Kern County, California Genealogy

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Guide to Kern County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Kern County, California
Map of California highlighting Kern County
Location in the state of California, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Founded April 2, 1866
County Seat Bakersfield
Address Kern County Courthouse
1655 Chester Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301;
Phone 661.868.6440 Kern County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Kern County, California Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1850 1850 1950 1866 1850 1866 1850
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Kern County Courthouse
1655 Chester Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301;
Phone 661.868.6440

County Clerk Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records from 1850
divorce, probate court and voting record from 1866;
An exchange of territory with San Bernardino Co took place in 1963[2]


Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Kern County, California

Parent Counties[edit | edit source]

2 April 1866: Kern County was created from Los Angeles and Tulare Counties.
County seat: Bakersfield [3]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named from the Kern River, which was named for Edward Kern, cartographer for General John C. Frémont's 1845 expedition, which crossed Walker Pass.[4] The County Seat is Bakersfield and was founded 1866. It is located in the south-central area of the state.[5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the website.

Records Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Kern, California online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See California Cemeteries for more information

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 2,925
1880 5,601 91.5%
1890 9,808 75.1%
1900 16,480 68.0%
1910 37,715 128.9%
1920 54,843 45.4%
1930 82,570 50.6%
1940 135,124 63.6%
1950 228,309 69.0%
1960 291,984 27.9%
1970 329,162 12.7%
1980 403,089 22.5%
1990 543,477 34.8%
2000 661,645 21.7%
2010 839,631 26.9%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Kern County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.

Church History and Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Bakersfield

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Crime and Criminals[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Germans[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Kern County, California Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Maps[edit | edit source]

Kings CountyTulare CountyInyo CountySan Luis Obispo CountySanta Barbara CountyVentura CountyLos Angeles CountySan Bernardino CountyCA KERN.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]
World War I[edit | edit source]
World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Kern County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - Kern - Probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Archives, Libraries and Museums[edit | edit source]
County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Societies[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder. See also How to order California Vital Records

BMD records can be requested at the Kern County Hall of Records website

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Kern County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2214
Bakersfield, CA 93303-2214

Kern County Historical Society
P.O. Box 141
Bakersfield, CA 93302

Kern River Valley Historical Society
49 Big Blue Rd.
P.O. Box 651
Kernville, California 93238-0651
Phone: (760) 376-6683

Kern-Antelope Historical Society
P.O. Box 325
Rosamond 93560

Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert
100 E. Las Floras Avenue
Ridgecrest CA 93555

Shafter Historical Society
PO Box 1088
Shafter, CA 93263

Ridge Route Communites Historical Societies and Museum
Box 684
Frazier Park, CA 93225
Phone: 661-245-7747

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kern County, California. Page 84-88 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 81-83.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kern County, California. Page 85 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Kern County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 5/03/2017.
  5. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Kern County, California Genealogy and History”, 5/03/2017.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Kern County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California#Communities, accessed 14 September 2019.