Monday, September 9, 2013
EWGS Meeting On September 7th
EWGS member, Susan Beamer, came up from Pullman to give us a great program last Saturday. Her topic was Researching In Local Government Records and she is very qualified to present this topic. She worked at the Washington State Archives, Eastern Branch, for years before becoming the archivist for Schweitzer Engineering in Pullman. (Bet you did not realize that big businesses need to keep historical records too.)
Giving examples of her own family as found in the archives, Susan went through the major county offices and explored the records created and/or kept in those offices.
For instance, the Auditor's office keeps "whatever won't fit elsewhere" and could be vital records, livestock brands, licenses (as in business licenses or dog licenses), land plats, voting records and more. The Clerk's office is more likely to keep civil, criminal and probate court records. The Assessor or Treasurer's office might keep personal and real property records (for tax purposes). Other governmental records kept might include school records, city/town records, sheriff's records, and cemetery records.
While these examples were from the eastern Washington area, Susan assured us that parallel records are kept in every county across the United States.
Where to find out about these records? Susan gave several sources and books but (taking editorial liberty) I recommend doing a Google search for "XX county probate records." Or marriage records, etc.
We thank Susan for sharing her time, talent and knowledge with EWGS.