Difference between revisions of "Clark County, Washington Genealogy"

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[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Washington|Washington]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] '''Clark County'''  [[Image:{{WAClarkBridge}}]]]<br><br>Guide to '''{{PAGENAME}} genealogy.''' Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1844, when the [[{{PAGENAME}}#County_Overview|county was formed]].<br><br>  
''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Washington|Washington]]'' [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] '''Clark County'''  [[Image:{{WAClarkBridge}}]]]<br><br>Guide to '''{{PAGENAME}} genealogy.''' Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1844, when the [[{{PAGENAME}}#County_Overview|county was formed]].<br><br>  
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Revision as of 01:26, 17 November 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Clark County [[Image:Template:WAClarkBridge]]]

Guide to Clark County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1844, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:

800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Clark County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Clark County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded June 27, 1844
County Seat Vancouver
Address Clark County Courthouse
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: 360.397.2292 
Clark County Website

County Overview

Parent County(s)

  • Clark County, Washington was created 27 June 1844[1] as an original county in the Oregon Territory and named Vancouver District. Renamed Clark County 3 September 1849[2]

County Seat: Vancouver Parent County: Original county, formerly Vancouver District.

Boundary Changes

Neighboring Counties

Clark County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Cowlitz | Skamania | Oregon counties: Columbia | Multnomah

Clark CountySkamania CountyCowlitz CountyWahkiakum CountyPacific CountyLewis CountyMultnomah CountyColumbia CountyClatsop CountyClark County.JPG

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries

Record Loss

1890--Clark County Courthouse and Jail destroyed by fire on February 25, 1890. Many county records were destroyed, including probate records, Superior and District court records, and records of the Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools and Surveyor's office. The County Auditor's records were safe from fire. [4]


Below are resources used for family history and genealogy, with dates, value of records, and how to access them for Clark County, Washington Genealogy. Internet links may contain names, images, or more information for the county.

Bible Records


Business and Commerce


Cemetery records often reveal birth, death, relationship, military, and religious information. Tombstones, sextons (caretakers) records, and burial records each have slightly different information. See Washington Cemeteries.

City of Camas Cemetery: Began in 1883: Courtesy of the City of Camas

Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery and Funeral Chapel
www.evergreenmemorialgardens.com - (360) 892-6060

City of Vancouver: Park Hill Cemetery
(360) 696-8156

The Old City Cemetery - the Old City Cemetery located at the corner of Grand Blvd. and Mill Plain Blvd in Vancouver.
The Old City Cemetery is a repository of unique genealogical, historical, religious, cultural and societal information. Many of Clark County’s first pioneers and leaders are buried in this cemetery. The Old City Cemetery use began in 1867. Some of the initial interments were graves that were moved from the Old Post Cemetery on the property of the Vancouver Barracks.
CCGS envisions this grant request as the first phase of a longer term effort to restore and rehabilitate the Old City Cemetery. The Historical Promotions grant will provide resources for repair and restoration of stones and markers that have been damaged due to vandalism or through the effects of weather or age.
The Old City Cemetery is owned, managed and maintained by the City of Vancouver.

Fishers Cemetery - 1st Cemetery in Vancouver, WA

Listing of those buried there has been done by the USGS - click here

Images of Fishers and the beach along the Columbia River at this historic spot.

Vancouver Funeral Chapel
www.vancouverfuneralhome.com - (360) 693-3633

Genealogy Archives - Vancouver Cemeteries

Clark County Cemeteries listed in ROOTSWEB

Vancouver Barracks Cemetery

Clark Co Cemetery Records Online - Intermet.net

  • County Farm Cemetery (Marble Mount Cemetery)
  • La Center Cemetery (Mount Zion Cemetery)
  • Old City Cemetery
  • Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver BillionGraves
  • Sacred Heart Cemetery (Dublin Cemetery)

Cemeteries and Memorial Sites of Politicians in Clark County

Death Certificates of Finns in Clark County, Washington, 1908-1947

Richard Engstrom
Clark County Genealogical Society
717 Grand Blvd, Vancouver
Phone: 360-750-5668
Email: gensoc@ccgs-wa.org

Clark County, Washington Genealogy cemeteries from state and national resources
Online County-wide Name Searches
Published Grave
Lists of Cemeteries
(Several will also link to names)
FindAGrave (Add a name to the search) FamilySearch Library Click Cemeteries. Press space bar to select town FindAGrave
WA State Archives - Digital Collections Click any cemetery for search window, select county, enter name(s). WorldCat Interment.net
Billion Graves Switch to "Person Lookup" Washington Periodicals Washington State Digital Archives Put county name in Search box
Billion Graves
USGenWeb Tombstone Project
Genealogy Trails
See Washington Cemeteries for details about these and other sites.


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.

  • See Washington Census for online indexes and images of US federal censuses. of: 1856, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940.
  • See statewide printed indexes, including 1856.
  • Check county indexes when online indexes fail. Created by people who knew the families of the area, they are often more accurate and they may have added insights. See periodicals and local libraries or other record holders.
  • 1890 Veterans
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930
  • 1940

Church Records

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

Court Records

Many of your ancestors may be found in court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence, occupations, and other family history information. See Washington Court Records for the various courts through the years.

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


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political or Religious Groups

American Indian
  • 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.



A FamilySearch Community Tree is available for this place.


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.


