A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Surprise Valley, Washington

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Our Genealogical Helper for Surprise Valley ...

We have a couple of goals for our Gazetteer:

  • That it be a tool that can help us with planning our trips.
  • That it also helps us to understand the community in which our ancestors lived, the community that was part of their daily lives.

By learning about Surprise Valley (and the surrounding area) during the time that our ancestors lived, we hope to have a better understanding of both their community and its relationship to their lifes. We hope that this tool helps to give us insight while doing our genealogical research.

As we add data and organize our Gazetteer to help with our family research, we will be adding to this, our Genealogical Helper for Surprise Valley. While we don't have information that is specific to any given person or family, we intend to expand our understanding about where and how people lived.

It's still very early in our research, but as we gather more information it will be added to this page.

Name Variations for Surprise Valley ...

When searching records, keep in mind that names and their spelling can change over time. Various errors happen - anything from simple spelling to bad translations or people who just guessed at the name. Sometimes the post office had a slightly different name than the community and while one document might refer to the community name, the next might use the post office name.

Although we can't give a definitive list, hopefully the following will give a you a feel for the variations that might have occurred with Surprise Valley.

  • Typical abbreviation for Surprise Valley: Surprise Vly. (or less commonly used: Surprise Vally. or Surprise Vlly.)

Newspapers Published in Surprise Valley ...

An ongoing effort between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has resulted in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

To share their results, the partnership has created the Chronicling America website. The goal of this partnership is to assemble a database about the current and historic newspapers of the United States. This includes a growing collection of scanned images from selected papers. All of it available to the public on their website.

Using information that we've taken from the Chronicling America website, we've identified 182 newspapers that have been published in the area around Surprise Valley.

Although we're unaware of any newspapers that were published in the immediate area of Surprise Valley, there are papers which were published within 27 miles [43.5 km]<1>. A list of those papers, sorted by paper name, can be found on the Extended Newspaper List for Surprise Valley.

Cemeteries Near Surprise Valley ...

Below are cemeteries that are in the vicinity of Surprise Valley.

This is a new section and is likely to have errors. If you find an error, such as a missing cemetery or we have the wrong name, please let us know. If you know of them, we would also appreciate learning about previous or alternate names.

If you click on the [Map] that follows each cemetery's name, a new browser window will open with a Google map showing a satellite view of the area where the cemetery is located. We have tried to place the cemetery in the center of the map, but we're still working on our data and the map might not not be centered properly. If you don't see the cemetery right away, try zooming-in. Usually, but not always, you can see the outline of the cemetery and some of the headstones.

If you need information about a burial or interment, photos, transcripts, how to contact the cemetery or local authorities, please visit our selection of Genealogy Websites (see below).

If not found below, our Cemetery List for Surprise Valley covers a larger area, with the cemeteries listed in alphabetical order.

Distance &

        Name of Cemetery  
      About 4 miles [6.4 km]  
  SSW Eatonville Cemetery   [Map]     
      About 5 miles [8 km]  
  WSW Rainier Cemetery   [Map]     
  WNW Jensen Pioneer Cemetery   [Map]     
      Within 8 miles [12.9 km]  
  SW Mashel Prairie Indian Cemetery   [Map]     
  NW Bethany Lutheran Cemetery   [Map]     
      Within 9 miles [14.5 km]  
  SSW Alder Cemetery   [Map]     
      Within 10 miles [16.1 km]  
  N Soldiers Home Cemetery   [Map]     
  N Orting Cemetery   [Map]     
      Within 11 miles [17.7 km]  
  WNW Jeschke Cemetery   [Map]     
  WNW Smith Cemetery   [Map]     
      Within 12 miles [19.3 km]  
  NW Wren Family Cemetery   [Map]     


Nearby Communities in 1895 ...

We've built the following list with information that came from an Atlas published by Rand McNally in 1895. The Atlas had details such as the population of the community (which appears to have come from the 1890 Census) and whether there was a post office and/or railroad service available. We also indicate if the community no longer exists and is now historic.<2>

While we didn't find Surprise Valley in the Atlas, the following 1895 communities would have been found near the current location of Surprise Valley.

These communities are listed based on their distance from Surprise Valley, with the one closest to Surprise Valley listed first.

