Santa Barbara County, California
Genealogy and Facts

Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for the city of Santa Barbara, itself Spanish for Saint Barbara.

The Santa Barbara County Seat is located in Santa Barbara also, the county government website is www.countyofsb.org/

Areas bordering to Santa Barbara County are San Luis Obispo County (north), Kern County (northeast), Ventura County (east) .

Cities and towns located in Santa Barbara County include Ballard, Buellton, Carpinteria, Casmalia, Cuyama, Garey, Gaviota, Goleta, Guadalupe, Hollister Ranch, Hope Ranch, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, New Cuyama, Orcutt, Painted Cave, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Sisquoc, Solvang, Summerland, Toro Canyon, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Vandenberg Village, Ventucopa .

Other Communities in Santa Barbara County include Ballard, Casmalia, Cuyama, Garey, Gaviota, Hope Ranch, Los Olivos, New Cuyama, Sisquoc, Ventucopa. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Isla Vista, Los Alamos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, Orcutt, Santa Ynez, Summerland, Toro Canyon, Vandenberg AFB, Vandenberg Village.

Since its creation Santa Barbara County boundries have changed to include these:

  1. Most of Santa Barbara County has been in the county since 1850.
  2. Territory in Santa Barbara County from 1850 to 1851, was in San Luis Obispo County 1851 from 1851 to 1852 when it was returned to Santa Barbara County.
  3. Territory in Santa Barbara County from 1850 to 1854, was in San Luis Obispo County from 1854 to 1872 when it was returned to Santa Barbara County.
  4. Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 to 1872 when it was added to Santa Barbara County.
  5. Territory which at one time was in Santa Barbara County is now in Los Angeles County, San Luis Obispo County, and Ventura County.

Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara 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.

Santa Barbara 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.

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

Santa Barbara County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Santa Barbara County Courthouse and Government Records


SantaBarbara County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara 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 - Once the pride of Victorian Santa Barbara, by the 1920s the Greek Revival courthouse was overwhelmed by the growth of the county and out of step with the region's Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial architectural movements. A 1925 earthquake settled the question of what to do with the old courthouse, and by 1929 Santa Barbara had a new Spanish-style courthouse that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Above the entrance to the current courthouse is the inscription "God Gave Us the Country, the Skill of Man Hath Built the Town."

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 Santa Barbara County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was added from San Louis Obispo County in 1852 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.
  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Santa Barbara 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: 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 ; Mail to: P. O. Box 159, Santa Barbara, CA 93102-0159
    • Phone: (805) 568-2250
    • Birth / Death Records: 1859 / 1873
    • Marriage Records: 1850
    • Land Records: 1844 (Alcalde records included from 1779. See Land Records.)
  • Santa Barbara 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: 1854 
    • Court Records: 1850 
  • Santa Barbara County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 345 Camino Del Remedio, Santa Barbara, CA 93110; Office (805) 681-5150, 5151

Santa Barbara County Links

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

Santa Barbara Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Santa Barbara Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Santa Barbara Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Santa Barbara Co. CA Census Records

Santa Barbara Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Santa Barbara Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Santa Barbara Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Santa Barbara Co. CA General and History Websites

Santa Barbara Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Santa Barbara Co. CA Military Records

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