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
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
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.