Research Hours and Use Policies
King County Archives offers remote reference services via email and telephone, (206) 263-2480. Our building renovation is complete, and we are moving archival records back on-site. We are excited to resume in-person reference later this year.
Due to the high volume of reference requests, our response times are between 15-20 business days. When submitting a request, please provide as much specific information as you can, such as document or recording numbers and dates of purchase (if relevant), as well as names, places, or addresses.
Researching Recorded Documents on Microfilm
No appointment is required for the self-service microfilm area, which is open to the public on a walk-in basis on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. This includes property ownership history, deeds, easements, surveys, etc.
The Archives is closed to the public on Wednesdays. No phone, in-person, or email reference services will be provided while the Archives is closed to the public.
Inquiries received on Wednesdays will receive a response within two weeks.
Researching Archival Records
The Archives research room, where you may review original archival records (created by or received by King County in the course of official business; this does not include King County recordings), is open by appointment only.
Contact Archives reference staff to begin your research. Please provide a short statement of your research needs, including the approximate date or time period, personal or other names, and suggested search terms.
New! Now you can also search our catalog and request an appointment to view bookmarked results!
Search over 200,000 records describing the collection!
We ask that appointments be made at least one business day in advance to allow enough time for records to be identified and retrieved for your research.
Conditions of Use
Archival records are unique materials that require special handling. For the security and long-term preservation of the records in the archival collection, all researchers will be asked to abide by the following research room regulations:
- Visitors are required to sign in at the registration desk.
- Lockers for personal belongs are available upon registering.
- Digital cameras, notebooks, laptop computers may be taken into the research room.
- Paper copies of finding aids for record groups are available for consultation.
- Use pencils only for handwritten notes
- Archives staff will copy or scan flagged materials.
- No food or drinks are permitted in the research areas.
- The use of cell phones and pagers is prohibited in the research room. Please either turn your phone/pager off or place it on vibrate. Any phone conversations should be taken into the lobby or outside.
- Certain information in archival records may be restricted according to applicable privacy regulations or other laws.
- With rare exceptions, there is no copyright or use restriction on copies of Archives records, though we do request the courtesy of a citation when reproductions are used in publications.
Please contact the Archives with questions, or to schedule an appointment.
Self-Service Microfilm Research Area
The King County Archives provides self-service access to microfilm copies of recorded documents filed with the King County Auditor (1853-1969) and the King County Recorder's Office (1969-present). This group of records includes deeds, mortgages, marriage records, and plats, among other documents. Indexes to recorded documents are on microfilm for records dating from 1853-1975 and available through an online database from 1976 to the present.
Conditions of Use
- Visitors are asked to sign in at the front desk prior to using the resources in the self-service microfilm research area.
- No food or drink is allowed in the research area.
- Use of microfilm reader/scanners is available on a first-come, first-served basis, but there is a 15-minute time limit when other researchers are waiting.
- The microfilm research room is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please note that microfilm readers shut off automatically at 3:50 pm.