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Oregon Historical County Records Guide

Records Inventory Parameters

Targeted Records

Aerial Photographs
Animal Bounty Records
Assessment and Tax Rolls
Assumed Business Names Registers
Attachment Records
Birth Records
Census Records
Circuit Court Case Files
Circuit Court Dockets
Circuit Court Journals
Clerk's Miscellaneous Recordings
Clerk's Official Filings
Commissioners Administrative Journals
Commissioners Orders and Ordinances
Corner Survey Records
Coroner and Inquest Records
County Budgets
County Comprehensive Plans
County Court Case Files
County Court Judicial Journals
County Fair Records
County Officials Reports
Death Records
Deeds and Indexes
Delayed Birth Records
District Court Dockets
Dower Records
Election Poll Books
Election Voting Abstracts
Farm Name Registration Records
Federal Land Grant
Foreclosure Records

Health and Human Services Records
Insane Commitment Records
Judgment and Execution Records
Justice Court Case Files
Justice Court Dockets
Land Subdivision Records
Land Title Registers
Maps, Plans, and Drawings
Marks and Brands Records
Marriage Records
Married Women's Property Registers
Medical Profession Registration Records
Military Records
Mining Claim Records
Mortgage Records
Naturalization Certificates
Naturalization Declarations of Intention
Naturalization Petitions and Orders
Pension and Relief Records
Planning Commission Minutes
Prisoner Registers
Probate Case Files
Probate Estate Records
Probate Registers
Road and Bridge Records
Road Maps and Survey Notes
School District Records
Superintendent of Schools Records
Surveyor Field Notes and Plats
Tax Lot Cards
Water Rights Records
Zoning Records

 

Aerial Photographs

Series provides visual documentation of changes made to county lands through development and by natural and man-made disasters. The photographs are taken at intervals along a series of flight paths to attain coverage of all or part of a county. They generally include flight path or township, range, and section numbers; show natural and man-made features; and are produced in black and white or color prints to varying scales. An index by quadrant may also be included.

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Animal Bounty Records

Series documents the payment of county and state bounty money to individuals who presented the scalps and other prescribed body parts of targeted predatory animals. The program was intended to control the threat to livestock. Examples of targeted animals include coyote, cougar, mountain lion, panther, wildcat, bobcat, lynx, and wolf. Records include registers, affidavits, certificates, and statements. Information includes claimant and affiant names; kind of animal; number of scalps; date killed or presented; and number, amount, and date of warrant. The records are also referred to as scalp bounty records.

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Assessment and Tax Rolls

Series documents the assessment of real and personal property, the determination of tax liability, and the collection of county taxes. Assessment, tax, and delinquent tax records are variously labeled as rolls, lists, or summaries. Records show property owner; description and value of urban and agricultural land, personal property, and livestock; assessments, equalizations, and taxes due; and notations on payment and delinquency in payment of taxes. Beginning with 1900, counties have only been required to retain permanently those assessment and tax rolls for years ending in "0" and "5."

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Assumed Business Names Registers

Series documents the registration of business names with the county clerk or recorder. Information includes assumed business name; description of business; filing date; and business owner, notary public, witness, clerk or recorder, and deputy's name. Series may also include an index arranged alphabetically by business name. Businesses which were registered were typically automotive sales, motorcycle repair, merchandise shops, butchers, and feed stores. Since 1964, assumed business names have been filed with the Secretary of State. Assumed business names have been inventoried through 1964. For more recent records, contact the Secretary of State, Business Registry Section.

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Attachment Records

Series documents liens placed on real property by the county to satisfy debts. Attachments are ordered by the circuit court and authorize the sheriff to seize or transfer property to satisfy debts such as loans, mortgages, or tax liens. The sheriff will hold the property in trust until the debt is paid or the property is sold. Information includes defendant name, statement of attachment, property description, statement of return when attachment is satisfied, return of execution, dates attachment is issued and returned, court order, and sheriff's signature. Attachment records have been inventoried through 1920.

