One of the very real benefits of belonging to the Association of Professional Genealogists is the behind-the-scenes tours I've had of our region's important records collections. One such repository that I've used several times is the Washington State Archives in Olympia. Our Puget Sound chapter met yesterday for an exceptionally interesting meeting, highlighted by a presentation by our state archivist, Jerry Handfeld, and followed by a tour of the building. Like most archives and libraries, it's bigger than it looks from the outside! From the street, it's a one-story building, but underneath are two climate-controlled floors filled with boxes, books, and rolls of microfilm.
Our tour began and ended in the research room, where the staff had put out examples of various records for us to see. One of those was a cattle branding register book, from 1890's Lewis County. I thought this was a fascinating example of records that aren't online - because this is a record I never would have thought to look for!
State of Washington
County of Chehalis
I, D.R. Porter, hereby certify that I have adopted for a mark or brand to be used in marking my cattle situated in Chhalis County, Wash., to letter "P" about four inches in heighth and two inches in width with a bar across the upper part. The following is a correct description and representation of said mark or brand. To wit:
and it is designed to use the same on the left hip of the animal branded. Witness my hand this 2nd day of November 1894.
Recd for record Nov. 22 AD 1894 at 2 o'clock PM at the request of D.R. Porter.
Geo. W. Buyington, Auditor
By F.A. Farr, Deposit
Citation: Chehalis County, Washington, Log and Stock Brands Register, 1886-1909, entry for 22 November 1894, D.R. Porter; Washington State Archives, Olympia.
This past week I had the occasion to go up to the Puget Sound Regional Archives in Bellevue, to look for divorce records. The archivist trundled out 4 huge bound books on a book cart, for me to look through. They were the indexes for the civil court cases in King County, Washington, from 1890 to 1900, and 1900 to 1906; two books indexed by the plaintiff's name (the person bringing the lawsuit), and two by the defendant's name.
These cases cover the whole range of civil (not criminal) legislation - everything from divorce (which is what I was looking for) to adoption, naturalizations, medical malpractice, personal injury, and just suing the next-door neighbor because he was noisy after 11pm. These are just the indexes; the actual cases (denoted by the case numbers) are on microfilm, also at the Puget Sound Regional Archives.
And none of these are online.