Sierra County, California Genealogy
Guide to Sierra County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Dates for major county records|
|For earlier dates, try...|
April 16, 1852: Sierra County was created from the County of Yuba. In 1866 additional land was added from Yuba County and in 1863 and 1866 land was gained from Plumas County. Look for records in both Yuba County and Pumas County.
|Remember these collections|
|Sierra County, California|
Location in the state of California
Location of California in the U.S.
|Founded||April 16, 1852|
|Address|| Sierra County Courthouse|
100 Courthouse Sq Ste 11
PO Box D Suite 11
Downieville, CA 95936
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 Historical Facts
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Bible Records
- 4.2 Biography
- 4.3 Cemeteries
- 4.4 Census
- 4.5 Church History and Records
- 4.6 Court Records
- 4.7 Crime and Criminals
- 4.8 Directories
- 4.9 Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
- 4.10 Gazetteers
- 4.11 Genealogy
- 4.12 History
- 4.13 Land and Property
- 4.14 Maps
- 4.15 Migration
- 4.16 Military History and Records
- 4.17 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 4.18 Newspapers
- 4.19 Obituaries
- 4.20 Periodicals
- 4.21 Probate Records
- 4.22 Repositories
- 4.23 Societies
- 4.24 Taxation
- 4.25 Vital Records
- 5 Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
County Recorder has birth records from 1857,
marriage and land records from 1852 and death
records from 1862, Superior Court has divorce
probate and court records and naturalization
records from 1852
The county was named from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The county seat Downieville and the county was created 1852. The County is located in the northeast area of the state.
For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
1947: Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.
The following web sites may have additional information on Sierra County cemeteries.
- Interment.net California cemetery records by County.
For tips on accessing Sierra 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.
Crime and Criminals
Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
Local histories are available for Sierra 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.
- Index to Federal Land Records, Sierra County (USGenWeb Archives)
- California Trail 1844 to 1869 from western Missouri to northern California
- Truckee (River) Trail 1844 crossed the Forty Mile Desert to the Truckee River to follow it west past Reno, Nevada to Donner Pass to Emigrant Gap to Sutter's Fort (Sacramento, California). The exact route varied over the years, the most used being the Nevada City Road and Auburn Emigrant Road combination.
- Henness Pass Road 1850 branched off the Truckee Trail at Verdi, Nevada headed for Camptonville and steamboat service at Marysville, California. In 1860 it became a major route to the Comstock Lode silver mines in Nevada.
- Beckwourth Trail 1850 left the Truckee Trail near present-day Sparks, Nevada going to Oroville and Marysville, California
Military History and Records
- 1883 - Sierra County – List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883 (Genealogy Trails)
Regiments. Service men in Sierra 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 Sierra County, California Genealogy:
- - 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company I
- 1886 - Civil War Veterans, South Mountain Post No. 117, G. A. R. 1886 (USGenWeb Archives)
World War I
- 1917 - 1918 - Information from Draft Registration Cards, World War I, Sierra County, California (USGenWeb Archives)
World War II
- World War II Army Enlistees, Sierra County (USGenWeb Archives)
Naturalization and Citizenship
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Sierra County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a collection of digitized Reno, Nevada newspapers going back to 1870 that may include residents from Sierra County. This database is sometimes free at libraries.
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 - Sierra - Probate records.
Online Probate Records
- 1782 – 1999 California Wills and Probate Records 1782-1999 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1833 – 1991 California Probate Estate Files 1833-1991 at FamilySearch — images
Archives, Libraries and Museums
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 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
- 1812 - 1988 - California Births and Christenings, 1812-1988 at FamilySearch — index
- 1905 - 1995 - California Birth Index, 1905-1995 at FamilySearch — index
- Early Sierra County Births (Genealogy Trails)
- 1850 - 1945 - California Marriages, 1850-1945 at FamilySearch — index
- 1850 - 1952 - California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1854 - 1885 - Western States Marriage Index.
- 1960 - 1985 - California Marriage Index, 1960-1985 at FamilySearch — index and images
- Early Sierra County Marriages (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1905 - 1939 - California Death Index, 1905-1939 at FamilySearch — index
- 1940 - 1997 - California Death Index, 1940-1997 at FamilySearch — index
Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
Sierra County Historical Society
P.O. Box 260
100 Kentucky Mine Road
Sierra City 96125
Sierra County Historical Society
Sierra Madre Historical Society
P.O. Box 202
Sierra Madre 91024
- Sierra County, CA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- California Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- California Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- Sierra County CAGenWeb
- USGenWeb Archives
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Sierra County, California Genealogy Trails
- Sierra County, CA Genealogy (LDS Genealogy)
- Sierra County Research, California State Genealogical Alliance
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Sierra County, California. Page 87At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Genealogy Trails History Group, “Sierra County, California Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/cal/sierra/ 05/08/2017.
- National Park Service, "California Trail" (map) in California National Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/upload/CALImap1-web.pdf (accessed 5 August 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 5 August 2012).