Oregon County records can vary widely from county to county both in quality and also quantity. Some have already been very carefully preserved while some have been substantially abused and uncared for. Many Oregon records have merely vanished. For genealogists carrying out research in Oregon you will find no valuable substitute to have an on-site search of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia

Oregon is divided into 36 counties. The “Oregon Historical County Records Guide” online resource from the Oregon State Archives is the best resource for finding the location of particular Oregon county resources. So, researchers should consult it first, when looking for any records from the various Oregon counties. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

Oregon Extinct Counties

Oregon has counties that no longer are in existence. They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Many of these counties were established and disbanded during the 19th century; county borders have evolved little since 1900 in the vast most of states. These counties really should be researched when performing genealogy and family tree research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or consolidated with some other county.

  • Umpqua County, Oregon – created 1851, gradually reduced in size until 1862, when what remained was incorporated into Douglas County

Oregon Counties with Burned Courthouses

The damage to Oregon courthouses significantly has a impact on family historians in each and every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from our lifetimes, so are the files they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they’re gone forever. Although they have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too. The most sad aspect of this is the reason why almost all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist. Although, not all the records were damaged or lost. A number of Oregon counties have experienced a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Baker County Courthouse – Some will books were lost in a county clerk’s office fire in 1890s. One early marriage register missing (as of 2005).
  • Grant County Courthouse – The first courthouse burned August 12, 1870. A second fire occured in 1885. The courthouse again burned on November 17th of 1950
  • Linn County Courthouse – The original county courthouse was erected in Albany in 1853 but was destroyed by fire in 1861.
  • Polk County Courthouse – wooden courthouse destroyed by fire in 1898.

List of Oregon Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Baker1862Wasco, Union and Malheur CountiesBaker City
Benton1847Polk CountyCorvallis
Clackamas1843One of the original four districts of the Oregon CountryOregon City
Clatsop1844Twality DistrictAstoria
Columbia1854Washington CountySaint Helens
Coos1853Umpqua and Jackson CountiesCoquille
Crook1882Wasco CountyPrineville
Curry1855Coos CountyGold Beach
Deschutes1916Crook CountyBend
Douglas1852Umpqua CountyRoseburg
Gilliam1885Wasco CountyCondon
Grant1864Wasco and Umatilla CountiesCanyon City
Harney1 889Grant CountyBurns
Hood River1908Wasco CountyHood River
Jackson1852Lane County and unorganized areaMedford
Jefferson1914Crook CountyMadras
Josephine1856Jackson CountyGrants Pass
Klamath1882 Lake CountyKlamath Falls
Lake1874Jackson and Wasco CountiesLakeview
Lane1851Linn County and Benton CountiesEugene
Lincoln1893Benton County and Polk CountiesNewport
Linn1847Champoeg (later Marion) CountyAlbany
Malheur1887Baker CountyVale
Marion1849One of the original four districts of the Oregon territorySalem
Morrow1885Umatilla and Wasco CountiesHeppner
Multnomah1854Washington and Clackamas CountiesPortland
Polk1845Yamhill DistrictDallas
Sherman1889Northeast corner of Wasco CountyMoro
Tillamook1853Clatsop, Yamhill and Polk CountiesTillamook
Umatilla1862Wasco CountyPendleton
Union1864Baker CountyLa Grande
Wallowa1887Union County.Enterprise
Wasco1854Clackamas, Lane, Linn and Marion CountiesThe Dalles
Wheeler1899One of the original four districts of the Oregon CountryHillsboro
Washington1845Grant, Gilliam, and Crook CountiesFossil
Yamhill1843One of the original four districts of the Oregon CountryMcMinnville