King County Archives
We preserve and provide access to government records of enduring historical value.
Photo Credit: Matthew S. Browning, Photographer and King County Records Center Technician
About the Archives
Government records are essential for increasing government transparency and protecting the rights of citizens. King County Archives holds historically relevant records created by King County government employees, offices, and agencies. Records range from County Council meeting minutes, County Executive orders, photographs, reports, maps, and project files.
Records at Other Agencies
King County Archives holds many county records, but not all of them. We don't hold name change records, divorce decrees, birth and death certificates, and court case files. Visit the Records at Other Agencies page for more information about documents held by other offices and how to access them.
Discover County History
King County Archives created research guides that recommend archival records, additional resources, and search strategies to help you locate information on a specific topic. The Seattle / King County Building History guide was produced by Seattle Public Library in collaboration with the Archives.
February 2023: Welcome New Archives Specialists
King County Archives is thrilled to announce that we've hired two new Archives Specialists--Tasia Williams and Alycia Ensminger. Tasia and Alycia joined us in February 2023 and are already diving into reference, outreach, and accessibility projects.
Archives Specialist Alycia Ensminger
Alycia has a background in libraries, archives and architecture and graduated with a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the county, Alycia served at the Seattle Public Library, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, NBBJ Architectural Archives and the Andy Warhol Museum. She is passionate about providing access to the archives and its services that are equitable and inclusive, particularly to those who have been historically underserved. She also loves processing and preserving collections, researching local history, and teaching courses about information sciences.
When not in the office, you’ll likely find Alycia volunteering at the animal shelter or painting in her home art studio!
Archives Specialist Tasia Williams
Tasia comes to us with bachelor’s degrees in History and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in Museology from the University of Washington. Prior to joining the county, Tasia worked for the arts sector as well as several museums and historical societies in the Puget Sound area. She holds a deep affection for local history and is excited to dive into learning more about the County Archives holdings.
When she's not at work, you can find Tasia taking classes in whatever she finds interesting. Currently she is learning floor loom weaving.
January 2023: New Year, New Look
2022 was a year full of change and transformation for King County Archives. We moved back into our renovated building, moved 8,000 boxes of records back on-site, opened to the public for limited in-person research, welcomed two new Assistant Archivists, and increased access to the recorded documents collection for the Racial Restrictive Covenants Project researchers.
To match our renovated building, we've renovated our website with more information about the records in our holdings and beautiful images of our collections. These images are courtesy of Records Center Technician Matthew S. Browning. In addition to working for King County, Matt is a professional photographer with more than 15 years of experience. He specializes in event, portraiture, and editorial photography, and since 2014, he is a frequent contributing photographer for Real Change Newspaper.
Photographer Matthew S. Browning
November 2022: Records Back at the Archives Building
In May 2022, King County Archives staff moved back into our renovated space, but we still had pallets of county records that needed to be moved back too. From July to October, Archives staff, with the help of King County Records Center staff, received, unwrapped, and reshelved roughly 8,000 boxes of county records. Archivists and archival records are finally reunited in the same space!
A special thanks to the entire Records Center team, including Scott Landwehr, Matt Browning, Patrick Gundran, and Coley Sanders, for all of their assistance helping us reshelve 500 boxes each week. We couldn't have done it without them.
Records Center Technician Patrick Gundran reshelving boxes. Photo Credit: Matthew S. Browning.
More News and Events
After an extensive renovation that spanned two years, the King County Archives building has re-opened to the public. We are excited to be back in our space, which features an accessible main entrance, re-designed lobby and research room, and additional restrooms. The building also features multiple staff amenities including a dedicated processing area where we can receive and organize transfers of historically relevant county government records.
The Archives building is open for limited hours during the week as we continue to settle into the new space and become fully staffed. Please go to our Visit the Archives page for more information about our open hours. To schedule a research appointment or consultation, email or call us at 206-263-2480. We look forward to your visit.
Researchers at King County Archives patron lobby. Photo Credit: Matthew S. Browning.
King County Archives is pleased to welcome Danielle Coyle and Katharine Guyon as the new County Assistant Archivists. Danielle and Kate were hired in September 2022 and are settling into their new roles.
Assistant Archivist Danielle Coyle
Danielle has been with King County Archives since 2017 as an Archives Specialist. She has an academic background in history and museum collections management. Before coming to King County, Danielle worked in patron services at the Seattle Public Library. She previously interned with local institutions such as the Museum of History and Industry and the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. She loves the wealth of local history that comprises the King County Archives, and her favorite records in the collection are the County Road Engineer’s bridge photographs.
Assistant Archivist Kate Guyon
Kate joined King County Archives in April 2022 as an Archives Specialist. She has a background in museum studies, archives, and archaeology. Before coming to King County, Kate served the Photography Archives Registrar and Archivist for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. She enjoys digitizing historic photographs and maps, and she has also participated in recovery and preservation of archaeological materials and documents with the National Park Service.
King County Archives is proud to contribute to the Racial Restrictive Covenants Project, which is headed by research teams at the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University.
This project is authorized by the state legislature under SHB 1335 (May 2021) and charged with identifying and mapping neighborhoods covered by racist deed provisions and restrictive covenants. These (no-longer) legally-enforced restrictions were used in most American communities to prevent people who were not white from buying or occupying property.
2nd-year research team: front row L-R: Samantha Cutts, Erin Miller, Nicholas Boren; back: Alvin Bui, Sophia Dowling.
King County Archives facilitates access to its property documents collection so that students at the University of Washington and Seattle Central Community College may search for and uncover restrictions that existed in King County. We are honored to assist in this important work.
For more information about the project and to view restrictive covenants data in interactive map form, please visit the Racial Restrictive Covenants Project website.
1st-year research team: L-R: James Gregory, Nicholas Boren, Jazzlynn Woods, Madison Heslop, Sophia Dowling.