Oregon Genealogical Collections

By Connie Lenzen, CG

Updated 11 February 2012

Genealogical Forum of Oregon Library

2505 SE 11th Avenue, Suite B-18, Portland, OR 97202-1061
Visitor Fee: . Members admitted with annual membership of $40.00.
Phone: .
URL: www.gfo.org.
Hours and Location.
Photocopying facilities: books and microprints.
Internet computers with Ancestry Library edition.
Free WiFi.

Established in 1946, the GFO library has over 32,000 volumes that include a large genealogical collection for U.S. states and several foreign countries. For many years members have generously donated books to the library, and books are purchased to supplement the donations. This results in an eclectic collection with something for everyone. The collection of family history books is larger than any other collection in the region.

The GFO volunteers have indexed numerous Oregon resources and placed the indexes on the website. Click here for the list of indexed items. See the search box on the main GFO page.

Significant Oregon Genealogical Sources

Unusual resources:

Multnomah County Library

801 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205-2597.
Phone: 503-248-5234.
URL: www.multcolib.org.
Hours: Mon, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Tue. & Wed., 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Thur.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun., noon–5 p.m.
Library catalog on-line: www.multcolib.org/catalog.html
Photocopying facilities: books and microprints.
Internet computers with Ancestry Library edition.
Free WiFi for library card holders (one-hour per day).

The Library has a large genealogical collection on the third floor. All books are listed in the on-line catalog. Newspapers and censuses on microfilm are located on the second floor.  The library’s online databases include HeritageQuest™ and the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.

Significant Oregon Genealogical Sources

Other Genealogical Sources

Oregon Historical Society Library

1200 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205-2483. Library on the third floor.
Visitor fee: Oregon Historical Society Members and Multnomah County residents admitted free. Other adults, $11.00.
Phone: 503-306-5240.
URL: http://www.ohs.org
Research library hours: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Tues: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wed. – Sat.
Library catalog on-line: librarycatalog.ohs.org/eosweb/opac/
Photocopying: books and documents photocopied by staff.
No Internet computers or WiFi.

The Society, founded in 1892, has accumulated the largest Oregon collection in the state. The Library’s emphasis is on the settlement and development of Oregon, including localities, fur trade, missionary and pioneer activities, and Indian history. It offers more than 32,000 books, 25,000 maps, 12,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 3,000 serials titles, 5,000 vertical files, 16,000 reels of newspaper microfilm, 8.5 million feet of film and videotape, 10,000 oral history tapes, and more than 2.5 million photographs.

Significant Oregon Genealogical Sources

Oregon State Library

State Library Building, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97310-0640.
Phone: 503-378-4243.
URL: www.oregon.gov/OSL/.
Library catalog on-line: catalog.willamette.edu/screens/opacmenu_s2.html .
Photocopying facilities: books and microprints.
Hours: M-F, 10-5.

A large collection of U.S. genealogical materials is located on the second floor. Members of the Willamette Valley Genealogical Society staff the genealogical area. 

Significant Oregon Genealogical Sources

Oregon State Archives

800 Summer St. NE, Salem, OR 97310.
Phone: 503-373-0701.
URL: sos.oregon.gov/archives
One Internet computer.
Photocopying facilities: books and documents.
Hours: M-F, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed from noon to 1:00 for lunch.

The Oregon State Archives is custodian of the permanently valuable records of Oregon government. They also provide online access to the Oregon Blue Book and the state’s administrative rules. The twenty-five thousand cubic feet of records that it holds includes provisional- and territorial-government records; military rosters and files; naturalization, probate, and trial-court proceedings; vital registrations; prison files; institutional records; and tax rolls. A number of the genealogically significant holdings have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and can be found in the Family History Library catalog. An online Oregon Historical Records Index provides index access to selected records that can be ordered online from the Archive.

Significant Oregon Genealogical Sources