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Oregon Historical County Records Guide

Records Inventory Parameters

The OHRP inventory contains county records with significant long term and/or historical information. Routine correspondence, fiscal, and personnel records, as well as records scheduled with short retention periods are not included in the inventory. The historical, administrative, and legal values of the records were evaluated according to professional guidelines and the internal appraisal standards of the Oregon State Archives.

This guide documents certain county records for limited date spans. For example, county death records are included in the inventory only until 1920.

Enlarge image This guide documents certain county records for limited date spans. For example, county death records are included in the inventory only until 1920.

In addition, the great majority of the records included in the inventory and all of those dating through 1920 must be kept by the Archives or county permanently (OAR 166-030-0027 (3)). Care was taken to insure that the records included in this inventory do not conflict with the retentions contained in the County Records Retention Schedule promulgated by the Oregon State Archives.

View a list and descriptions of records targeted for inclusion in the Oregon Historical County Records Guide.

All records have been inventoried through to the present with the following exceptions:

Assumed Business Names Registers have been inventoried through 1964. Records after 1964 have been filed with the Secretary of State, Business Registry Section.

Birth Records and Death Records have been inventoried through 1920. More recent records are adequately documented by the Health Division, State Registrar, Vital Statistics Section.

Circuit Court Records (Case Files, General Dockets, and Journals) have been inventoried through 1983. Since 1983, circuit court records have come under authority of the state and are maintained by the state's trial court administrator.

Clerk and Recorder Miscellaneous Recordings have been inventoried through 1965. Since 1965, most counties accept only those records required by law to be filed with the county clerk.

Coroner Reports have been inventoried through 1965 because by then all counties had abolished the office of the coroner and reported directly to the State Medical Examiner.

District Court Case Files and Dockets have been inventoried through 1940. More recent records have marginal value because they document less significant misdemeanor cases.

Election Poll Books have been inventoried through 1930 to eliminate conflicts with the relatively short retention periods of the more recent poll books. Election records between 1920 and 1930 are significant because they document the first decade of women's suffrage.

Election Voting Abstracts have been inventoried through 1960. Records after 1960 are adequately documented by the Secretary of State, Elections Division.

Judgment and Execution Records, Attachment Records, and Foreclosure Records have been inventoried through 1920 in compliance with OAR 166-030-0027 (3) and because more recent records have shorter retention periods.

Justice Court Case Files and Dockets have been inventoried through 1940. More recent records have marginal value because they document less significant misdemeanor cases.

Marriage Records have been inventoried through 1960. More recent records are adequately documented by the Health Division, State Registrar, Vital Statistics Section.

Prisoner Registers have been inventoried through 1965 because more recent jail registers have limited informational value.

County records dating from Oregon's provisional and territorial periods (1843-1859) have been included in the inventory. Additional provisional and territorial government records have been arranged in a descriptive list or sequentially numbered calendar and are accessed by the Guide to Oregon Provisional and Territorial Government Records. The researcher is encouraged to refer to this publication or ask the reference staff at the Oregon State Archives for access to this collection of early county records.

Some county records have found their way into the custody of non-governmental institutions such as historical societies, museums, or manuscript collections. The major non-governmental repositories visited in the course of this project were the Oregon Historical Society, University of Oregon Special Collections, and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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