University of Washington Libraries has Special Collections that are useful for genealogy and family history research. They have both online and onsite collections available for free.
- Digital Collections
Over 80 digitized collections from Special Collections’ holdings. These are a good place to start a search as they contain a range of materials, including photographs, books, manuscripts and archives. However, it should be noted that this is only a small representation of Special Collections’ materials. A few of these collections are listed below but there are many more!
- Alaska, Western Canada and United States Collection
- Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Photographs
- American Indians of the Pacific Northwest
- Transportation Photographs
- Barnes (Albert H.)Photographs of Western Washington, ca. 1895-1920
- Boyd and Braas Photographs of Seattle and Washington State, 1888-1893
- Civil War Letters Collection
- Civil Works Administration Photographs of King County, 1933-1934
- Cobb (John N.) Photographs of the Fishing Industry, ca. 1897-1917
- Curtis (Asahel) Photo Company Photographs
- Darrington Historical Society’s SR 530 Landslide Collection
- Early Advertising of the West, 1867-1918 – Print advertisements published in local magazines, city directories, and theater pamphlets from 1867 to 1918
- Early Washington Maps – Maps offering rich insight to 300 years of Pacific Northwest history
- Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Portraits
- Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899
- Hegg (Eric A.) Photographs of Alaska and the Klondike, 1897-1901
- Hester (Wilhelm) Photographs
- Industries and Occupations Photographs
- Kiehl (H. Ambrose ) Photograph Collection
- King County Collects Heritage Collection – best-of-the-best artifacts from the shared collection held by 61 historical societies, libraries and museums
- King County Snapshots
- Kinsey Brothers Photographs of the Lumber Industry and the Pacific Northwest, 1890-1945
- Labor Archives Digital Resources Portal
- McKenney and Hall Indian Tribes of North America
- Nikkei Newspapers Digital Archive – two significant newspapers which tell the story of Japanese immigration and Japanese American community life in Seattle and beyond
- Nineteenth (19th) Century Actors and Theater Photographs
- Pacific Fisherman Journal, 1903-1911
- Pacific Northwest Historical Documents Database
- Portraits Collection
- UW Yearbooks and Documents – yearbooks from 1900 to 1994
- Vietnam War Era Ephemera Collection
- War Poster Collection
- World and Regional Maps, 16th to 19th Centuries
- Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection
Developed as a partnership between University of Washington Libraries Map Collections and Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, this website includes digitized images of 946 maps representing Washington topographical history before 1950.
- Pacific Northwest Phonebooks Database
This database searches descriptions of Pacific Northwest phonebooks held by Special Collections. Phonebooks cover Washington State, Oregon, western Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia, and span ca.1890-ca.1997, depending on city.
- Pacific Northwest Regional Newspaper and Periodical Index
This database contains close to 100,000 citations from hundreds of newspapers and periodicals as well as monographs, theses, dissertations, scrapbooks, pamphlets, and other ephemera dealing with all aspects of life in Seattle, Washington state, and the Pacific Northwest from the mid-19th century to the present. Please note that Special Collection is currently converting the Regional Index from card files; the bulk of the Regional Index remains in a card file housed in the Special Collections Reading Room.
- Washington State Jewish Archives Photograph Collection Database
This database searches Washington State Jewish Archives (WSJA) photograph collections held by Special Collections and provides textual descriptions of individual images. WSJA has over 350 photograph collections containing over 4000 photographs dating from the mid 1800s to present day, that relate to Jewish life and history in the Pacific Northwest, as well as nationally and internationally.
- HistoryLink.org: The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
A free, evolving online encyclopedia of state and local history in Washington state.
- Oral History Interviews by Project– interviews with members of the Scandinavian American, African American, Japanese American, and Jewish communities in Seattle and Washington State
- Collection Guides Search
Finding aids are detailed guides to archival and photograph collections.
- UW Libraries Search
The library catalog provides brief descriptions about most publications housed in Special Collections, Special Collections’ digital collections, and some archival and manuscript collections.
- City Directories List
This list describes the city directories for the Pacific Northwest region that are housed in Special Collections. City directories are comparable to phone directories, but have more information. Also called business directories or gazeteers, they provide information about the occupations, residential addresses, and spouses of city residents, and list employees of businesses. Beginning in 1939, the directories include a “reverse” section describing the residents and businesses on each street.
- Metsker Atlases
List of Metsker atlases for the counties of Washington State that are available in Special Collections.
- Pacific Northwest Pamphlet Collection Database
This database searches descriptions of the pamphlet collection housed in Special Collections.
- Pacific Northwest Photographers Database
Created by Special Collections, this database provides brief information about photographers who operated in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska between ca.1870 and 1935.
This list is organized according to topic and includes descriptions of reference works about the Pacific Northwest housed in the Special Collection’s Reading Room.
- Sayre Theatrical and Vaudeville Performers Database
The J. Willis Sayre collection consists of more than 24,000 photographs of theatrical and vaudeville performers, as well as musicians and motion picture scenes, that played in Seattle between about 1900 and 1955 (some of the materials date back to the 1870s). The collector was J. Willis Sayre: drama critic, journalist, promoter. The database includes the data for all images in the database, but only includes links to digital images that are not under copyright restrictions.
- University of Washington History: Bibliography
A bibliography for print and online resources about the history of University of Washington.
- Seattle Funeral Home Records Search Request
- Sessions Funeral Home, 1916-1937
- Home Undertaking Company, 1918-1977
- University Funeral Parlor, circa 1920-1968
- Bothell Funeral Home, 1936-1963
- Clark-Rafferty & Putnam, 1939-1978
- Acacia Funeral Home, 1964-1999
- Forkner Funeral Home, 1971-1974
- Seattle Mortuary, 1976-1981