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Birth Records

Series documents the recording of births by the county. Records include certificates, affidavits for correction, registers, delayed entry for births and corrected entries. Information includes registration number; child's name, sex, legitimacy, birth date, and birthplace; name, residence, color, age, birthplace, and occupation of father and mother; number of other children born to mother; signature of physician or midwife; filing date; and registrar's signature. Birth records were not required by the state of Oregon until 1903 when the state began to officially register births. Currently these records are filed with the State Registrar, Vital Statistics Section of the Health Division. Birth records have been inventoried through 1920. For information concerning more recent records, contact the State Registrar. Also see Delayed Birth Records series for related records. Access to birth records is restricted for 100 years following the date of birth by Oregon Administrative Rule 333-011-0096.

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Census Records

Series documents the population, property, and agricultural production of the county. Records may include census rolls and abstracts, farm schedules, abstract of assessment and census, enumeration of inhabitants and industrial products, and enumeration of inhabitants and military enrollment. Information includes number of males and females per age category; head of household; name, age, and gender of household members; occupation and relationship of household members to head of household; and description and value of real and personal property. Information may also include nationality, physical description, birthplace, health, and religion of household members and agricultural production statistics.

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Circuit Court Case Files

Series documents cases heard before the circuit courts and the U.S. district courts. U.S. district courts were administered by the federal government during the territorial period and subsequently replaced by the circuit courts upon statehood in 1859. Case files include exhibits, transcripts, indexes, and legal documents such as indictments, subpoenas, fee bills, articles of agreement, bonds, summons, executions, petitions, and injunctions. The case files document civil and criminal actions such as debt, theft, divorce, land claims, arson, murder, rape, assault and battery, and boundary conflicts. Circuit court records continue after 1983 under authority of the state and are maintained by the trial court administrator. Circuit court records have been inventoried through 1983. For information on more recent court records, contact the trial court administrator. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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Circuit Court Dockets

Series records brief entries about the proceedings of court cases. Information includes date; plaintiff and defendant names; cause of action such as larceny, assault, divorce, or receivership; attorney names; and final disposition of the case. Circuit court records continue after 1983 under authority of the state and are maintained by the state court administrator. Circuit court records have been inventoried through 1983. For information on more recent court records, contact the trial court administrator. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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Circuit Court Journals

Series records chronological narratives of the proceedings of the court including actions taken such as decrees, judgments, arrangements, sentences, dismissals, and grand jury reports. Information includes plaintiff, defendant, and attorney names; term of court; character and date of case; case number; and date of issue. The term "judgment" refers to judicial decisions regarding the verdict, decision, or judgment rendered by the court and is distinct from those judgments relating to the recovery of court costs and awards (see Judgment and Execution Dockets). Circuit court records continue after 1983 under authority of the state and are maintained by the trial court administrator. Circuit court records have been inventoried through 1983. For information on more recent court records, contact the trial court administrator. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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Clerk and Recorder Miscellaneous Recordings

Series documents the recording of a variety of legal documents filed in the clerk's or recorder's office. These documents were not required to be filed with the clerk and often included filings such as birth and marriage certificates of individuals who were born or married outside of the county but wanted the document to be filed in their county of residence. Other documents include wills, obligation bonds, quit claims, deeds, conveyances, mortgage satisfactions, agreements, charters, partnership dissolutions, contracts, powers of attorney, liens, leases, marriage licenses, military discharges, ministerial certificates, medical personnel licenses, birth and death certificates, and affidavits of publication. Information includes dates filed, name of individual filing, types of action, and volume and page number where recorded. Series may also include alphabetical indexes of individuals filing a recording. Clerk and Recorder Miscellaneous Recordings have been inventoried through 1965.

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Clerk and Recorder Official Filings

Series documents the filing of transactions, authorized by statute, with the clerk or recorder of the county for the purpose of making the transaction a matter of public record. Information includes dates filed, type and description of transactions, filing numbers, names of parties involved, amounts charged or assessed, and clerk or recorder's signatures. Series may also include alphabetical indexes that contain volume and page numbers where recorded and names of individual filing transactions. Transactions include records that were previously maintained separately, such as mortgages; deeds; military service records; federal, mechanic's, and road improvement liens; mining claims; satisfactions; judgment assignments; notarial commissions; medical and ministerial licenses; oaths; and affidavits of publication. This series is commonly referred to as the Book of Records.

