Our Oregon genealogists are available to research on location. They will find and analyze the best records available to further your family history research. They can search the archives and libraries in Oregon, as well as help you with other special requests.
Oregon State Archives and Libraries
Our researchers are available to visit local archives and libraries to access unique record collections to help with your research. Below is a list of a few of the archives our Oregon researchers have access to.
Oregon State Archives (Salem, Oregon)
The Oregon State Archives contain several in-depth databases. They have a Historical County Records Guide that holds maps, county and office histories, scenic images. There is also an in-depth guide to records from each of the 36 counties in Oregon. Specific records include Oregon birth records from 1848 to 1912, marriage records from 1848 to 1912, and death records from 1903 to 1962.
Knight Library, University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)
The Knight Library in the University of Oregon holds 3 million volumes and is the largest research collection in Oregon. It is also home to the most complete collection of Oregon newspapers in the world. Other departments in its Special Collections include its photograph collection, which contains over half a million historic photographs and negatives. The manuscript section of their collection holds the papers of prominent Oregon figures, as well as papers from businesses and organizations from within and beyond the state’s borders.
Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University (Salem, Oregon)
The Mark O. Hatfield Library on Willamette University’s campus contains records about the history of the school. These include records from the Athletics Department, papers from past college presidents, and board of trustees records. Their archives also hold the professional pagers of Robert C. Notson, who was the editor and publisher of The Oregonian from 1925 to 1975. The collection contains scrapbooks of Notson’s life and scrapbooks belonging to his wife Adelia Notson.
Oregon Genealogical Society Library (Eugene, Oregon)
The Oregon Genealogical Society’s Research Library contains 9,000 books, 3,000 periodicals from all fifty states, and more periodicals from European countries. They specialize in Oregon family history and the pioneers who immigrated to the state.
State Library of Oregon (Salem, Oregon)
The State Library of Oregon is home to large archives and special collections. The photograph collection is one of the library’s most prominent collections. This collection contains nearly 20,000 prints, negatives and slides. These photographs cover a large variety of Oregon subjects, many dated from before 1950.
Genealogical Forum of Oregon (Portland, Oregon)
The Genealogical Forum of Oregon’s library is one of the largest genealogical collection of materials from the United States in Oregon. Their archives contain over 32,000 items, with about 20% of these articles focusing on the state of Oregon. The rest contain records of other states, as well as European countries, including Ireland, Sweden, France, Italy, and Germany.
George Fox University Library (Newberg, Oregon)
The George Fox University Library is the oldest Christian university in Oregon. The library contains a Quaker collection. This collection includes 75 years of documents and books that pertain to the history of the religion. The collection also includes writing from the 17th century and a nearly complete file of major Quaker periodicals.
Jackson County Genealogy Library (Medford, Oregon)
The Jackson County Genealogy Library houses the largest collection of genealogical books and resources in southern Oregon. The 16,000 volumes found here cover information from all of the fifty states, but the library specializes in Oregon and Jackson County history. Their records date back to the 1800s and include 1895 poll tax records, articles about residents from early newspapers, and church records from Presbyterian, Catholic, and Methodist branches.
The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail is one of the most publically known pioneer routes located in the United States of America. The trail extends from western Missouri, across the Great Plains, through the Rocky Mountains, and into Colorado City. It was the longest overland migration trail in North America–approximately 2,000 miles. Traveling this route normally took around four to six months. All in all, about 80,000 pioneers used it until the transcontinental railroad was established in 1869.
There is no complete list of pioneer settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail. Less than one percent have been documented in online databases. However, there are other sources that genealogists can use to find information on the men, women, and children who crossed North America by this route. Oregon’s provisional government was established in the spring of 1843. Many settlers staked out claims of the land. Over 4,000 of these claims were made until Congress declared Oregon a territory in 1848. After that, the system of land ownership changed. Records of these land claims have been published by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, and contain valuable information to genealogists.
Our genealogists specialize in researching all different types of documentation, and the list above is simply a small sample of what they can help you with.