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