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Corner Survey Records

Series documents the establishment and/or restoration of survey corners or monuments by the county surveyor or registered land surveyors. Records include maps, field survey restoration notes, historical notes, and indexes. Information includes description of corners; existing markers; descriptions of new markers and any changes made to the locations; property owners; township, range, and section numbers; donation land claim information; date the new markers were set; and surveyor's signatures.

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Coroner and Inquest Records

Series records the results of the examination of a corpse by the county coroner at the request of the county sheriff. It also documents the proceedings and results of inquests ordered by the district attorney. Reports include date filed; name, age, sex, race, parentage, and birthplace of deceased; date, place, and time of death; names of undertaker and coroner; testimony; and costs. Early reports were narrative accounts detailing the cause of death. After 1900, a standardized form was used for reporting results. Inquest transcripts include coroner and juror names, signatures, and actions; witness names; testimony; and verdict. Coroner and inquest records have been inventoried through 1965.

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County Budgets

Series documents the annual allotment of funds for county government operations as agreed to by the board of commissioners. Information includes total amount of funds budgeted for each office. Later budgets may include organizational charts and a narrative of each county office function.

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County Commissioners Administrative Journals

Series documents all administrative actions of the board of county commissioners and the county court. In most counties, the board of county commissioners has assumed the administrative duties and responsibilities of the county court. Administrative actions include levying taxes; budgeting; approving appropriations; appointing county officials; approving officials bonds and annual reports; receiving petitions and remonstrances concerning county roads; defining and establishing county roads; calling bond elections for the construction of county buildings; compiling jury lists and conducting hearings; approving salaries and expenses of county officials; confirming elections; and issuing licenses for such things as liquor, ferries, warehouses, and groceries. The series may be referred to as the County Court Administrative Journal, Commissioner's Minutes, County Court Docket, or Board of Commissioners Meeting Records.

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County Commissioners Orders, Ordinances, and Resolutions

Series documents orders, ordinances, and resolutions passed by the board of county commissioners and the county court regulating and establishing guidelines for specific activities within the county. Information includes activity covered by order, ordinance, or resolution; administrative action number; who introduced; findings of fact; conclusions; recommendations; date heard; and hearings officer name and signature. Activities include noise abatement, nuisances, zoning, animal control, solid waste management, land division regulations, elections, comprehensive plan, and road and bridge use limits.

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County Comprehensive Plans

Series documents the development and revision of a plan for the use of lands within the county. Series includes plans for transportation, energy, housing, population and economics, public facilities and services, urbanization, natural resources, greenways, recreation, agricultural and forest lands, land capability, resource quality, floodplains, landmarks, historic property, rural community center designation, and natural areas. Each plan includes background information about the subject; supporting documentation such as maps, charts, and diagrams; and a narrative description of each aspect of the plan and how it is to be implemented. Series may also include an overall "comprehensive plan" which contains both historical and current looks at county land practices and defines goals and policies adhered to during the creation and implementation of the plan.

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County Court Case Files

Series documents the actions of the county court in civil and some criminal cases. Records include complaints, judgments, decrees, summonses, warrants, affidavits, writs, and an index. County court cases include spousal support, employment compensation, satisfaction of judgments, and divorce. Information includes judge, plaintiff, defendant, and attorney names; case type; and filing dates of actions and decrees.

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County Court Judicial Journals

Series records the proceedings of the county court for civil and some criminal cases. Information includes judge, plaintiff, defendant, and attorney names; trial date; memorandum of subsequent proceedings; and fees charged. Cases include citizenship petitions, legal changes to name, commitments, and writs of habeas corpus. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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County Fair Records

Series documents the preparation and organization of the county fair by the county fair board (including any predecessor group) and other county officials. Records include fair board minutes, reports, and annual premium lists and publications. Minutes and reports include information pertaining to county fair employment, budgets, sponsorship, capital improvements to fairgrounds, and event scheduling throughout the year. Annual premium lists and/or publications may include county fair history, names of fair officers, general fair rules and regulations, event schedules, exhibit lists, and photographs.

