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Santa Cruz County, California Genealogy

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

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Santa Cruz County, California
Map
Map of California highlighting Santa Cruz 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 Cruz
Courthouse
CaliforniaSantaCruzCourthouse.jpg
Address 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 Telephone: (831) 454-2800; email: rcd.web@co.santa-cruz.ca.us


County Information[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County, California Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1905 1850 1905 1850 1847 1850 1850
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

The 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.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

18 February 1850: Originally as Branciforte County. County seat: Santa Cruz [2]

19 April 1850: Renamed Santa Cruz County.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for "Santa Cruz" ("Holy Cross"). The county seat Santa Cruz and the county was created 1850. [3]The County is located in the west central area of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

No significant 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[edit | edit source]

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

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Incorporated Cities (2000): CapitolaSanta CruzScotts ValleyWatsonville

Other populated places:

Amesti
Aptos
Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley
Ben Lomond
Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek
Brookdale
Corralitos
Davenport
Day Valley
Felton
Freedom
Interlaken
La Selva Beach
Live Oak
Mount Hermon
Opal Cliffs
Rio del Mar
Soquel
Pasatiempo
Twin Lakes

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Santa Cruz, California online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
TombstoneTranscriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See California Cemeteries for more information

The following web sites may have additional information on Santa Cruz County cemeteries.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Census[edit | edit source]

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

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Crime and Criminals[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Germans[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Santa Cruz 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

San Mateo CountySanta Clara CountySan Benito CountyMonterey CountyCA SANTA CRUZ.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

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

- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company K
- 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company A
  • 1886 - Index to Civil War Veterans Rosters, G.A.R. Posts, Santa Cruz County, California] (USGenWeb Archives)
World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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)

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

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

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 Cruz - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Archives, Libraries and Museums[edit | edit source]
  • 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)

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz CA 95060

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Marriage[edit | edit source]
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]
  • Santa Cruz County Recorder

701 Ocean Street, Room 230
Santa Cruz CA 95060
831/454-2800

For records generated since 2009

Santa Cruz County Office of Vital Records
1430 Freedom Boulevard, Suite 101
Santa Cruz CA 95076
831/763-8430

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County, Genealogical Society Of
P.O. Box 72
Santa Cruz 95063
Phone:861-427-7707 ext 5794
Website

Santa Cruz Historical Society
P.O. Box 246
Santa Cruz 9506

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Santa Cruz County, California. Page 84-88 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 81-83.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Santa Cruz County, California Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/cal/scruz/#.WRDYz-UrKM8 05/08/2017.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Cruz County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cruz_County,_California 05/08/2017.

  www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22649