The Oregon Heritage Council was founded in Eugene in June1969. Its founders were looking tocreate a state-wide clearinghouse to avoid duplication of genealogicaland historical projects. A continuation of this effort is the annualpublication of the Record Roundup which lists books being published andprojects being researched for publication by members.

In 1971 the Council published its first Checklist of Oregon Materialand Researchers Guide to Oregon Laws on Access to Public Records. In1972 the purpose of the organization was redefined to act as anumbrella group with official representation from all types ofgenealogical, historical, patriotic and museum organizations throughoutOregon. In 1973 areas of interest were defined as censuses, court,cemetery, church, funeral home and mortuary, military, Indian andschool records, historical sites, directories and newspapers. Openrecords were a focus with HB 2137, an open records bill studied andsupported.

In 1976 the Council printed a directory of cemeteries for all counties.This was the forerunner to the Department of Transportation's CemeteryGuide. Also that year the first "Genealogical Faire" was held, attendedby 62 people, and a committee was appointed to look into incorporationproceedings.

In 1982, the name was changed to Genealogical Heritage Council of Oregon and in 1985 to its present name, Genealogical Council of Oregon.

GCO's first state-wide genealogical conference was suggested byPresident Gerald S. Lenzen, following successful participation in thenational genealogical conference in Portland in 1991. That firststate-wide conference was held August 14-16, 1992 at the Gateway RedLion Inn in Springfield and was hosted by the Oregon Genealogical Society of Eugene. Since that time state-wide conferences have been held every other year.

Additionally, biannual meetings are held on the 3rd Saturday in Apriland October where member societies volunteer to host. These meetingsinclude a guest speaker in the morning and business meeting followinglunch arranged by the host society. The visiting format of the meetingsallows members to get acquainted with new resources. Members andpotential members are invited to these meetings.