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County historical records can be used in ways not intended by their creators, such as documenting the natural or built environment of a neighborhood. County records that seem unrelated to a neighborhood may actually contain good information about its environment, its history or its development. To identify this information, you may find it helpful to use one or more of the following access points as search terms.
  • Keywords: name of town, nearby landmark, geographical point of reference; other proper names or distinguishing characteristics.

  • Section-township-range coordinates: the section-township-range (S-T-R) number. This is a three-part number (for example, 32-24-4) which establishes a location within a square mile, in relation to latitude and longitude. It is a part of legal property descriptions, and prior to uniform street naming in King County it was widely used (through the early 1970s) to locate places in King County.

  • Street and road names, or nearest intersection (expressed as street and avenue).

  • Property address or property owner name: very few records in our collections are retrievable by address or name alone, but sometimes this information is present as part of a larger description.

Archives staff can help you determine useful access points, search historical records collections, and provide lists of records which may be useful to you.

Most records held by the King County Archives relate to communities and neighborhoods in unincorporated King County. This includes former county areas that later incorporated as municipalities. Some examples are Covington, Newcastle, Shoreline, SeaTac, and Sammamish. Municipal records may also contain information relating to your neighborhood.

More information (external link) about incorporations in King County.


TTY Relay 711

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9 am-4 pm

Please note the Archives is closed Wednesdays.