Oregon Historical County Records Guide
The Oregon Historical County Records Guide is a comprehensive descriptive inventory of selected records for each of the 36 counties in the state of Oregon. Because custody of county records is shared by the Oregon State Archives and the 36 county governments, searches for county records or for information contained in them has often been frustrating, expensive, and time consuming. Confusion over the contents and location of records and the lack of a comprehensive guide have complicated the process. The inventory and this guide, therefore, address long-standing needs by helping to provide timely and efficient access to county records.
The Oregon Historical County Records Guide is the result of the Oregon Historical Records Project (OHRP) which was funded by a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The original inventories were conducted from September 1993 to September 1994. Additional inventories began in 1998 to update the guide. Because county offices and records change significantly over time, each county receives a new and complete inventory about every five years.
The work is patterned loosely on the first comprehensive inventory of county records undertaken in Oregon. In the late 1930s the Historic Records Survey, a project of the federal Works Project Administration, compiled inventories of unpublished government records in Oregon. Guides, titled "Inventory of the County Archives of Oregon," were published for thirteen Oregon counties: Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Hood River, Josephine, Klamath, Linn, Morrow, Multnomah, Tillamook, Umatilla, Wasco, and Washington. These published guides as well as the unpublished data gathered for other counties served as important resources for the OHRP staff.
A printed version of Oregon Historical County Records Guide is available at the Oregon State Archives in Salem. The county clerk's office and trial court administrator's office in each county have copies of the guide related to the particular county. Additional copies are at many county historical societies and museums as well as some county libraries.