In July, Ancestry.com, the leading genealogical website in the country, added a new set of records from the Oregon State Archives to their site. The Early Oregonians Database Index contains over 100,000 records of tribal and settler history predating Oregon’s statehood in 1859. The new partnership gives people from around the country searchable access to the thousands of records for a fee. (But the same service is free if you use the Oregon Archives website directly.)
Layne Sawyer is the manager of reference services at the Oregon State Archives. She says the Early Oregonian’s project began as a way to commemorate Oregon’s Sesquicentennial. Through their research, Sawyer and her crew found a goldmine of Oregon history including a shipwrecked pioneer, the Rogue River Indian War, and the first Oregon woman convicted of murder. Today, we’ll sift through that gold with Sawyer as we talk about Oregon’s past, present, and the internet’s affect on archiving.