Fresno County, California Genealogy

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Fresno County

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


Fresno County, California
Map of California highlighting Fresno County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Founded April 19, 1856
County Seat Fresno
Address Fresno County Courthouse
2221 Kern St
Fresno, CA 93721
Phone 559.488.3003 
Fresno County Website

County Information

Fresno County, California Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1873 1855 1873 1850 1855 1860

County Courthouse

County Clerk has birth, marriage, and death records from 1855[2]

Historical Facts

Fresno County was created 19 April 1856 from Merced and Mariposa counties. Parts were taken for Kings 22 March 1893, Madera 11 March 1893 and Mono 24 April 1861. Named for Fresno Creek. Fresno in Spanish means "ash tree", because of abundance of mountain ash in the area.

Parent County

19 April 1856: Fresno County was created from Mariposa, Merced and Tulare Counties.
County seat: Fresno [3]


The County Seat is Fresno and was founded February 18, 1856. It is located in the Central area of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes

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

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


Populated Places

  • Cities: Clovis | Coalinga | Firebaugh | Fowler | Fresno | Huron | Kerman | Kingsburg | Mendota | Orange Cove | Parlier | Reedley | San Joaquin | Sanger | Selma |
  • Unincorporated Communities: Auberry | Big Creek | Biola | Calwa | Cantua Creek | Caruthers | Centerville | DelRey | Dunlap | Easton | Friant | Highway City | Lanare | Laton | Mercey Hot Springs | Minkler | Pinedale | Prather | Raisin City | Riverdale | Rolinda | Shaver Lake | Squaw Valley | Tarpey Village | Tollhouse | Tranquillity

Neighboring Counties


Bible Records



Cemeteries of Fresno, 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 Fresno County cemeteries.


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

Church History and Records

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.

Court Records

Crime and Criminals


Emigration and immigration

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups





Local histories are available for Fresno 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

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.


Monterey CountySan Benito CountyMerced CountyMono CountyInyo CountyTulare CountyKings CountyMadera CountyCA FRESNO.PNG
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Military History and Records

Naturalization and Citizenship


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



Probate Records

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 - Fresno - Probate records.

Online Probate Records


Archives, Libraries and Museums

The following public libraries in Fresno County have collections of particular interest to genealogists:

Fresno County Public Library
2420 Mariposa Street
Fresno, California 93721
Telephone: (559) 600-7323
The California History and Genealogy Room offers books, microfilms and other resources for local and state history as well as a variety of records helpful for identifying your ancestors and their lives–vital records, military, ethnic, census, Great Registers (voting records), prison records, and more.
Fresno City and County Historical Society Archives has Central Valley early farmers index, biographies, manuscripts, photos, oral histories, newspaper clippings, and school yearbooks.
County Courthouse
Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.



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

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


Voting Registers

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries

Fresno City And County Historical Society
P.O. Box 2029
Fresno 93718

Fresno County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1429
Fresno 93716-1429

Fresno City County Historical Society
7160 West Kearney Boulevard
Fresno, CA 93706
Phone: 559-441-0862

American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
3233 N. West Avenue
Fresno, CA 93705-3402

California Mennonite Society
4824 E. Butler
Fresno, CA 93727



  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 62-75. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Fresno 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. Wikipedia contributors, "Fresno County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 4/11/2017.