Source Information

Ancestry.com. Oregon, Biographical and Other Index Card File, 1700s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: Oregon, Biographical and Other Cards. Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon.

About Oregon, Biographical and Other Index Card File, 1700s-1900s

This collection features records from five index card files containing biographical, pioneer, territorial, and other information from the state of Oregon. The five collections are:

Biography Index

This index was created by workers in a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s. It contains data dating from approximately 1840 to 1940. Information includes biographical data and data on births, marriages, and deaths. This data came from historic Oregon newspapers, Oregon Historical Society scrapbooks, and various reference books. The following are the three types of reference cards found in this index

  • Vital Statistics (yellow cards): these contain data copied from historic Oregon newspapers – primarily births, marriages, and deaths. The names of source newspapers are abbreviated (see list of abbreviations below). Dates are abbreviated and cover the years of approximately 1840 to 1940. Also included are page numbers and column numbers within the source newspapers.
  • Scrapbooks (abbreviated SB) refers to Oregon Historical Society scrapbooks, housed in the library reading room. Cards provide volume (for example “SB 34”) and page number and a brief summary.
  • Reference books: the catalog also includes references to reference books such as county histories and biographical compendiums. Usually the full title and author are given, plus volume and page numbers. These works are housed in the Oregon Historical Society library, but many are now available online through various webpages.

Below is a list of abbreviations for historic newspapers, as used in the Biography Index. Cabinet numbers refer to microfilm cabinets in the Oregon Historical Society library.

  • DN - Democratic News, Jacksonville (not in OHS)
  • D ORE - Daily Oregonian, Portland (Cabinet K, Drawers 8-11; Cabinet L, Drawers 1-4)
  • ODT - Oregon Daily Times, Portland (Cabinet K, Drawer 8)
  • OFP - Oregon Free Press, Oregon City (Cabinet I, Drawer 7)
  • ORE ARG - Oregon Argus, Oregon City and Salem (Cabinet P, Drawer 10)
  • ORE REP - Oregon Republican, Dallas (not in OHS)
  • ORE SENT - Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville (Cabinet F, Drawer 5)
  • ORE SPEC - Oregon Spectator, Oregon City (Cabinet I, Drawer 5)
  • ORE STAT - Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, Corvallis, Salem (Cabinet O, Drawers 4 and 5)
  • OSJ - Oregon State Journal, Eugene (Cabinet E, Drawer 4)
  • OWT - Oregon Weekly Times, Portland (Cabinet K, Drawer 8)
  • PCA - Pacific Christian Advocate, Salem, Portland (Cabinet CC, Drawer 1)
  • SOP - Southern Oregon Press, Jacksonville (not in OHS)
  • W ORE - Weekly Oregonian, Portland (Cabinet K, Drawer 8)
  • WS - Western Star, Milwaukie (Cabinet K, Drawer 8)

Pioneer Index

This index was compiled by staff of the Oregon Historical Society, from approximately 1900 to 1930. The data came primarily from questionnaires filled out by pioneers or their family members. All the information is contained on the cards – they do not refer to any other sources.

Territorial and Provisional Government Records Index

This index refers to the records of the Oregon Provisional and Territorial governments, which were in power prior to Oregon statehood in 1859. These original archival records are housed at the Oregon State Archives in Salem, although microfilm copies are housed at the Oregon Historical Society library. Copies of documents can be obtained from the Oregon State Archives. Each card refers to a file number within the records.

Matthew Deady Papers Index

This index refers to the papers of Matthew P. Deady (1824-1893), a prominent Democratic political leader in Oregon who served as U.S. District Judge for Oregon. The Matthew Deady papers, Mss 48, are housed in the Oregon Historical Society library comprise 13 documents cases and 1 volume. A complete finding aid to the collection can be found on the Northwest Digital Archives website. Each card refers to a letter within the Matthew Deady papers.

Joseph Lane Papers Index

This index refers to the papers of Joseph Lane (1801-1881), a prominent Oregon political figure who served as the first governor of the Oregon Territory and one of the first US Senators from Oregon. He was also a national figure who ran for Vice-President in 1860. The Joseph Lane papers, Mss 1146, are housed in the Oregon Historical Society library and comprise 3 cubic feet of archival materials. A complete finding aid for the collection can be found on the Northwest Digital Archives website. Each card refers to a letter in the Lane papers, providing the date and often a short summary.

Subject matter on the cards varies, but they may include details such as these:

  • name
  • ethnicity
  • occupation
  • birth date and place
  • spouse’s name
  • marriage date and place
  • death date and place