Sierra County, California Genealogy Guide
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Sierra County, California (Map It) was created on April 16, 1852 from Yuba County. Sierra County was named for the Sierra nevada in Spanish means “snow saw,” applied to the Sierra Nevada mountain chain because of the jagged, serrated, sawtooth peaks forming the skyline. . Learn More About State of California History
Sierra County Cities and Towns include Loyalton .
Since its creation Sierra County boundries have changed to include these:
- Most of Sierra County territory was in Yuba County from 1850 to 1852 when it was separated to create the new county.
- Territory was in Yuba County from 1850 to 1866 when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory in Yuba County from 1850 to 1852, and in Sierra County from 1852 to 1866, was in Plumas County from 1866 to 1868, when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory in Butte County from 1850 to 1854, was in Plumas County from 1854 to 1863 when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory which at one time was in Sierra County is now in Nevada County and Plumas County
Sierra County, California Courthouse Records
Sierra County, CA Courthouse
Old Sierra County Courthouse
The Sierra County Courthouse is located in Downieville, California. Land was later added from counties Yuba (1866) and Plumas (1863 and 1866). Courthouse Fire in 1947 destroyed courthouse. No records were lost Learn More About State of California Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.
Courthouse History - On November 26, 1885, local carpenters erected wooden gallows in a yard adjacent to this courthouse for the execution of a 19-year-old Irish immigrant convicted of murder. The next day, the gallows was dismantled and stored in the attic of the courthouse until 1927, when startled county employees discovered it. Despite complaints that it was "not conducive to happy thoughts," the gallows was reerected adjacent to the courthouse and survived the 1947 fire that destroyed the building. Restored in 1988, the gallows is recognized as a California Historic Landmark and 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 Sierra 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.
- Sierra County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1857 / 1873, Marriage Records from 1853 and Land Records from 1852. 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.
- Sierra County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1852 and Court Records from 1852. 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.
- Sierra County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 100 Courthouse Square, Room 11, Mail to: P.O. Drawer D, Downieville, CA 95936; Office (530) 289-3295
Sierra 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
Sierra 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.
Sierra County, California Resources
- Sierra County Historical Society
- Sierra County, California Message Boards
- Sierra County, California Genealogy Forum
- Sierra County, California Mailing lists