Following is a brief summary of records available to Jefferson County researchers. Contact us for more details about records held in our Research Center, the Jefferson County Historical Society, or the Washington State Archives Northwest Branch.
See also the Free Online Indexes to many of the JCGS Databases listed on this page.
Birth records were filed with the County Auditor from 1891 to 1906 when the State began maintenance of these records. Microfilm copies are held in the County Auditor’s Office with the originals at the Washington State Archives Northwest Branch. For birth records from 1907 to the present, contact the Washington State Center for Health Statistics.
JCGS has abstracted Birth Certificate information from 1892 to 1926 and from delayed birth certificates for 1868 – 1891. An index to these records is available here. Additionally, volunteers have indexed Newspaper birth notices.
Territorial censuses were conducted before Washington became a state; and Jefferson County is covered in the records for 1860, 1871, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1885, 1887, and 1889, and in the Washington State census for 1891. The U.S. Federal Census from 1900 to 1930 also includes Jefferson County. These records may be accessed from online subscription websites from our Research Center, or we can search them on your behalf.
Several churches still serving the Port Townsend community have records dating from the late 1800s. These include St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and First Presbyterian Church.
JCGS has abstracted and indexed records from these churches. These records are not available online, so contact the Society to request a review for your family.
City of Port Townsend Records
Police Records (1893 – 1963), Poll Taxes (1889 – 1901), Real and Personal Assessment and Tax Roll (1870 – 1894), and Voter Registrations (1893 – 1943) are available at the Washington State Archives Northwest Branch.
Civil and criminal court records (including divorces) from 1928 to present are available from the Jefferson County Clerk (Superior Court), either on microfilm or as original documents. The originals for 1928 – 1994, Superior Court Civil files from 1890 – 1913 and Territorial Court records from 1860 – 1889 are housed at the Washington State Archives Northwest Region.
JCGS volunteers have created an index to the Superior Court Civil files from 1890 – 1913. This index provides the reference location for the records in Bellingham and is available here.
Port Townsend was a major Customs port from 1854 to 1913. Various records are available at the National Archives, Pacific Alaska Regional Branch in Seattle. The JCGS Library includes a National Archives and Records Administration microfilm with passenger lists from 1894 – 1909. We can search this film for your family.
County Death Records were filed with the County Auditor from 1891 to 1906 when the State began maintenance of these records. The records from 1891 to 1906 are also available from the Washington State Archives Northwest Branch. For death records from 1906 to the present, contact the Washington State Center for Health Statistics. An Index to death records from 1985 to present is available online at the Jefferson County website.
Washington Death Certificates from 1907 – 1960 have been abstracted and are available for free at the Family Search website.
JCGS Library holdings include the Washington State Death Index on microfilm and fiche from 1907 – 2000. Indexes to the following records, abstracted by the Jefferson County Genealogical Society volunteers, are available on this website:
- Local funeral home records (1913 – present)
- Coroner reports (1911 – 1932)
- County death records (1891 – 1907)
- Newspaper obituaries
JCGS has compiled information on 16 cemeteries in Jefferson County, including Sexton records where available.
Directories: Port Townsend and Jefferson County
City and county directories are available from 1872 – present, although not all years are represented. The originals are in the collections of the Jefferson County Historical Society.
JCGS volunteers have created an index, to the directories available through 1956, which is available here.
Divorces from 1857 – 1910 were handled in the 3rd US Judicial District Court. For divorces from 1928 – present, contact the Jefferson County Clerk (Superior Court) or the Washington State Archives Northwest Region (1928 – 1994 only).
JCGS volunteers have abstracted and indexed information from the 3rd US Judicial District Court minute Book (1857 – 1910), a copy of which is in the Jefferson County Historical Society archives. Divorce notices from the local newspapers have been indexed and are available here.
Deeds and mortgages from 1852 – present are available at the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office or the Washington State Archives Northwest Region (originals). Deeds from 1985 – present are available online at the Jefferson County website. Original plat maps with owners’ names are available from the Jefferson County Archivist (360.385.9356) for 1907, 1909, 1911, 1915, 1923, and 1924. The Jefferson County Assessor also has plat maps.
JCGS volunteers have created an index to land abstract files from 1850 – 1954 in the collection of the Jefferson County Historical Society. This database includes the legal description of the property and is available here.
Marine Hospital Patients (1870 – 1880)
This register lists patients admitted to the Marine Hospital located in Port Townsend. The patients were all mariners, and the records include personal data. The originals are housed in the Jefferson County Historical Society. JCGS volunteers have abstracted and indexed these records which is available here.
Marriage records have been kept by the County Auditor from 1872 – present. Marriage certificates from 1872 – 2005 are available on the Jefferson County website. (Not all early marriages had certificates, so these may not be found online). Microfilm and original marriage licenses and marriage returns from 1872 – present are available at the Jefferson County Auditor’s office, and copies from 1968 – present are available at the Washington State Center for Health Statistics.
JCGS volunteers have abstracted information from the Auditor’s Office from 1855 – 1933. An index to these records is available here. Marriage, engagement, and anniversary notices from the local newspapers have been indexed and are here.
Naturalization Records from 1855 – 1971 are only available at the Washington State Archives Northwest Branch. JCGS volunteers have abstracted and indexed records from 1890 – 1926. The index is available here.
Newspapers have been published in Jefferson County under various names from 1871 – present. The Jefferson County Historical Society holds microfilm of those published under variations of the name “The Leader” during these years, but some of the early years are missing. Please contact us for more specific information on other papers and the years of their publication.
Search The Morning Leader online. Currently, issues from 1903-1921 are included in the digital collection. This collection has been made possible because of the collaborative efforts of the Port Townsend Library and the University of Washington.
Probate records and wills from 1975 – present are available from the Jefferson County Clerk’s (Superior Court) office. Records from 1855 – 1993 are found at the Washington State Archives Northwest Region. These records are indexed in ledgers held by the Jefferson County Archivist (360.385.9356) who will locate a record reference for you. The index ledgers are divided by year; some indication of the death date is required to locate the record.
JCGS volunteers have created an index to probate records from the Superior Court of Jefferson County from 1891 – 1918, held in the Washington State Archives Northwest Region. This database gives the reference information for locating the records, and is available here.
Ship Captains, Master Mariners and Pilots (1850 – 1912)
JCGS Volunteers have compiled a biographical list of Jefferson County residents who were mariners as they were listed in local newspapers, marine histories, and National Archives microfilm of License Applications for Ship Captains, Masters, Pilots, Engineers, etc., in Puget Sound. The index is available here.
The Real Property Assessment and Tax Rolls for 1877 – 1968 and the Tax List from 1862 – 1871 are housed at the Washington State Archives Northwest Region. The County Treasurer has a record of taxes paid from 1977 – present, and the County Assessor has the assessed value property tax from 1968.
Of interest may be Port Townsend 1899 – 1900 Bicycle Licenses and Jefferson County Dog Licenses 1920 – 1922. Both of these record groups have been abstracted and indexed by JCGS volunteers and are available here.
The Voter Registrations in our collection can be of immense genealogical value – many include original signatures. The originals of these records are at the Washington State Archives Northwest Region.
Port Townsend Voter Registrations for 1886 – 1892, 1894 – 1897, 1899, and 1913 – 1914 were abstracted from the Precinct Registration Books in Port Townsend City Hall. Jefferson County records are only for County residents who voted in 1914. JCGS volunteers have abstracted this information, and an index is available here.