Kapowsin   [Map]
 - Located 3 miles [4.8 km] to the North (N) from Surprise Valley
 - Kapowsin had a post office and no railroad service
Eatonville   [Map]
 - Located 4 miles [6.4 km] to the South Southwest (SSW) from Surprise Valley
 - Eatonville had a post office and no railroad service
Leber   [Map]
 - Located 4 miles [6.4 km] to the West Northwest (WNW) from Surprise Valley
 - 1895 population of 25 people
 - Leber had a post office and no railroad service
Orting   [Map]
 - Located 11 miles [17.7 km] to the North (N) from Surprise Valley
 - 1895 population of 623 people (with 7,983 people in 2017)
 - Orting had a post office and railroad service
Carbonado   [Map]
 - Located 13 miles [20.9 km] to the Northeast (NE) from Surprise Valley
 - 1895 population of 705 people (with 701 people in 2017)
 - Carbonado had a post office and railroad service
McMillin   [Map]
 - Located 14 miles [22.5 km] to the North (N) from Surprise Valley
 - McMillin had a post office and no railroad service
Wilkeson   [Map]
 - Located 14 miles [22.5 km] to the Northeast (NE) from Surprise Valley
 - 1895 population of 109 people (with 507 people in 2017)
 - Wilkeson had a post office and railroad service
South Prairie   [Map]
 - Located 15 miles [24.1 km] to the North Northeast (NNE) from Surprise Valley
 - South Prairie had a post office and railroad service

We've also created an expanded list of communities that existed in the 1890's and were located in the area around Surprise Valley. The list can be found on our page for Communities Neighboring Surprise Valley in the 1890's.

Neighboring Counties ...

When searching for family records, we have frequently made the mistake of not checking the neighboring counties.

For example, we have great-grandparents who lived in the southwest corner of their home county. During their lives, most doctors and hospitals were in the next county to the west. Almost all of the nearby churches and cemeteries were in the county to the south.

So when searching for records, we had our best success by looking in neighboring counties instead of the county in which they lived:  their home county contained property and probate records; the county to the west contained birth and death records; the county to the south contained their burial records. If we hadn't included the neighboring counties, we would have missed many valuable sources of information.

If you're in a similar situation, we hope that the following information helps.

Surprise Valley is located in Pierce County.

The following counties adjoin and form the boundaries of Pierce County: King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Thurston & Yakima.

Below are the counties that are near Surprise Valley. For each of these counties, we show a sample of those communities that are closest to Surprise Valley:

Pierce     (The home county for Surprise Valley)
      Clay City   [Map]   W   Less than 2 miles
      Kapowsin   [Map]   N   3 miles [4.8 km]
      Eatonville   [Map]   S   4 miles [6.4 km]
      La Grande   [Map]   SW   7 miles [11.3 km]
      Graham   [Map]   N   9 miles [14.5 km]
      Alder   [Map]   S   9 miles [14.5 km]
      Orting   [Map]   N   11 miles [17.7 km]
      Melmont - Historic   [Map]   NE   11 miles [17.7 km]
      Elk Plain   [Map]   NW   11 miles [17.7 km]
      Elbe   [Map]   S   11 miles [17.7 km]
      Frederickson   [Map]   NW   12 miles [19.3 km]
      Carbonado   [Map]   NE   13 miles [20.9 km]
      Osceola   [Map]   NE   20 miles [32.2 km]
      Enumclaw   [Map]   NE   22 miles [35.4 km]
      Pacific   [Map]   N   23 miles [37 km]
      Algona   [Map]   N   24 miles [38.6 km]
      Auburn   [Map]   N   25 miles [40.2 km]
      Federal Way   [Map]   N   27 miles [43.5 km]
      Lea Hill   [Map]   N   27 miles [43.5 km]
      One Hundred One Pines   [Map]   N   27 miles [43.5 km]
      Black Diamond   [Map]   N   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Lake Morton-Berrydale   [Map]   N   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Franklin - Historic   [Map]   NE   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Redondo   [Map]   N   29 miles [46.7 km]
      Olalla   [Map]   NW   37 miles [59.5 km]
      Burley   [Map]   NW   38 miles [61.2 km]
      Mineral   [Map]   S   14 miles [22.5 km]
      Morton   [Map]   S   25 miles [40.2 km]
      Cinebar   [Map]   SW   26 miles [41.8 km]
      Glenoma   [Map]   S   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Mossyrock   [Map]   SW   29 miles [46.7 km]
      Ajlune   [Map]   S   30 miles [48.3 km]
      Randle   [Map]   SE   30 miles [48.3 km]
      Lacamas   [Map]   SW   32 miles [51.5 km]
      Silver Creek   [Map]   SW   32 miles [51.5 km]
      Onalaska   [Map]   SW   33 miles [53.1 km]
      Salkum   [Map]   SW   33 miles [53.1 km]
      Packwood   [Map]   SE   34 miles [54.7 km]
      Grapeview   [Map]   NW   39 miles [62.8 km]
      North Yelm   [Map]   W   17 miles [27.4 km]
      Yelm   [Map]   W   17 miles [27.4 km]
      Nisqually Indian Community   [Map]   W   21 miles [33.8 km]
      Rainier   [Map]   W   21 miles [33.8 km]
      Kellys Korner   [Map]   W   25 miles [40.2 km]
      Tanglewilde   [Map]   W   27 miles [43.5 km]
      East Olympia   [Map]   W   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Lacey   [Map]   W   28 miles [45.1 km]
      Tenino   [Map]   W   29 miles [46.7 km]
      Bucoda   [Map]   W   31 miles [49.9 km]
      Olympia   [Map]   W   32 miles [51.5 km]
      Tumwater   [Map]   W   32 miles [51.5 km]

