Monterey County, California Genealogy Guide
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Monterey County, California (Map It) was created on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . Monterey County was named for the Bay of Monterey. The word itself is composed of the Spanish words monte and rey, and literally means “king of the forest.” The bay was named by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of the Conde de Monterey, the Viceroy of New Spain. Learn More About State of California History
Monterey County Cities and Towns include Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Sand City, Seaside, Soledad .
Since its creation Monterey County boundries have changed to include these:
- Most of Monterey County has been in that county since 1850.
- Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1851 when it was added was moved in to Monterey County.
- Territory in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1851, then in Monterey County from 1851 to 1861, was moved back to San Luis Obispo County from 1861 to 1872 when it was returned to Monterey County.
- Territory in Monterey County from 1850 to 1861, was in San Luis Obispo County from 1861 to 1872, when it was returned to Monterey County.
- Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1863 when it was added to Monterey County.
- Territory which at one time was in Monterey County is now in San Benito County and San Luis Obispo County
Monterey County, California Courthouse Records
Monterey County, CA Courthouse
Old Monterey County Courthouse
The Monterey County Courthouse is located in Salinas, California. Alcalde records from 1781 (See Land Records) Land from San Luis Obispo County was added in 1863 and 1872. Learn More About State of California Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.
Courthouse History - The military and social capital of Alta California during Spanish and Mexican rule, the town of Monterey naturally became the county seat when the 27 original counties were formed in 1850. But when it was learned that the railroad was to go through the valley and not along the coast, the government center was moved to Salinas. After the house used as a courthouse burned, this much larger brick Victorian building was commissioned. The courthouse remained in use while the current one was being constructed around it, and then was demolished. Today, a courtyard, lily pond, and commemorative sculpture occupy the site.
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 Monterey 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.
- Monterey County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1824 / 1887, Marriage Records from 1887 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.
- Monterey 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.
- Monterey County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 1270 Natividad Road, Room 227.01, Salinas, CA 93906-3198; Office (831) 755-4504
Monterey 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
Monterey 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.
Monterey County, California Resources
- Monterey County Genealogy Society
- Monterey County Historical Society
- Pacific Grove Heritage Society
- Seaside Historical Commission
- John Steinbeck Library
- Monterey Public Library
- Monterey County, California Message Boards
- Monterey County, California Genealogy Forum
- Monterey County, California Mailing lists