Kern County, California Genealogy Guide
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Kern County, California (Map It) was created on April 2, 1866 from Tulare County and Los Angeles County . Kern County derived its name from the Kern River, which was named for Edward Kern, topographer of General John C. Fremont’s 1845 expedition. Learn More About State of California History
Kern County is bordered by Los Angeles County (south), Ventura County (south), Santa Barbara County (southwest), San Luis Obispo County (west), Kings County (northwest), Tulare County (north), Inyo County (northeast), San Bernardino County (east). .
Kern County Cities and Towns include Bakersfield, Delano, Arvin, California City, McFarland, Ridgecrest, Shafter, Tehachapi, Wasco, Maricopa, Taft .
Since its creation Kern County boundries have changed to include these:
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1852, was in Tulare County from 1852 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1851, was in Los Angeles County from 1851 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 until 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory which at one time was in Kern County is now in Inyo County and San Luis Obispo County
Kern County, California Courthouse Records
Kern County, CA Courthouse
Old Kern County Courthouse
Courthouse History - When mining activity around Havilah began to subside, Kern's county seat was moved from the one-time boomtown to Bakersfield. The town's first courthouse was constructed in 1876 but soon proved inadequate for the growing county, and in 1896 it was reconstructed with additions that doubled the size of the original building. When a more modern courthouse was built across the street in 1912, the county sold the old courthouse to the City of Bakersfield for use as its city hall. Both the old and new courthouses were damaged in a 1952 earthquake and demolished. A cement-and-wrought iron fence that enclosed the 1896 courthouse now stands inside the entrance of the Kern County Museum.
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 Kern 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.
- Kern County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1850, Marriage Records from 1850 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.
- Kern County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1866 and Court Records from 1866. 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.
- Kern County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 1800 Mt. Vernon Ave., 1st Floor, Bakersfield, CA 93306; Office (661) 868-0335
Kern County, California Census Records
- Learn More: State of California Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 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: 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Kern 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 or Social Security Death Index
- Vital Records by Mail: Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications.
Kern County, California Resources
- Kern County Genealogical Society
- Kern County Historical Society
- Kern River Valley Historical Society
- Taft Genealogical Society
- Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert
- Ridge Route Communites Historical Societies and Museum
- Kern County, California Message Boards
- Kern County, California Genealogy Forum
- Kern County, California Mailing lists