March, 2000 Program
RECORDS AVAILABLE FOR RESEARCH
AT WASHOE COUNTY RECORDER’S OFFICE
Kathryn L.Burke, Washoe County Recorder, presented an informative and delightful lecture about the “Washoe County Recorder’s Records” at the Nevada State Genealogical Society’s March 21st meeting at the Reno Family History Center. She began her lecture by cordially extending a personal invitation for all present “to visit the County Recorder’s office and take advantage of the millions of records stored under our care.” Ms. Burke then introduced Cathleen Bartley, the Washoe County Recording Supervisor, who assisted throughout the lecture, by showing originals and books (some very fragile and large) of old records that Ms. Burke referenced during her talk.
Ms. Burke explained that in addition to herself, there were 24 employees and “all of us enjoy helping anyone with research at the Washoe County Recorder’s Office and Library.” “There is a map of our Library,” she added. “For example, certain areas within the Library have been designated for specific records, such as a Map Area and a Marriage Area,” she continued. Since there are over three million records in their care, Ms. Burke suggested that anyone searching in the Library should go first to the Library’s Index .
“Many of the records under our care go back to 1862,” she explained. “Some of these are on microfilm and on microfiche; however, we have the original books and documents for many records. In the original form, we have Deeds of Trust, Marriage, and Mining Records. These records undergo wear and tear every day, as individuals come into our office to research and make copies of records. We’ve had to have many of these records restored.”
Repeating her invitation to visit the Washoe County Recorder’s Library and research in the Library, Ms. Burke insisted, “You don’t have to tell any of our staff what documents you are trying to find. We know from experience that a lot of our customers don’t want to tell us why they are researching or for what records. We understand.”
As she continued to tell about the old and valuable records available for research at the Washoe County Recorder’s Library, individuals in the audience interrupted her constantly to ask questions about the possibility of finding records that would apply to some of their specific research problems. With each interruption, she would smile happily and provide a spontaneous reply filled with detailed information about the availability of the records in question. Sometimes, she would have to explain that her office was not responsible for all public records, such as Probate and Naturalization Records that are maintained by the County Clerk’s office and later Vital Records that are maintained by the County Health Department.
Among the records available for research at the Washoe County Recorder’s Library are:
Marriages (1862 and forward–includes Indians and Veterans); Births (1897-1916); Deaths (1887-1911); Land, Deeds (1862 forward); Homesteads (1864 forward);Mining Claims (1866 forward); and Military Discharges (1919 forward). “We also have a Marks and Brands Book for 1873 to 1980 that is very interesting,” she explained. Returning to a discussion about Marriage Records, Ms. Burke said, “If a couple obtained their marriage license in some other county, but were married here in Reno, their marriage is recorded in the county where they got their license. All the time people are coming to us for Marriage Records when the couple was married here, but got their licenses some place else.”
When someone from the audience asked about records on the Railroad and Reno Streets, Ms. Burke said a lot of that data had been filed at the Washoe County Recorder’s office, but not all of it had been recorded. She went on to explain that documentation on the Railroad and Personal Property was often difficult to search. In reply to a question on Timber Titles and Rights, she explained that Deeds had to be searched to find that data, since those rights were not separated from the Deeds. To a question on Water Rights, her reply was, “Two or more people search for Water Rights daily!”
Ms. Burke said the Washoe County Recorder’s Office and Library were open to the public from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. It is located at 1001 East Ninth Street in Reno, Nevada (zip 89520-0027). Phone is (775) 328-3663; Fax is (775) 325-8010. “You can down load records from our office by visiting our Web Page at www.co.washoe.nv.us/recorder,”she invited.
Guests and NSGS members enjoyed Ms. Burke’s informative lecture so much, that they continued asking her questions even after Diane Wallace, NSGS Vice President and Program Chairman, explained it was time to stop the questions, because the Family History Center would be closing shortly. Members of the audience continued to ask questions about records at the Washoe County Recorder’s office as Ms. Burke and Ms. Bartley collected the records and books they had brought to the meeting to share–and some members assisted them to their vehicle, still bombarding Ms. Burke with questions about the Recorder’s records.