Mendocino County, California Genealogy

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United States  > California > Mendocino County

County Courthouse


Parent County

1850--Mendocino County was created 18 February 1850 as an original county.  County seat: Ukiah [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places

Link to Covelo, California,

Wikipedia site for Covelo, Califonia

Neighboring Counties




LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Ukiah



Local Histories

The two principal histories of Mendocino County are Lyman Palmer, History of Mendocino County, California... (San Francisco, Cal.: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880) and Aurelius O. Carpenter and Percy H. Millberry, History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California... (Los Angeles, Cal.: Historic Record Co., 1914). Both cover the early history and settlement of the county and include several biographical sketches and some portraits.

There are two notable autobiographies of Ukiah residents. The first is by horticulturalist Carl Purdy, My Life and My Times (Naturegraph Press, 1976). Purdy (1861-1845) migrated to Ukiah in 1870 and lived there the remainder of his life. His story includes much local Ukiah valley history as he observed it. The other volume was written by Ukiah native and retired judge Lilburn Gibson, Some reminiscences of my seventy-four years in Mendocino County (1966). The judge was born in Ukiah in 1892 to a family that migrated to Mendocino County in the 1850s.

The Mendocino County Historical Society ( ) has published several items, one of the more ambitious projects being Bruce Levene, et al., Mendocino County remembered: an oral history, 2 vols. (1976). The Society also publishes a quarterly Newsletter. The Held-Poage Research Library in Ukiah is maintained by the Society and contains the most complete collection of historical and genealogical materials relating to the county.

The Mendocino County Museum ( )in Willits has also published a number of historical works, e.g., John Keller, As I remember Ukiah: history, stories and memories (2002).

The Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House ( ) is, in addition to the Held-Poage Library, the major repository of local history collections. Named for local artist Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937), the museum is located behind her 1911 craftsman home, the Sun House. The Museum collections include not only her artwork of local subjects, but also the writings of her mother Helen McGowen Carpenter and the photographs and writings of her father Aurelius O. Carpenter, both early Mendocino County immigrants (1850s). A recent publication of the museum is Marvin A. Schenck, et al., Aurelius O. Carpenter: Photographer of the Mendocino Frontier (2006).

The "wild west" character of the county is demonstrated by the Frost-Coates feud, beginning in Willits in the 1860s. This story is recounted in John Boessenecker, Badge and Buckshot: Lawlessness in Old California (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988).






Vital Records

Societies and Libraries

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Family History Library Catalog


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).