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Research Resources

Home/Research Resources
Research Resources 2017-03-09T17:08:57+00:00

Research Resources

Are you researching a person from or a topic in Marion County, Oregon?  In addition to materials you might find here at the Willamette Heritage Center, here is a list of online and community resources for researching community history in Marion County.  Also, don't forget to check out our FAQ page here.

marion-county-map

**Notice!  This page is under construction.  We are sorry for the duplicate information and chaos, but look forward to providing you with a more streamlined page soon! Thank you for your patience!**

Incorporated Communities

Community Resources

Aumsville Historical Society (Museum and History Center) 599 Main Street, Aumsville, Oregon
Community Resources Old Aurora Colony Museum 15018 Second St NE, Aurora, Oregon

Community Resources

Canyon Life Museum 143 Wall St, Mill City, Oregon Operated by the North Santiam Historical Society PO Box 574, Gates, Oregon Detroit Lake State Recreation Area

Online Resources

City of Detroit Website
The materials from the former Donald Historical Society are now held by the Willamette Heritage Center.

Community Resources

North Santiam Historical Society PO Box 574, Gates, Oregon 97346 which operates the: Canyon Life Museum 143 Wall St., Mill City, Oregon

Community Resource

Pacific Northwest Mennonite Historical Society 6030 S. Whiskey Hill Rd. Hubbard, Oregon

Community Resources:

North Santiam Historical Society PO Box 574, Gates, Oregon 97346 which operates the: Canyon Life Museum 143 Wall St, Mill City, Oregon

Community Resources:

Jefferson Public Library 128 N. Main Street, Jefferson, Oregon

Community Resources:

Keizer Heritage Museum 980 Chemawa Rd NE, Keizer, Oregon

Community Resources:

North Santiam Historical Society PO Box 574, Gates, Oregon 97346 which operates the: Canyon Life Museum 143 Wall St, Mill City, Oregon

Community Resources

Mt. Angel Historical Society PO 75, Mt. Angel, Oregon

Community Resources

St. Paul Mission Historical Society PO Box 158, St. Paul, Oregon

Digital Collections

St. Paul Mission Historical Society

Community Resources:

Salem Family History Center 4550 Lone Oak SE, Salem, Oregon Willamette University Archives and Special Collections 900 State St, Salem, Oregon

Online Resources:

Lee Mission Cemetery Online Database Cemetery located at 2104 D. St. NE Salem Online History Salem Pioneer Cemetery Online Database Cemetery located corner of Hoyt and Commercials Streets Salem Historic Landmarks Commission (Historic Buildings) Willamette University Archives and Special Collections Digital Collections

Community Resources

Scotts Mills Area Historical Society 210 Grandview Ave, Scotts Mills, Oregon

Community Resources

Silverton Country Museum 428 S Water St., Silverton, Oregon

Community Resources:

St. Boniface Community Archives and Museum 371 SE Main St, Sublimity, Oregon

Digital Resources:

Illustrated History of Sublimity by Henry Strobel

Community Resources

Woodburn Museum 455 N Front St, Woodburn, Oregon

Unincorporated Areas

Community Resources:

Brooks Historical Society and Museum at Antique Powerland 3995 Brooklake Rd NE, Salem, Oregon
French Prairie is a term given to the area north of Salem in Marion County where many retired French-Canadian engages of the Hudson's Bay Company retired.  Oregon Geographic Names describes the area as "between the Willamette River and Pudding River, north of Salem."

