Napa County, California Genealogy Guide
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Napa County, California (Map It) was created on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . Napa County was named for Napa Valley. The word napa is of Indian derivation and has been variously translated as “grizzly bear,” “house,” “motherland” or “fish.” Of the many explanations of the names’s origin, the most plausible seems to be that it is derived from the Patwin word napo meaning house. Learn More About State of California History
Napa County Cities and Towns include American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville .
Since its creation Napa County boundries have changed to include these:
- Most of its territory has been in the county since 1850.
- Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1964 was moved to Lake County in 1864, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
- Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1961 was moved to Lake County in 1861, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
- Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1968 was moved to Lake County in 1868, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
- Territory was in Solano County from 1950 to 1855, when it was added to Napa County.
- Territory was in Sonoma County from 1950 to 1855, when it was added to Napa County.
- Territory which at one time was in Napa County is now in Lake County
Napa County, California Courthouse Records
Napa County, CA Courthouse
Old Napa County Courthouse
Courthouse History - The distinctive cupola on Napa's third courthouse, which combined Russian, Gothic, and Victorian styles, withstood the 1906 earthquake, during which a chimney crashed into a judge's chambers. At the time it was constructed, a local newspaper reported that "all the brick used in the construction of the courthouse and jail were made at the old brick yard on the Sonoma Road. About 90,000 were made, which were pronounced by competent judges to be of excellent quality." The courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is still in use. The cupola was removed after another earthquake in 1964.
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 Napa 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.
- Napa County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1868 / 1873, Marriage Records from 1850 and Land Records from 1848. 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. RECORDER: (707) 253-4105; CLERK: (707) 253-4247
- Napa County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1851 and Court Records from 1849. 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.
- Napa County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 2344 Old Sonoma Road, Bldg. G, Napa, CA 94559; Office (707) 253-4506
Napa 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
Napa 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.
Napa County, California Resources
- Napa County Historical Society
- Napa Valley Genealogical and Biographical Society
- Napa County, California Message Boards
- Napa County, California Genealogy Forum
- Napa County, California Mailing lists