New Resource for Early Oregon Ancestors

By Allison Dolan

Looking for Oregon pioneer ancestors? Check out the Oregon State Archives’ free Early Oregonians Database with information extracted from census, death, probate and other records.

Compiled starting in 2004 by archives staff and volunteers, the database holds more than 150,000 entries on people living in Oregon from 1800 to 1860. (American Indians lived in Oregon during those years and earlier, but because of lack of records, few are represented in the database.) Learn more about how the database was compiled in the State Archives’ announcement.

You can search by an ancestor’s name and the date range; click More Options to add names of the person’s parents and spouses. The site returns a maximum of 200 matches, so if your search is too broad, you’ll need to narrow it with more criteria.

Your results list shows the person’s name and, if known, the date and place of birth and parents’ names. Click the name to see more details about the person and others associated with him (such as parents or a spouse mentioned in the database source records) on a screen like this:

Be sure to click each tab and look for source information. In this case, the Census Events tab reveals that the data on this particular James Smith came from the 1860 US census:

If you’re researching Oregon ancestors, you’ll also want to use the online Oregon Historical Records Index and Oregon Historical County Records Guide. Family Tree Magazine‘s Oregon State Research Guide digital download ($3) will help you use these and other resources.