Performing genealogical research is common for people who wish to know more about their ancestry and family history. Many people may not know how their family tree developed from their earliest descendants. Perhaps the consequences of migrating over some years split the family or the loss of records and other materials such as certificates or family pictures. Such records can provide knowledge to help connect a person with their ancestry.
Genealogical research may be almost impossible if the researcher does not know the resources to use. In Deschutes County, there are government offices that provide useful information available to the public. Researchers can search for the appropriate records that possess information on a person’s ancestry.
Likewise, the State of Oregon stores Genealogical records among the State Archives. The office of the Secretary of State maintains state archives, and interested persons can find information that is made publicly available.
Generally, you can start your research with older family relatives that have lived in the county. They may provide information you may find relevant to your ancestry and genealogical research. Request for their pictures or old journals. If you have old family property in Deschutes County, you may also see the property documents to check for past owners or occupants.
The following Deschutes County records can assist genealogical researchers:
Birth Records: Finding the birth records of persons born in Deschutes County may be of importance to genealogical research. Birth records provide insight into the date the subject was born, and other information, including the parents’ names which can be valuable to trace the family’s origin.
To find a Deschutes County birth record, visit the county’s Health Department office. Obtain the birth records order form and submit it at the office or by mail services to:
2577 North East Courtney Drive
Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 322-7498.
Do note that the department may have some proof of eligibility. Alternatively, you can obtain birth records from the Oregon State Vital Records Office. Payment for the documents is applicable, as decided by the office.
Adoption Records: Adoptees born in Deschutes County that wish to perform genealogical research on their biological family can start by getting their adoption records. Adoption records may contain the biological family’s history if available. You can find adoption information via resources provided by the Department of Human Services. Adult adoptees are eligible to obtain identifying information from the registry.
Using the Assisted Search Program, they can search for their birth parents and siblings. Eligible adoptees can apply by completing and sending the Assisted Search Application alongside a birth certificate copy and a fee of $400 (payable to DHS Adoption Registry). The registry will connect applicants with the requested information only if the person they wish to locate consents.
Death Records: Death certificates have some information that can provide a lead in your genealogical research. Deschutes County only allows access to death records after 50 years from the death occurrence. Moreover, only specified individuals have the authority to get them from the custodian.
However, you can apply to get a long-form death certificate that is specifically helpful for genealogical research. The certificate will contain demographic information, medical history, and the circumstance of the death. Requests are processed at the Deschutes County Health Services office in person or by mail. Each certified copy requested will cost you $25.
Along with the order form, you will need a current copy of a valid ID card, and signature. Visit the office or send the mail to:
2577 North East Courtney Drive
Bend, OR 97701
Specify the mode you prefer to receive the certificate. Usually, the custodian processes the request in three business days. You can find out more about the process on the county site.
Probate Records: Probate records can provide the most important pieces of information relevant to genealogical research. Probate files provide information on the distribution of a decedent’s estate/property. Probate proceedings in court usually record information on the decedent, heirs, wills, estate inventories, and household members.
Records of Probate case files are among court archives available at the Deschutes County courthouse and the Deschutes County Justice Building Basement. Contained in the case files include appointment certificates, will, receipts, and some financial information.
You can also check for Probate estate records (dating between 1917-1970) at the Justice Building Basement among court archives. Some valuable information contained in the records includes the decedent’s full name, place of residence, the full names of the heirs and their relationship to the deceased, contact information of the estate administrators and trustees, and the estimated cost of the estate/properties. Newer probate estate records are available at the Deschutes County Circuit Court.
Oregon State Archives provide genealogical resources, including the Deschutes County Records Inventory. The inventory lists all the records or information maintained by the state, how to locate them via a site or an office, and how they appear in storage units (boxes, containers).
The Early Oregonian search tool provides details of residents of the state before its formation till 1860. You can find an individual that lived in Oregon during this period by:
- Full name/Aliases.
- Date range.
- County of residence (select Deschutes County).
- Full name of the father or mother.
- Full name of the individual’s spouse.
The database contains information about 101,000 early Oregonians. The information on the database comes from the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses of the state. If you need more information on the subject of your search result, proceed to order copies of the record from the Oregon State Archives.