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Santa Cruz County, California
Genealogy, History & Facts

Santa Cruz County, California Facts

Santa Cruz County

When was Santa Cruz County, CA Created?
Santa Cruz County was established on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for the name of Branciforte after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797. Less than two months later, the name was changed to Santa Cruz. Established in 1791 and completed in 1794, the Santa Cruz Mission was destroyed by earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931. Santa Cruz signifies “holy cross.”

What is the County Seat of Santa Cruz County, CA?
The County Seat is located in Santa Cruz also, the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to Santa Cruz County, CA?
Bordering Counties are San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, San Benito County, Monterey County (southeast & south) .

What cities and towns are in Santa Cruz County, CA?
Cities and towns located in the County include Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville .

Other Communities in Santa Cruz County include Bonny Doon, Brookdale, Davenport, Mount Hermon, Swanton. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Amesti, Aptos, Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Corralitos, Day Valley, Felton, Freedom, Interlaken, Live Oak, Opal Cliffs, Rio del Mar, Soquel, Twin Lakes.

Santa Cruz County, CA Vital Records

Where can find Santa Cruz County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Santa Cruz County vital records can be found at the California Office of Vital Records has copies of birth and death records from July 1905, marriage records that occurred from 1949-1986 and 1998-1999, divorce records that occurred between 1962 and June, 1984. 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 Cruz 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.

Vital Records can also be found in the Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, Office of Vital Records, 1430 Freedom Boulevard, Suite 101, Watsonville, CA 95076; Mail to: P. O. Box 962, Santa Cruz, CA 95061; (831) 763-8430

Santa Cruz County, CA Census Records

What Santa Cruz County, CA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Santa Cruz County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Santa Cruz Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Santa Cruz Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Santa Cruz Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890.

Another California census is the California State Census in 1852. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also California Census Records Research Guide.

Santa Cruz County, CA Courthouse and Government Records

SantaCruz County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Santa Cruz County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Santa Cruz County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. 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. See Also California Corthouse Records Research Guide.

Old Santa Cruz County Courthouse
  • Santa Cruz County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Santa Cruz 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: 1873
    • Marriage Records: 1851
    • Land Records: 1847 (Alcalde records included from 1779. See Land Records.)
  • Santa Cruz 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 
  • Early California Wills
  • BLM Land Records

Santa Cruz County, CA Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Santa Cruz County, CA?
A list of Santa Cruz County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Californiia Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other Santa Cruz County, CA Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Santa Cruz County, CA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Santa Cruz 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.

Santa Cruz Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Santa Cruz Co. CA Cemeteries & Church Records

Santa Cruz Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Santa Cruz Co. CA General and History Websites

Santa Cruz Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Santa Cruz Co. CA Military Records

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