Santa Cruz County, California Genealogy Guide
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Santa Cruz County, California (Map It) was created on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . Santa Cruz County was named for the name of Branciforte after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797. Less than two months later, the name was changed to Santa Cruz. Established in 1791 and completed in 1794, the Santa Cruz Mission was destroyed by earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931. Santa Cruz signifies “holy cross.” Learn More About State of California History
Santa Cruz County Cities and Towns include Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville .
Since its creation Santa Cruz County boundries have changed to include Territory which at one time was in Santa Cruz County is now in San Mateo County
Santa Cruz County, California Courthouse Records
Santa Cruz County, CA Courthouse
Old Santa Cruz County Courthouse
Courthouse History - This much-admired brick, Romanesque Revival courthouse was rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1906 and served the county until 1967, when court offices moved to a new location. The building was remodeled and opened in 1972 as the Cooper House, a mix of offices and retail businesses. It was later demolished after sustaining serious damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.
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 Santa Cruz 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.
- Santa Cruz County Recorder-Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1873, Marriage Records from 1851 and Land Records from 1847. 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.
- Santa Cruz County Clerk of Superior Court has Probate Records from 1850 and Court Records from 1850. 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.
- Santa Cruz County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, Office of Vital Records, 1430 Freedom Boulevard, Suite 101, Watsonville, CA 95076; Mail to: P. O. Box 962, Santa Cruz, CA 95061; (831) 763-8430
Santa Cruz 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
Santa Cruz 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.
Santa Cruz County, California Resources
- Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County
- Art and History Museum of Santa Cruz
- Capitola Historical Museum
- Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association
- Pajaro Valley Historical Association
- Santa Cruz County, California Message Boards
- Santa Cruz County, California Genealogy Forum
- Santa Cruz County, California Mailing lists