Spokane County, Washington Genealogy

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Guide to Spokane County Washington ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1879, when the county was formed.

Glaiser Conservatory, Spokane County, Washington
County QuickStart:

Spokane County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Spokane County
Location in the state of Washington (disambiguation)
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded January 29, 1858
County Seat Spokane
Washington, Spokane County Courthouse.png
Address Spokane County Courthouse
1116 W. Broadway
Spokane, WA 99260
Spokane County Website

County Overview[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the Spokane tribe. The County is located in the east-central area of the state.[1]

Parent County(s)[edit | edit source]

Parent County: Spokane County, Washington was created 30 October 1879 from Stevens County.[2]

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Spokane County Courthouse
1116 W. Broadway
Spokane, WA 99260

The Spokane County Courthouse was completed in 1895, see history of building.

See also Archives, libraries, etc. in Spokane County, Washington Genealogy.

Dates of Major County Records[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1891 1859 1891 1882 1883 1887 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 Spokane 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
FamilySearch Places
See Washington Cemeteries for more information.

Spokane Cemeteries

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 996
1870 2,000 100.8%
1880 4,262 113.1%
1890 37,487 779.6%
1900 57,542 53.5%
1910 139,404 142.3%
1920 141,289 1.4%
1930 150,477 6.5%
1940 164,652 9.4%
1950 221,561 34.6%
1960 278,333 25.6%
1970 287,487 3.3%
1980 341,835 18.9%
1990 361,364 5.7%
2000 417,939 15.7%
2010 471,221 12.7%
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 Spokane County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)

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

  • Dishman
  • Spokane
  • Spokane Central
  • Spokane N.

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

Spokane County Courthouse has Superior Court Records from 1880 to present. Criminal cases, divorces, probates, and other civil cases. Adoption records sealed by court order.

  • Spokane 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]


Whitman CountyLincoln CountyStevens CountyPend Oreille CountyBonner CountyKootenai CountyBenewah CountyWA SPOKANE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

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.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Order appointing guardian 1911 Dec-1927; Record of bonds 1880 Apr-1892; Record of bonds and oaths 1890-1895.

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories for Spokane 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[6]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Ann M. Colford. Spokane County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 7686.

  • Three bands of Spokane Indians -- Upper, Middle and Lower -- called the Spokane River watershed home at the time of first contact with European and American explorers.
  • 1810 - British fur trader and explorer David Thompson of the North West Company sent two men, Jaco Finlay and Finan McDonald, to establish a trading house in the territory of the Spokanes.
  • 1840s–1850s - the trickle of white settlers into the area became more persistent, ultimately leading to increased conflict with the indigenous population.
  • 1853 - March 2, U.S. President Millard Fillmore establishes Washington Territory.
  • 1858 - A group of Spokanes and Coeur d’Alenes surprised U.S. troops under the command of Colonel Edward Steptoe.
  • 1858 - In retaliation, the Army dispatched Colonel George Wright, who came north from Fort Walla Walla.
  • 1858 - Wright met with tribal representatives under the pretense of seeking peace but instead captured the warrior Qualchan.
  • 1858 - Wright’s campaign effectively ended resistance among the Plateau tribes and opened the region to further American settlement and development.
  • 1858 - January 29, Spokane County (extinct) was created by legislative act four times. Twice it was not organized by the agents appointed for that purpose.
  • 1859 - January 18, An act named new commissioners for the proposed new county all to hold office till the next election. No location for a county seat was specified.
  • 1860 - January, The geopolitical entity known as Spokane County came into existence. County seat was temporarily located “on the land claim of Dr. Bates.” in the Colville valley.
  • 1864 - January 19, Spokane County (extinct) dissolved, lost all territory to Stevens County.[7]
  • 1870s - Spokane became the hub for the mining, timber, and railroad industries of the Inland Northwest.
  • 1881 - Spokane County boomed during the 1880s with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

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.

  • Land Records 1886-1890 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Assessment rolls 1886; Assessment tax rolls 1886; Delinquent tax rolls 1881-1890.
    • The Spokane County Auditor has indexed all the land records for Spokane County and the index is online . The index also contains other records recorded in the auditors office. The original records are at the Eastern Washington State Archives at Cheney. Computer copies are available at the courthouse for a dollar a page.

Maps[edit | edit source]


This map highlights the county within the state of Washington. The map soon will have inter-active links.

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.

Declarations of Intent before 1906 often include the nation of origin, his* foreign and "Americanized" names, residence, and date of arrival. See Washington Naturalization and Citizenship for more information. (*Women were not naturalized until 1922 in the United States.)

