Week #37 – State ArchivesWeek 37: State Archives. Which state archives repository is your favorite? Have you been there in person? What does their website offer to visitors? Share any advice you can to potential visitors who may visit the archives in the future.
Well maybe I am a little prejudiced but I think the best state archives is the Eastern Branch of the Washington State Archives located in Cheney, Washington. Besides having the records generated by the seven counties of Eastern Washington it also houses the first Digital Archives in the world. I do look ups at the Spokane County Courthouse, and I hated looking in the very old and fragile records, so when they moved those records to Cheney and digitized and indexed most all of them I did not have to search in the old records anymore, just go online and search.
Many archives have a wildcard search, but I have not seen one here, but you can search with just a few letters. so if you search for Hansen, you might want to also search for Hanson, so just put Hans in the surname box and it will search for both spellings. Works for given names also. You can also do a soundex search.
They also have several other special collections you can search, one I like is the pictures from the Ritzville library the A M Kendrick Collection. Mr. Kendrick worked for a farm implement firm and took pictures of those farm implements working on the farms he had sold the equipment to. So you see farms all over Eastern Washington and how they used to farm using the old equipment.