Kern County, California Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
Kern County

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


Kern County, California
Map of California highlighting Kern County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Founded April 2, 1866
County Seat Bakersfield
Address Kern County Courthouse
1655 Chester Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301;
Phone 661.868.6440 Kern County Website

County Information

Kern County, California Record Dates

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1850 1850 1950 1866 1850 1866 1850
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.

County Courthouse

Kern County Courthouse
1655 Chester Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301;
Phone 661.868.6440

County Clerk Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records from 1850
divorce, probate court and voting record from 1866;
An exchange of territory with San Bernardino Co took place in 1963[2]


Historical Facts

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Kern County, California

Parent Counties

2 April 1866: Kern County was created from Los Angeles and Tulare Counties.
County seat: Bakersfield [3]


The county was named from the Kern River, which was named for Edward Kern, cartographer for General John C. Frémont's 1845 expedition, which crossed Walker Pass.[4] The County Seat is Bakersfield and was founded 1866. It is located in the south-central area of the state.[5]

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

Neighboring Counties


Bible Records



Cemeteries of Kern, 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 Kern County cemeteries.


For tips on accessing Kern 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.

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Bakersfield

Court Records

Crime and Criminals


Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups





Local histories are available for Kern 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.


Kings CountyTulare CountyInyo CountySan Luis Obispo CountySanta Barbara CountyVentura CountyLos Angeles CountySan Bernardino CountyCA KERN.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military History and Records

Civil War
World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship


Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Kern 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 - Kern - Probate records.

Online Probate Records


Archives, Libraries and Museums
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

Kern County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2214
Bakersfield, CA 93303-2214

Kern County Historical Society
P.O. Box 141
Bakersfield, CA 93302

Kern River Valley Historical Society
49 Big Blue Rd.
P.O. Box 651
Kernville, California 93238-0651
Phone: (760) 376-6683

Kern-antelope Historical Society
P.O. Box 325
Rosamond 93560

Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert
100 E. Las Floras Avenue
Ridgecrest CA 93555

Indian Wells Valley Genealogical Society
131 Los Flores
Ridgecrest CA 93555

Kern River Valley Historical Society
PO Box 651
Kernville CA 93239

Saint Ives Historical Society
8648 Lupine Loop Dr., #5
California City, CA 93505

Shafter Historical Society
PO Box 1088
Shafter, CA 93263

Taft Genealogical Society
PO Box 7411
Taft, CA 93268

Ridge Route Communites Historical Societies and Museum
Box 684
Frazier Park, CA 93225
Phone: 661-245-7747



  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kern 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), Kern 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, "Kern County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_California 5/03/2017.
  5. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Kern County, California Genealogy and History”, 5/03/2017.