register 1891-1938; Marriage returns 1914-1968.
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]

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] See Washington Death Records.

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
WAGenWeb for Lewis County Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb 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 Lewis County, Washington Genealogy
RootsWeb - Lewis 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 ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
StateofUS.com Free "Lewis County, Washington Facts"
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Lewis 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]

Resources for Lewis 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.

Individual Library Branches:
  • A selection of Veterans' History Project DVDs on local veterans (contact library for details)
  • Polk Directories for Pacific and Lewis Counties, and Centralia and Chehalis from 1912 to present
  • A selection of individual family histories and histories about the Wobbly War (contact library for details)
  • A selection of individual family histories and histories about the founding of Centralia (contact library for details)
  • The Chronicle (county-wide newspaper) from 1887 to 2010 on microfilm.
  • They have an uncatalogued collection of local historical and family photos which they will hand search upon request without charge.
  • They have local history maps as well as Lewis County and local historical reference materials.
  • No city directories.
  • They have local history resources.
  • No city directories
  • They have a link through the Timberland Library website for doing your family genealogy in the Packwood area.
  • No city directories
  • They have a room at the library dedicated to the history of Toledo and some Lewis County history.
  • They have some reference materials on Winlock and Lewis County.
Museums[edit | edit source]
  • Lewis County Historical Museum
    599 NW Front Way
    Chehalis, WA 98532
    (360) 748-0831
Churches available at the historical museum -
  • History of St. Mary's Church-Centralia. 1910 - 2011
  • History of St. Mary's Church - Centralia. 1910-1986
  • Pe Ell Methodist
  • Sy. Mary's Parish celebrating 10 years
  • First Baptist Church 1883-1983
  • Local Church Ministries
  • Sacred Heart church- Morton
  • Lewis County Catholic church History
  • Historical Directory-St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, St. Mary's
  • Methodist Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • History of Westminster Presbyterian 1940
  • Early Churches of Washington
  • Adna Evangelical Church
Funeral Homes:
  • Boone, Brown, Sticklin
  • Mortuary Records 1895-1920
  • Sticklin funeral Records 1895-1904
  • Sticklin Funeral Records 1904-1908
  • Adna 1918-1992
  • Twin Oaks 1911-1928
  • Brier Hill 1920-1933
  • Evaline 2883-1983 (2books)
  • Knob 1860-1939
  • Centralia College 1925-1975
  • Greenhill - The Lewis County History Museum has a binder titled: GREENHILL SCHOOL – “The new leaf 1936 State training school,” “The new leaf 1950,” and a leaflet of the "History of Washington state Human resources of 1853-1932.” The two New Leaf pamphlets were written by boys at the school.
  • Name of the schoolhouse (Schools in Washington state)
  • Lewis County School Review
  • Early Schools of the Washington Territory 1935
  • School annuals starting from 1908 -2010
Societies[edit | edit source]

Lewis County Genealogical Society
PO Box 782
Chehalis, WA 98532
E-mail: wa.lcgs@hotmail.com

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]

Unincorporated communities
  • Adna
  • Alpha
  • Boistfort
  • Bunker
  • Ceres
  • Cinebar
  • Cora
  • Curtis
  • Doty
  • Dryad
  • Ethel
  • Evaline
  • Forest
  • Galvin
  • Glenoma
  • Harmony
  • Klaber
  • Kosmos
  • Lacamas
  • Littell
  • Marys Corner
  • Mayfield
  • McCormick
  • Meskill
  • Nesika
  • Newaukum
  • Randle
  • Riffe
  • Saint Urban
  • Salkum
  • Silver Creek
  • Swofford
  • Wildwood
Native American communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns
  • Lindberg
  • Mendota
  • Walville

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Lewis County, Washington," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_County,_Washington. accessed 18/07/2019
  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), Lewis County, Washington page 733, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lewis 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, "Lewis County, Washington," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_County,_Washington, accessed 13 March 2019.