Merced County, California Genealogy Guide
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Merced County, California (Map It) was created on April 19, 1855 from Mariposa County. Merced County's name derived its name from the Merced River of El Rio de Nuestra Senora de la Merced (River of Our Lady of Mercy); named in 1806 by an expedition, headed by Gabriel Moraga, which came upon it at the end of a hot dusty ride. Learn More About State of California History
Merced County Cities and Towns include Atwater, Livingston, Los Banos, Merced, Dos Palos, Gustine .
Merced County, California Courthouse Records
Merced County, CA Courthouse
Old Merced County Courthouse
Courthouse History - Merced's first court hearings took place under a tree on a local ranch that had been designated the county seat after the county separated from Mariposa in 1855. Construction was begun in 1874 on this grand Italianate building designed by Albert A. Bennett, one of the architects of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento. The courthouse is adorned with three statues of Justice and topped by a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. It was used as the county courthouse until 1950, when the courts moved to more modern offices. Renovation of the building began in 1975, and the courthouse was rededicated as a museum in 1983. It is 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 Merced 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.
- Merced County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1873 / 1889, Marriage Records from 1855 and Land Records from 1856. 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.
- Merced County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1855 and Court Records from 1855. 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.
- Merced County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 260 East 15th Street, Merced, CA 95341-0471; Office (209) 381-1013
Merced 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
Merced 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.
Merced County, California Resources
- Los Banos Genealogical Society
- Merced County Genealogical Society
- Gustine Historical Society
- Merced County Courthouse Museum- Merced County Historical Society
- Merced County, California Message Boards
- Merced County, California Genealogy Forum
- Merced County, California Mailing lists