Oregon, Columbia County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Collection Time Period

The collection covers the years 1854 to 1958.

Record Description

This collection of various county records was obtaubed from the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens, Oregon. The records include indexes and images of of the following records:

  • Land and property (1854-1920)
  • Civil Registration - Marriages (1854-1958)
  • Naturalization / Citizenship (1891-1945)
  • Tax (1898-1908)

Record Content

Oregon, Columbia County Records, 1854-1958 DGS 4862873 26.jpg

Key genealogical information found in Land and Property Records Index includes:

  • Name of owner
  • Date of transaction
  • Names of grantor and grantee
  • Type of document filed

Key genealogical information typically found in Land and Property Records includes:

  • Name of owner
  • Legal description of real and personal property
  • Names and ages of property owners and possible relationships
  • Number of acres of land
  • Town plot description
  • Name of city or town

Key genealogical information typically found in Marriage Records includes:

  • Name of the bride and groom
  • Names of the parents
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Family History Library Microfilm and item numbers for the source materials

Key genealogical information typically found in Naturalization Records includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Year of immigration
  • Native country
  • Birth place
  • Birth date

Key genealogical information typically found in Tax Records includes:

  • Name of owner
  • Legal description of real and personal property
  • Names and ages of property owners and possible relationships
  • Original grantee
  • Number of acres of land
  • Value
  • Town plot description
  • Name of city or town
  • Kind, number, and value of livestock
  • Kind, quantity, and value of farm commodities
  • Amount of state taxes
  • Amount of county taxes

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The county where the event occurred or where your ancestors lived 
  • The name of the person at the time of the event
  • The approximate event date
  • The event place
  • The name of the intended spouse (if a marriage record)

Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the ancestor/family in census records.
  • Use the residence to locate church and land records.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as your ancestor; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

  • The information is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

Record History

Land and Property

Oregon land records during the period, 1845 to 1849, were filed with the provisional recorder. These papers are now in the Oregon State Archives. The record contains a description of the land claimed, and may name adjoining land holders.

Individuals who settled in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1855 were eligible to receive donation land claims. The earlier, provisional claims were voided. The size of the piece of land was dependent upon the date of the arrival and the marital status of the claimant. The applications for these free lands may provide birth, marriage, citizenship, migration, or other valuable information.

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions are recorded by the county auditor in the form of deeds and mortgages. These may be obtained from the appropriate recorder or clerk in each courthouse. The Family History Library has not acquired land records from the counties, except for the deed indexes of Douglas County for 1857 to 1974.

Many of the country records can be found on the internet by using a search engine and terms such as county name (e.g. Douglas), Land, Records.

Marriage and Civil Registration

Marriages were usually recorded by the clerk of the district court for each county from the time the county was formed. Persons desiring to marry obtained a license that they presented to the minister or other person authorized to marry, such as a justice of the peace. Once the marriage was performed, the officiator sent a return to the clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred.

Naturalization and Citizenship

In the territorial era, immigrants could apply for citizenship at any U.S. district court. Naturalization records filed as part of the “donation land” laws are at the National Archives.

After statehood in 1859, the circuit court had primary jurisdiction over naturalization. The county clerk served as clerk of the circuit court and kept the records. You can obtain copies of declarations and petitions from the clerk's office in each county. Some naturalization records may also be found in county court journals or U.S. district court records. The Family History Library has copies of some naturalization records for Oregon.


Why This Record Was Created

Marriage

Counties recorded marriages to legalize marital relationships and to protect the interests of the wife and other heirs to legal claims on property.

Land Records

These records were created to document the ownership of land in the State of Oregon.

Record Reliability

The records in this collection are generally reliable.

Related Wiki Articles

Columbia County, Oregon

Oregon Land and Property

Oregon Taxation

Oregon Genealogy

Oregon Naturalization and Citizenship

Related Websites

Oregon State Archives

Columbia Public Record Information Online

Columbia County, Oregon - Free Public Records Directory

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023.

Sources of information for This Collection

Oregon. Columbia County Records,1854-1958. Columbia County Clerk. St. Helens, Oregon.