Indexes provide abstracted information and instructions to find individuals, subjects and places within a record or across many records. Many bound volumes have attached indexes, for example, probate journals and marriage records. Other records, such as death certificates, can be accessed by means of direct alphabetical indexes on microfilm.

Some indexes, such as many federal censuses, use the Soundex alphanumeric coding. The reference room library has many indexes compiled by volunteers and donated by organizations. Some indexes are available in the Online Resources​ section.

There are two sets of index cards in the west alcove of the reference room.

First Set of Index Cards

The first set includes thousands of cards that index and abstract the following:

  • Oregon provisional and territorial government records​, 1837-1859. The largest group of records indexed. In this example, the "Doc. no." (document number) refers to a number stamped on each document during the cataloging process. The documents are accessible on numerically arranged microfilm.
Index card listing Nathan W Allen records of the Territorial Government 1843-1859.

  • Oregon Supreme Court case files, 1855-1904
  • Oregon Defense Council personal military service records, 1917-1918
  • Oregon soldiers home patient histories, 1894-1933
  • Oregon State Treasurer quarterly reports of estates, 1903-1913 (probate)

Second Set of Index Cards

These cards index information from the Oregon Military Department and its predecessor, the Oregon Militia. Service records of thousands of individuals from a 100 year period are abstracted.

The example below is an entry related to an Oregonian who served in World War I. The cards document actions related to military service from the 1850s Indian Wars through the 1950s Korean War. Many cards refer to muster rolls or enlistment and service records. The Oregon State Archives has a large group of records from the Oregon Military Department and related records from the Veterans' Affairs Department and counties.

Index card for Frank McKee from Medford OR who served in World War I. 
​​​​​​​​​​​Next: Microforms and Printed Material >​​​

West Alcove

Wooden shelving in the reference room at the archives holds card indexes.
Two card indexes in the reference room are located on either end of the west alcove near the entry. The cabinet to the right contains information about individuals in Oregon before 1859. The cabinet to the left has military information.

Find More Online

Use the search feature on the Archival Records page ​to find the right guide.