Community Resources

Champoeg State Heritage Area 8239 Champoeg Rd NE, Saint Paul, OR 97137 St. Paul Mission Historical Society PO Box 158, St. Paul, Oregon
A.K.A Livesley, A.K.A. Croston This is the name for an unincorporated community southwest of the city of Salem along River Road, along the east bank of the Willamette River.  It encompasses and area approximately between Halls Ferry to the south and Brown’s Island to the north.  The history of this region is a bit fluid.  Early Schools of Marion County (WHC X2011.001.0130) published by the Marion Intermediate Education District in 1976, states that a Marion County district school No. 48 was established on February 1, 1877.  The 1878 Atlas of Marion and Linn Counties shows the school located on the south side of River Road, on a ridge, in the southwest quarter of section 6, Township 8 S, Range 3.   The 1878 atlas also shows the Ferry Crossing, as what we now call Hall’s Ferry, listed as “Leabo Ferry.” On December 22, 1884, a Post Office with the designation “Croston” was established at Hall’s Ferry (see Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982 by Richard W. Helbock, 1985, second revised edition, WHC 2011.035.0001).  Helbock describes the post office as “located at a ferry crossing on the Willamette, about 8 miles south of Salem.  Situated on the east bank of the river at a place called “Hall’s Ferry.”  This post office was in operation until May 31, 1901.  It is likely the name Croston persisted until the closure of the post office, if not beyond. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/308309660" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] In 1911, the Oregon Electric Railway established lines south of Salem and named their station in the area “Livesely” after Thomas Albert Livesley, who with his partner John J. Roberts operated large tracts of hops in the region.  In 1925, Roberts bought out his partner Livesley and the name of the station and the community changed to Roberts (see Oregon Geographic Names by Lewis McArthur, 1982, WHC 2006.040.0494). The school seems to have followed the same naming trajectory.  A March 23, 1951 Oregon Statesman article is titled “When Roberts School was Croston” and features a 1906 picture taken at the “Croston School.”  It was also known as the Livesley and Roberts School respectively before it was closed in 1974 (see Alfred Jones “Roberts Goodbye is Sad.”  Capital Journal June 6, 1974.) WHC Resources: Chambers, Doug.  Illustrated Memoirs & History of the Livesley-Roberts Community 1840s-1940s. Self Published, 1997.  Copy in the Library of the Willamette Heritage Center WHC 2006.040.0055 Claude Edwards Oral History (1968) with David Duniway and John Davis.  WHC X2012.031.0037.  Listen below.

Other Archives, Local Genealogical Societies and Organizations

Family History Centers

Salem Family History Center 4550 Lone Oak SE, Salem, Oregon

Oregon Historical Society

1200 SW Park Ave Portland, OR 97205, 503.222.1741
View Website – Click HERE

The Oregon Historical Society's collections span the entire state. You can look through their catalog here.

Oregon State Archives

800 Summer St. NE Salem OR 97310
503-373-0701
View Website – Click HERE

The Oregon State Archives is the repository for all government records within the State of Oregon. You can find state records and some county records here. See a list of Marion County holdings here. Or search for a specific name here.

Polk County Historical Society

560 S Pacific HWY West Rickreall, Oregon View Website – Click HERE

Polk County is the county directly west of Marion County. Part of the City of Salem is actually in Polk County.

PO Box 2083, Salem, OR 97308.

The society has trained volunteers that can help with your genealogy research.  You can visit them in person during their operating hours at the Salem Public Library.  They also can respond to some requests for research remotely.  Check out their website for more information about hours, resources, policies, and fees.

Free Digital Resources

Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries

View Website – Click HERE

Marion County Records on FamilySearch

View Website – Click HERE

FamilySearch.org has digitized a ton of Marion County, Oregon records and indexes.  You can access this for free.

Oregon Historic Newspapers Database

View Website – Click HERE

Searchable newspaper database for Oregon papers.  Marion County papers include the Aurora Observer and the Capital Journal (Salem).  It should be noted that many big news stories were syndicated and sometimes will appear in other local papers of the time.  Due to copyright restrictions, most of the papers will go up only through the 1920s.  The papers are keyword searchable and you get to see the actual papers digitized!

Religious Archives

Archdiocese of Portland Archives

2838 E Burnside St Portland, Oregon

View Website – Click HERE

Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Church Archives

1st United Methodist Church

600 State St Salem, Oregon

View Website – Click HERE

The Oregon Missions Collection (University of Puget Sound, Washington)

Collins Memorial Library

1500 N Water St Tacoma, Washington

View Website – Click HERE

Queen of Angels Monastary (Mt. Angel, Oregon) History

840 S Main St Mt. Angel, Oregon

View Website – Click HERE

Religious Archives

Pacific Northwest Mennonite Historical Society

6030 S Whiskey Hill Rd Hubbard, Oregon

View Website – Click HERE