Sonoma County, California Genealogy Guide
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Sonoma County, California (Map It) was created on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . Sonoma County was named for Sonoma is a Chocuyen Indian name translated by some as “Valley of the Moon” and by others as “land or tribe of the Chief Nose.” Learn More About State of California History
Sonoma County is bordered by Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor .
Since its creation Sonoma County boundries have changed to include these:
- Most of Sonoma County has been in the county since 1850.
- Territory was in Mendocino County from 1850 to 1855, when it was added to Sonoma County.
- Territory was in Mendocino County from 1850 to 1859 when it was added to Sonoma County. Sonoma County had administered Mendocino County from 1850 to 1859.
- Territory which at one time was in Sonoma County is now in Mendocino County, Napa County, and Solano County
Sonoma County, California Courthouse Records
Sonoma County, CA Courthouse
Old Sonoma County Courthouse
The Sonoma County Courthouse is located in Santa Rosa, California. Land was added from Mendocino County in 1855 and again in 1859. Courthouse was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Minor record Loss. Learn More About State of California Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.
Courthouse History - After residents voted to move the county seat from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County built two grand courthouses in the center of the town. The first, completed in 1885, was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The second, constructed of locally quarried stone and reinforced with steel and concrete, was "built for all time and the earthquake," according to one local historian. But by the mid-1960s the county was forced to declare the building seismically unsafe and it was demolished. After the courts moved to a new county center, the site was rededicated in 1967 as "Old Courthouse Square."
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 Sonoma 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.
- Sonoma County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1858 / 1873, Marriage Records from 1846 and Land Records from 1841. 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.
- Sonoma County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1850 and Court Records from 1848. 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.
- Sonoma County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 3313 Chanate Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; Office (707) 565-4700
Sonoma 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
Sonoma 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.
Sonoma County, California Resources
- Cloverdale Historical Society
- Forestville Historical Society
- Petaluma Historical Library and Museum
- Sonoma County Genealogical Society
- Sonoma County Historical Society
- Sonoma Valley Historical Society
- Sonoma County, California Message Boards
- Sonoma County, California Genealogy Forum
- Sonoma County, California Mailing lists
Sonoma County, California External Links
- California Historical Newspapers - Newspapers.com
- Sonoma County, California Books - Amazon
- Sonoma Co., California - FindaGrave
- California Indexed Historical Records - Familysearch
- The Crinella - Zurlo Families
- California Pioneer Project
- History of Sonoma County including its geology, topography, mountains, valleys and streams; together with a full and particular record of the Spanish grants; its early history and settlement ... the names of original Spanish and American pioneers ... and biographical sketches of early and prominent settlers and representative men, by J. P. Munro-Fraser, Alley, Bowen & Co., San Francisco, California (1880).
- Sonoma County History