Resources in the Oregon Historical Society

Copyright 1999 Janine M. Bork

This is a listing of the resources in the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. Tom Childers is very good at gathering information for the county and I asked him to do a series on what is available. He very graciously submitted this very informative list to share with the people of Union county.

Oregon Historical Society Genealogical Sources
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205-2483
Telephone: 503-222-1741
Facsimile: 503-221-2035

Vertical File Index Cards (Reference Desk):

This index contains entries for some individuals and families. If you find an entry, fill out a call slip and the librarian will retrieve the proper file.

Biography Card File (Reference Desk):

This index is not complete. Take thorough notes and consult a librarian before filling out a call slip. The Card File contains references to books, newspapers, and scrapbooks.

Pioneer Card File:

Located on the top left of the bookshelves behind the photocopier. The Oregon Pioneer Association compiled these cards.

D.A.R. Card File:

To the right of the Pioneer Card File. Indexes data in the blue D.A.R. books on the backside of the same bookshelves. Copy the volume code and page number.

Donation Land Claims:

(929.3 G286g) Four volumes and index. Located at the bottom of the bookshelves below the D.A.R. Card File at the far left of the right-hand bookcase.

Census Material:

(REF 312) 1850, 1860, 1870 and some 1880 censuses are on the reference shelves. Others, including later dates are on microfilm. The 1890 census was destroyed by disaster and never microfilmed.

Oregon Historical Quarterly:

Start with the bound indexes. These are stored behind the reference desk directly left of the Biography Card File.

Oregon Pioneer Association Transactions:

Start with the bound indexes. These are stored behind the reference desk at the far end of the shelves (REF 979.1 OR3).

Oregonian Newspaper Indexes:

Stored below the Oregon Pioneer Association Transactions (REF 979.1007 O166o).

Newspapers on Microfilm:

A Newspaper microfilm collection of 16,000+ reels covering Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, and Panama, the majority of which cover 100+ Oregon cities for the period of 1846 to present. Consult the newspaper index then select a microfilm for viewing. Photocopies using the microfilm reader are 25 cents each.

La Grande:
Eastern Oregon Observer: January 2, 1903 to November 3, 1905
Evening Observer: May 2, 1904 to May 26, 1959
Morning Observer: November 2, 1901 to April 30, 1904
Observer: 1959 to Nearly Present
Weekly Observer: November 10, 1905 to December 26, 1913
Weekly Observer-Star: January 2, 1914 to December 30, 1921
Weekly Star: March 5, 1909 to December 31, 1909
Morning Daily Observer: December 1, 1879 to June 15, 1898
Mountain Sentinel: May 5, 1872 to July 3, 1886
The Observer-Star: January 6, 1922 to December 5, 1930


Enterprise Record Chieftain: June 15, 1911 to September 28, 1938
Chieftain: October 6, 1938 to March 25, 1943
Wallowa County Chieftain: April 1, 1943 to Nearly Present

Library Association of Portland Newspaper Index:

Indexes the Oregonian Newspaper 1851-1894, the Oregon Journal 1902-1982, plus a scattering of other local newspapers, periodicals, and miscellaneous books. Subjects pertain to Oregon, Portland and the Pacific Northwest. On microfiche. Ask a librarian to show you where they are located.

Business Histories, Records, and Reports/Company Newsletters:

Published histories, annual reports, and in-house publications. Check the reference card catalog under company name and the serials reader board under publication name.

Cemetery Records:

Check the manuscripts catalog and on-line catalog under cemetery or county name.

Church Histories:

Check the manuscripts card catalog and on-line catalog under denomination, community, or church name. Church Records: check the manuscripts card catalog under community or church name.

City Directories:

Check the reference card catalog by city.

Family Histories:

Check the manuscripts card catalog and on-line catalog under the surname.

Local and County Histories:

Published and unpublished histories of towns, counties, villages, etc. Check the reference card catalog and the manuscripts card catalog under community name.

Oral Histories:

Interviews with Oregonians from all walks of life. Check the reference card catalog and oral history inventory.


Check the photograph archive catalog under surname.

Vital Statistics:

Oregon Death Index: 1903 to 1970 on microfilm and 1971 to 1996 on microfiche.
Oregon Marriage Index: 1906 to 1924 and 1946 to 1960 on microfilm, with 1961-1996 on microfiche.
Oregon Divorce Index: 1946 to 1960 on microfilm and 1961-1996 on microfiche.
Portland Death Certificates: 1881 to 1917 on microfilm
Portland Death Index: 1915 to 1925 on microfilm
Portland Birth Index: 1864 to 1892 scattered records on microfilm.

Anyone may write to the Historical Society to obtain prepared information regarding resources or learn about research services provided by the Society.