The Reference Room
Researchers can conduct a great deal of work on the Oregon State Archives Web site without the need to travel to Salem. Resources once again fall into two categories: legal and genealogical/general. The following description covers some of the more useful information:
Many helpful resources for research into legislative intent are available on the Archives Web site for legislative sessions from 1991 to the present. These include legislative tracings and the actual text of committee minutes. The Guide to Legislative Records includes an inventory of all of the legislative records held by the Archives. The guide cautions that legislative minutes are very sparse before the 1940s and not consistently maintained until the 1960s. A separate guide lists legislators and their staffs from 1841 to the present.
Additional resources are maintained on the Oregon State Legislature's Web site, which includes Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Laws, the text of bills, measure histories, and other information from 1995 to the present. Audio files of floor and committee meetings are available beginning in the middle of the 1999 session.
It should be noted that exhibits (e.g., written testimony...) submitted to legislative committees are not available on the Web. They are accessible in hard copy at the Archives. Many of the exhibits dating from 1947 to 1995 are also available on microfilm held by major law libraries such as the University of Oregon and Multnomah County.
For more descriptions and links to useful resources for legal research in Oregon, consult the Oregon Topics section of the Web version of the Oregon Blue Book.
Genealogy resources on the Archives Web site run from general to specific. The Oregon Historical County Records Guide and the "topical research aids" available on the Genealogy Page provide inventories of records but do not include the names of individual people. These inventories can be useful to find records that exist at the Archives and in the counties that may include references to individual people. For example, if a researcher knows that a person died in Coos County in 1893, it may be useful to locate the probate records for that period. The step of actually looking at the records would remain.
Researchers can look for the names of specific individuals in the Oregon Historical Records Index. This searchable database includes over 570,000 entries from the wide range of county and state records. Despite its large size, the index represents only a fraction of the possible entries from the county records held by the Archives. Volunteers continue work to expand the index.
The Early Oregonians database also includes specific information on individuals who lived in Oregon through 1860. Over 100,000 individuals are represented in the database that includes data from census, death, probate, and other records.
For more descriptions and links to useful resources for genealogy research in Oregon, consult the Oregon Topics section of the Web version of the Oregon Blue Book.
General research into Oregon
governors and a wide
variety of historical
photographs can also be conducted on the Web
site. Students of all ages are encouraged to use
the informative Web
exhibits for school projects and reports. Colorful records
guides for numerous state agencies include image slide shows.