Contra Costa County, California Genealogy Guide
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Contra Costa County, California (Map It) was created on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . Contra Costa County's name signifies “opposite coast,” because of its situation opposite San Francisco, in an easterly direction, on San Francisco Bay. In 1853, Alameda County was formed from territory originally included in this county. Learn More About State of California History
Contra Costa County Cities and Towns include El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg .
Other Communities in Contra Costa County include Blackhawk, Canyon, Marsh Creek Springs, North Richmond, Saranap, Shore Acres, Tormey . Ghost towns & Lost Cities include Eckley, Judsonville, Port Chicago, Nortonville, Selby, Somersville, Stewartville, Stege, West Hartley, Winehaven
Contra Costa County, California Courthouse Records
Contra Costa County, CA Courthouse
Old Contra Costa County Courthouse
Courthouse History - Built in part by inmate chain gangs from 1901 to 1903 and now a National Historic Site, the old Contra Costa County Courthouse (left) remains in use as the county's Finance Building. The cupola, used as a watchtower during blackouts in World War II, was removed in 1957 for reasons of earthquake safety. In 1966, most of the courts' offices moved into the Hall of Records (right), which was completed in 1933 and continues to serve as the county's courthouse. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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 Contra Costa 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.
- Contra Costa County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1850, Marriage Records from 1850 and Land Records from 1850. 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.
- Contra Costa County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1850 and Court Records from 1850. 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.
- Contra Costa County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 10 Douglas Drive, Suite 220, Martinez, CA 94553; Office (925) 313-1125
Contra Costa County, California Census Records
- Learn More: State of California Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragmented), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
- State Population Schedules: 1852, Voter Registers, 1866-1898, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
- U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Contra Costa 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.
Contra Costa County, California Resources
- Antioch Historical Society
- Contra Costa County Genealogical Society
- Contra Costa :County Historical Society
- East Contra Costa Historical Society and Museum
- El Cerito Historical Society
- Lafayette Historical Society
- Martinez Historical Society
- Moraga Historical Society
- Point Richmond History Society
- Richmond Museum of History
- San Ramon Valley Genealogy Society
- San Ramon Valley Historical Society
- Walnut Creek Historical Society
- Contra Costa County, California Message Boards
- Contra Costa County, California Genealogy Forum
- Contra Costa County, California Mailing lists