Washington State Digital Archives has digitized various types of naturalization-related records, including declarations of intentions, delayed birth files, naturalization affidavits, notifications of application for admission to US citizenship, orders fixing naturalization terms, petitions and records, petitions, receipts for certificates of citizenship, record of final decrees of citizenship and record of petitions dockets. Depending on the county, records range from 1854-1988.

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 Spokane 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:

  • Obituaries from the Spokesman Review newspaper have been indexed by the Spokane Public Library. Search by name. Results include name/date/newspaper/page number needed to obtain the obituary. Contact the library at telref@spokanelibrary.org for an image of the actual obituary. The obituaries are complete from January 1, 2008, with additional obituaries added from requests. To find date of death search the Washington State Digital Archives.

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.

Courthouse has probate files from 1880 to present.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Certificate of will 1912-1928 Probate bonds 1933-1951; Probate records 1911-1951Real property rolls 1893-1897; and Record of probate claims 1917-1920.

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.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Attorney's register 1920-1934; Medical Register 1891-1981.

School Records[edit | edit source]


Part of: Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

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.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Personal property assessment rolls 1893; Personal tax rolls 1892 and Tax rolls 1888.

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.

  • Washington State Digital Archives has a database of Spokane County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Spokane County 1890-1907. The names were taken from the Spokane County Birth returns.

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.

  • 1880-2009 Marriage Records 1880-2009 Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)
    • See what genealogical information may be in these records.
    • Includes Marriage applications 1939-2009; Applications and certificates 1930-1939; Certificate index 1880-1889; Certificates 1880-2000; Index 1890-1905; License index 1891-1911; Licenses 1899-1924; Marriage returns (new series) 1927-1947 & 1891-1916; Marriages 1882-1897; Record of marriage licenses 1897-1906.
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.

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.

  • The Family History Library has Washington State Death Certificates on microfilm 1907-1961.

Part of Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. (Free, browse images)

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 Spokane 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 Spokane County, Washington Genealogy
Websites at RootsWeb - Spokane 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 ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Spokane 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.
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 Spokane 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.

  • Check websites and catalogs, such as items in FamilySearch Library for Spokane County, Washington Genealogy. When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy.

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.

  • East Side Branch Library
    524 S. Stone
    Spokane, WA 99202
    Phone: 509-444-5375
  • South Hill Branch Library
    3324 S. Perry
    Spokane, WA 99203
    Phone: 509-444-5385
  • Shadle Branch Library
    2111 W. Wellesley
    Spokane, WA 99205
    Phone: 509-444-5390
  • Hillyard Branch Library
    4005 N. Cook
    Spokane, WA 99207
    Phone: 509-444-5380
  • Indian Trail Branch Library
    4909 W. Barnes Road
    Spokane, WA 99208
    Phone: 509-444-5395
  • Spokane County Library District
    Branch locations, hours, links
Museums[edit | edit source]

Spokane Valley Heritage Museum
12114 E Sprague Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
(509) 922-4570

Societies[edit | edit source]

Eastern Washington Genealogical Society
PO Box 1826
Spokane, WA 99210-1826
Eastern Washington Genealogical Society celebrated its 80th birthday in 2015. The Society meets the first Saturday of the month in February, March, April, May, June, October, November and December. Meetings for January are usually luncheon meetings, held in different locations. There are no meetings held in July and August, and the September meeting can sometimes be the second Saturday, depending on how Labor Day falls. (We don't meet on Labor Day weekend.) The regular meetings officially begin at 1:00pm, but the "Coffee, Cookies & Conversation" part of the meeting begins at 12:30.

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
  • Amber
  • Buckeye
  • Chattaroy
  • Colbert
  • Dartford
  • Denison
  • Dynamite
  • Elk
  • Espanola
  • Greenacres
  • Hazard
  • Marshall
  • Mica
  • Milan
  • Newman Lake
  • Nine Mile Falls
  • Orchard Prairie
  • Peone
  • Plaza
  • Spokane Bridge
  • Tyler
  • Valleyford
Census-designated places
Ghost towns
  • Mock
  • Rodna

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Spokane County, Washington," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spokane_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), Spokane 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.
  6. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  7. Durham, Nelson W. Spokane and the Inland Empire. Published 1912, p 265.
  8. Washington State Archives - Digital Archives, Birth Records, About this Collection
  9. About Death Records at Washington State Digital Archives.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Spokane County, Washington," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spokane_County,_Washington, accessed 26 March 2019.