Contra Costa County, California Genealogy

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

Contra Costa County, California
Map of California highlighting Contra Costa 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 1850, February 18
County Seat Martinez
Address Contra Costa County
 730 Las Juntas St;
PO Box 350;
Martinez, CA 94553;
Phone. 925.646.2360
Contra Costa County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Contra Costa County, California Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1850 1850 1850 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; County Clerk
has marriage, divorce, probate and court records[2]

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Contra Costa County began in 1850 as one of the original counties in the new state of California. Located in the East Bay area, San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay partially surround the land area of the county and have contributed to the economy since the gold rush. 

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Contra Costa County, California

Parent County[edit | edit source]

18 February 1850: Contra Costa County was created as an original county. County seat: Martinez [3]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named Contra Costa which means in the Spanish language opposite coast, on account of it's location opposite of San Francisco, in an easterly direction, on the San Francisco Bay. The county seat Martinez and the county was created 1850. [4]The County is located in the west central corner 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
  • Hasford Heights
Census-designated places
Historic communities
Ghost towns

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]
Indexes[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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

The following web site may have additional information on Contra Costa County cemeteries.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 5,328
1870 8,461 58.8%
1880 12,525 48.0%
1890 13,515 7.9%
1900 18,046 33.5%
1910 31,674 75.5%
1920 53,889 70.1%
1930 78,608 45.9%
1940 100,450 27.8%
1950 298,984 197.6%
1960 409,030 36.8%
1970 558,389 36.5%
1980 656,380 17.5%
1990 803,732 22.4%
2000 948,816 18.1%
2010 1,049,025 10.6%
Source: "".

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.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Public Records[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Crime and Criminals[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

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

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

A wiki article describing an online collecion is found at: California, Genealogical Collections at the California Genealogical Society (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Indexes[edit | edit source]
Peroidicals[edit | edit source]
Contra Costa Genealogical Society directory & Periodical[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Contra Costa 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.

Indexes[edit | edit source]
Histories[edit | edit source]

Land and Property & Maps[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 CountyAlameda CountyContra Costa CountySolano CountyNapa CountySonoma CountyMarin CountyCA CONTRA COSTA.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 and Indexes[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Contra Costa 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 - Contra Costa - 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 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]

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society serves local genealogy enthusiasts. Monthly meetings are held at the Danville Family History Center in Alamo, California on the 3rd Tuesday at 10am.

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]

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

Contra Costa County Genealogical Society
Concord/Walnut Creek Family History Center
3700 Concord Blvd
Concord, CA 94519-1808

Contra Costa County Historical Society
610 Main Street
Martinez, California 94553
Phone: 925-229-1042

El Cerito Historical Society
PO Box 304
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Lafayette Historical Society
Lafayette Library Learning Center
3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard
Lafayette, CA 94549
Phone: 925-283-1848

Martinez Historical Society
P.O. Box 14
Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: 925-228-8160

Moraga Historical Society
Post Office Box 103
1500 St. Mary's Rd.
Moraga, CA 94556-2099;
Phone: ( 925 ) 377-8734

Point Richmond History Association
139 1/2 Washington Avenue
Point Richmond, CA
Phone: 510-234-5334 or 510-235-1336

Richmond Museum of History
P.O. Box 1267
400 Nevin Avenue
Richmond, California 94802
Phone: (510) 235-7387

San Ramon Valley Genealogy Society
P.O. Box 305
Diablo, CA 94528-0305

Walnut Creek Historical Society
2660 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek, California
Phone: (925) 935-7871

List of California Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Contra Costa 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), Contra Costa County, California. Page 84 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. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Contra Costa County, Florida Genealogy and History”, 04/28/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Contra Costa County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 04/28/2017.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Colusa County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California#Communities, accessed 1 March 2021.