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Modoc County, California

Modoc County

Modoc County was founded on April 19, 1855 from Siskiyou County . This county derived its name from a fierce Indian tribe that lived at the Pit River headwaters. One historian suggests that the word modoc means “the head of the river.” Another states that the word is derived from the Klamath word moatakni meaning “southerners,” i.e., the people living south of the Klamath tribe.

The Modoc County Seat is located in Alturas also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Modoc County are Lassen County (south), Shasta County (southwest), Siskiyou County (west), Klamath County, Oregon (north), Lake County, Oregon (north), Washoe County, Nevada (east). .

Cities and towns located in Modoc County include Adin, Alturas, California Pines, Canby, Cedarville, Daphnedale Park, Davis Creek, Eagleville, Ft. Bidwell, Lake City, Likely, Lookout, Newell, New Pine Creek, Stronghold, Tionesta .

Other Communities in Modoc County include Adin, Canby, Cedarville, Davis Creek, Eagleville, Fort Bidwell, Newell, Stronghold, Tionesta .

Since its creation Modoc County boundries have changed to include Territory was in Shasta County from 1850 to 1852 and then in Siskiyou County from 1852 until 1874 when the territory was moved to Modoc County.

Modoc 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 Modoc 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.

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

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

Modoc County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Modoc County Courthouse and Government Records

Modoc County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Modoc 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 Modoc 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 dome of this Neoclassic courthouse, Modoc's third since the county was formed from part of Siskiyou in 1874, can be seen from miles around Alturas. The dome was traditionally painted copper but was repainted gold in 1974, some say to reflect the "Golden State" name while others believe it was the result of a mix-up of paint cans. The basement, which was once used as the jail, no longer houses prisoners but was remodeled and is home to the Public Guardian, the Veterans Service Officer, and other county offices.

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 Modoc 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.
  • Modoc County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Modoc 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: 204 South Court Street, Room 107, Alturas, CA 96101-4020
    • Phone: 530-233-6205
    • Birth / Death Records: 1894 / 1882
    • Marriage Records: 1874
    • Land Records: 1874
  • Modoc 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: 1874 
    • Court Records: 1874 
  • Modoc County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 204 South Court Street, Alturas, CA 96101; Office (530) 233-6205

Modoc County Links

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

Modoc Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Modoc Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Modoc Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Modoc Co. CA Census Records

Modoc Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Modoc Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Modoc Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Modoc Co. CA General and History Websites

Modoc Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Modoc Co. CA Military Records

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