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County Officials Reports

Series reports the activities of county officials to the county court or board of county commissioners. Series may include reports by the treasurer, surveyor, clerk, roadmaster, assessor, sheriff, school superintendent, and county nurse or doctor. Reports summarize the activities of county officials and their staff as they perform their official duties.

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Death Records

Series documents the recording of deaths in the county. Records include registers and certificates. Information includes registration number; place and date of death; name, sex, color, birth date and place, age, and marital status of the deceased; names and birthplaces of parents; primary and contributory cause of death; physician, registrar, and informant signatures; filing date; and date and place of burial. Death records were not required by the state of Oregon until 1903 when the state began to officially register deaths. County death records have been inventoried through 1920. Access to death records is restricted for 50 years following the date of death by Oregon Administrative Rule 333-011-0096. Contact the Oregon State Archives for access to state death certificates that are more than 50 years old. Contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics for access to more recent death certificates.

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Deeds and Indexes

Series documents the ownership of land. Series includes deeds, land sales contracts, quit claim deeds, homestead exemption claims, corporate certificates, agreements, correction deeds, special assessments of unzoned farmland, easements, and indirect and direct deed indexes. Information includes grantor and grantee name; recording and filing dates; property descriptions; title warranties; consideration amounts; witness and recorder names; and volume and page numbers of where recorded.

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Delayed Birth Records

Series documents birth records generated by a court in response to a petition. Records may include petitions, decrees or orders, affidavits of correction, registers, and certificates. If the information provided with the petition met the requirements of the court, a decree was issued that served as a legal birth document. Most petitions were filed decades after the actual birth. They were filed in the county of residence at the time of petition, not necessarily in the county of birth. Dates listed in brackets document the range of actual birth dates. Date ranges for court actions such as petitions and decrees are also included. Also see Birth Records series for related records. Access to birth records is restricted for 100 years following the date of birth by Oregon Administrative Rule 333-011-0096.

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District Court Dockets

Series documents the actions, proceedings, and judgments of the district court in relation to civil and criminal cases. Civil case dockets include plaintiff, defendant, attorney, and judge names; nature, title, and disposition of case; and issuance, service, return of summons, and filing dates. Criminal dockets include plaintiff, defendant, attorney, and judge names; warrant issuance, trial, judgment, sentence, and release dates; verdict; and case number. Types of cases include assault, burglary, larceny, trespass, disturbing the peace, vagrancy, traffic offenses, and recovery of money or damages related to debt or other civil cases. District court records have been inventoried through 1940. For information on more recent records, contact the circuit court office.

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Dower Records

Series documents the division of property to be awarded to the widow or widower of a deceased spouse as determined by commissioners appointed by the county court. Information includes a description of the division of land based on survey results, commissioners' names, and report and recording dates. Reports may also include surveyor's names and fees charged.

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Election Poll Books

Series documents the registration of voters and the compilation of election results. Records may include the election poll books and/or the election voter register. Information includes elector's name and party affiliation, and in some cases, physical description, occupation, naturalization information, and names of parents and spouse. Election poll books and voter registration records have been inventoried through 1930. For information on more recent records, contact the Secretary of State, Elections Division, the county clerk, or the local elections official.

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Election Voting Abstracts

Series documents the tabulation and reporting of election results for the county. Records include voting abstracts and the record of election. Information includes election date; precinct name and number; office; precinct and total votes; victory margin; winning candidate; county clerk, board of canvasser, and justice of the peace signatures; ballot number; summation of votes; and election board's decision. Election voting abstracts have been inventoried through 1960. For information on more recent records, contact the Secretary of State, Elections Division, the county clerk, or the local elections official.

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Farm Name Registration Records

Series documents the application for and registration of farm names with the county clerk or recorder. Records may include registers, original applications, or certificates. Information includes owner's name and address; farm name, location, and description; and date and number of application and final application. Series may also include an index arranged either alphabetically by name of owner or by farm name. Farm name records have been inventoried through 1964.

