Cowlitz County, Washington
Genealogy and Facts

Cowlitz County

Cowlitz County was founded on April 21, 1854 as an Original county. The county was named for the Cowlitz, an Indian tribe.

The Cowlitz County Seat is situated in Kelso and the county government website is Past county seats were Monticello (1854-1865), Freeport (1865-1872), Kalama (1872-1922).

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

Cities and towns found in Cowlitz County consists of Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, Woodland

The Cowlitz River was an early avenue of transportation to the Puget Sound region and on each end of the river there took place one of the two conventions that petitioned the U.S. government for Washington's territorial status, the Cowlitz Convention in 1851 and the Monticello Convention in 1852. Today the county produces and ships timber products, meals and agricultural products. Its port facilities on the Columbia River are continually growing in capacity.

Cowlitz 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.

Cowlitz Co. Mortality Schedules can be acquired for 1870 and 1880. Cowlitz Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be found for 1870 and 1880. Cowlitz 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.

Cowlitz County Society and Family History Resources

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

  • Washington State Genealogy Network (
  • Washington State Archives, Southwest Regional Branch. 1129 Washington Street SE, PO Box 40238, Olympia, WA 98504. Phone 360) 753-1684.
  • Lower Columbia Genealogical Society, PO Box 472, Longview, WA 98632-0472. Involved in ongoing collection and publication of local records. Purchases materials that available for use at the Longview Public Library.
  • Cowlitz County Historical Society & Museum, 405 Allen St, Kelso, WA 98626; Exhibits of 1884 log cabin, Native American artifacts, and photography collection tell the story of the many centuries of life in the Cowlitz Valley.
  • Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, 147 Front Ave, Castle Rock, WA 98611. Phone 360-274-6603. Featuring exhibits that convey the impact of the Mount St. Helens eruptions on the area. Recordings offer oral histories from eyewitnesses. Other exhibits include logging equipment and historical photographs.
  • The Daily News Library, 770 11th Ave, PO Box 189, Longview, WA 98632-0017. Phone 360-577-2511. Over 70 years of newspapers on microfilm. Records (births) computerized format since 1991.
  • Longview Family History Center, 1721 30th Ave, Longview, WA 98632. Phone 360-577-8234.
  • Cowlitz County, Washington Message Boards ( read and post messages about your ancestors in Cowlitz County
  • Cowlitz County, Washington Genealogy Forum ( read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Cowlitz County
  • Washington State Digital Archives (
  • USGenWeb Archives for Cowlitz County (

Cowlitz County Courthouse and Government Records

Genealogist often forget the benefits of Cowlitz 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 Cowlitz 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 below specifics denotes exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records will be in Cowlitz County. The dates pointed out below could be the first noted records for this particular county.

  • Cowlitz County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: County Administration Building, 207 4th Ave N, Kelso 98626-4124
    • County Administration Building hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Cowlitz 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. The best way to use records in this office is to know approximately what year the event was recorded and grantor and grantee names.
    • Birth and Death Records: 1891 to 1907 
    • Marriage Records: 1854 
    • Land Records: 1854
  • Cowlitz 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. Records through 1983 are available on film and accessed through reader/printer in our office. If interested in records from 1984-1992, it is suggested that a phone call to our Records Management Clerk ahead of time would assure the availability of the files when the party comes in - if they know exactly while file they need. Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm. For judicial purposes, many of the Washington counties were attached to other counties.
    • Court Records: 1860
    • Probate Records: 1872 
  • Cowlitz 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. Need owner's name or address to locate on a map. Busy the last half of October and all of April and June. Phone calls acceptable.
  • 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.

Cowlitz County Links

The following are links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Cowlitz 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 Cowlitz County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Cowlitz Co. WA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Cowlitz Co. WA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Cowlitz Co. WA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Cowlitz Co. WA Census Records

Cowlitz Co. WA Church & Cemeteries

Cowlitz Co. WA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Cowlitz Co. WA General and History Websites

Cowlitz Co. WA Immigration & Naturalization

Cowlitz Co. WA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Cowlitz Co. WA Military Records

Cowlitz Co. WA Schools & Directories

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