Genealogy is located on the second floor of the Library and has a special emphasis on Spokane, Eastern Washington and the surrounding states. We also have several tools available online to assist with regional research.

If you are seeking more information about your ancestry, book one-on-one time with a genealogy librarian here. Need more assistance? Contact the Eastern Washington Genealogy Society. They have volunteers at the library multiple times a month.

To find more information about Genealogy at the Library click the banner image to the left or here to go to our Genealogy and Northwest room Youtube playlist.



ancestry_splashAncestry Library Edition is one of the most important genealogical collections available today with unparalleled coverage of the United States and the United Kingdom

Temporarily accessible remotely through 12/31/2021.
Only accessible through library computers or on library WiFi

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Spokane

PHN_splashDiscover searchable digital images of Spokane’s historic newspapers, including various versions of the Spokesman Review from 1883 to 2009 and versions of the Spokane Chronicle from 1890 to 1992, along with other early Spokane newspapers. Find digital images of later Spokesman Review newspapers (from 2010 up to three months prior to current date) in our ProQuest Current Newspapers: Spokesman Review product.


ancestry_splashSearchable database of vital records in the U.S. with a focus on New England

Only accessible at the Downtown Library


Obituary searches

Search our records of more than 100,000 regional obituaries.

This is a comprehensive record of obituaries since 2008, with some addional records dating back to the early 1900s.

This search will return the person’s name, the publication the obituary appeared in, as well as the publication date and page. You can then use the results to make an accurate search in the appropriate publication.

Additional search sources

Patchen Obituary File

This free database is an obituary index of the Spokane papers from approximately 1940-1979. It was compiled by Lee Patchen and made available online by the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society.

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Spokesman Review Obituaries

You can search recent obituaries directly on the Spokesman Review page at

You can also use the advanced search to narrow down your search.

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FamilySearch is an free online database provided by the LDS church. It includes birth, marriage and death records as well as most U.S. Census records. More information is added daily by volunteers.

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Washington State Digital Archives

The Washington State Digital Archives contain electronic indexes and records from both State and Local databases, including Marriage Records, Naturalization Records, Census Records, Death Records, Birth Records, Military Records, and Institution Records.

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Death records request

Are you doing research from outside the greater Spokane area?

Our librarians can search our records on your behalf for death notices.

We will search for 3 announcements at a time and will search the newspaper for 5 days after an event date.

You may interlibrary loan a microfilm copy of the newspaper from the State Library if you wish to continue the search yourself.

Make a vital records request →

Important notice

This service is for out-of-town customers only.

If you live in the Spokane area, we ask that you come in to do your research.
We'll be glad to help!



Northwest Room digital archives

Some of the digital archives curated by the Northwest Room might be useful in your research.

Biographical files

Biofiles For over 100 years, librarians at SPL clipped the newspapers for biographical information.

These clippings include obituaries on pioneers, but they also contain all kinds of biographical information from papers in Spokane and around the Northwest.

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High school yearbooks

Yearbooks Several hundred Spokane high scool yearbooks are now available online. You can view these yearbooks in your web browser without downloading any files or additional software.

These yearbooks are searchable, so if you have a name of someone who attended high school in Spokane take a look.

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House & neighborhood history

We have collected quite a bit of information on researching house history and previous ownership using public records.

House History

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Digitized photo archives

These collections emphasize the homes, buildings, streets and activities in and around Spokane. They might provide some interesting context to your search.

Digital Collections

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Ancestry Library Edition is one of the most important genealogical collections available today with unparalleled coverage of the United States and the United Kingdom

Temporarily accessible from home through 12/31/2021.

Only accessible through library computers or on library WiFi.

Access Ancestry now →

Book a Genealogy Librarian now →





Genealogy resources & reference material

Resources available in the library

Located Downtown

Resources housed in the Genealogy Area on the Second Floor include:

  • A collection of Spokane city directories
  • Spokane newspapers obituary indexes
  • Census microfilm
  • Periodicals
  • Family histories
  • Vertical files
  • And much more!

Resources housed in the Northwest History Room on the Second Floor include:

  • County plat maps
  • Sanborn fire maps
  • Early Spokane newspaper indexes

Spokane newspaper archives

  • 1882 – 1894 are on microfilm in the Northwest Room
  • 1895 – present are on the Third Floor



Eastern Washington Genealogical Society

The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society is here to help you!

ewgsVolunteers are on duty in the Genealogy Area to answer questions and assist researchers:

  • Every Tuesday 10am–12pm & 1–3pm
  • Every 1st & 4th Thursday 3–6pm

Beginning researchers are encouraged to visit.

Please call 509-444-5357 or email if you are coming from out of town or to make an appointment with the genealogists.

Check flyers posted in the Genealogy Area for information on workshops, beginner classes, luncheons and other activities. Please feel free to attend all functions…and you are also invited to join the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society.

Upcoming EWGS events →



Genealogy talk on the library blog

Follow our Obituary Goddess to stay up to date with the past!

Recently posted

Washington State Death Certificates Online | Genealogy

 When researching family history, one of the most valuable resources is a death certificate. Death certificates can include date of birth and death, marital status and a spouse’s name, occupation, birthplace, parent names, cause of death and location of burial. … Continued →

Her Story is Your Story | Finding the Women in Your Family Tree

March is Women’s History Month – an opportunity to honor the women who paved the way with their contributions to history, society, and culture. Women have often been relegated to the back rooms of history, only to be mentioned when they step out of their expected roles. Daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, wives, and grandmothers play important roles in our … Continued →


More genealogy posts →