FAQ - Genealogy at the Washington State Library
Can your microfilm readers print copies?
Can I look at any of the newspapers in your collection online?
Can I make a donation of money to the State Library?
Can you research my family for me?
Do other state libraries offer a free obituary lookup service?
Do the State Library and the Washington State Archives have the same things?
Do you have genealogy resources for other states at the Washington State Library?
Do you have Land Records?
How can I get an obituary that was published in a Washington State newspaper?
How can I research my house/property?
How much does it cost to make copies?
Where can I find adoption records for Washington State?
Where can I find name change records for Washington State?
Where can I find vital records (birth,death,divorce & marriage) for Washington State?
Do you have any genealogy presentations available online?
Can your microfilm readers print copies? Yes. Each customer is allowed 10 free copies per day. Additional copies cost 15 cents each and they must be paid for at the Reference Desk. Cash and checks (with ID) are accepted.
However, if you would like to scan an image from our microfilm, rather than print a copy, you can do that for free. We have 5 microfilm readers that can scan. You will need to provide your own flash drive, on which to save your scanned images.
Can I look at any of the newspapers in your collection online? Several of our oldest newspapers have been scanned and indexed, and are available on our Historic Newspapers page.
However, most of our newspapers are only on microfilm. You can come to the State Library and view them, or request that we send them to your local library via an interlibrary loan request. All of the newspapers in our collection are listed in our online catalog.
Can you research my family for me? We are not able to research your family for you. We can answer specific questions, such as looking up a death date.
If you are looking for an obituary, options for accessing obituaries in Washington newspapers are listed on our website.
If further research is required, please contact the Washington State Genealogical Society or professional registries such as the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the Association of Professional Genealogists.
Do other state libraries offer a free obituary lookup service? Every library, both public and state, makes up its own research policy. You will need to contact the individual library for the area you are interested in.
Do you and the Washington State Archives have the same things? No, we have very different collections. The Archives has items that were filed with, or created by state agencies, like business, court, prison and school records, as well as assessor and auditor records. You can browse their collections on their web site, or contact them for further information.
The State Library has documents that were published by state and federal agencies, as well as a large microfilm collection of newspapers, city and county histories, as well as items published by local Washington State genealogical societies. All of these items and more are in our online catalog.
Do you have genealogy resources for other states at the Washington State Library? At this time, we have a few resources for British Columbia, Oregon and Idaho in our collection. These include several newspapers, early state directories, as well as publications from local genealogical societies. All of these items are listed in our online catalog.
How can I research my house/property? We have a large collection of city directories at the State Library.
The Washington State Archives however, has many other resources to assist in researching your house. They have Assessor records, Auditor records and tax records for many counties. You can contact the Washington State Archives Branch/Repository that serves the county you are interested in for further information.
Where can I find name change records for Washington State? Name changes prior to July 1 1991 were done through the Superior Court in each county. After July 1, 1991, District Courts were in charge of name changes. (RCW 4.24.130) You can contact the appropriate Court for further information about accessing their records. You can also contact the Washington State Archives, as they have some Washington state court records in their collections.
Where can I find adoption records for Washington State? Washington State has closed adoption records. The Franklin County Clerk's web site has a very useful summary of Adoption records and laws in Washington State.
You can request limited, non-identifying information on adoptions (RCW 26.33.345). The Washington Department of Health has birth certificates issued in Washington State from July 1, 1907 to the present. The Washington Adoption Reunion Movement organization also has a useful web site.