Monterey County, California Genealogy

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Guide to Monterey County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


Monterey County, California
Map of California highlighting Monterey County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Founded February 18, 1850
County Seat Salinas
Address Monterey County Courthouse]
240 Church Street
PO Box 29
Salinas, CA 93092
Phone 831.755.5041
Monterey County Website

County Information

Monterey County, California Genealogy Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1870 1870 1870 1850 1850 1850

County Courthouse

County Recorder has birth and death records  and marriage records
from 1893. Clerk Superior Court has probate and land rececords
County Court has divorce and court records.[2]

Historical Facts

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Monterey County, California

Parent County

18 February 1850: Monterey County was created as an original county. County seat: Salinas [3]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the website.

Records Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Populated Places

Big Sur
Carmel Highlands
Carmel Valley Village
Del Rey Oaks
Fort Hunter Liggett
Fort Ord
King City
Pacific Grove
Pebble Beach
San Ardo
San Benancio
San Lucas
Sand City

Neighboring Counties


Bible Records



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
CAGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project Monterey County Historical Society Soldiers Burial Records, Ex-Union Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, 1897-1929
Billion Graves
See California Cemeteries for more information.


For tips on accessing Monterey County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.

1852 California State census, schedule I inhabitants of Monterey County, California : Escobar 1852 Monterey County database, by Lorraine "Rain Cloud" Escobar

Church History and Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Monterey
  • Pacific Grove
  • Salinas

Court Records

Superior Court of California – County of Monterey
Case Lookup – Index
Probate/Guardianship. Conservatorship Case Fillings
Requesting Court Case File and Adjudicative Records (divorce, criminal, complaints, judgments, traffic tickets, case information) Mostly available at the clerk’s office at the court location where record was originally filed. Requests to inspect and copy case file and other adjudicative records prepared for or filed or used in a court proceeding may be made at the courthouse where they are filed. There is a copying fee of $0.50 per page, which must be paid in advance. Please direct requests for access to administrative records maintained by the Monterey County Superior Court to:
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE Superior Court of California
County of Monterey 240 Church Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 775-5400 x3020
Fax: (831) 775-5499

Court records held by Monterey County Historical Society:

Probate Superior Court (bonds, wills 1850-1947
Court of Session Criminal Records
District Court Judgments 1850-1879
Superior & Civil Court Documents 1859-1970
County Court Judgments 1850-1879
Superior Court Judgments 1880-1934
Criminal Dockets & Small Claims 1913-1960
Superior Court Minutes 1880-1911
Criminal Dockets (Sheriff) 1889-1966
Jail Registers 1990-1966
Superior & Civil Court Records 1859-1970

Crime and Criminals


Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups





Local histories are available for Monterey County, California Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.
Historical information found at:

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.Taylor, Alexander Smith. 1900. Index to the Mexican Archives of the County of Monterey from volume sixth to volume sixteenth inclusive

Land records held by the Monterey County Historical Society:

Assessment Rolls 1850-1947
Lot Books (real estate records dating from the time the Land Grants were subdivided)
Grantor Records - deeds & grants 1889-1897




Military History and Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Monterey County, California Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Monterey County, California Genealogy:

- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company B

Naturalization and Citizenship


Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Monterey County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

(note: some of these dates may be off due to incomplete holdings lists and variations in titles of the newspapers)

Big Sur Gazette (1978-1981)

Carmel Californian (1936-1937)
Carmel Cottager (1934)
Carmel Cymbal (1926-1941)
Carmel Cymbal and Masten’s Gazette (1941-1942)
Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley Spectator (1949)
Carmel Pine Cone (1915-present)
Carmel Pine Cone and Carmel Valley Outlook (1981-1993)
Carmel Pine Cone Cymbal (1942-1962)
Carmel Spectator (1949-1955)
Carmel Sun (1992-1994)
Carmel Valley News (1951-1955)
Carmel Valley Sun (1983-1990)
Carmel Valley Outlook (1979-1981)
Carmel Valley Weekly Sun (1990-1993)
Carmel Village Daily (1933)
Masten’s Gazette (1941)
Paisano (1948)
Peninsula Spectator (1959)
Spectator (1949-1950)

Castroville News (1936-1942)
Castroville Times (1950-1952)
Castroville Times Journal (1950)
Castroville Times and Moss Landing Harbor News (1952-1975)
North County News (1975-1982)

Fort Ord Panorama (1980-1982)

Gonzales Tribune (1956-1991)

Greenfield News (1952-1991)

King City Rustler (1901-1997)
Rustler and King City Herald (1961-1964)
Semi Weekly Rustler (1936-1937)

Marina Tribune (1981-1982)
Marina Weekly Tribune (1979)

