Difference between revisions of "Columbia County, Washington Genealogy"

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*The railroad arrived in Dayton in July 1881.  
*The railroad arrived in Dayton in July 1881.  
*1934 - The Blue Mountain Cannery was built in Dayton.  
*1934 - The Blue Mountain Cannery was built in Dayton.  
*1935 - As part of Franklin Roosevelt's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal New Deal], two Civilian Conservation Camps were established in Columbia County.
*1935 - As part of Franklin Roosevelt's {{wpd|New Deal|New Deal}}, two Civilian Conservation Camps were established in Columbia County.
==== Land and Property  ====
==== Land and Property  ====

Revision as of 16:21, 25 September 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png Columbia County [[Image:Template:WAColumbiarailway]]

Guide to Columbia County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1861, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:

800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
Columbia County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Columbia County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded 11 November, 1875
County Seat Dayton
Address Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321
Columbia County Website

County Overview

Parent County(s)

Columbia County, Washington was created 11 November 1875 from Walla Walla County.[1]

County seat: Dayton [2] For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Neighboring Counties

Columbia County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Franklin | Garfield | Walla Walla | Whitman | Oregon counties: Umatilla | Wallowa
Columbia CountyWalla Walla CountyAsotin CountyWhitman CountySpokane CountyLincoln CountyAdams CountyGrant CountyFranklin CountyBenton CountyGarfield CountyBenewah CountyLatah CountyNez Perce CountyUmatilla CountyWallowa CountyColumbia County.JPG

Boundary Changes

Dates of Major County Records

Note: The dates you see below have not yet been adapted to Columbia County, Washington Genealogy.

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


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

Bible Records



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.


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 Columbia 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 and 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 Columbia 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

Historical County Boundaries from Newberry Library[4]

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. Columbia County -- Thumbnail History, [1] Essay 7801.

  • The lower Snake River was home to bands of Palouse and other Sahaptin-speaking people, including Nez Perce, Yakama, Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Wanapum.
  • 1805 - October - 12-13 -Lewis and Clark canoed on the Snake River along the boundary separating Columbia and Whitman counties.
  • In the late winter of 1834, Captain B. L. E. Bonneville crossed Columbia County on the Nez Perce Trail, surveying the Northwest on behalf of the United States government.
  • 1855 - One of the first white settlers in Columbia County was Henry M. Chase. Chase and another man, P. M. Lafontain, built cabins and possibly a small fort early in 1855 at the site of present day Dayton.
  • Permanent settlement reached Columbia County in 1859, with claims taken up along the Touchet and Tucannon rivers and along Patit Creek.
  • In the fall of 1859, Frederick Schnebley homesteaded at the Dayton site of the former Chase homestead, which had been destroyed in the 1855 Indian attack.
  • Settlers slowly drifted into the county in the 1860s, but in the early 1870s settlement rapidly increased.
  • 1875 - November - 29 - Columbia County officially came into existence.
  • The railroad arrived in Dayton in July 1881.
  • 1934 - The Blue Mountain Cannery was built in Dayton.
  • 1935 - As part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, two Civilian Conservation Camps were established in Columbia County.

Land and Property

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.



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.)


Finding More Washington Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Columbia 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)



Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Probate Records

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 Columbia County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in Columbia County from June 1891 – August 1913. The names were taken from the CColumbia County Register of Births.

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.

  • 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.


Archives, Libraries, etc.

Resources for Columbia 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.

  • When you find items you'd like to access, see Get a Copy

See also Courthouse · FamilySearch Centers · Libraries · Museums · Other Repositories · Societies


Columbia County Courthouse
341 E Main Street
Dayton, WA 99328-1361
Phone: 509.382.4321

County Clerk has probate, divorce and court records from 1891.
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1906,
marriage records from 1876, land records from 1864
and military discharge records. [5]

FamilySearch Centers

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in Columbia 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. 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), Clark County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.