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GCO symbol Genealogical Council of Oregon
             Encouraging sharing of information, maintenance of records, and open access to public records

The Genealogical Council of Oregon (GCO) was founded in Eugene in June 1969 as the Oregon Heritage Council. Its founders were looking to create a state-wide clearinghouse to avoid duplication of genealogical and historical projects. A continuation of this effort is the annual publication of the Record Roundup which lists books being published and projects being researched for publication by members.

In 1971 the Council published its first Checklist of Oregon Material and Researchers Guide to Oregon Laws on Access to Public Records. In 1972 the purpose of the organization was redefined to act as an umbrella group with official representation from all types of genealogical, historical, patriotic and museum organizations throughout Oregon. In 1973 areas of interest were defined as censuses, court, cemetery, church, funeral home and mortuary, military, Indian and school records, historical sites, directories and newspapers. Open records were a focus with HB 2137, an open records bill studied and supported.

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

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 by President Gerald S. Lenzen, following successful participation in the national genealogical conference in Portland in 1991. That first state-wide conference was held August 14-16, 1992 at the Gateway Red Lion 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 April and October where member societies volunteer to host. These meetings include a guest speaker in the morning and business meeting following lunch arranged by the host society. The visiting format of the meetings allows members to get acquainted with new resources. Members and potential members are invited to these meetings.

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