San Benito County, California Genealogy Guide
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San Benito County, California (Map It) was created on February 12, 1874 from Monterey County . San Benito County was named for the San Benito Valley. In his expedition in 1772, Crespi named a small river in honor of San Benidicto (Saint Benedict), the patron saint of the married, and it is from the contraction of this name that the county took its name. Learn More About State of California History
San Benito County is bordered by Santa Clara County (north & northwest), Merced County (northeast), Fresno County (east & southeast), Monterey County (southwest & west), Santa Cruz County (northwest) .
San Benito County Cities and Towns include Hollister, San Juan Bautista .
Since its creation San Benito County boundries have changed to include these:
- Most of San Benito County territory had been in Monterey County from 1850 to 1874 when it was separated to create the new county.
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1855, and in Merced County from 1855 to 1856, was in Fresno County from 1856 to 1887, when it was added to San Benito County.
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1855, was in Merced County from 1855 to 1887, when it was added to San Benito County.
San Benito County, California Courthouse Records
San Benito County, CA Courthouse
Old San Benito County Courthouse
The San Benito County Courthouse is located in Hollister, California. Land was later added from counties Fresno (1887) and Merced (1887). Learn More About State of California Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.
Courthouse History - San Benito's third courthouse was a lavishly decorated building with an exterior modeled on the Farnese Palace in Rome and elaborate balustrades of polished red cedar within. The Hollister landmark withstood many earthquakes but was structurally damaged in a 1961 quake. The courts were moved into a quickly remodeled library while a new courthouse was constructed. The old courthouse was razed the following year.
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 San Benito 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.
- San Benito County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1850 / 1874, Marriage Records from 1874 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.
- San Benito County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1874 and Court Records from 1874. 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.
- San Benito County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 439 Fourth Street, Hollister, CA 95023; Office (831) 637-5367
San Benito County, California Census Records
- Learn More: State of California Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 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: 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
San Benito 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.
San Benito County, California Resources
- San Benito County Genealogical Society, 381 Howard Court, Hollister, California 95023; 831-637-9709
- San Benito County Historical Society
- San Juan Batista Historical Society
- San Benito County, California Message Boards
- San Benito County, California Genealogy Forum
- San Benito County, California Mailing lists