San Benito County, California
Genealogy and Facts

San Benito County

San Benito County was founded on February 12, 1874 from Monterey County . This county was named for the San Benito Valley. In his expedition in 1772, Crespi named a small river in honor of San Benidicto (Saint Benedict), the patron saint of the married, and it is from the contraction of this name that the county took its name.

The San Benito County Seat is located in Hollister also, the county government website is www.cosb.us/

Areas bordering to San Benito County are Santa Clara County (north & northwest), Merced County (northeast), Fresno County (east & southeast), Monterey County (southwest & west), Santa Cruz County (northwest) .

Cities and towns located in San Benito County include Hollister, San Juan Bautista .

Other Communities in San Benito County include New Idria, Paicines, Panoche, Tres Piños. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Aromas, Ridgemark.

Since its creation San Benito County boundries have changed to include these:

  1. Most of San Benito County territory had been in Monterey County from 1850 to 1874 when it was separated to create the new county.
  2. Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1855, and in Merced County from 1855 to 1856, was in Fresno County from 1856 to 1887, when it was added to San Benito County.
  3. Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1855, was in Merced County from 1855 to 1887, when it was added to San Benito County.

San Benito 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 San Benito 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.

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

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

San Benito County Societies and Family History Resources

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

San Benito County Courthouse and Government Records


SanBenito County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of San Benito 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 San Benito 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 - San Benito's third courthouse was a lavishly decorated building with an exterior modeled on the Farnese Palace in Rome and elaborate balustrades of polished red cedar within. The Hollister landmark withstood many earthquakes but was structurally damaged in a 1961 quake. The courts were moved into a quickly remodeled library while a new courthouse was constructed. The old courthouse was razed the following year.


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 San Benito County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was later added from counties Fresno (1887) and Merced (1887).

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.
  • San Benito County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • San Benito 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: 1850 / 1874
    • Marriage Records: 1874
    • Land Records: 1850
  • San Benito 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 
  • San Benito County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 439 Fourth Street, Hollister, CA 95023; Office (831) 637-5367

San Benito County Links

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

San Benito Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

San Benito Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

San Benito Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

San Benito Co. CA Census Records

San Benito Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

San Benito Co. CA Church & Bible Records

San Benito Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

San Benito Co. CA General and History Websites

San Benito Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

San Benito Co. CA Military Records

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