Lewis County, Washington
Genealogy and Facts

Lewis County

Lewis County was founded on December 21, 1845 when the Provisional Government of Oregon divided the District of Vancouver into two large counties: all land north of the Columbia and west of the Cowlitz Rivers was designated Lewis County. The county was named in honor of Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809), the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The Lewis County Seat is situated in Chehalis (The county seats were Jackson Prairie 1845?-1862, Claquato 1862-1872 and Chehalis; originally named Saundersville, renamed Chehalis in 1872) and the county government website is http://lewiscountywa.gov/

Locations bordering Lewis County are Grays Harbor County (north), Thurston County (north), Pierce County (northeast), Yakima County (east), Skamania County (southeast), Cowlitz County (south), Wahkiakum County (southwest), Pacific County (west)..

Cities and towns found in Lewis County consists of Centralia, Chehalis, Fords Prairie, Morton, Mossyrock, Napavine, Pe Ell, Toledo, Vader, Winlock.

The county's early settlers expended much effort and time in cutting and building roads through the vast forests that covered the land. In 1873 the Northern Pacific Railroad passed through the county linking it to the Puget Sound settlements; the county seat, Chehalis, was built to accommodate the new railroad.

Lewis 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.

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

Lewis County Society and Family History Resources

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

Lewis County Courthouse and Government Records

Genealogist often forget the benefits of Lewis 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 Lewis 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 Lewis County. The dates pointed out below could be the first noted records for this particular county.

  • Lewis County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 351 NW North St, Chehalis WA 98532-1900
    • Courthouse hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Lewis 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.
    • Birth and Death Records: 1883 to 1907 
    • Marriage Records: 1847
    • Land Records: 1855
  • Lewis 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: 1855 
    • Probate Records: 1847 
  • Lewis 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. For information that is readily available, a staff person will supply the appropriate book or file. Original documents cannot be removed from this office. The information must be reviewed on premises and under supervision to ensure the files are kept intact and are not altered. For information that is not readily available, we will respond to that request within five working days. That response will (a) provide the information requested, (b) acknowledge the receipt of the request and the amount of time it will take to respond or (c) deny the request and the reason. Be patient. Property taxes are due April 30 and October 31 each year. The office will be very busy near these dates. Try to avoid these times for special requests.
  • 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.

Lewis County Links

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

Lewis Co. WA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Lewis Co. WA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Lewis Co. WA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Lewis Co. WA Census Records

Lewis Co. WA Church & Cemeteries

Lewis Co. WA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Lewis Co. WA General and History Websites

Lewis Co. WA Immigration & Naturalization

Lewis Co. WA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Lewis Co. WA Military Records

Lewis Co. WA Schools & Directories

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