Santa Clara County, California Genealogy

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

Santa Clara County, California
Map of California highlighting Santa Clara 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 Jose
California, Santa Clara County Courthouse.png
Address Santa Clara County Courthouse
70 W Hedding St 1st Floor
San Jose, CA 95110-1768
Phone: 408.299.2481 
Santa Clara County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Santa Clara County, California Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1873 1850 1873 1850 1846 1850 1850
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Santa Clara County Courthouse
70 W Hedding St 1st Floor
San Jose, CA 95110-1768
Phone: 408.299.2481 

County Recorder has birth and death records from 1873 
Recorder has birth and death records from 1873,
marriage records from 1850, land records from 1846
and military records from1920  County Clerk has divorce,
probate and naturalization records[2]

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Santa Clara County, California

Parent County[edit | edit source]

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

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Saint Clare of Assisi, Italy. The county seat San Jose and the county was created 1850. [4]The County is located in the west 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]

May 18, 1931: A fire quickly spread through the courthouse, causing extensive damage.

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
Historic communities
  • Almaden Township: Present-day Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park and portions of Campbell and Los Gatos
  • Alviso Township: Present-day Alviso
  • Burnett Township: Present-day Coyote, Santa Teresa and Morgan Hill
  • Fremont Township: Present-day Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and part of Cupertino
  • Gilroy Township: Present-day Gilroy and San Martin
  • Milpitas Township: Present-day Milpitas
  • Redwood Township: Present-day Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Redwood Estates and portions of Cupertino and Campbell
  • San Jose Township: Most of present-day San Jose
  • Santa Clara Township: Present-day Santa Clara and portions of San Jose, Cupertino and Campbell

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Santa Clara, 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

|How to Use this Collection]]; index

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 11,912
1870 26,246 120.3%
1880 35,039 33.5%
1890 48,005 37.0%
1900 60,216 25.4%
1910 83,539 38.7%
1920 100,676 20.5%
1930 145,118 44.1%
1940 174,949 20.6%
1950 290,547 66.1%
1960 642,315 121.1%
1970 1,064,714 65.8%
1980 1,295,071 21.6%
1990 1,497,577 15.6%
2000 1,682,585 12.4%
2010 1,781,642 5.9%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Santa Clara 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: Gilroy, Los Gatos, Naglee (San Jose), Palo Alto, San Jose and Willow Glen (San Jose).
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 Santa Clara 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.

Maps[edit | edit source]

San Francisco CountySan Mateo CountySanta Cruz CountySan Benito CountyMerced CountyStanislaus CountySan Joaquin CountyAlameda CountyCA SANTA CLARA.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 Santa Clara 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 Santa Clara County, California Genealogy:

- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company A
- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company D
- 1st Regiment, California Cavalry (Union), New Company E
- 8th Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company C
World War I[edit | edit source]
World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

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

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Santa Clara 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 - Santa Clara - 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

Birth[edit | edit source]

The website for the Office of the Clerk-Recorder for Santa Clara County has information about how to request birth records. They have births after 1873.

Online Records

Marriage[edit | edit source]

The website for the Office of the Clerk-Recorder for Santa Clara County has information about how to request marriage records. They have marriages after 1851.

Online Records

Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

The website for the Office of the Clerk-Recorder for Santa Clara County has information about how to request death records. They have deaths after 1873.

Online Records

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

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

Gilroy Historical Society
PO Box 2190
Gilroy, CA 95021

Los Altos Hills Historical Society
27200 Elena Road
Los Altos, CA 94022

Morgan Hill Historical Society
PO Box 1258
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Palo Alto Historical Association
PO Box 193
Palo Alto, CA 94302

Saratoga Historical Foundation
PO Box 172
Saratoga, CA 95070

Stanford Historical Society
PO Box 2328
Stanford, CA 94309-2328

Santa Clara County Historical And Genealogical Society
2635 Homestead Road
Santa Clara 95051

California Pioneers of Santa Clara County
PO Box 8208
San Jose, CA 95155

Cupertino Historical Society and Museum
10185 N. Stelling Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Santa Clara 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), Santa Clara County, California. Page 87At 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. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Santa Clara County, California Genealogy and History”, 05/08/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Clara County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 05/08/2017.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Clara County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California, accessed 23 September 2019.