Monterey County, California Genealogy

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

Monterey County, California
Map of California highlighting Monterey 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 February 18, 1850
County Seat Salinas
Address Monterey County Courthouse]
240 Church Street
PO Box 29
Salinas, CA 93092
Phone 831.755.5041
Monterey County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Monterey County, California Genealogy Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1893 1893 1850 1850 1850 1850
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Recorder has birth and death records  and marriage records
from 1893. Clerk Superior Court has probate and land rececords
County Court has divorce and court records.[2]

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Monterey County, California

Parent County[edit | edit source]

18 February 1850: Monterey County was created as an original county. County seat: Salinas [3]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named from Monterey Bay. The county seat Monterey Bay and the county was created February 18, 1850. The County is located in the west central area of the state.[4]

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:[5]

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 Monterey, 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.
1850 1,872
1860 4,739 153.2%
1870 9,876 108.4%
1880 11,302 14.4%
1890 18,637 64.9%
1900 19,380 4.0%
1910 24,146 24.6%
1920 27,980 15.9%
1930 53,705 91.9%
1940 73,032 36.0%
1950 130,498 78.7%
1960 198,351 52.0%
1970 250,071 26.1%
1980 290,444 16.1%
1990 355,660 22.5%
2000 401,762 13.0%
2010 415,057 3.3%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Monterey 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

  • Monterey
  • Pacific Grove
  • Salinas

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Superior Court of California – County of Monterey
Case Lookup – Index
Probate/Guardianship. Conservatorship Case Fillings
Requesting Court Case File and Adjudicative Records (divorce, criminal, complaints, judgments, traffic tickets, case information) Mostly available at the clerk’s office at the court location where record was originally filed. Requests to inspect and copy case file and other adjudicative records prepared for or filed or used in a court proceeding may be made at the courthouse where they are filed. There is a copying fee of $0.50 per page, which must be paid in advance. Please direct requests for access to administrative records maintained by the Monterey County Superior Court to:
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE Superior Court of California
County of Monterey 240 Church Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 775-5400 x3020
Fax: (831) 775-5499

Court records held by Monterey County Historical Society:

Probate Superior Court (bonds, wills 1850-1947
Court of Session Criminal Records
District Court Judgments 1850-1879
Superior & Civil Court Documents 1859-1970
County Court Judgments 1850-1879
Superior Court Judgments 1880-1934
Criminal Dockets & Small Claims 1913-1960
Superior Court Minutes 1880-1911
Criminal Dockets (Sheriff) 1889-1966
Jail Registers 1990-1966
Superior & Civil Court Records 1859-1970

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 Monterey 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.
Historical information found at:

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. Taylor, Alexander Smith. 1900. Index to the Mexican Archives of the County of Monterey from volume sixth to volume sixteenth inclusive

Assessment Rolls 1850-1947
Lot Books (real estate records dating from the time the Land Grants were subdivided)
Grantor Records - deeds & grants 1889-1897

Maps[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz CountySan Benito CountyFresno CountyKings CountyKern CountySan Luis Obispo CountyCA MONTEREY.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Regiments. Service men in Monterey County, California Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Monterey County, California Genealogy:

- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company B
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 Monterey County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

(note: some of these dates may be off due to incomplete holdings lists and variations in titles of the newspapers)

Big Sur Gazette (1978-1981)

Carmel Californian (1936-1937)
Carmel Cottager (1934)
Carmel Cymbal (1926-1941)
Carmel Cymbal and Masten’s Gazette (1941-1942)
Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley Spectator (1949)
Carmel Pine Cone (1915-present)
Carmel Pine Cone and Carmel Valley Outlook (1981-1993)
Carmel Pine Cone Cymbal (1942-1962)
Carmel Spectator (1949-1955)
Carmel Sun (1992-1994)
Carmel Valley News (1951-1955)
Carmel Valley Sun (1983-1990)
Carmel Valley Outlook (1979-1981)
Carmel Valley Weekly Sun (1990-1993)
Carmel Village Daily (1933)
Masten’s Gazette (1941)
Paisano (1948)
Peninsula Spectator (1959)
Spectator (1949-1950)

Castroville News (1936-1942)
Castroville Times (1950-1952)
Castroville Times Journal (1950)
Castroville Times and Moss Landing Harbor News (1952-1975)
North County News (1975-1982)

Fort Ord Panorama (1980-1982)

Gonzales Tribune (1956-1991)

Greenfield News (1952-1991)

King City Rustler (1901-1997)
Rustler and King City Herald (1961-1964)
Semi Weekly Rustler (1936-1937)