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Federal Land Grant Records

Series records ownership of county lands obtained from the federal government. Series includes records of land grants administered under a variety of federal programs such as donation land claims and homesteads. Donation land claims are the most common type of federal land grant in Oregon that is documented in this inventory project. Donation land claims resulted from an act of the 1850 Congress under which citizens of the United States, or those who filed a declaration of intention prior to December 1, 1850 and had resided upon or cultivated the land for four consecutive years, were granted a specified amount of acreage in the Oregon Territory. Donation land claims were unique in that acreage granted to married couples was divided evenly. Half of the acreage was placed in the husband's name while the other half was placed in the wife's name. Records include plats, indexes, and survey notes. Information includes township, range, and section numbers, names of donation land claim holders and claim numbers, claim dates, acreage, and descriptions of surveys.

Under the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers were given 160 acres of land in the public domain if they built a home on the land, resided there for five years, and cultivated the land. A complete homestead entry file includes such documents as the homestead application, homestead proof, and final certificate authorizing the claimant to obtain a land patent.

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Foreclosure Records

Series documents the activities of the sheriff and other county officials relating to the foreclosure of property in order to satisfy creditors in cases involving delinquent taxes, mortgage payments, or court judgments. Records include correspondence, sheriff's deeds and foreclosure sale records, circuit court case transcripts of foreclosure hearings, writs of execution, certificates of sale of real property, judgment orders, receipts, tax redemption records, delinquent tax sales, and tax sale certificates. Foreclosure records have been inventoried through 1920.

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Health and Human Services Records

Series documents the activities of the county health and human services programs operated by the county. Series includes narrative or statistical monthly, quarterly, and annual reports or minutes discussing program goals, objectives, and accomplishments. Program areas include public and mental health; juvenile services; adult and family services; women, infant, and child (WIC) services; alcohol and drug abuse; and developmental disabilities. In 1994 the name of the Children and Youth Services Commission was changed to the Commission on Children and Families.

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Insane Commitment Records

Series documents the examination, commitment, and release of mentally ill persons to and from the state's mental institutions. Series contains statements of complaint and commitment recorded by the county clerk or recorder and includes petitions to have an individual committed; physicians certification that an individual is insane; delivery warrants authorizing a county official (usually the sheriff) to take the individual to the state hospital; patient discharges; paroles or transfers; indexes; and correspondence. Information includes patient and family names, date committed, reason, physical description, and a brief family history. This series may also be known as the Insane Record, Mental Illness Record, and Mentally Ill and Feeble Minded Record. By 1968, in most counties, the commitment of the mentally ill or deficient had become the responsibility of the circuit court. Access to these records may be restricted for 75 years by Oregon Revised Statute 192.496.

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Judgment and Execution Records

Series records official decisions by the court and subsequent instructions to the sheriff to recover costs and awards related to debt, divorce, and other civil cases. The record serves as the official notice of the existence of a lien. Information includes title and case number; names of plaintiff, creditor, defendant, debtor, and attorney; amount of judgments; description of property levied on; writ of execution; disposition of case; decisions on appeals; dates docketed and satisfied; and volume and page numbers where recorded. Records may include judgment dockets, execution dockets, and fee books. County Court judgment and execution records have been inventoried through 1920.

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Justice Court Case Files

Series documents criminal and civil cases brought before the courts of the justices of the peace. Records include grand jury indictments, complaints, judgments by confession, transcripts of judgment entries and dockets, statements of witnesses, arrest warrants, subpoenas, bills for court costs and fees, petitions for appointment of justices of the peace and constables, petitions establishing justice districts, and marriage records. Cases heard include disturbing the peace, illegal liquor sales, assault, larceny, trespassing, fraud, vagrancy, and burglary. Justice court records have been inventoried through 1940. For information on more recent records, contact the local justice court.

