Santa Cruz County, CaliforniaEdit This Page
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Historical FactsThe first European settlements in Santa Cruz County began with the founding of a Franciscan mission in 1791 near the San Lorenzo River in what is now the city of Santa Cruz. In 1797, a proprietary Spanish colony was founded near the mission church and named Branciforte. When California became part of the United States in 1850, Branciforte County was one of the original counties but the name was quickly changed to Santa Cruz County.
Geographically, the coastline gives way to coastal mountains which often come right down to the sea. Two significant rivers played a role in settlement, the San Lorenzo (Santa Cruz city) and the Pajaro River (Watsonville). California hightway route 1 passes through the county along the coast and route 17 provides a connection over the coastal mountains to the San Jose/Silicon Valley area. A railroad also came to the area in the late 1800s providing a shipping outlet for agricultural products of the coastal farmlands.
Earthquakes have affected the area destroying much of the mission church in 1857 and another doing major damage to the city of Santa Cruz in 1989 but they did not cause any significant loss of records.
18 February 1850: Originally as Branciforte County. County seat: Santa Cruz 
19 April 1850: Renamed Santa Cruz County.
No significant changes.
Other populated places:
Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley
La Selva Beach
Rio del Mar
Cemeteries of Santa Cruz County, California at Find A Grave
- Day Valley Cemetery in Aptos CA
- Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz CA at BillionGraves
- Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz CA at Find A Grave
- Felton Cemetery in Felton CA
- Home of Peace Cemetery (Jewish) in Santa Cruz CA
- Holy Cross Cemetery (2 locations, Catholic) in Soquel CA
- Oakwood Cemetery in Soquel CA
- Pajaro Valley Memorial Park in Watsonville CA
- Pioneer Cemetery in Watsonville CA
- St Francis Cemetery in Watsonville CA
- Santa Cruz Cemetery in Santa Cruz CA
- Soquel Cemetery in Soquel CA
Church History and Records
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- Santa Cruz
For tips on accessing Santa Cruz County, California census records online, see: California Census.
Crime and Criminals
Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
Land and Property
Military History and Records
Naturalization and Citizenship
Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz 1866-present 2011)
Santa Cruz Surfer (Santa Cruz 1889-1919)
Mountain Echo (Boulder Creek 1896-1916)
Register Pajaronian (Watsonville, 1868-present)
Archives, Libraries and Museums
- Santa Cruz Central Library
224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County library
(housed in the Central Branch Library, significant collection of genealogies)
Santa Cruz County
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz CA 95060
Family History Centers
- Introduction to LDS Family History Centers
- San Lorenzo Valley California Family History Center (Ben Lomond)
- Santa Cruz California Family History Center
- Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Department Birth Certificates
- Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Department Death Certificates
- Santa Cruz County, California Obituary and Death Notice Collection Free from GenealogyBuff.com. Obits and death notices from Various Funeral Homes in the Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Pajaro, Royal Oaks, Bonny Doon, Aptos and Freedom areas.
- Santa Cruz County Recorder
701 Ocean Street, Room 230
Santa Cruz CA 95060
For records generated since 2009
Santa Cruz County Office of Vital Records
1430 Freedom Boulevard, Suite 101
Santa Cruz CA 95076
- Santa Cruz County CAGenWeb
- USGenWeb Archives
- USGenWeb Archives backup site
- FamilySearch Family History Library Catalog
- ↑ The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).