San Francisco County, California Genealogy

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

San Francisco County, California
Map of California highlighting San Francisco 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 San Francisco
Address San Francisco Courthouse
400 McAllister Street
San Francisco, California, 94102
(415) 551-4000
Named for: Saint Francis of Assisi

San Francisco Fire 1906

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1906 1860 1865 1850 1850s 1850 1850
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

County Court House[edit | edit source]


San Francisco County Courthouse
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone 415.554.4950

Superior Court Clerk has divorce, probate and court records
Counter Recorder has marriage records
Department of Public Health has birth records[2]

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

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

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for St. Francis of Assisi. The county seat San Francisco and the county was created April 15, 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]

1906: Courthouse and all records were destroyed in the great earthquake and fire of 1906.

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:[1]


  • San Francisco[5]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

San Francisco Earthquake 1906[edit | edit source]

National Archives Catalog

FamilySearch Catalog

Related FamilySearch Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of San Francisco, 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.
1848 1,000
1849 25,000 2400.0%
1852 34,776 39.1%
1860 56,802 63.3%
1870 149,473 163.1%
1880 233,959 56.5%
1890 298,997 27.8%
1900 342,782 14.6%
1910 416,912 21.6%
1920 506,676 21.5%
1930 634,394 25.2%
1940 634,536 0.0%
1950 775,357 22.2%
1960 740,316 −4.5%
1970 715,674 −3.3%
1980 678,974 −5.1%
1990 723,959 6.6%
2000 776,733 7.3%
2010 805,235 3.7%
Source: "".

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

1850 (1851) for the county is missing.

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

  • Balboa
  • Mission
  • San Francisco
  • Sunset (San Francisco)


  • Records of Trinity, Bethlehem, and Ascension Lutheran Church, San Francisco, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

List of Churches and Church Parishes

County Records[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Directories (free at the Internet Archive) -  1878, 1920 ($) has San Francisco City Directories 1861-1923 (4 yrs. missing) available online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.

Disasters[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

  • Angel Island Immigration Station – This site gives the history of the landmark near San Francisco known as the “Ellis Island of the West”. When Angel Island was opened in 1910, it was expected to handle European immigrants headed for California via the Panama Canal. Instead, the facility handled about 250,000 immigrants from Asia, 70 percent of whom were Chinese. While records aren't searchable here, you will get a good insight into what those who were detained at Angel Island went through to enter the United States. Site provides links to sources that are available for researching ancestors.

A wiki article describing this collection is found at:

California, San Francisco Passenger Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records

Online Records

|How to Use this Collection]]; index and images

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

Germans[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

California Genealogical Colleactions at the California Genealogical Society (FamilySearch HIstorical Records)

  • Handcock, Nora I. Allenheads Lead Miners in America. History with the names of Miners that went to America in 1849, on the ship The Guy Mannering. Picture of the ship included. Many headed for Galena, or Rockford Illinois, Jamestown, San Francisco, Irish Hollow, one family moving on to Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Names of Miners, Samuel and Maria Vickers, Jacob Nattrass, Joseph & Phoebe Reed, John and Hannah Graham, Thomas and Maria Chatt, the Reed and Lee families, John & Ann (followed later) Hewitson, Thomas Foster, George Philipson, William Dawson, Thomas Noble, Jacob Peart, Henry Bell, Andrew Muir, John and Ann Lee, John Stevenson. Dates 1832-1870 and is found in the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society Journal, vol.37 no.4, pages 28-30, Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo, vol. 37 no.4
  • Jones, Andrew Forsyth. The French Family of Sunderland and the USA. History of the family of Joseph and Mary Ann French with description of their son Joseph French born 1847, Gateshead, and his wife Frances Ann Samuel, born Sunderland, July 1846. Photo included on their golden wedding. The family of Joseph and Frances and all but one of their children emigrate to USA in 1887, and settle in St Paul, Minnesota, and after 5 years move onto San Francisco. Photo of Andrew Forsyth, and Elizabeth nee French in 1903. Other surnames mentioned: Bennett, Forsyth, Douce, Winks, Lundgren. Article dated 1846-1954, and is found in the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society Journal. vol. 32,no.2pages 48-49. Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo vol. 2007)

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for San Francisco 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]

Marin CountyContra Costa CountyAlameda CountySan Mateo CountyCA SAN FRANCISCO.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

For historical maps,search the following free sites:

For some Custom Google Maps of San Francisco Mile Houses and Catholic Parishes in the city:

  • Map showing locations of the mile houses of San Francisco
  • Map showing locations of Catholic parish churches of San Francisco (1893)
  • Map showing locations and extent of baptism, marriage and death records of Catholic parish churches of San Francisco (present-day)
  • FamilySearch Places: Map of cities and towns in this county - How to Use FS Places

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Despite the destruction of the 1890 Federal Census, a few 1890 Census Veterans Schedules for Alcatraz in San Francisco County survived. They are available on roll 118 of "Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War" (NARA M123). The schedules list veterans and their widows who served as Union soldiers in the Civil War. For more information on the 1890 Veterans Schedules see Union Census Records.

Regiments. Service men in San Francisco 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 San Francisco County, California Genealogy:

- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company B
- 1st Regiment, California Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 1st Regiment, California Cavalry (Union), 1st Company E
- 1st Regiment, California Cavalry (Union), New Company E
- 1st Regiment, California Cavalry (Union), Company F
- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company B
- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company H
- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company K
- 2nd Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company E
- 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company A
- 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company E
- 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company F
- 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company K
- 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company D
- 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company E
- 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company F
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 San Francisco 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 - San Francisco - 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

Schools[edit | edit source]

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.

Online Records

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.

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]

San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society
4430 School Way
Castro Valley 94546-1331

San Francisco History Association
P.O. Box 31907
San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone: 415-750-9986

San Francisco History Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-557-4567

Websites[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), San Francisco 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), San Francisco 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, "San Francisco County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, 05/08/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "San Francisco," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 23 September 2019.