Clark County, Washington
Genealogy and Facts

Clark County

Clark County was founded on August 20, 1845 by the provisional government of Oregon Territory and was called Vancouver District, it was renamed Clarke County on September 3, 1849, (the county name was spelled CLARKE from 1849 until 1925). The county was named in honor of William Clark (1770–1838), the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The Clark County Seat is situated in Vancouver (Originally Columbia City from 1851-1855) and the county government website is http://www.clark.wa.gov/

Locations bordering Clark County are Cowlitz County (north), Skamania County (east), Multnomah County, Oregon (south), Columbia County, Oregon (southwest).

Cities and towns found in Clark County consists of Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, Woodland (partly in Clark County, mainly in Cowlitz County), Yacolt.

The county was first settled in 1825 when the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Vancouver as its regional headquarters. American settlers moved into the county in the 1830s and 1840s and were well established when the Oregon country's boundary was set at the thirty-ninth parallel in 1846. Fort Vancouver became an U.S. military post in 1848 and that year the city of Vancouver was established.

Clark County has Federal Census Schedules to assist in researching your family tree. Federal government Population Schedules exist for 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Clark Co. Mortality Schedules can be acquired for 1870 and 1880. Clark Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be found for 1870 and 1880. Clark Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be acquired for 1890. You'll find free down loadable in addition to printable census forms that can help with your research.

Clark County Society and Family History Resources

A list of Clark County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

  • Washington State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
  • Clark County Archives - Record Division,1300 Franklin Street, Suite 650, Vancouver, WA 98660; Main phone: (360) 397-2323; The Records Division has a wealth of historical documents relating to the Board of Clark County County Commissioners beginning November 1859.
  • Clark County Genealogical Society, PO Box 5249, Vancouver, WA 98668-5249. Maintains a library at 717 Grand Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661. Library Collection includes Index to Washington Death and all of the federal and territorial censuses of Washington. There is a surname and locality file. The vertical file represents most areas of the United States, with particular emphasis of Clark County. In addition to the 2,800-book collection there are many oral history transcripts and biographies
  • Clark County Historical Society and Museum, 1511 Main St, PO Box 1834, Vancouver, WA 98663. Phone 360-695-4681. Housed in a retired Carnegie Library, museum also has a genealogical and research library.
  • Ft Vancouver Historical Society of Clark County, PO Box 1834, 1511 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98668-1834; Phone 360-695-4681.
  • Ft. Vancouver National Historic Site, 612 E Reserve St, Vancouver, WA 98661-3811. Phone 360-696-7655. Fax 360-696-7657. Fur trading headquarters for the British Hudson's Bay Company from 1825 to 1849; site includes a museum, restored and reconstructed buildings, and living history demonstrations. Small research library emphasizes Hudson's Bay Company history and the fur trade industry; some volumes may have genealogical relevance.
  • Camas-Washougal Historical Society Museum, Camas Public Library (basement), 4th & Franklin, PO
    Box 204, Washougal, WA 98671. Phone 360-835-2725. Collection emphasizes local history, including Native American meeting grounds, early settlement, trade, farming and commerce of the area. Collecting and developing a biography and obituary file and photography collection.
  • Cedar Creek Grist Mill, NE Cedar Creek Rd, 10 miles east of Woodland. Phone 360-225-9552. Built in 1876, this is the last remaining 19th century gristmill operating in Washington. Wheat grinding demonstrations given.
  • Center for Columbia River History, 802C Officers' Row, Vancouver, WA 98661. Phone 360-737- 2044. Fax 360-693-2760.
  • Covington House, 4208 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98660. Phone 360-694-2898. One of Washington's oldest log cabins, built in 1848 and used as an early schoolhouse.
  • Officer's Row (George C. Marshall & Grant Houses), Central Park, Officer's Row, Vancouver, WA 98660. Phone 360-693-3103. Historic quarters for commanding officers at Camp Vancouver, 1850- 1906.
  • Parker's Landing, off State Road 14, Camas, WA. Site of the first American settlement in Clark County in 1844. A significant archaeological site covering 3,000 years of history of the Chinook people.
  • Pearson Air Museum, 1105 E Fifth St, Vancouver, WA 98660. Phone 360-694-7026. Fax 360-694-0824. Vintage airplanes and history of historic Airpark, one of the oldest operating airfields in the USA; includes exhibits on Lindbergh's flight in 1927 and the 1937 Soviet landing in Vancouver during the world's first transpolar flight.
  • Pomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 NE Lucia Falls Rd, Yacolt, WA 98675. Phone 360-686-3537. Fax 360-686-8111. Membership available. This farm depicts 1920's farm life as it existed in southwest Washington. Collections and artifacts emphasize agricultural and domestic life history. Volunteers and displays emphasize a "handson" experience. The Herb Festival and The Pumpkin Festival are annual special events.
  • U.S. Grant Museum, 1106 Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98660. Phone 360-694-5252.
  • Washington State Archives, Southwest Regional Branch. 1129 Washington Street SE, PO Box 40238, Olympia, WA 98504. Phone 360) 753-1684.
  • Clark County, Washington Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Clark County
  • Clark County, Washington Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Clark County
  • Washington State Digital Archives (digitalarchives.wa.gov)
  • USGenWeb Archives for Clark County (usgwarchives.net)