Local histories for Clark County, Washington Genealogy may include biographies, history of churches, schools, local government with names of officials, military information, and more. See Washington Local Histories. For a good look at the pioneers of Clark County, A book "Clark County Pioneers--A Centennial Salute" is a good place to start. The book contains information on the pioneers of Clark County and their families with many photos of those pioneers. The book has 675 pages plus an index. It has a copyright date of 1989.

Two other books in that same series, "Clark County Washington Territory" and "Clark County Pioneers--Through the turn of the Century" both contain valuable information. These books are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. All Clark County books have a catalogue number of 979.786.

History Timeline

Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library[5]

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. Clark County -- Thumbnail History, History Link.org Essay 5644.

  • For hundreds of years before Western explorers intruded on their shores, the Chinook Indians had lived along the banks of the Columbia River.
  • The Chinook's first contact with non-Indian people may have been in 1792, when the Columbia Rediviva, an American ship captained by Robert Gray (1755-1806), made its way up the river.
  • 1805 - November - Lewis and Clark passed through what is now Clark County.
  • 1825 - March - The British-owned Hudson's Bay Company opened Fort Vancouver on the future site of the City of Vancouver.
  • The first American of note in the Fort Vancouver area was Henry Williamson, who laid out his land claim west of the fort in 1844.
  • 1845 - August - 20 - Clark County was the first county of Washington. It was created by the provisional government of Oregon Territory, and at that time covered the entire present-day state of Washington.
  • In 1846, Amos Short measured his land claim from a "witness tree" (a tree used by surveyors to establish a corner of a section of land) by carving his initials in a cottonwood that stood near the bank of the Columbia River.
  • Congress approved the formation of Washington Territory in 1853, and in 1855 the Territorial Legislature formally changed the town's name from Columbia City to Vancouver.

Land and Property

  • 1850-1934 Part of:"County Land Records, 1850-1954" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
Land Records reveal
Yes or Maybe  Y  M
Seller (Grantor) Green check.png]]  
Seller's Spouse Green check.png]]  
Buyer (Grantee) Green check.png]]  
Heirs   Green check.png]]
Witnesses Green check.png]]  
Land Description and Dates Green check.png]]  
Tips -or- Land Contents

Land records (especially deeds) may give the name of a spouse, heirs, and witnesses, who may be 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.


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


Early migration routes to and from Clark County, Washington Genealogy for European and African American settlers included:


Naturalization and Citizenship

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.


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 Clark 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)

Newspapers for Vancouver, Washington can be seen at the e-mail address for "The Columbian", columbian@newsbank.com for the years after 1994. For years prior to 1994, go to the Ft. Vancouver Library.



Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Postmaster Indexes

  • Prior to 1965 Part of: County Records, Prior to 1965 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)

Probate Records

  • 1890-1929 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)

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


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

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.

See also How to order Washington Vital Records, order electronically online or download an application for Washington Birth or Death Certificate and Marriage or Divorce Certificate Applications to mail. See Washington Vital Records for details and history of the records. .

  • Washington State Digital Archives has a database of Clark County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Clark County from June 1891 – August 1913. The names were taken from the Clark County Register of Births.
  • Birth Register, 1884, 1891-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)

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.

  • 1890-1920 Part of: County Divorce Records, 1852-1950 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
  • 1891-1907 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
  • Washington Death Certificates 1907-1960 A free internet index to the 1907-1960 death certificates can be found at FamilySearch Record Search, no images are available. A transcribed death certificate may contain such information as name of the deceased, date and place of death, age, gender, birth date and birth place, mother’s maiden name and name of spouse, place of residence, occupation and certificate numbers.
  • Death Register 1891-1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection.(Free)


Sites with online indexes or images of records:

Sites that search the Internet for Clark County, Washington Genealogy records online:

Major catalogs to offline genealogical records:
Catalogs refer to books, microfilm, manuscripts, and/or Internet images and indexes for various topics.

Archives, Libraries, etc.

Resources for Clark 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.


Clark County Courthouse
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: 360.397.2292 

County Auditor has birth and death records 1890-1906,
marriage records from 1890 and land records from 1850.
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1890. [7]

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


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.

Battle Ground Community Library, 12 West Main Street, Battle Ground 98604 Phone: (360) 687-2322
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Camas Public Library, 625 Ne Fourth Ave., Camas 98607 Phone: (360) 834-4692
Online Resources: (None found Oct. 2013)
Unique Collections:
Ridgefield Community Library, 210 North Main Avenue, Ridgefield 98642 Phone: (360) 887-8281
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Vancouver Mall Community Library, 8700 Ne Vancouver Mall Drive, Vancouver 98662 Phone: (360) 892-8256
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Vancouver Regional Library District, 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver 98663 Phone: (360) 695-1561
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Vancouver Community Library, 1007 E Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver 98663 Phone: (360) 695-1566
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Cascade Park Community Library, 301 Se Hearthwood Blvd, Vancouver 98684 Phone: (360) 256-7782
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Three Creeks Community Library, 800-C Tenney Road, Vancouver 98685 Phone: (360) 571-9696
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:
Washougal Community Library, 1661 C Street, Washougal 98671 Phone: (360) 835-5393
Online Resources: Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Internet Archive, and others.
Unique Collections:

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Clark County per Wikipedia.


  1. 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.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  4. GenDisasters.com - Vancouver, WA Courthouse Fire, Feb 1890 http://www3.gendisasters.com/washington/7339/vancouver-wa-courthouse-jail-fire-feb-1890
  5. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.
  6. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map VI" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap6.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clark County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.