Posted by Amy Johnson Crow on December 12, 2014 in Research
Seattle skyline. From U.S. Historical Postcards collection.
Seattle skyline. From U.S. Historical Postcards collection.

When you think of the state of Washington, what comes to mind? Trees, apples, a certain brand of coffee? There’s a lot more to the Evergreen State. Here are five things you might not know:

  1. Both the United States and England controlled the region until 1846.
  2. The world’s first salmon cannery opened on the lower Columbia River in 1865.
  3. You could probably guess that apples are the state fruit, but did you know that the state vegetable is the Walla Walla sweet onion?
  4. Seattle was the first major U.S. city to elect a female mayor (1926, Bertha Knight Landes).
  5. During the Civil War, soldiers from the Washington Territory manned U.S. Army posts, freeing up those troops to go into battle.

Our new free guide “Washington State Research Guide: Family History Resources in the Evergreen State” has links to Washington resources, a timeline, and a general history of the state. It will help you navigate the waters of Washington state research.

Be sure to check out the other state research guides that are available in the Ancestry Learning Center as well.

Amy Johnson Crow

Amy Johnson Crow is a Certified Genealogist and an active lecturer and author. Her roots run deep in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. She earned her Masters degree in Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Amy loves to help people discover the joys of learning about their ancestors and she thinks that there are few things better than a day in a cemetery. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Amy Johnson Crow.


  1. Amy, this is great! I would like to point out (so perhaps you can contact the person who can correct this) that Mullan (with an “a” and not an “e”) is spelled incorrectly in the fourth paragraph of the research guide.

  2. Also in the last paragraph on the first page, there are some errors. Japanese-Americans were held temporarily (for up to six months) at the present-day site of the Western Washington State Fair until they were sent to Minidoka Internment Camp in Hunt, Idaho. There was only ONE of these holding centers in the state; they were not located all over Washington State. Also, only Japanese-Americans from the coastal areas were interned. The Japanese-Americans in Eastern Washington, such as Spokane where I now live), were not.

  3. Ellen Bentley

    Miriam/Amy: A clarification about Eastern WA Japanese-Americans. The Yakima Valley residents were removed.
    “The Minidoka camp, located north of Twin Falls near Hunt, opened in August 1942 and housed 10,000 Issei and Nisei internees, mostly from western Washington and Oregon. Yakima Valley Japanese Americans were interned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, and Hood River Japanese were sent to Tule Lake in northern California. Japanese Americans living in Idaho, eastern Oregon, and in Washington east of the Columbia River escaped incarceration.”
    The Yakima Valley Museum exhibit ‘Land of Joy and Sorrow: Japanese Pioneers in the Yakima Valley’ documents this history. Here are some memories from a internee

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