For an expanded list of the communities that are closest to Surprise Valley, see our County-by-County Page for Surprise Valley.

Websites to Help With Your Genealogy Research ...

When we do our genealogical research, we first visit the websites from Cyndi's List, FamilySearch, the UsGenWeb Project or Genealogy Trails. These helpful websites offer the information directly or else point to where you can find it. Their information is open to all and free to view - although it should be mentioned that they might link to other websites which do charge.

To help you get started, the following links will take you to the pages that are relevant to Surprise Valley:

These websites are specific to Washington:

Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails     USGenWeb    

Website for the Washington State Archives

Not to be confused with the official state website, we've found the Digital State Archives website for the State of Washington to be a good source for additional links.

These pages are specific to Pierce County:

Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails     USGenWeb    

Genealogy information for nearby counties:

King County:       Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails     USGenWeb    
Kitsap County:       Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails     USGenWeb    
Lewis County:       Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails      
Mason County:       Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails     USGenWeb    
Thurston County:       Cyndi's List     Family Search     Genealogy Trails      

Cemetery Information and Directories for Washington:

Cyndi's List:     Cemeteries of Washington,     of Pierce County
Cemetery Junction:     Directory for Washington     Cemetery Wiki for Washington
Find-A-Grave:     Home Page     Cemeteries of Washington,     of Pierce County

Of Special Interest ...

The GenDisasters website specializes in newspaper articles about tragedies and disasters. While it makes interesting reading all by itself, it should be of special interest to genealogists and family historians looking for people who were either affected by or directly involved in such tragedies.

Disaster Stories from Washington

Other Roadside Stops ...

Index of Cities, Towns and Villages for Washington

About Pierce County

About Washington

Off-the-Road Links ...

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Surprise Valley. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Pierce County:

The official website for State of Washington:

Footnotes ...

<1>Our distances are not driving distances, but are calculated as a 'straight-line' distance that stretches from Surprise Valley. A straight line distance ignores obstructions like rivers, canyons, lakes, et cetera - it's truly a line drawn from Point A (ie- Surprise Valley) to Point B.

Our distance measurements begin at a specific point in Surprise Valley. The point that we are using is located at these GPS coordinates - Latitude: 46.9304, Longitude: -122.2329     [Map].   In this case, the coordinates for Surprise Valley have been provided by the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).

- Return to Citation

<2>We use the term 'Historic' broadly and it generally means that the community no longer exists. However, it can also mean that the community might still exist, but was significantly larger or had a more 'official' existence in the past than it does now. Unfortunately our sources of data have proven to be unreliable. If you can provide us with more specific information about Surprise Valley, please let us know so that we can improve our accuracy.

- Return to Citation


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This page was last modified: 03 Dec 2018
By John Hall