Oregon Historical County Records Guide

Harney County Records Inventory

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.

Harney County joined the Oregon Judicial Information Network (OJIN) in circa 1988.

Records at the Harney County Courthouse, Circuit Court Old Jail File Room:
County Court Journal Juvenile [Administrative and Judicial Journal-includes adoptions, mental commitments, widow's pensions, water rights, civil and criminal judicial actions, and administrative actions], vol. B, 1920-1963 (1 volume);
[Mental Commitment Case Files], 1935-present (8.50 cu.ft.);
Mental Health Index Pre-OJIN [Oregon Judicial Information Network], ca.1935-ca.1988 (1 binder).

Records at the Harney County Courthouse, Clerk's Office:
County Court Journal [includes probate, naturalization, widow's pension, and mental commitment information], vol. A, 1889-1919 (1 volume);
Index to County Court Journal [includes probate, naturalization, widow's pension, and mental commitment information], no. 1-500, vol. A, 1889-n.d. (1 volume);
Insane Record [with index], vol. B, 1903-1943 (1 volume);
Record of Insane [with index], vol. 3, 1943-1979 (1 volume);
Record of Proceedings in Insanity [with index], vol. A, 1889-1903 (1 volume).


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