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Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County

Sonoma County was founded on February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties . This county was named for Sonoma is a Chocuyen Indian name translated by some as “Valley of the Moon” and by others as “land or tribe of the Chief Nose.”

The Sonoma County Seat is located in Santa Rosa also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Sonoma County are Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor .

Cities and towns located in Sonoma County include Mendocino County (north), Lake County (northeast), Napa County (east), Solano County (southeast), Marin County (south), Contra Costa County (southeast) .

Other Communities in Sonoma County include Asti, Bodega, Camp Meeker, Cazadero, Duncans Mills, Freestone, Geyserville, Guernewood Park, Jenner, Kenwood, Lakeville, Mark West, Mark West Springs, Penngrove, Rio Dell, Rio Nido, Salmon Creek, Sea Ranch, Valley Ford .

Since its creation Sonoma County boundries have changed to include these:

  1. Most of Sonoma County has been in the county since 1850.
  2. Territory was in Mendocino County from 1850 to 1855, when it was added to Sonoma County.
  3. Territory was in Mendocino County from 1850 to 1859 when it was added to Sonoma County. Sonoma County had administered Mendocino County from 1850 to 1859.
  4. Territory which at one time was in Sonoma County is now in Mendocino County, Napa County, and Solano County

Sonoma 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 Sonoma 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.

Sonoma 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.

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

Sonoma County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Sonoma County Courthouse and Government Records

Sonoma County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Sonoma 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 Sonoma 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 - After residents voted to move the county seat from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County built two grand courthouses in the center of the town. The first, completed in 1885, was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The second, constructed of locally quarried stone and reinforced with steel and concrete, was "built for all time and the earthquake," according to one local historian. But by the mid-1960s the county was forced to declare the building seismically unsafe and it was demolished. After the courts moved to a new county center, the site was rededicated in 1967 as "Old Courthouse Square."

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 Sonoma County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was added from Mendocino County in 1855 and again in 1859. Courthouse was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Minor record Loss.

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.
  • Sonoma County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Sonoma 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: 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-177, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 OR Mail to: P. O. Box 1709, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
    • Phone: (707) 565-2645
    • Birth / Death Records: 1858 / 1873
    • Marriage Records: 1846
    • Land Records: 1841
  • Sonoma 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: 1848 
  • Sonoma County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 3313 Chanate Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; Office (707) 565-4700

Sonoma County Links

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

Sonoma Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Sonoma Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Sonoma Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Sonoma Co. CA Census Records

Sonoma Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Sonoma Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Sonoma Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Sonoma Co. CA General and History Websites

Sonoma Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Sonoma Co. CA Military Records

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