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Kern County, California

Kern County

Kern County was founded on April 2, 1866 from Tulare County and Los Angeles County . This county derived its name from the Kern River, which was named for Edward Kern, topographer of General John C. Fremont’s 1845 expedition.

The Kern County Seat is located in Bakersfield also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Kern County are Los Angeles County (south), Ventura County (south), Santa Barbara County (southwest), San Luis Obispo County (west), Kings County (northwest), Tulare County (north), Inyo County (northeast), San Bernardino County (east). .

Cities and towns located in Kern County include Bakersfield, Delano, Arvin, California City, McFarland, Ridgecrest, Shafter, Tehachapi, Wasco, Maricopa, Taft .

Other Communities in Kern County include Caliente, Cantil, East Bakersfield, Famoso, Grapevine, Havilah, Walker Basin, Wheeler Ridge .

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

  1. Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1852, was in Tulare County from 1852 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
  2. Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1851, was in Los Angeles County from 1851 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
  3. Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 until 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
  4. Territory which at one time was in Kern County is now in Inyo County and San Luis Obispo County

Kern 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 Kern 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.

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

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

Kern County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Kern County Courthouse and Government Records

Kern County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Kern 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 Kern 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 - When mining activity around Havilah began to subside, Kern's county seat was moved from the one-time boomtown to Bakersfield. The town's first courthouse was constructed in 1876 but soon proved inadequate for the growing county, and in 1896 it was reconstructed with additions that doubled the size of the original building. When a more modern courthouse was built across the street in 1912, the county sold the old courthouse to the City of Bakersfield for use as its city hall. Both the old and new courthouses were damaged in a 1952 earthquake and demolished. A cement-and-wrought iron fence that enclosed the 1896 courthouse now stands inside the entrance of the Kern County Museum.

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 Kern County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land from San Luis Obispo County was added in 1866.

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.
  • Kern County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Kern 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: 1655 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301
    • Phone: (661) 868-6449
    • Birth / Death Records: 1850
    • Marriage Records: 1850
    • Land Records: 1850
  • Kern 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: 1866 
  • Kern County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 1800 Mt. Vernon Ave., 1st Floor, Bakersfield, CA 93306; Office (661) 868-0335

Kern County Links

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

Kern Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Kern Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Kern Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Kern Co. CA Census Records

Kern Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Kern Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Kern Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Kern Co. CA General and History Websites

Kern Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Kern Co. CA Military Records

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