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King County, Washington

King County

King County was founded on December 22, 1852 from Thurston County. The county was named in honor of William R. King (1786–1853), U.S. Vice President under Franklin Pierce; officially renamed in 1986 after Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968).

The King County Seat is situated in Seattle and the county government website is

Locations bordering King County are Snohomish County (north), Chelan County (northeast), Kittitas County (southeast), Pierce County (south), Kitsap County (west).

Cities and towns found in King County consists of Ames Lake, Baring, Bryn Mawr-Skyway, Cascade-Fairwood, Cottage Lake, East Hill-Meridian, East Renton Highlands, Eastgate, Fall City, Hobart, Inglewood-Finn Hill, Kingsgate, Lake Marcel-Stillwater, Lake Morton-Berrydale, Lakeland North, Lakeland South, Maple Heights-Lake Desire, Mirrormont, Ravensdale, Riverbend, Riverton-Boulevard Park, Tanner, Union Hill-Novelty Hill, Vashon, West Lake Sammamish, White Center.

The first settlements in the county were the donation land claims of Luther Collins, Henry Van Asselt, and Jacob Maple in September of 1851 in the Duwamish Valley area of present day Seattle. This settlement was followed in November by one led by David Denny and Leander Terry at Alki Pont. The next year the Denny-Terry settlers moved to a better location for loading lumber on the east side of Elliott Bay and named the settlement Seattle after the friendly chief of the Duwamish Indians. The next year Henry Yesler set up the first steam sawmill on Puget Sound.

King County vital records can be found at the 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.

You can search online for King County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Washington Birth or Death Certificate and Marriage or Divorce Certificate Applications to mail.

King 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.

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

King County Society and Family History Resources

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

King County Courthouse and Government Records

King County Courthouse

Genealogist often forget the benefits of King 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 King 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.

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

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.
  • King County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 516 3rd Ave, Seattle 98104-3272
    • Courthouse hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • King County Recorder's 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.
    • Birth and Death Records: 1891 to 1907 
    • Marriage Records: 1866
    • Land Records: 1853
  • King 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: 1854 
    • Probate Records: 1864
  • King 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.
  • The Seattle & King County Health Department can issue Birth, Marriage and Death certificates while you wait.

King County Links

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

King Co. WA Books, Newspapers & Publications

King Co. WA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

King Co. WA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

King Co. WA Census Records

King Co. WA Church & Cemeteries

King Co. WA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

King Co. WA General and History Websites

King Co. WA Immigration & Naturalization

King Co. WA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

King Co. WA Military Records

King Co. WA Schools & Directories

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