Army News (1904)
At Ease (1990)
Monterey American (1913-1916)
Monterey Argus (1887-1888)
Monterey Bay Labor News 1955-1985
Monterey Bay News (1947-1950)
Monterey Bay and Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach Tribune (1985)
Monterey Bay Tribune (1985-1987)
Monterey County Herald (1992-present)
Monterey County Journal (1864)
Monterey County Post (1929-1933)
Monterey Daily Cypress 1889-1922)
Monterey Democrat (1868-1889)
Monterey Enterprise (?)
Monterey Evening Herald (1909-1910)
Monterey Gazette (1863-1868)
Monterey Herald (1986-1992)
Monterey Labor News (1937)
Monterey New Era (1890-1909)
Monterey News Daily and Monterey Trader (1940)
Monterey Peninsula Herald (1929-1992)
Monterey Sentinel (1855-1856)
Monterey Trader (1933-1951)
Monterey Union (1862)
Montereyan (1951-1955)
Peninsula Advocate (1910-1911)
Peninsula Daily Herald (1927-1929)
Peninsula Daily Herald and Monterey Daily Cypress and Monterey American (1923-1927)
Peninsula Merchants’ Semi-Monthly Bulletin (1915-1916)

Pacific Grove Beacon (1994-1995)
Pacific Grove Daily Review (1892-1926)
Pacific Grove Monarch (1987-1992)
Pacific Grove News (1916)
Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach Tribune (1976-1984)
Pacific Grove Progress (1916)
Pacific Grove Review (1888-1912)
Pacific Grove Tide (1936-1943)
Pacific Grove Tribune (1943-1951, 1984-1985)
Pacific Grove Weekly Tribune (1978-1979)
Peninsula Pelican (1925)
Peninsular Review and Pacific Grove Daily Review (1926-1932)

Monterey County Labor News (1942-1954)
Monterey County Post (1929-1933)
North Monterey County Fortnighter (1983-1989)
Owl (1894)
Salinas Californian (1942-present)
Salinas Daily Index (1894-1928)
Salinas Daily Journal (1889-1897)
Salinas Daily Post and Monterey County Post (1933-1942)
Salinas Democrat (1889-1896)
Salinas Index (1895-1904)
Salinas Index Journal (1928-1942)
Salinas Index Weekly (1873-1925)
Salinas Labor News (1937-1942)
Salinas Morning Post (1936-1942)
Salinas Standard (1869-1872)
Salinas Valley Rustler (1906-1923)
Salinas Valley Settler (1889)
Salinas Village Crier (1942)
Salinas Weekly Index (1883-1895)
Salinas Weekly Journal (1867-1915

Free Weekly Sentinel (1987)
Right-On Post (1970)
Seaside News Sentinel (1950-1970)
Seaside Post (1969-1970)
Seaside Post News Sentinel (1970-1988)
Seaside Post Sentinel (1970)
Seaside Sentinel (1988-1996)
Seaside Weekly Sentinel (1987-1988)

Spreckles Courier (1909-1914)

Watsonville Rustler (1888-1897)

1. “Californian.” In the California Weekly, vol. 1, August 27, 1909, p629.
2. “Californian.” In the Grizzly Bear, vol. 2, Feb. 1908 p23
3. Denny, Melcena Burns. “California’s First newspaper Printed without a Letter ‘W’ on Flimsy Cigarette Paper.” In Montana, the Magazine of Western History, vol. 15, no. 4, October 1965 p29-41.
4. Dethlefs, Helen. “First California Newspaper Founded 100 Years Ago, August 15, 1846.” In California Publisher, August 1946, p11.
5. “First newspaper in California.” In The Pony Express, September 1946 p2.
6. Harding, Geroge L. “The Origin of California’s First printing Press.” In Book Club of California, Quarterly news-letter 2:5-8, June 1934.
7. “The Salinas Californian; Newspaper’s Growth Tied to a Dream.” In California Publisher, Vol. 1, Nos 2 & 3, Nov-Dec 1971, p34-35.
8. “Newspaper Holdings of the California State Library” compiled by Marianne Leach



Probate Records

The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - Monterey - Probate records.

Online Probate Records


Archives, Libraries and Museums

County Courthouse

Monterey Courthouse, 1200 Aguajito Rd, Monterey, CA 93940; (831) 647-5800
History - Monterey County Courthouse Completed 1878
The military and social capital of Alta California during Spanish and Mexican rule, the town of Monterey naturally became the county seat when the 27 original counties were formed in, 1850. But when it was learned that the railroad was to go through the valley and not along the coast, the government center was moved to Salinas. After the house used as a courthouse burned, this much larger brick Victorian building was commissioned. The courthouse remained in use while the current one was being constructed around it, and then was demolished. Today a courtyard, lily pond, and commemorative sculpture occupy the site.

