Santa Cruz County, California
Genealogy and Facts

Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County was founded 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.”

The Santa Cruz County Seat is located in Santa Cruz also, the county government website is www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/

Areas bordering to Santa Cruz County are San Mateo County (northwest), Santa Clara County (northeast), San Benito County (southeast), Monterey County (southeast & south) .

Cities and towns located in Santa Cruz 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.

Since its creation Santa Cruz County boundries have changed to include Territory which at one time was in Santa Cruz County is now in San Mateo County

Santa Cruz 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 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.

Santa Cruz 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 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. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Santa Cruz County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Santa Cruz County Courthouse and Government Records


SantaCruz County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Santa Cruz 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 Cruz 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 - This much-admired brick, Romanesque Revival courthouse was rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1906 and served the county until 1967, when court offices moved to a new location. The building was remodeled and opened in 1972 as the Cooper House, a mix of offices and retail businesses. It was later demolished after sustaining serious damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

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 Cruz County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.

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 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 
  • Santa Cruz County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • 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 Links

The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant 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. Feel free to suggest your own preferred Santa Cruz County genealogy or family history associated sites.

Santa Cruz Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Santa Cruz Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

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

Santa Cruz Co. CA Census Records

Santa Cruz Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Santa Cruz Co. CA Church & Bible 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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