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Contra Costa County, California

Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county name signifies “opposite coast,” because of its situation opposite San Francisco, in an easterly direction, on San Francisco Bay. In 1853, Alameda County was formed from territory originally included in this county.

The Contra Costa County Seat is located in Martinez also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Contra Costa County are Alameda County (south), Marin County (west), Solano County (north), Sacramento County (northeast), San Joaquin County (east), San Francisco County (southwest) .

Cities and towns located in Contra Costa County include El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg .

Other Communities in Contra Costa County include Blackhawk, Canyon, Marsh Creek Springs, North Richmond, Saranap, Shore Acres, Tormey . Ghost towns & Lost Cities include Eckley, Judsonville, Port Chicago, Nortonville, Selby, Somersville, Stewartville, Stege, West Hartley, Winehaven

Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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.

Contra Costa 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.

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

Contra Costa County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Contra Costa County Courthouse and Government Records

ContraCosta County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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 - Built in part by inmate chain gangs from 1901 to 1903 and now a National Historic Site, the old Contra Costa County Courthouse (left) remains in use as the county's Finance Building. The cupola, used as a watchtower during blackouts in World War II, was removed in 1957 for reasons of earthquake safety. In 1966, most of the courts' offices moved into the Hall of Records (right), which was completed in 1933 and continues to serve as the county's courthouse. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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 Contra Costa 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.
  • Contra Costa County Courthouse (Completed 1931, all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Contra Costa 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.
    • Address: 555 Escobar St. , Martinez, CA 94553
    • Phone: (925) 335-7900
    • Birth / Death Records: 1850
    • Marriage Records: 1850
    • Land Records: 1850
  • Contra Costa 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: 1850 
    • Court Records: 1850 
  • Contra Costa County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 10 Douglas Drive, Suite 220, Martinez, CA 94553; Office (925) 313-1125

Contra Costa County Links

The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa County genealogy or family history associated sites.

Contra Costa Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Contra Costa Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Contra Costa Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Contra Costa Co. CA Census Records

Contra Costa Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Contra Costa Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Contra Costa Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Contra Costa Co. CA General and History Websites

Contra Costa Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Contra Costa Co. CA Military Records

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