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Justice Court Dockets

Series documents criminal and civil cases brought before justice of the peace courts. Dockets include defendant, plaintiff, attorney, witness, and juror names; action dates and nature of cases; judgments; and statements of costs. Actions include complaints, summonses, appearances, testimonies, bonds, judgments, pleas, fines, jail terms, marriages, and writs of attachment. Civil and criminal cases include larceny, burglary, recovering money or personal property, trespassing, hunting out of season, and illegal voting. Justice court records have been inventoried through 1940. For information on more recent records, contact the local justice court.

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Land Subdivision Records

Series documents the subdividing and partitioning of land within the county. Records include survey notes, correspondence, photographs, satisfaction of agreements, maps of subdivided and partitioned land, and contracts and permits. Information includes subdivision names; lot, street, and alley dimensions; and township, range, and section numbers of land to be subdivided or partitioned.

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Land Title Registers

Series records the ownership of land within the county. Records may include title registers, land indexes, land registration registers, torrens registry of titles, indexes to registered land, certificates of title, town lot indexes, ownership registers, and plat books. Information includes parties involved, land descriptions, dates, number and nature of titles, subdivisions, title holders, terms, discharge dates, and registrar's signatures. The torrens system of land registration was abolished in 1972 by Oregon law. Additional land ownership records may be found in the Deeds and Indexes series.

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Maps, Plans, and Drawings

Series provides a visual representation of the county and of physical structures constructed on county lands. Series includes maps, plans, and drawings that vary in size, scale, and date. Included are maps, plans, and drawings of counties and cities, election precincts, courthouses and other county buildings, cemeteries, rivers, Indian reservations, school districts, construction projects, and soil classifications. General road maps may be found in the series titled Road and Bridge Records. Technical road survey maps may be found in the series titled Road Maps and Survey Notes.

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Marks and Brands Records

Series documents the registration of marks and brands by livestock owners and logging interests in order to clearly establish ownership. Records include registers and certificates. Information includes owner's name and address; diagram of animal showing location and style of mark and brand; written description of mark and brand; and filing date. Types of livestock registered include horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry. Log brands are also documented.

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Marriage Records

Series documents the recording of marriages by the county and includes applications, marriage certificates and licenses, and indexes to marriage records. Information includes the names and residences of bride and groom; justice of the peace, minister, or name of individual officiating; fees charged; date filed; volume and page numbers where recorded; certificate number; date and place of marriage; and signatures of witnesses and county officials. Beginning in 1906, marriages have been officially registered with the state of Oregon. Currently these records are filed with the State Registrar, Vital Statistics Section of the Health Division. Marriage records have been inventoried through 1960.

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Married Women's Property Registers

Series documents property held by women independently and separately from their husbands. Registration of property usually is in relation to a marriage or divorce settlement. Information includes a description of property (land, livestock, and farm and household goods) to be considered separate and declarations stating that the woman in question is not responsible for her husband's debts.

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Medical Profession Registration Records

Series documents the registration of individuals in compliance with the requirements of relevant Oregon boards of examiners to practice a medical profession in the state. Professions registered include physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopaths, dentists, nurses, druggists, chiropractors, chiropodists, optometrists, and veterinarians. Records include registers, certificates, and licenses. Information includes name of registrant; name of school; graduation date; names of members of the examining board; licensing and recording dates; and licensing or registration numbers.

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Military Records

Series lists those eligible for military service and records the discharge dates of those who served in the military. Series includes eligibility, enlistment, discharge registers, or muster rolls, and may include alphabetical indexes. Information includes name of individual serving or eligible for service; enlistment and discharge dates and codes; residences at birth and enlistment; occupations and ages at time of enlistment; branches of service; precinct numbers; service records including commendations; physical condition, education and types of jobs performed while in service; and rank at discharge. Access to military discharge records may be restricted for 75 years by 2009 Oregon Legislative Assembly SB 618.

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Mining Claim Records

Series documents actions filed with the county related to mineral interest claims. Types of actions include mineral rights and royalty assignments, mineral interest claims, lease releases, interest stipulations, corrections, bills of sale and conveyance assignments, and location notices. Information includes names of involved parties; action types and dates; and volume and page numbers. The series may also include copies of claim location notices giving descriptions and details of individual claims.

