San Francisco County, California
Genealogy and Facts

San Francisco County

San Francisco County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for the sixth mission in California was established here by Padre Junipero Serra on October 9, 1776, and was named Mission San Francisco de Asis a la Laguna de los Dolores (Saint Francis of Assisi at the Lagoon of Sorrows). The mission is now known as “Mission Dolores.”

The San Francisco County Seat is located in San Francisco also, the county government website is /www.ci.sf.ca.us

Areas bordering to San Francisco County are Alameda County (east), Contra Costa County (east), Marin County (north), Napa County (northeast), San Mateo County (south), Santa Clara County (southeast), Solano County (east), Sonoma County (north) .

Cities and towns located in San Francisco County include San Francisco . Cities and towns (100k-250k pop) Include Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Daly City, Fairfield, Fremont, Hayward, Richmond, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Vallejo. Cities and towns (25k-99k pop) include Alameda, Belmont, Benicia, Burlingame, Campbell, Castro Valley, Cupertino, Danville, Dublin, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Gilroy, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Martinez, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Napa, Newark, Novato, Oakley, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Petaluma, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Redwood City, Rohnert Park, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Leandro, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Saratoga, South San Francisco, Suisun City, Union City, Vacaville and Walnut Creek. Cities and towns (10k-25k pop) include Alamo, Albany, Alum Rock, Ashland, Bay Point, Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, Brentwood, Cherryland, Clayton, Dixon, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Half Moon Bay, Healdsburg, Hercules, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Larkspur, Millbrae, Mill Valley, Moraga, North Fair Oaks, Orinda, Piedmont, Pinole, San Anselmo, San Lorenzo, Stanford, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley and Windsor.

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

  1. Territory which at one time was in San Francisco County is now in San Mateo County.
  2. Some of the water of San Francisco Bay which at one time was in San Francisco County is now in Marin County.

San Francisco 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 Francisco 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 Francisco 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.

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

San Francisco County Societies and Family History Resources

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

San Francisco County Courthouse and Government Records


SanFrancisco County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of San Francisco 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 Francisco 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 great earthquake and fire of 1906 demolished both San Francisco's Hall of Justice and City Hall, where the civil courts were located. A new Hall of Justice was completed on Portsmouth Square near Chinatown in 1911, while the civil courts returned to the new City Hall, now part of a grand Civic Center complex, in 1916. The monumental beaux-arts structure was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and closed for retrofitting. The civil courts returned to the newly built Civic Center Courthouse adjacent to City Hall in December 1997. City Hall was completed in late 1998 and reopened to the public in January 1999. The Civic Center 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 San Francisco County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Courthouse and all records were destroyed in the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Extensive record loss caused by the 1906 earthquake; some records re-registered.

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 Francisco County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • San Francisco 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: 1906 / 1865
    • Marriage Records: 1860
    • Land Records: 1838
  • San Francisco 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 
  • San Francisco County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 101 Grove Street, Room 105, San Francisco, CA 94102; Office (415) 701-2802

San Francisco County Links

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

San Francisco Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

San Francisco Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

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

San Francisco Co. CA Census Records

San Francisco Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

San Francisco Co. CA Church & Bible Records

San Francisco Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

San Francisco Co. CA General and History Websites

San Francisco Co. CA Immigration & Naturalization

San Francisco Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

San Francisco Co. CA Military Records

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