SALEM - The Oregon Archives Division recently launched an online database of the earliest Oregonians, even dating back to before statehood in 1859.

The Early Oregonians Project draws from census records, marriage licenses, death certificates and other documents to offer information about the area's earliest settlers. Much of the information provides a glimpse of the residents who lived and died in Oregon between 1800 and 1860.

The database is searchable by name, date or county.

But largely missing from the archive are the region's first inhabitants:?American Indians. Northwest tribal populations weren't officially identified until the first federal census for Oregon in 1860. But even then, natives were only counted if they paid taxes and "renounced tribal rule,"?according to an excerpt from early census instructions.

The online archive can be accessed at http://arcweb.sos.state.

- Eric Florip

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