Major Repositories for Oregon Research
By Connie Lenzen, CGSM
Many Oregon libraries, archives, and museums offer valuable genealogical holdings. The State Archives in Salem houses records of the state and its predecessors. The Oregon State Library should be consulted also on any trip to Salem. Of prime importance are the Oregon Historical Society Library, the Genealogical Forum Library, and the Multnomah County Library — all in Portland — and the Knight Library at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
|Fur Trappers||Early Settlement||Wagon Trains||Early Government|
|Oregon State Archives||Oregon State Library||Oregon Historical Society Library||Genealogical Forum Library|
|Genealogical Forum Library||U of O Knight Library||Census Records||Church & Cemetery Records|
|Court Records||Immigration Records||Indian Records||Land Records|
|Military||Naturalization Records||Newspapers||Tax Records|
|OREGON STATE ARCHIVES
The Oregon State Archives is in downtown Salem, 800 Summer Street NE, Salem, OR 97310. Web site: http://sos.oregon.gov/Pages/default.aspx/. The Archives Division, established in 1947, is the custodian of Oregon government records. The oldest documents at the archives include records of the provisional and territorial governments and the Oregon Constitution. The twenty-five thousand cubic feet of records includes provisional and territorial government records; military rosters and files; naturalization, probate, and trial-court proceedings; vital registrations; prison files; and tax rolls. An index to over 500,000 names found in documents is on the Archives' Genealogical Information Locator, online at http://genealogy.state.or.us.
The Archives publishes guides to its holdings in the following categories: census, military, naturalization, probate, and vital records.
A guide to county-level documents held by the archives and in the county courthouses is on the web site.
Among many useful collections at the state archives, researchers will find the following:
OREGON STATE LIBRARY Situated at 250 Winter Street NE Salem, Oregon 97301-3950). This facility served since 1848 as a major repository of historical and genealogical material on Oregon. The genealogical collection was closed in 2015. Many of the books were moved to the Salem Public Library.
| OREGON HISTORICAL
Located at 1200 Southwest Park Avenue in Portland (zip 97205), this is the largest repository of Oregon historical material in the state. It offers more than 32,000 books, 25,000 maps, 12,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 3,000 serials titles, 5,000 vertical files, 16,000 reels of newspaper microfilm, 8.5 million feet of film and videotape, 10,000 oral history tapes, and more than 2.5 million photographs. Its publication, the Oregon Historical Quarterly, has a three-volume comprehensive index available through the society's bookstore.  The online book collection catalog is available for researchers.
Among the major offerings of the library are the following:
OF OREGON LIBRARY
Located in Portland (2505 S.E. 11th Ave, Suite B-18. The library of this society offers over thirty thousand volumes and micropublications, with a strong emphasis upon Oregon. The catalog is online at the society's web site., http://www.gfo.org. For a small fee, the society's Research Committee will photocopy materials in the collection. Major holdings include the following:
| MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY
Founded in 1864, this Portland library (located at 801 Southwest Tenth Avenue; zip 97205) offers a comprehensive genealogical collection. Most of the volumes are on the third floor of the library. However, the Oregon books are in the stack area. In order to access them, they must be located in the catalog. Then, take the "call number" to the stack call desk on the third floor. The catalog is online at http://www.multcolib.org/.
The Library's "Newspaper Index" provides name and subject access to Portland's Oregonian, Oregon Journal, Telegram, and Willamette Week, as well as to some vital records and biographies published in county and state histories. The index covering the years up to 1984 is in paper form and is in a card index catalog on the third floor. Many Oregon libraries have a microfiche set of the index.
The facility also holds, on microfilm, the Oregon death indexes, the Portland death and birth indexes to 1917, the Multnomah County marriage indexes, and divorces from 1971 to the present.
| U of O KNIGHT LIBRARY Founded in 1883 on the campus of the University
of Oregon at Eugene (zip 97403).
A genealogy web page, http://libweb.uoregon.edu/guides/genealogy/, explains the Oregon Collection. Items in the collection are in the card catalog, online at http://janus.uoregon.edu/screens/opacmenu.html.
Knight offers the most-complete body of filmed newspapers within the state. Most can be obtained through interlibrary loan. A list of newspapers is online, at http://libweb.uoregon.edu/govdocs/micro/news.htm.
The Special Collection department offers an extensive array of diaries, correspondence, personal papers, business records, and Oregon WPA materials. Researchers who plan to use these records should make arrangements prior to arrival. A guide to the manuscript holdings can be obtained through the university's press.  Many of the manuscript materials are listed in the Library's catalog, online at http://janus.uoregon.edu/screens/opacmenu.html and on the special collections web site., online at http://libweb.uoregon.edu/speccoll/mss/index.html.
 Joseph Baumgartner, comp. Oregon Historical Quarterly Index, 1940-1960, volumes XLI-LXI (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1967); Jean Brownell, comp. Oregon Historical Quarterly Index, 1961-1980, volumes 62 through 81. (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1990). Zoe Schubert et al., comps., Oregon Historical Quarterly Index, volumes I through 40, 1900-1939 (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1960).
 Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Oregon Historical Society (Portland: WPA — Oregon Historical Records Survey, 1940); and Oregon Historical Society Manuscripts Collection, Oregon Historical Society Research and Bibliography Series, no. 1 (Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1971).
 Library of Congress, National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (Washington, D. C., Library of Congress, 1959-).
 Martin Schmitt, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the University of Oregon Library (Eugene: University of Oregon Books, 1971).
Connie Lenzen, CGSM
CG, Certified Genealogist, is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certified genealogists after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
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