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Mortgage Records

Series documents the written interest in land providing security for the performance of a duty or payment of a debt. Records include mortgages; trustee's deeds of reconveyance; indexes, both by mortgagor and mortgagee name; and satisfactions. Information includes mortgagor and mortgagee names, property descriptions, mortgage terms, witness names, certifications, recording and satisfaction dates, volume and page numbers where recorded, and recorder's signature. Series also includes executor/executrix information when mortgages were transferred through wills and mortgages of land to individuals under the provisions of the Donation Land Act of 1850.

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Naturalization Certificates

Series documents the granting of United States citizenship to petitioners. Records include applications, witness affidavits, court findings granting or denying citizenship, certificates, and indexes. Declarations of intention may also be included. Information includes name, age, and residence of applicant; applicant's dependents; date of filing of declarations of intention and petitions; and volume and page numbers where papers are recorded.

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Naturalization Declarations of Intention

Series documents the process taken by applicants for United States citizenship in declaring their intention to become United States citizens. Information may include applicant's name, age, physical description, place and date of birth, method of immigration, date and port of entry, names and ages of wife and children, and renunciation of allegiance to foreign governments. Declarations of intention may also be attached to naturalization petitions or naturalization certificates.

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Naturalization Petitions and Orders

Series documents the application for United States citizenship by aliens. Information includes name, residence, and occupation of applicants; place and date of birth; emigration place, date, and vessel; declaration of intention dates; name, birthplace, and birth date of dependents; and renunciation of allegiance to foreign governments. Accompanying the petitions are witness and petitioner affidavits, oaths of allegiance, court orders admitting or denying citizenship, declarations of intention, depositions, and certificates of arrival.

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Pension and Relief Records

Series documents financial assistance approved by the county court for widows, mothers, dependent children, orphans, the elderly, and indigents. Information includes applicant name and address, children's names and birth dates, amount of pension or monthly support payment, and county court order. Because the provision of relief became primarily a state and federal function in the 1930s, records are inventoried through 1939.

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Planning Commission Minutes

Series documents the discussions and activities of the county planning commission as recorded in the minutes and agendas. Topics discussed include the creation, amendment, and appeal of zoning ordinances and county land use laws; county comprehensive plans; and election or appointment of planning commission members.

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Prisoner Registers

Series tracks individuals incarcerated in the county jail. Information includes prisoner identification number; date entered; name, address, age, birth date, height and weight, eye and hair color, and nationality of prisoner; arrest date; arresting officer; crime committed; sentence; bail; court; release date; and remarks. Prisoner registers, which may also be referred to as jail lists, have been inventoried through 1965. Access to portions of these records may be restricted for 25 years after termination of custody by Oregon Revised Statute 192.496(3).

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Probate Case Files

Series documents actions taken on probate cases brought before the county, district, or circuit court for settlement. Records include wills, receipts, claims, vouchers, petitions to sell, notices of annual accounting, final estate accounting reports, appraiser's affidavits, bills of sale, inventories, fee bills, appraisals, administrator and appointment certificates, and appraiser oaths. Over the years probate jurisdiction has been transferred from the county court to the circuit court in most counties. However, the county courts in Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Sherman, and Wheeler Counties continue to hear probate cases. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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Probate Estate Records

Series documents information recorded about estates probated in the county or circuit courts. Information includes deceased party's name; recording and death dates; residence; name and address of executors, administrators, or trustees; estimated values of real and personal property; inventory and appraisal dates; the estate's value according to the appraisals and to the county court; and the names and relationship of heirs. Over the years probate jurisdiction has been transferred from the county court to the circuit court in most counties. However, the county courts in Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Sherman, and Wheeler Counties continue to hear probate cases.