Marina Tribune (1981-1982)
Marina Weekly Tribune (1979)

Army News (1904)
At Ease (1990)
Monterey American (1913-1916)
Monterey Argus (1887-1888)
Monterey Bay Labor News 1955-1985
Monterey Bay News (1947-1950)
Monterey Bay and Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach Tribune (1985)
Monterey Bay Tribune (1985-1987)
Monterey County Herald (1992-present)
Monterey County Journal (1864)
Monterey County Post (1929-1933)
Monterey Daily Cypress 1889-1922)
Monterey Democrat (1868-1889)
Monterey Enterprise (?)
Monterey Evening Herald (1909-1910)
Monterey Gazette (1863-1868)
Monterey Herald (1986-1992)
Monterey Labor News (1937)
Monterey New Era (1890-1909)
Monterey News Daily and Monterey Trader (1940)
Monterey Peninsula Herald (1929-1992)
Monterey Sentinel (1855-1856)
Monterey Trader (1933-1951)
Monterey Union (1862)
Montereyan (1951-1955)
Peninsula Advocate (1910-1911)
Peninsula Daily Herald (1927-1929)
Peninsula Daily Herald and Monterey Daily Cypress and Monterey American (1923-1927)
Peninsula Merchants’ Semi-Monthly Bulletin (1915-1916)

Pacific Grove Beacon (1994-1995)
Pacific Grove Daily Review (1892-1926)
Pacific Grove Monarch (1987-1992)
Pacific Grove News (1916)
Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach Tribune (1976-1984)
Pacific Grove Progress (1916)
Pacific Grove Review (1888-1912)
Pacific Grove Tide (1936-1943)
Pacific Grove Tribune (1943-1951, 1984-1985)
Pacific Grove Weekly Tribune (1978-1979)
Peninsula Pelican (1925)
Peninsular Review and Pacific Grove Daily Review (1926-1932)

Monterey County Labor News (1942-1954)
Monterey County Post (1929-1933)
North Monterey County Fortnighter (1983-1989)
Owl (1894)
Salinas Californian (1942-present)
Salinas Daily Index (1894-1928)
Salinas Daily Journal (1889-1897)
Salinas Daily Post and Monterey County Post (1933-1942)
Salinas Democrat (1889-1896)
Salinas Index (1895-1904)
Salinas Index Journal (1928-1942)
Salinas Index Weekly (1873-1925)
Salinas Labor News (1937-1942)
Salinas Morning Post (1936-1942)
Salinas Standard (1869-1872)
Salinas Valley Rustler (1906-1923)
Salinas Valley Settler (1889)
Salinas Village Crier (1942)
Salinas Weekly Index (1883-1895)
Salinas Weekly Journal (1867-1915

Free Weekly Sentinel (1987)
Right-On Post (1970)
Seaside News Sentinel (1950-1970)
Seaside Post (1969-1970)
Seaside Post News Sentinel (1970-1988)
Seaside Post Sentinel (1970)
Seaside Sentinel (1988-1996)
Seaside Weekly Sentinel (1987-1988)

Spreckles Courier (1909-1914)

Watsonville Rustler (1888-1897)

1. “Californian.” In the California Weekly, vol. 1, August 27, 1909, p629.
2. “Californian.” In the Grizzly Bear, vol. 2, Feb. 1908 p23
3. Denny, Melcena Burns. “California’s First newspaper Printed without a Letter ‘W’ on Flimsy Cigarette Paper.” In Montana, the Magazine of Western History, vol. 15, no. 4, October 1965 p29-41.
4. Dethlefs, Helen. “First California Newspaper Founded 100 Years Ago, August 15, 1846.” In California Publisher, August 1946, p11.
5. “First newspaper in California.” In The Pony Express, September 1946 p2.
6. Harding, Geroge L. “The Origin of California’s First printing Press.” In Book Club of California, Quarterly news-letter 2:5-8, June 1934.
7. “The Salinas Californian; Newspaper’s Growth Tied to a Dream.” In California Publisher, Vol. 1, Nos 2 & 3, Nov-Dec 1971, p34-35.
8. “Newspaper Holdings of the California State Library” compiled by Marianne Leach

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 - Monterey - Probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Repositories[edit | edit source]

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

Monterey Courthouse, 1200 Aguajito Rd, Monterey, CA 93940; (831) 647-5800
History - Monterey County Courthouse Completed 1878
The military and social capital of Alta California during Spanish and Mexican rule, the town of Monterey naturally became the county seat when the 27 original counties were formed in, 1850. But when it was learned that the railroad was to go through the valley and not along the coast, the government center was moved to Salinas. After the house used as a courthouse burned, this much larger brick Victorian building was commissioned. The courthouse remained in use while the current one was being constructed around it, and then was demolished. Today a courtyard, lily pond, and commemorative sculpture occupy the site.

