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Stanislaus County, California

Stanislaus County

Stanislaus County was founded on April 1, 1854 from the western part of Tuolumne County . This county name is a corruption of Estanislao, the baptismal name of a mission-educated renegade Indian chief who led a band of Indians in a series of battles against Mexican troops. He was finally defeated by General Mariano G. Vallejo in 1826. The county is named for the Stanislaus River, first discovered by Gabriel Moraga in 1806, and later renamed Rio Estanislao for the Indian chief.

The Stanislaus County Seat is located in Modesto also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to Stanislaus County are Santa Clara County (southwest), San Joaquin County (northwest), Calaveras County (north), Tuolumne County (northeast), Merced County (south).

Cities and towns located in Stanislaus County include Modesto, Ceres, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Turlock, Waterford .

Other Communities in Stanislaus County include Knights Ferry. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Bret Harte, Bystrom, Del Rio, Denair, East Oakdale, Empire, Grayson, Hickman, Keyes, Riverdale Park, Salida, Shackelford, West Modesto, Westley.

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

  1. Most of Stanislaus County was in Tuolumne County from 1850 until 1854 when it was separated to create the new county.
  2. Territory in Tuolumne County from 1950 to 1854, and in Stanislaus County from 1854 to 1866, was in Merced County from 1866 to 1868 when it was returned to Stanislaus County.
  3. Territory was in San Joaquin County from 1850 to 1860 when it was added to Stanislaus County.

Stanislaus 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 Stanislaus 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.

Stanislaus County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

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

Stanislaus County Societies and Family History Resources

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

Stanislaus County Courthouse and Government Records

Stanislaus County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of Stanislaus 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 Stanislaus 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 - The first murder in Stanislaus occurred just months after the county was divided from Tuolumne in 1854 and involved a gun duel during a dispute over an election for county judge. Since then, Stanislaus has had five county seats and eight courthouses, the most enduring of which was the first, in Modesto. This building, which was expanded in 1904, served the county for 85 years until it was demolished in 1958 to make room for the current county offices.


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 Stanislaus County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was added from counties San Joaquin (1860) and Merced (1868).

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.
  • Stanislaus County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • Stanislaus 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: 1021 I Street, Suite 101, Modesto, CA 95354 ; OR P.O. Box 1670, Modesto, CA 95353
    • Phone: (209) 525-5251
    • Birth / Death Records: 1873
    • Marriage Records: 1854
    • Land Records: 1854
  • Stanislaus 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: 1854 
  • Stanislaus County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 820 Scenic Drive, Modesto, CA 95350; Office (209) 558-8409, 8417

Stanislaus County Links

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

Stanislaus Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Stanislaus Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Stanislaus Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Stanislaus Co. CA Census Records

Stanislaus Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Stanislaus Co. CA Church & Bible Records

Stanislaus Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Stanislaus Co. CA General and History Websites

Stanislaus Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Stanislaus Co. CA Military Records

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