Oregon Biography

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Oregon Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Oregon Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

The best collections of published biographies in Oregon are at the Oregon Historical Society Library and the Oregon State University. The Family History Library also has an excellent collection. The Genealogical Forum of Oregon offers indexed books in digital or paper form with over 12,000 biographies of early Oregonians.

Some representative biographical encyclopedias are:

Gaston, Joseph. The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, 4 vols. Chicago, Illinois: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912. FHL Collection book 979.5 H2g; film 1000359]. Volumes 2 and 3 are biographical.

Carey, Charles Henry. History of Oregon. 3 vols. Chicago, Illinois: Pioneer History Publishing Co., 1922. FHL Collection book 979.5 H2cc; fiche 6046590. Volumes 2 and 3 are biographical.

Lockley, Fred. History of the Columbia River Valley from The Dalles to the Sea. 3 vols. Chicago, Illinois: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928. FHL Collection book 979 H2Lf; film 1000362 items 2-4.) Volumes 2 and 3 are biographical.

Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Chicago, Illinois: Chapman Publishing Co., 1903. (Family History Library book FHL Collection book 979.53 D3p; film 1000365.

All of these volumes and 43 additional collected biographies are indexed in Patricia Brandt and Nancy Guilford, Oregon Biography Index Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University, 1976; FHL Collection book 979.5 D3b index; film 1321470 item 18.