Marina Courthouse, 3180 Del Monte Blvd, Marina, CA 93933; (831) 883-5300

King City Courthouse, 250 Franciscan Way, King City, CA 93930; (831) 386-5200

Salinas Courthouse, 240 Church St, Salinas, CA 93901; (831) 775-5400

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

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

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

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of original voter registration records recently transferred from Monterey County Elections Department to the Monterey County Historical Society archival facility in Salinas. To access records, see:

Great Register of Voters:
Ledger Books:
1866-1870 1 book
1870 1 book
1881-1883,1886,1888,1890 1 book
1892 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1896 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1898 (Vol. 3) 2 books
1900 (Vol. 1,Vol. 2) 2 books
1902 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1904 (Vol. 1, Vol.2) 2 books
1906-1907 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) 2 books
1908-1909 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books
1910-1911 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books
1912-1913 (A-L, M-Z) 4 books
1914-1915 (A-L, M-Z) 2 books

Scattered records:
Voter affidavits*:
1922-23 (Affidavits, Pleyto precinct)
1930-31 (Affidavits, Blanco precinct)

Indexes (no voter affidavits):
1938, August primary (Greenfield precincts No.1 and No. 2)

Description of collection:
The ledger books1  titled Great Register of Voters are the original handwritten manuscripts kept by the County Clerk’s (Registrar of Voters) office of the County of Monterey beginning in 1866.2 The entries are made in alphabetical sections (with alpha sub-sections) and show chronological appearance of voters as they were sworn and registered to vote. The entries include place of nativity (birthplace); age of voter; place of residence (post office or precinct); date and place of naturalization, if applicable; whether citizen by virtue of Treaty of Hildago or citizen by virtue of father’s naturalization (and in later years a woman’s citizenship status by marriage); occupation; date of appearance to be sworn; and date of registration. Later registration data includes a physical description of the voter and party affiliation. The Registrar of Voters also appended notes to the entries to indicate reasons for cancellation whether due to removal to another county or state, transfer to another county due to change of boundary lines (i.e. to San Benito County in 1874), death, incarceration or “Section 1106” (failure to vote). These notations usually contained dates if known. Copies of the list of voters not thus cancelled, were made every two years and sometimes more frequently if a special election occurred (polling lists). These copies of uncancelled voters were sent to the state and other repositories on a routine basis. Microfilm of these typeset lists is available at the California State Library in Sacramento, California, and other repositories.3

These original handwritten Great Register ledger books have not been microfilmed or transcribed. There was a partial transcription done of the 1890 Great Register as part of a census substitute project4 but the transcription does not include cancellation information.

Note: The Great Register books contain information for years other than marked on the book spines. For example, the 1866-1870 Great Register contains several entries made after 1870 when cancellations were noted and the 1890 Great Register shows voter registration dates which occurred years earlier.

1 Some years are missing.
2 Beginning in the year 1866, California state law required a list of voters to be kept.
3 Monterey County (California) County Clerk. Great Register of Voters 1867, 1869, 1872,
  1875-1876, 1879-1880, 1884, 1886, 1888, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1896, 1898. 
 (Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975).
4 Bettyann Lockwood Hedegard, ed., 1890 great register of Monterey County, California.
 (Salinas, CA: Monterey County Genealogy Society, c1993).

Courtesy of Junel Davidsen 

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

Carmel Heritage Society
Lincoln and Sixth
P.O. Box 701
Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 831.624.4447

The Carmel Valley History Center
77 W. Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
P.O. Box 1612
Phone: 831.659-5715

Castroville Historical Society
11560 Merritt Street
Castroville, CA 95012

Monterey County Genealogy Society Inc
P. O. Box 8144
Salinas, CA 93912-8144

Monterey County Historical Society, Inc
Boronda Adobe History Center
333 Boronda Road
Salinas, CA 93907
Mailing Address:P.O. Box 3576
Salinas, CA 93912
Phone: 831.757.8085

Soledad Historical Society
P.O. Box 593
Soledad, CA 93960
Phone: 831.678.8668
Contact Person:Margaret Jacobsen

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Monterey 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), Monterey County, California. Page 86 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, "Monterey County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 05/04/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Monterey County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California#Communities, accessed 18 September 2019.