Lassen County, California

Lassen County

Lassen County was established on April 1, 1864 from Shasta County and Plumas County. The counties name was derived from Mount Lassen, which was named in honor of Peter Lassen.  He was a Danish immigrant who settled in Plumas County before coming to the Honey Lake Valley around 1855.  He had a small mill in the area, but mainly looked for gold.  He was killed in 1859 out in the Black Rock Desert.  It has never been determined who killed him.  He also had a ranch down toward Lassen Peak before coming here.

The County Seat is located in Susanville and the county government website is http://www.co.lassen.ca.us/

Areas adjacent to Lassen County are Sierra County (southeast), Plumas County (south), Shasta County (west), Modoc County (north), Washoe County, Nevada (east).

Lassen County has had some Boundary Changes which include:

  1. Territory was in Shasta County from 1850 to 1864 when it was moved to Lassen County.
  2. Territory in Butte County from 1850 to 1854 was in Plumas County from 1854 to 1864 when it was moved to Lassen County.
  3. Territory in Butte County from 1850 to 1854 was in Plumas County from 1854 to 1872 when it was added to Lassen County.

Cities and towns located in the county include Bieber, Clear Creek Junction, Doyle, Herlong, Janesville, Johnstonville, Litchfield, Madeline, Milford, Nubieber, Patton Village, Ravendale, Standish, Spaulding, Susanville, Termo, Wendel, Westwood

Other Communities located in the county include Doyle, Herlong, Janesville, Ravendale, Termo, Westwood

Lassen County Societies and Family History Resources

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

  • California Genealogy Community (plus.google.com)
  • California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
  • Lassen County Historical Society, PO Box 321, Susanville, CA 96130; 530-257-2996
  • Lassen Historical Museum, 105 N. Weatherlow Street, P.O. Box 321, Susanville, CA 96130; Phone (530) 257-4584; Hours: May-Sep, 10-4, Mon-Fri; other times by appointment; About: “We are a regional historical society connected with the Lassen County Historical Society. Historical items related to Lassen County with permanent and special exhibitions. Facilities include a stamp mill. Publications include books, a quarterly journal, and a monthly newsletter.”
  • Lassen County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Lassen County
  • Lassen County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Lassen County
  • USGenWeb Archives for Lassen County (usgwarchives.net)

Lassen County Courthouse and Government Records


Lassen County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Lassen 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 Lassen 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 - The first settlers of what was then known as Honey Lake Valley presumed that they were part of the Nevada Territory, though officials of Plumas County insisted that the valley belonged to California. After tensions on jurisdiction and taxation culminated in a shootout in February 1863, a survey of state boundaries determined that the valley was indeed part of California, and Lassen County was established. The Masonic Lodge and the Magnolia Saloon served as courthouses until a two-story wooden building was constructed in 1867. In 1915, residents approved a bond measure for a new courthouse built of native stone. It remains in use and is 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 Lassen County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land from Plumas County was added in 1872.

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.
  • Lassen County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Lassen 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: 1864
    • Marriage Records: 1864
    • Land Records: 1857
  • Lassen 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: 1864 
    • Court Records: 1863 
  • Lassen County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 220 S. Lassen Street, Suite 5, Susanville, CA 96130; Office (530) 251-8234

Lassen County Links

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

Lassen Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Lassen Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Lassen Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Lassen Co. CA Census Records

Lassen Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Lassen Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Lassen Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Lassen Co. CA General and History Websites

Lassen Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Lassen Co. CA Military Records

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