King County, Washington Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Washington Gotoarrow.png King County [[Image:Template:WAKingLibrary]]

Guide to King County, Washington Genealogy genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records, since 1852, when the county was formed.

County QuickStart:

800px-Flag map of Washington.svg.png Washington
Online Records
King County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting King County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the U.S. highlighting Washington
Location of Washington in the U.S.
Founded December 22, 1852
County Seat Seattle
Address King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.296.1020
King County Website

County Overview

Parent County(s)

King County, Washington was created 22 December 1852 from Thurston.[1]

County Seat: Seattle [2]. See also Towns and Communities in King County, Washington Genealogy. For Courthouse, see Archives, libraries, etc.

Boundary Changes


King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.296.1020

County Clerk has divorce records from 1886,
probate records from 1891 and court records from 1890.
County Auditor has birth and death records 1891-1907
and marriage records from 1853. [4]

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

Dates of Major County Records

Beginning dates for major county records[5]
* For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
Record Loss

Neighboring Counties

King County, Washington Genealogy is surrounded by: Chelan | Kitsap | Kittitas | Pierce | Snohomish | Yakima

King CountyKittitas CountyChelan CountyYakima CountyPierce CountyThurston CountySnohomish CountyJefferson CountyKitsap CountyKing County.JPG

Topics for King County, Washington Genealogy

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



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.


Find A Grave: search and contribute to 168 King County cemeteries

King 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
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.

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 King County, Washington Genealogy are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. (Press space bar to select town.)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Queen Anne (Seattle)
  • Renton
  • Seattle S.
  • Seattle W.
  • University (Seattle)

Denny Park Lutheran Church

  • Records of Denny Park Lutheran Church, Seattle, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

Immanuel Lutheran Church

  • Records of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Seattle, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

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 King 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 and Progress of King County, Washington... 1916, by Henry C. Pigott. Digitalized book online from

[1] A history of central Washington: including the famous Wenatchee, Entiat, Chelan and the Columbia Valleys, with an index and ei] (If the link does not work, go to ($), click Search, select Card Catalog, paste Title into search box, click Search)

Oral History

  • Olson, Diane and Cory, comp. and ed., Black Diamond: Mining the Memories, An oral history of life in a company town, (Seaside, Oregon: Frontier Publishing, 1988). FHL Book 979.777/B1 H2o The 1989 Washington Centennial project of the Black Diamond Historical Society, this book is a compilation of historical photographs and selections from the transcripts of over fifty oral history interviews.
  • University of Washington, Urban Design and Planning, Mining the Memories II, Black Diamond Oral History Project, (University of Washington: 2011). Summary of 2010 oral history project pdf for the Black Diamond Historical Society. A follow-up to the 1988 centennial project, students interviewed another twenty-two residents capturing the history of Black Diamond as the area transitioned from a coal mining company town, 1950s to present.
History Timeline

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 Wilma, David. King County -- Thumbnail History, History Essay 7905.

  • The area's indigenous peoples included the Duwamish, the Snoqualmies,and the Muckleshoots.
  • Early explorers were Colonel Isaac Ebey and later, the gold-seeker John Holgate.
  • The great spur to settlement was the Donation Land Claims Act of 1850, which granted 320 acres to each adult U.S. citizen who arrived in Oregon Territory before December 1850, and resided on their claim for four years.
  • 1851 September 14 - The first settlers were farmers led by Luther Collins.
  • 1852 December 22 - The Oregon Territorial Legislature created King County.
  • 1889 June 6 - The Great Seattle Fire wiped the downtown slate clean.
  • 1890s - Immigrants into King County included Russians, Greeks, and Serbs.

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.

  • 1854-1923 Part of:"County Land Records, 1850-1954" FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)


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.)

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 King 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 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.

See also: NewspapersLibrariesSocietiesFuneral Homes • Obituaries of neighboring counties or of the person's previous residence • Family records.

Also check:


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Probate Records

  • 1854-1927 Part of: County Records, 1854-1927 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)
  • Probate Case Files, 1903-1917 Part of Washington, County Probate Case Files, 1832-1950 at 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.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
Washington, King County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Public Records

School Records

  • 1892-1958 Part of: County Records, 1856-2009 FamilySearch Historical Collections (free)


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 King County Birth Records. This database contains the names of people who were born in King County from 1891-1907.

Template:WA Birth Tips

Marriage Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Date of Marriage or License Green check.png]]  
Names of Bride and Groom Green check.png]]  
Ages Green check.png]]  
Birth Places Green check.png]]  
Residences Green check.png]]  
Names of Parents   Green check.png]]
Husband's Occupation   Green check.png]]
Witnesses Green check.png]]  
Minister or Officiator Green check.png]]  

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

See Washington Online Genealogy Records for indexes.
Also see Washington Marriage Records.

To obtain copies of marriage records from King County, go to the following website: The website offers a link to an online search for marriage records 1855-1989, which includes images.


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.
  • Death Register 1891 - 1907 at Washington State Digital Archives Collection. (Free)
  • Seattle Death Registers Index, 1881-1907 at Washinton State Digital Archives Collection (Free)


Sites with online indexes or images of records:

  • WAGenWeb
  • USGenWeb Archives
  • Current Collections at Washington State Digital Archives (Free) Type county name, click Search, then select a collection. Collections were posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page in November, 2013.
  • Historical Collections at (Free) Click "Last Updated." Collections through October 2013 have been posted to the appropriate headings for this Wiki page.

Sites that search the Internet for King 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 King 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.

King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.296.1020

Records and Elections Division, Records Section has birth, marriage, death and land records from 1853. Clerk of the Superior Court has divorce, probate and county records. [4]

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.

  • Black Diamond Historical Depot Museum
    32627 Railroad Ave
    Black Diamond WA 98010
    Franklin Tours: 253–852–6763
    Transit: Baker St and 3rd Ave
    Send e-mail to:

    Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday (Summer) 12 to 4 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday (Winter) 12 to 3 p.m.
  • Black Diamond Historical Society – The mission of the Black Diamond Historical Society shall be the discovery, preservation, and dissemination of the history of Black Diamond and environs, as it relates to King County and the State of Washington. Like us on facebook Black Diamond History
  • Eastside Genealogical Society – Library holdings are located at the Bellevue Regional Library, a part of the King County Library System. Meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Bellevue Regional Library at 1111 110th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, WA 98004. Check the website for more information on the various interest groups that meet as a part of EGS.
  • Seattle Genealogical Society – Library located at 6200 Sand Point Way N.E., #101, Seattle, WA 98115. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:00a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday until 8:00 p.m. Check the website for the society meeting schedule and a listing of the various interest groups that meet as a part of SGS.

Towns and Communities

See a list of towns and communities in King 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. 4.0 4.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ferry County, Washington page 732, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 733-734. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  6. John H. Long, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (Chicago: Newberry Library, 2006) online.