Alameda County, California Genealogy Guide
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Alameda County, California (Map It) was created on March 25, 1853 from Contra Costa County and Santa Clara County . Alameda County was named for the Spanish for "avenue shaded by trees" or "cottonwood grove." The name was applied both to the southern portion of the county (La Alameda) and to the stream running through it (Rio de la Alameda) as early as 1795. . Learn More About State of California History
Alameda County Cities and Towns include Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Union City .
Since its creation Alameda County boundries have changed to include these:
- Territory was in Contra Costa County from 1850 to 1853 when it was moved to Alameda County.
- Territory was in Santa Clara County from 1850 to 1853 when it was moved to Alameda County.
Alameda County, California Courthouse Records
Alameda County, CA Courthouse
Old Alameda County Courthouse
Courthouse History - Alameda's Victorian courthouse was built on Oakland's Washington Square after the county seat was moved from Alvarado (part of present-day Union City) to San Leandro and finally to Oakland. The ornate brick building had fallen into disrepair by the mid-1920s (judges called it a "vermin-infested menace to health and records"). During heavy winter rains in its final years, bailiffs held umbrellas over the bench to shield judges from leaks. In 1936, a new county center on Lake Merritt replaced the old courthouse, which county supervisors voted to demolish in 1949.
Please contact the each clerk's department to confirm mailing address, hours, fees and other information before visiting or requesting information because contact information sometimes changes. The Clerk's Office DOES NOT DO RESEARCH. The documents are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. Most staff will assist people in finding the materials, but it is up to the individual to do the research. Some early court records from the various courts may have been sent to the California State Archives. Besides court minutes and judgements, these records include tax lists, wills, deeds, estate inventories, and marriage bonds. The California State Archives has microfilm of selected county records, 1850–1919.
The following dates indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Alameda county. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered. Some counties encompass land settled in the eighteenth century; their records pre-date county formation. Land transactions and vital records recorded in the county are at the county recorder's office. The county clerk general has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be in either place, depending on how filed.
- Alameda County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1873 / 1859, Marriage Records from 1853 and Land Records from 1853. The County Recorder-Clerk is s responsible for examination and recording of all documents presented for recording that deal with establishing ownership of land in the County or as required by statute; administers the real property transfer tax law and maintains a permanent record and indexes of all documents for public viewing plus providing certified copies requested by the public; recording of all lawful documents such as deeds, deeds of trust, judgments, liens, affidavits, Uniform Commercial Code Financial Statements, etc; and the filing of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
- Alameda County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1853 and Court Records from 1853. The County Clerk of Superior Court has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be here or in the Recorders Office, depending on how it was filed.
- Alameda County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- California Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in California for current fees and application process. Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events.
- Ordering Vital Records - You can also order Order Electronically Online or You can download an application for California Birth Certificate, Marriage or Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.
- Local Registrar of Births and Death, 1000 Broadway, Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94607, Office (510) 267-8070
Alameda County, California Census Records
- Learn More: State of California Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragmented), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
- State Population Schedules: Voter Registers, 1866-1898, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
- U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules: 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Alameda County, California Vital Records
- Learn More: State of California Vital Records
- Birth Records: from July 1905 to present.
- Marriage Records: Indexes from 1949-1986 and 1998-1999.
- Death Records: from July 1905 to present. See Local County Recorder
- Divorce Records: from 1962 and June, 1984. See local County Circuit or County Chancery Clerk.
- Locations: California Department of Public Health, Vital Records, – MS 5103, 1501 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814; PH (916) 445-1719 or (916) 445-2684
- Vital Records Online: USAVital, VitalChek or Social Security Death Index
- Vital Records by Mail: Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications.
Alameda County, California Resources
- Alameda County Historical Society
- Berkeley Historical Society
- California Genealogical Society
- East Bay Genealogical Society Library
- Hayward Area Historical Society
- Surveyors' Historical Society
- Livermore- Amador Genealogical Society
- Livermore Heritage Guild
- Biography and Genealogy Resources, The Bancroft Library
- Genealogy & Family History, Alameda County Library
- Family History & Genealogy Resources, Oakland Library
- Albany Library
- Castro Valley Library
- Centerville Library
- Dublin Library
- Fremont Main Library
- Irvington Library
- Newark Library
- San Lorenzo Library
- San Leandro Historical Commission
- Union City Library
- Alameda County, California Message Boards
- Alameda County, California Genealogy Forum
- Alameda County, California Mailing lists