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Probate Registers

Series records the actions taken by the county's probate court. Information includes case numbers, estate or deceased's name, administrator's or executor's name, dates and types of papers filed, and memoranda and court orders listed by dates of appointment of administrator or executor. Series may also be referred to as probate journals, dockets, or records of actions. Over the years probate jurisdiction has been transferred from the county court to the circuit court in most counties. However, the county courts in Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Sherman, and Wheeler Counties continue to hear probate cases. In 1986 circuit courts with probate jurisdiction began recording basic case information on the Oregon Judicial Information Network (OJIN). This network functionally replaced probate dockets and journals previously maintained by the courts. The transition to full use of OJIN by all circuit courts in Oregon took approximately two years. Contact the trial court administrator for access to OJIN. Portions of these records may be restricted.

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Road and Bridge Records

Series documents the development, construction, maintenance, and improvement of county roads and bridges. Records include bonds, general road and highway maps, petitions to have roads constructed or altered, notices, complaints, vacation records, and correspondence. Information includes road numbers and names and descriptions of the activity occurring on the road. Information concerning county roads may be available on the Integrated Road Information System (IRIS) at the county road office. Technical road survey maps may be found in the series titled Road Maps and Survey Notes.

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Road Maps and Survey Notes

Series documents the surveying and mapping of county roads. Records include road surveyor notes, alignment, profile, and other survey maps, and road registers. Information includes legal descriptions of the roads; road names and numbers; plans and profiles; township, range, and section numbers; dates of activity; and scales. General road maps may be found in the series titled Road and Bridge Records.

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School District Records

Series reports the general and financial statistics of each school district located in the county. Information includes school district number and clerk's name; number of individuals within the district between ages four and twenty; number of teachers employed; number of school houses (owned by the district); number of legal voters; number of libraries and books within each; number of private schools; cash on hand at last report; district tax received from county; state schools funds received; general value of school grounds and furnishings; property values; enrollment; number of students enrolled from outlying districts; school census; and board minutes. Series may also contain school attendance and grade reports and data on students and parents. Records may be titled School District Clerk Annual Report, District Clerk's Book of Records, District Clerk Record Book, or Oregon School Register and Record Book, which is the most comprehensive record of school district activities.

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Superintendent of Schools Records

Series documents the official and financial affairs of the superintendent of schools concerning teachers, students, and schools located in the county. Records include annual statements on the condition of common (public) schools in the county, school district boundary records, school district accounts, and book purchases. Information includes financial information, school curricula, boundary descriptions, and enrollment and attendance data. Superintendent of schools records have been inventoried through 1965.

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Surveyor Field Notes and Plats

Series documents surveys of county land by the county or licensed professional surveyors. Records include log books, field notes, and plats. An index may also be included. Information includes survey dates; who the survey was for; donation land claims; township, range, section, and survey numbers; a history of previous surveys made for the area; descriptions of land, vegetation, and soil; landmarks; metes and bounds of tracts surveyed; and surveyor's names. Plats also include corner restoration marks, scales, dates created and filed, and donation land claim owners.

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Tax Lot Cards

Tax lot cards, which contain official descriptions of real property, are used to track land ownership and lot size and also may serve as a deed reference. Records include tax lot number; the location of the land in reference to township, range, and section; and a description and record of changes to the property, acreage, and land owner.

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Water Rights Records

Series documents the authorization by the state and local governments for the use of public waters. Series includes water rights, licenses, and certificates of water rights issued by the state and filed with the county. Records may include alphabetical indexes to the certificates, transcripts, statements, evidence, and other records specifically related to water rights cases heard by circuit and appellate courts. Information includes names of individuals proving water rights; locations of water rights including the township, range, and section number; descriptions of land under such rights; and limitations of appropriations of rights and use of rights (i.e., length of time, usage). Original water rights certificates are filed with the Oregon Water Resources Department.

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Zoning Records

Series documents the development and implementation of codes and policies relating to the zoning of county lands and to illustrate and locate the various zoned areas within the county. Records include uniform zone codes and ordinances depicting various zoned lands in the county. Information in codes and ordinances includes definition, code/ordinance numbers, purposes, uses, conditions for use, and changes made to codes/ordinances. Maps include area and/or zone descriptions, dates created, scales, and commissioners' signatures. Areas are typically zoned for residential, industrial, commercial, flood plain, agricultural, timber, public and government, and mineral extraction uses.

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Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722

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