Search For Your Ancestors in Historical Documents




Monterey County, California

Monterey County

Monterey County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for the Bay of Monterey. The word itself is composed of the Spanish words monte and rey, and literally means “king of the forest.” The bay was named by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of the Conde de Monterey, the Viceroy of New Spain.

The Monterey County Seat is located in Salinas also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Monterey County are San Luis Obispo County (south), Kings County (southeast), Fresno County (southeast), San Benito County (east), Santa Cruz County (north) .

Cities and towns located in Monterey County include Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Sand City, Seaside, Soledad .

Other Communities in Monterey County include Carmel Highlands, Gorda, Jolon, Lucia, Parkfield, Pebble Beach .

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

  1. Most of Monterey County has been in that county since 1850.
  2. Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1851 when it was added was moved in to Monterey County.
  3. Territory in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1851, then in Monterey County from 1851 to 1861, was moved back to San Luis Obispo County from 1861 to 1872 when it was returned to Monterey County.
  4. Territory in Monterey County from 1850 to 1861, was in San Luis Obispo County from 1861 to 1872, when it was returned to Monterey County.
  5. Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1863 when it was added to Monterey County.
  6. Territory which at one time was in Monterey County is now in San Benito County and San Luis Obispo County

Monterey 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 Monterey 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.

Monterey 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.

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

Monterey County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Monterey County Courthouse and Government Records

Monterey County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Monterey 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 Monterey 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 military and social capital of Alta California during Spanish and Mexican rule, the town of Monterey naturally became the county seat when the 27 original counties were formed in 1850. But when it was learned that the railroad was to go through the valley and not along the coast, the government center was moved to Salinas. After the house used as a courthouse burned, this much larger brick Victorian building was commissioned. The courthouse remained in use while the current one was being constructed around it, and then was demolished. Today, a courtyard, lily pond, and commemorative sculpture occupy the site.

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 indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Monterey county. The dates indicated below are the first known records for this county which may include records of land, estates, taxes, vital records, divorces, naturalizations, voter registration, court records, and so forth. Alcalde records from 1781 (See Land Records) Land from San Luis Obispo County was added in 1863 and 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.
  • Monterey County Courthouse (Completed 1878, all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Monterey 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: 168 West Alisal Street, First Floor, Salinas, CA 93901
    • Phone: (831) 755-5041
    • Birth / Death Records: 1824 / 1887
    • Marriage Records: 1887
    • Land Records: 1850
  • Monterey 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 
  • Monterey County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 1270 Natividad Road, Room 227.01, Salinas, CA 93906-3198; Office (831) 755-4504

Monterey County Links

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

Monterey Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Monterey Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Monterey Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Monterey Co. CA Census Records

Monterey Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Monterey Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Monterey Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Monterey Co. CA General and History Websites

Monterey Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Monterey Co. CA Military Records

Copyright © 2014,