Marina Courthouse, 3180 Del Monte Blvd, Marina, CA 93933; (831) 883-5300

King City Courthouse, 250 Franciscan Way, King City, CA 93930; (831) 386-5200

Salinas Courthouse, 240 Church St, Salinas, CA 93901; (831) 775-5400


Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Monterey County Genealogy Society

Monterey County Historical Society  The MCHS is a major archive for Monterey County records.


California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder. See also How to order California Vital Records





Voters Registers

The following is a list of original voter registration records recently transferred from Monterey County Elections Department to the Monterey County Historical Society archival facility in Salinas. To access records, see:

Great Register of Voters:
Ledger Books:
1866-1870 1 book
1870 1 book
1881-1883,1886,1888,1890 1 book
1892 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1896 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1898 (Vol. 3) 2 books
1900 (Vol. 1,Vol. 2) 2 books
1902 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1904 (Vol. 1, Vol.2) 2 books
1906-1907 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1908-1909 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books
1910-1911 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books
1912-1913 (A-L, M-Z) 4 books
1914-1915 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books

Scattered records:
Voter affidavits*:
1922-23 (Affidavits, Pleyto precinct)
1930-31 (Affidavits, Blanco precinct)

Indexes (no voter affidavits):
1938, August primary (Greenfield precincts No.1 and No. 2)

Description of collection:
The ledger books1  titled Great Register of Voters are the original handwritten manuscripts kept by the County Clerk’s (Registrar of Voters) office of the County of Monterey beginning in 1866.2 The entries are made in alphabetical sections (with alpha sub-sections) and show chronological appearance of voters as they were sworn and registered to vote. The entries include place of nativity (birthplace); age of voter; place of residence (post office or precinct); date and place of naturalization, if applicable; whether citizen by virtue of Treaty of Hildago or citizen by virtue of father’s naturalization (and in later years a woman’s citizenship status by marriage); occupation; date of appearance to be sworn; and date of registration. Later registration data includes a physical description of the voter and party affiliation. The Registrar of Voters also appended notes to the entries to indicate reasons for cancellation whether due to removal to another county or state, transfer to another county due to change of boundary lines (i.e. to San Benito County in 1874), death, incarceration or “Section 1106” (failure to vote). These notations usually contained dates if known. Copies of the list of voters not thus cancelled, were made every two years and sometimes more frequently if a special election occurred (polling lists). These copies of uncancelled voters were sent to the state and other repositories on a routine basis. Microfilm of these typeset lists is available at the California State Library in Sacramento, California, and other repositories.3

These original handwritten Great Register ledger books have not been microfilmed or transcribed. There was a partial transcription done of the 1890 Great Register as part of a census substitute project4 but the transcription does not include cancellation information.

Note: The Great Register books contain information for years other than marked on the book spines. For example, the 1866-1870 Great Register contains several entries made after 1870 when cancellations were noted and the 1890 Great Register shows voter registration dates which occurred years earlier.

  • Voter affidavits are registration forms signed by the voters and contain birth date, birth place, residence address, occupation, party affiliation and sometimes cancellation information.
  • List of records
1 Some years are missing.
2 Beginning in the year 1866, California state law required a list of voters to be kept.
3 Monterey County (California) County Clerk. Great Register of Voters 1867, 1869, 1872,
  1875-1876, 1879-1880, 1884, 1886, 1888, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1896, 1898. 
 (Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975).
4 Bettyann Lockwood Hedegard, ed., 1890 great register of Monterey County, California.
 (Salinas, CA: Monterey County Genealogy Society, c1993).

Courtesy of Junel Davidsen 

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries

Carmel Heritage Society
Lincoln and Sixth
P.O. Box 701
Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 831.624.4447

The Carmel Valley History Center
77 W. Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
P.O. Box 1612
Phone: 831.659-5715

Castroville Historical Society
11560 Merritt Street
Castroville, CA 95012

Monterey County Genealogy Society Inc
P. O. Box 8144
Salinas, CA 93912-8144
[www:// Website]

Monterey County Historical Society, Inc
Boronda Adobe History Center
333 Boronda Road
Salinas, CA 93907
Mailing Address:P.O. Box 3576
Salinas, CA 93912
Phone: 831.757.8085

Soledad Historical Society
P.O. Box 593
Soledad, CA 93960
Phone: 831.678.8668
Contact Person:Margaret Jacobsen

Monterey Park Historical Society
P.O. Box 272
Monterey Park 91754

Monterey History And Art Association
P.O. Box 805
Monterey 93942

Web Sites


  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 62-75. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Monterey County, California. Page 86 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).