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King County Archives

A repository of county government records
King County Archives
1215 E. Fir St.
Building A
Seattle, WA 98122


Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Archival Research

All records held by the King County Archives are available for research by the public.  Our archival research room is open by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.  Please contact Archives staff to discuss your research needs and to schedule an appointment, if necessary.

For help with your research query, or to find out more about our records, you have several options:

  • Review our online Historical Records Guide (see below), which describes some of the records held in some of the collections of the Archives. This is not a complete list of our records.The Guide provides information about records, not digital images of the actual records.
  • Contact Archives staff for search help, including database searches. The staff recommends providing a short statement of your research needs, including the approximate date or time period, personal or other names, and keywords or synonyms.
What is the Historical Records Guide?

The online Historical Records Guide summarizes selected collections held by the King County Archives. The Guide is not a complete list of all collections and does not list all records in all collections. The Guide provides information about records, not digital images of the documents themselves.

The historical records in the Archives are organized in relation to the King County agency, office or department that created them. The Historical Records Guide is arranged alphabetically by names of some King County agencies, offices or departments. The Archives calls these record groups. For each agency (record group) you will find:

  • A brief history of the agency that created the records.
  • A descriptive summary abstract of the records associated with that agency. The records have been organized into record series. Each record series represents a specific set of materials that has been arranged according to the creating agency's original method of filing, collecting or using those materials. Examples of series are correspondence files, photograph files, or subject files.

For some series, a container list may also be present. A container list provides specific information about the contents of that record series at the box, folder, item, or other appropriate level.

Some series descriptions include links to container lists are available in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF). These files are indicated by a (PDF) following the series title.

You will need a PDF reader to view these documents. To download the free software, visit King County's PDF help page.

How do I use the Historical Records Guide?