Sonoma County, California Genealogy

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

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Sonoma County, California
Map
Map of California highlighting Sonoma County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Facts
Founded February 18, 1850
County Seat Santa Rosa
Courthouse
CaliforniaSonomaCourthouse.jpg
Address Sonoma County Courthouse
2300 County Center Drive
laPlaza Building B177
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Phone: 707.565.3800
Sonoma County Website


County Information

Sonoma County, California Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1871 1847 1873 1850 1847 1850

County Courthouse

County Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records
County Clerk has divorce, probate and court records from 1850[2]

Historical Facts

Parent County

18 February 1850: Sonoma County was created as an original county. County seat: Santa Rosa [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 MapofUS.org website.

Records Loss

1906: Courthouse was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Minor record Loss.

Places/Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Resources

Bible Records

Biography

Cemeteries

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
Tombstone Project WorldCat Billion Graves
Billion Graves Interment.net
See California Cemeteries for more information.

Census

For tips on accessing Sonoma 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 Rosa

Court Records

Crime and Criminals

Directories

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups

Germans

History

Local histories are available for Sonoma 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.

Maps

Casonoma.png

Migration

Military History and Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Sonoma 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 Sonoma County, California Genealogy:


- 2nd Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company D

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Sonoma 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 - Sonoma - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

Repositories

Archives, Libraries and Museums

Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library

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.


Societies

Taxation

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

Birth

Marriage

Divorce

Death

Voting Registers

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries

Sonoma County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2273
Santa Rosa 95405
Website

Sonoma County Historical Society
P.O. Box 1373
Santa Rosa 95402
Website

Sonoma Valley Historical Society
P.O. Box 861
Sonoma 95476

Sonoma County History And Genealogy Library
211 E Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Website


Web Sites

References

  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), Sonoma County, California. Page 87At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).