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Calaveras County, California

Calaveras County

Calaveras County was founded on  February 18, 1850 as an original county . This county was named from the Calaveras River which was reportedly so designated by an early explorer when he found, on the banks of the stream, many skulls of Indians who had either died of famine or had been killed in tribal conflicts over hunting and fishing grounds. The meaning of the word calaveras is “skulls.”

The Calaveras County Seat is located in San Andreas also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Calaveras County are Stanislaus County (southwest), San Joaquin County (west), Amador County (north), Alpine County (northeast), Tuolumne County (south & southeast) .

Cities and towns located in Calaveras County include Angels Camp, Arnold, Avery, Copperopolis, Dorrington, Forest Meadows, Glencoe, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Murphys, Rail Road Flat, Rancho Calaveras, San Andreas, Sheep Ranch, Vallecito, Valley Springs, Wallace, West Point .

Other Communities in Calaveras County include Altaville, Calaveritas, Campo Seco, Cave City, Douglas Flat, Fourth Crossing, Glencoe, Jenny Lind, Jesus Maria, Milton, Paloma, Sandy Gulch, The Shores of Poker Flat .

Since its creation Calaveras County boundries have changed to include these:

  1. Territory which at one time was in Calaveras County is now in Alpine County, Amador County, and Mono County

Calaveras County vital records can be found at the California Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in California for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Calaveras County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for California Birth Certificate, Marriage or Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

Calaveras County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Calaveras Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Calaveras Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Calaveras Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Calaveras County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Calaveras County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Calaveras County Courthouse and Government Records

Calaveras County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Calaveras County court, probate, and land files as a useful resource of genealogical details. Hidden away in California courthouses and archives everywhere tend to be the dreams and frustrations of the many California inhabitants.

The possibilities are great that your potential forefathers have left a detailed document of at least a number of facets of their lives in the Calaveras County court records. Even if your ancestors is not mentioned in a Court case, contemplate all of the other methods that could have lead to her or him showing up in court records.

Courthouse History - Local history has it that the county seat was "captured" from Double Springs, a cattle ranch-cum-mining town, when residents of nearby Jackson invited county officials for a few rounds of drinks and then made off with the county records. The remains of this building, made of camphor panels shipped from China, can still be seen in Double Springs, making it one of the oldest surviving structures once used as a courthouse in California.

In 1866, after the government was finally moved to San Andreas, Calaveras's fifth and current county seat, officials designated a local theater for use as the first courthouse. This two-story brick building was used as the center of county government for nearly 100 years, and it was here in 1883 that Judge C. V. Gottschalk tried and sentenced the notorious highwayman Black Bart. In 1966, the courthouse was replaced by a more modern facility and turned over to the Calaveras County Historical Society. The old courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is still used occasionally for overflow cases and visiting judges.

Some counties encompass land settled in the eighteenth century; their records pre-date county formation. Land transactions and vital records recorded in the county are at the county recorder's office. The county clerk general has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be in either place, depending on how filed.

The following facts indicates whatever marriage, birth, death, land, wills, and court records will be in Calaveras County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.

Remember to get in touch with the clerk's dept to verify hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics prior to visiting or seeking information because of in some cases changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The data files are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. A good number of employees will assist persons in obtaining the materials, but it's up to the person to do the research.
  • Calaveras County Courthouse (Completed 1867, all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Calaveras County Recorder-Clerk is s responsible for examination and recording of all documents presented for recording that deal with establishing ownership of land in the County or as required by statute; administers the real property transfer tax law and maintains a permanent record and indexes of all documents for public viewing plus providing certified copies requested by the public; recording of all lawful documents such as deeds, deeds of trust, judgments, liens, affidavits, Uniform Commercial Code Financial Statements, etc; and the filing of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
    • Birth / Death Records: 1858
    • Marriage Records: 1854
    • Land Records: 1850
  • Calaveras County Clerk of Superior Court has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be here or in the Recorders Office, depending on how it was filed.
    • Probate Records: 1866 
    • Court Records: 1850 
  • Calaveras County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, Government Center, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249; Office (209) 754-6372, FAX (209) 754-6733

Calaveras County Links

The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Calaveras County. A majority of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a payment. This is basically a listing which has been gathered or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site above another. Feel free to suggest your own preferred Calaveras County genealogy or family history associated sites.

Calaveras Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Calaveras Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Calaveras Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Calaveras Co. CA Census Records

Calaveras Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Calaveras Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Calaveras Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Calaveras Co. CA General and History Websites

Calaveras Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Calaveras Co. CA Military Records

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