Clark County Courthouse and Government Records

Genealogist often forget the benefits of Clark County court, probate, and land files as a source of genealogy information and facts. Buried away in Washington courthouses and archives everywhere tend to be the desires and frustrations of countless Washington men and women.

The possibilities are great that your ancestors have left a in-depth record of at least a few factors of their lives in the Clark County court records. Even if your forebears is not discussed in a Court case, contemplate all of the other methods which could have lead to her or him appearing in court records.

Please make sure to speak to the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other details prior to visiting or seeking information because of sometimes changing contact information. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The documents are accessible to interested parties, barring private issues. A lot of workers will help individuals in finding the resources, however it is up to the man or women to complete the research. Although originally held in the county seat, many county land, probate, and court records have been transferred to the state archive's regional branches.

The following indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Clark county. The dates indicated below are the first known records for this county which may include records of land, estates, taxes, vital records, divorces, naturalizations, voter registration, court records, and so forth. Although originally held in the county seat, many county land, probate, and court records have been transferred to the state archive’s regional branches. Courthouse Burned in 1855 and 1890. In the 1890 fire, Probate records dating back 40 years were destroyed, along with records of the Superior and District courts, Clark County Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools, and Surveyor. The loss of records, especially land claims, would make life difficult for county residents and courts for years to come.

  • Clark County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 1200 Franklin St., PO Box 5000, Vancouver 98666-5000
    • Courthouse hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Clark County Auditor has many responsibilities which include the recording of real property documents such as deeds and other recorded documents, issuing various licenses such as marriage liscense. Any record in our office is indexed by name and by date. We do not post to the property description, parcel, or serial number. If a researcher has the names and approximate date they can use a viewer and search the records. Mondays, Fridays and the last day of the month are the busiest times. Middle of the week would be the best time for research.
    • Birth and Death Records: 1891 to 1907 
    • Marriage Records: 1852 
    • Land Records: 1850
  • Clark County Clerk is the administrator of the Superior Court Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office is responsible for keeping the permanent records of all cases filed in Superior Court. The type of cases filed are felony criminal cases, civil lawsuits, petitions for protection from domestic violence, family law matters (dissolutions 3rd Party Custody, parenting plans, modifications) probates, guardianships, Last Will & Testaments, paternities, adoptions and mental commitments.
    • Court Records: 1890
    • Probate Records: 1890
  • Clark County Treasurer is the property tax collector for the County. Property Taxes are levied on the property by the various taxing authorities based on the valuation and current property usage as set by the Assessor's Office. Actual opportunity to do research is very limited due to the condition and location of most of the older records. Direct public access is almost nonexistent, however, upon request and time permitting, staff will do some research. Requests for records stored in the Records Center should have a two-day leadtime. Copying is available subject to a nominal copying charge.
  • Washington Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Washington for current fees and application process. Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events.

Clark County Links

The following are links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Clark County. Most of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Commercial Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a fee. This is simply a directory that has been gathered or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site above another. Feel free to present your own favorite Clark County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Clark Co. WA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Clark Co. WA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Clark Co. WA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Clark Co. WA Census Records

Clark Co. WA Church & Cemeteries

Clark Co. WA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Clark Co. WA General and History Websites

Clark Co. WA Immigration & Naturalization

Clark Co. WA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Clark Co. WA Military Records

Clark Co. WA Schools & Directories

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