Santa Barbara County, California Genealogy

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


Santa Barbara County, California
Map of California highlighting Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara
Address Hall of Records
1100 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Named for: Saint Barbara
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County Information

Santa Barbara County, California Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1873 1850 1888 1850 1850 1850

County Courthouse


Santa Barbara County Courthouse
105 E Anapamu Rm #204
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone 805.568.2550

Superior Court has divorce, probate, court and naturalization records
Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records from 1850[2]

Historical Facts

Santa Barbara area Native Americans were first contacted by several early explorers in the 1500s and 1600s but the first moves toward settlement by Europeans were Spanish in 1769. The Santa Barbara mission was founded in 1786 by Franciscan padres who were also the first record keepers.

Parent County

18 February 1850: Santa Barbara was created as an original county when California first became a state. [3]

Boundary Changes

1 January 1873: Ventura County was set off.

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.


The preceding list of places includes incorporated cities and towns, unincorporated towns and communities, and place names that may have been used in family histories. Some have well-organized records and even have websites. Some are simply social communities with no official records, but which may be referenced in small-town newspapers. The list is provided to help researchers identify localities within the county. As records or histories of these localities are identified, a page will be added for each of these place names. Information about the cemeteries can be found in these pages if known.


Bible Records



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
CAGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
CAGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See California Cemeteries for more information.


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

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

  • Santa Maria

Court Records

Crime and Criminals


Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups




The Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society has free online databases and indexes to search at and maintains the Sahyun library open for research at 316 Castillo St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Online subscriptions to, Fold3, and available to members only, or $5 per day.  WiFi available. 

Hours are: Tues., Thurs., Fri. - 10-4, Sun. 1-4.

Summer evening hours beginning in April - Tues. 5-8 p.m.


Local histories are available for Santa Barbara 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.

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.




Military History and Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara County, California Genealogy:

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

Naturalization and Citizenship


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



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 - Santa Barbara - Probate records.

Online Probate Records


Archives, Libraries and Museums

County Courthouse

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.



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

Santa Barbara Mission archives contain early births, baptisms, marriages and deaths.



For a large number of early marriages see Western States Marriage Index.



Voting Registers

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries

Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
316 Castillo Street
P.O. Box 1303
Goleta 93116-1303

Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society
PO Box 1215
Santa Maria, CA 93456

Vandenburg Genealogical Society
PO Box 81
Lompoc, CA 93438-0081

Vanderberg Genealogical Society
PO Box 814
Lompoc, CA 93438

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), Santa Barbara County, California. Page 87At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. WorldCat 50140092FHL CollectionHandybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)