How to Find Public Records in Oregon
Public Records Search: Oregon
Researchers visiting arcweb.sos.state.or.us will find the Archives
Division for the state of Oregon. The Oregon state archives are open to
the public as well as to internet researchers. The state’s earliest
holdings dating from its provisional and territorial days can be found
at this location as well as many other types of public records and
information given archival status.
To search the site, a useful menu provides all the necessary links
needed to direct researchers to relevant pages. These headings include:
administrative rules, legislative records, records management, genealogy
records, archives holdings, state agency records, local government
records, web exhibits and projects, archives tour, Oregon Blue Book
(published by the archives), about the archives, contact the archives
and search the archives. All relevant information to most kinds of
public research can be found within these pages.
The Oregon Archives Division was given official status in 1947 to house
and provide access to the state’s various archival holdings. The Oregon
Archives Division can be found at Oregon State Archives, 800 Summer St.
NE Salem, OR 97310. Requests may also be submitted via phone and fax:
phone: 503-373-0701, fax: 503-373-0953. They are open on weekdays from 8
AM to 4:45 PM (closing for lunch between 12 and 1).
The “about the archives” section is extremely important for researchers
because beside a frequently asked questions page, there is also
information about specific services and fees for copying materials. For
instance, physically visiting the archives means a charge of 25 cents
for copies. If you request the information online or via the mail, there
is a 75 cents per page charge for copies. According the site,
“researchers may submit simple, informational requests to the State
Archives for no charge. These include requests that can be answered by
staff without leaving their workstation or by consulting basic reference
tools such as finding aids, tracing binders, or reference books.”
Of course, researchers that require records or copies of records and
public information can expect some charge. A basic record request for an
out of state researcher costs $10. ($5. for in-state researchers). For
PDF files or cassettes or any other format, consult the website to see
the outline of fees.
Among the types of records researchers may access through the Oregon
Archives Division are: Oregon historical records, state agency records,
records indexes, census records, adoption records, land records,
military records, probate records, court records and vital records. Of
course, most of these specific records are not reproduced online;
however, researchers may search the online database to locate specific
public records in order to format their requests for copies of such
To perform a sample search, click on the “search archives” link from the
main page. Researchers may narrow down their search choice to one of the
proposed fields or simply search all the fields. Choose the search all
option and when directed to the next page, enter the term “marriage” in
the data entry box. A wide array of indexes for marriage records from
various counties comes up. Click on the Sherman Country marriage
records. A summary detailing this source as well as its format is then
It is often necessary to do this type of preliminary research before
contacting a staff member with your request. First of all, rough
requests demand more time on the part of staff and will inevitably mean
increased charges. However, if you can pinpoint a material you need
copies from, you are likely to receive a less charge and speedier return
on materials. Many state archival sites simply do not have staff to
perform extensive research for requesters.
Oregon’s Archives Division demonstrates a navigable site with
considerable holdings. Services and charges are clearly labeled and most
researchers should easily be able to search the website or make direct
requests for materials to the staff via email.
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