San Francisco County, California Genealogy
Guide to San Francisco County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Dates for major county records|
|For earlier dates, try...|
|Remember these collections|
|San Francisco County, California|
Location in the state of 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
|Named for: Saint Francis of Assisi|
- 1 County Court House
- 2 Places/Localities
- 3 Populated Places
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Archives and Libraries
- 4.2 Bible Records
- 4.3 Biography
- 4.4 Cemeteries
- 4.5 Census
- 4.6 Church History and Records
- 4.7 Directories
- 4.8 Court Records
- 4.9 Disasters
- 4.10 Emigration and Immigration
- 4.11 Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
- 4.12 Gazetteers
- 4.13 Genealogy
- 4.14 History
- 4.15 Land and Property
- 4.16 Maps
- 4.17 Migration
- 4.18 Military History and Records
- 4.19 Newspapers
- 4.20 Obituaries
- 4.21 Periodicals
- 4.22 Probate Records
- 4.23 Repositories
- 4.24 Schools
- 4.25 Societies
- 4.26 Taxation
- 4.27 Vital Records
- 4.28 Voting Registers
- 5 Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
County Court House
San Francisco County Courthouse
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Superior Court Clerk has divorce, probate and court records
Counter Recorder has marriage records
Department of Public Health has birth records
18 February 1850: San Francisco County was created as an original county. County seat: San Francisco 
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.
For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
1906: Courthouse and all records were destroyed in the great earthquake and fire of 1906.
Archives and Libraries
- Index to San Francisco County Biographies (Genealogy Trails)
- Surname Index to San Francisco County Biographies (USGenWeb Archives)
- Schellen's Collection of Historical Materials - Names
- Schellen's Collection of Historical Materials - Hotels
- Schellen's Collection of Historical Materials - Saloons
- Schellen's Collection of Historical Materials - Ships
The following web sites may have additional information on San Francisco County cemeteries.
- Interment.net California cemetery records by County.
For tips on accessing San Francisco County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.
1850 (1851) for the county is missing.
- 1870 - Index to Transcription of the 1870 Census, San Francisco County (USGenWeb Archives)
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.
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- San Francisco
- Sunset (San Francisco)
- Records of Trinity, Bethlehem, and Ascension Lutheran Church, San Francisco, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
- 1850 - San Francisco City Directory (CAGenWeb Project)
- 1918 - San Francisco City Directory (CAGenWeb Project)
Emigration and Immigration
- 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:
- 1883-1924 - California San Francisco Register of Chinese Immigrant Court Cases and Foreign Seamen Tax Cards 1883-1924 at FamilySearch — images
- 1910-1941 - California, San Francisco, Immigration Office Special Inquiry Records, 1910-1941 at FamilySearch — index and imagesd
- 1918 - California, San Francisco, World War I Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits, 1918 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1928-1942 - California Immigration Registers of Japanese, Filipinos, and Hawaiians at San Francisco, 1928-1942 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1936-1949 - California, San Francisco Airplane Arrival Card Index, 1936-1949 at FamilySearch — index
- 1954-1957 - California, San Francisco Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving, 1954-1957 at FamilySearch — index
Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- 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. 32.no.2.(summer 2007)
- Family History of the Kerr and Grote Families of San Francisco California (Genealogy Trails)
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.
- Index to San Francisco County Historical Records (USGenWeb Archives)
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.
- The Family History Library has copies of original pre-statehood records for San Francisco, 1838 to 1851, on 21 films. These include Spanish grants and early Alcalde deeds. The original records are at the San Francisco County Courthouse. After the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, a law was passed to establish the ownership of land. A claimant filed the proper papers with the superior court, which, if approved, gave him title to the land. These claims are called the McInerney actions. The original records are at the San Francisco County Courthouse. The Family History Library has copies of these claims for the years 1906 to 1984 on 880 microfilm rolls. They are indexed by the name of the plaintiff (claimant).
- Index to Federal Land Records, San Francisco County (USGenWeb Archives)
For historical maps,search the following free sites:
- Maps-Historical-State of California, the California government's site. Links to American Memory (Library of Congress), California Missions, and the State Library
- California Maps - HSU Library, also lists and links to gazetteers
- USGS Topographic Maps of California topographical maps of California mountains, rivers, etc.,
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)
Military History and Records
- 1883 - San Francisco County – List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883 (Genealogy Trails)
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
- Index of Veterans, G.A.R. Post Rosters (USGenWeb Archives)
World War I
- 1920 - Record Of 86th Co. California Military Reserve 1920 (USGenWeb Archives)
World War II
- Index to World War II Army Enlistees, San Francisco County (USGenWeb Archives)
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as San Francisco County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Index to San Francisco County Obituaries (Genealogy Trails)
- Index to San Francisco County Obituaries (USGenWeb Archives)
- San Francisco County Obituaries (CAGenWeb Project)
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 Records
- 1782 – 1999 California Wills and Probate Records 1782-1999 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1833 – 1991 California Probate Estate Files 1833-1991 at FamilySearch — images
Archives, Libraries and Museums
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.
- San Francisco County School Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1864 - 1921 - University of California Medical School Directory of Graduates (Internet Archives)
- 1959 - Yearbook, Marina Junior High School, San Francisco, CA, Spring 1959 (USGenWeb Archives)
- San Francisco Genealogy has a full compliment of historical and vital records for San Francisco and surrounding counties.
- California Historical Society
- California Genealogy Society and Library
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.
- 1883 - 1924 - California San Francisco Register of Chinese Immigrant Court Cases and Foreign Seamen Tax Cards 1883-1924 at FamilySearch — images
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.
- Selected San Francisco County Vital Records (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1812 - 1988 - California Births and Christenings, 1812-1988 at FamilySearch — index
- 1905 - 1995 - California Birth Index, 1905-1995 at FamilySearch — index
- San Francisco Department of Public Health has birth records since April 1906. Instructions and forms are on the link.
- SFGenealogy has San Francisco Vital Records and links to numerous resources.
- San Francisco County Birth Notices by year (Genealogy Trails)
- 1850 - 1945 - California Marriages, 1850-1945 at FamilySearch — index
- 1850 - 1952 - California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1854 - 1885 - Western States Marriage Index.
- 1960 - 1985 - California Marriage Index, 1960-1985 at FamilySearch — index and images
- San Francisco County Marriage Notices by year (Genealogy Trails)
- 1905 - 1939 - California Death Index, 1905-1939 at FamilySearch — index
- 1940 - 1997 - California Death Index, 1940-1997 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861 - San Francisco County Death Notices from the Daily Evening Bulletin, 1861 (Genealogy Trails)
- 1882 - 1892 - Death Index - Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW) 1882-1892 (CAGenWeb Project)
- San Francisco Department of Public Health has death records since April 1906. Instructions and forms are on the link.
Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
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
- San Francisco County, CA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- California Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- California Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- San Francisco Genealogy (sfgenealogy)
- Golden Nugget Library
- San Francisco County CAGenWeb
- USGenWeb Archives
- San Francisco County Genealogy (California Genealogy)
- San Francisco, California Genealogy Trails
- San Francisco CA Genealogy (LDS Genealogy)
- FamilySearch Catalog
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- California, Genealogical Collections at the California Genealogical Society (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- San Francisco County, CA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy (Familytree101)
- California, San Francisco County Records(FamilySearch Historical Records)
- 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.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Wikipedia contributors, "San Francisco County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco 05/08/2017.