Issaquah History Museums

The Issaquah History Museums’ research center at the Gilman Town Hall has a broad range of resources about local and regional history. The David J. Horrocks Memorial Research Center is open to the public during museum open hours; appointments are also available Monday through Friday. We strongly recommend that researchers make an appointment to use the research center. Unless you have a research appointment, we can’t guarantee that research staff or volunteers will be available to locate materials for you.

At the David J. Horrocks Research Center, you can:

  • Peruse our research files and other resources available in the research center (books, videos, articles).
  • Review photographs and documents from our collection.
  • Access our community family tree and genealogy information for the Issaquah area.
  • Access The Issaquah Press, either through digitized versions or on microfilm.

Museum staff members or volunteers will pull the materials you need and will help you get started. We are also available to look up information for you, but research fees may apply.

You can also find information on our web site by using the search function. You’ll find other information about Issaquah through the on-line resources listed below.

This page includes:

Frequently Asked Research Questions

Can you tell me the history of my house?
If your home is one of the 125 buildings inventoried by King County during their 2003 property inventory, then we can provide you with a copy of the report on your home (copying fees apply). You can also find information about your home via the King County Parcel Viewer or the Puget Sound Regional Archives.

I need a copy of a relative’s obituary.
There is a chance we have a copy of the obituary in our research files, but this depends on someone either donating the obituary at some point, or a staff or volunteer clipping the obituary. If we don’t have a copy, please check the Issaquah Press (either online or at the library).

I need a copy of a relative’s birth certificate/death certificate.
Although we may have information on births and deaths for selected people who lived in Issaquah, we do not hold any official records. Depending on the year this person was born or died, this information will be available from either King County Vital Statistics or the Washington State Department of Health.

There is a house in my neighborhood that is going to be torn down. How can I save it?
Unfortunately, there may be little that you can do to save a particular property if the owner plans to tear it down. Private property owners have a right to do what they like with their property. That being said, there are significant benefits to landmarking a historic building or site; community members can appeal to a property owner and help educate them about these benefits, although the ultimate decision belongs to the property owner.

The King County Office of Preservation has more information on historic registration, including the benefits to a property owner and the requirements that need to be met in order for a property to be considered historic. Note that not all buildings are eligible for landmark status on the basis of age alone; uniqueness, preservation and historic value must also be considered.

On-line Resources

City of Issaquah Ordinances & Minutes
Text of ordinances and council meeting minutes from 1892 to the present day, and resolutions from 1970 to the present day. (See the tutorial on our blog).

Washington State Digital Archives
Information from a variety of historic records has been organized by the Secretary of State and is available for free at this web site. Among the records included are marriage, birth, death, census, naturalization, and court records. Not all records are available for all counties in Washington state at this time.(See the tutorial on our blog)

Death Certificates of Finns in King County
Transcriptions of King County death certificates (1892 to 1947) of anyone born in Finland, or of Finnish descent. The certificates are arranged by date of death, and the transcriptions of some names may not be completely accurate.

Flintofts Crematory and Funeral Home
Online obituaries are available for many or most of Flintofts’ clients since 1999. Obituaries are searchable by last name.

The King County Parcel Viewer
The parcel viewer reveals property information (including the year the house was built). You can search by address, tax parcel information, or use a map to zero in on a particular property. A limited number of recent property transfers (within the last 20 years) are also be listed. For more complete property transfer information, you’ll need to visit the Puget Sound Regional Archives. (See tutorials on our blog)

Many graves at Issaquah’s Hillside Cemetery have been recorded in this online database. Grave information for cemeteries all over the United States is also available. If you are unable to find a grave through this site, it may mean only that the grave has not been indexed yet.

Ellis Island Records
This free resource links visitors to immigration records from 1892 to 1924. Site users may view images of the original ship manifests, which often include information on age, occupation, hair and eye color, home town, next of kin in country of origin, and name and address of party they will be meeting in the USA. Images of the ships used for passage are also available.

Castle Garden Records
Castle Garden, the predecessor of Ellis Island, was our nation’s first immigration center. This free web site provides access to more than 10 million immigration records from 1830 to 1892. This web site is still being built and completed, so access to original records may be limited at this time.

Local History Resources

The Issaquah Independent (1900-1916)
The Issaquah Press (1916-2017)
Issues of the Issaquah Independent (Jan. 25, 1900; Mar. 31, 1906; Dec. 28, 1907-Dec. 29, 1911) and the Issaquah Press, 1918-2017, are available online. Digitized in 2019 through a generous donation, the majority of the newspaper is free and searchable.

King County Archives
A repository of historical county government records. Includes birth, death, marriage and divorce records, property records, criminal and civil court records, Records are in many formats, including paper, photographs, maps, and audio-visual materials.

The Puget Sound Regional Archives
Located on the Bellevue Community College Campus, the archives are the best place to find a history of your home or property. You’ll need to know the tax parcel ID number before you go, and it’s best to set up a research appointment with them ahead of time. Other documents available at the PSRA include local government records from county offices such as the Auditor, the Clerk, the Treasurer, the Board of Commissioners, and from municipalities, school districts, and other service districts.

Federal Archives at Sand Point
The collections at Sand Point Federal Archives span 1850 to the 1990s and feature maps, architectural drawings, photographs, records, and other documents created or received by the Federal government. They also provide microfilm access to federal census records from all states and territories between 1790 and 1930, in addition to other records of genealogical interest. See their web site for more information on planning a visit.

UW Special Collections
The University of Washington Special Collections include city directories, phone books, newspapers, atlases, manuscripts and personal papers.

King County Vital Statistics
Copies of some birth and death records can be obtained through this office, or ordered online.

Washington State Department of Health
Copies of some birth, death, marriage and divorce records can be obtained through this office, or ordered online.