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Napa County, California

Napa County

Napa County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for Napa Valley. The word napa is of Indian derivation and has been variously translated as “grizzly bear,” “house,” “motherland” or “fish.” Of the many explanations of the names’s origin, the most plausible seems to be that it is derived from the Patwin word napo meaning house.

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

Areas bordering to Napa County are Solano County (south & southeast), Sonoma County (west), Lake County (north), Yolo County (east) .

Cities and towns located in Napa County include American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville .

Other Communities in Napa County include Circle Oaks, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford, Vichy Springs, Zinfandel. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Angwin, Deer Park.

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

  1. Most of its territory has been in the county since 1850.
  2. Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1964 was moved to Lake County in 1864, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
  3. Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1961 was moved to Lake County in 1861, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
  4. Territory in Napa County from 1850 to 1968 was moved to Lake County in 1868, but returned to Napa County in 1972.
  5. Territory was in Solano County from 1950 to 1855, when it was added to Napa County.
  6. Territory was in Sonoma County from 1950 to 1855, when it was added to Napa County.
  7. Territory which at one time was in Napa County is now in Lake County

Napa 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 Napa 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.

Napa 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.

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

Napa County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Napa County Courthouse and Government Records

Napa County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Napa 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 Napa 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 distinctive cupola on Napa's third courthouse, which combined Russian, Gothic, and Victorian styles, withstood the 1906 earthquake, during which a chimney crashed into a judge's chambers. At the time it was constructed, a local newspaper reported that "all the brick used in the construction of the courthouse and jail were made at the old brick yard on the Sonoma Road. About 90,000 were made, which were pronounced by competent judges to be of excellent quality." The courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is still in use. The cupola was removed after another earthquake in 1964.

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 Napa County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was later added from counties Lake (1872) and Solano (1855).

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.
  • Napa County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Napa 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.
    • RECORDER: (707) 253-4105
    • CLERK: (707) 253-4247
    • Birth / Death Records: 1868 / 1873
    • Marriage Records: 1850
    • Land Records: 1848
  • Napa 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: 1851 
    • Court Records: 1849 
  • Napa County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 2344 Old Sonoma Road, Bldg. G, Napa, CA 94559; Office (707) 253-4506

Napa County Links

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

Napa Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Napa Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Napa Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Napa Co. CA Census Records

Napa Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Napa Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Napa Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Napa Co. CA General and History Websites

Napa Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Napa Co. CA Military Records

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