Mendocino County, California Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 21:44, 12 December 2009 by Ron Cannon (talk | contribs) (Newspapers)

Jump to: navigation, search
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).




The first Mendocino County newspaper was the Mendocino Herald published by Edwin R. Budd (1818-1875) on 9 November 1860. Previous to that time the principal newspaper for the county was the Sonoma Democrat, also published by Budd in Santa Rosa. His biography can be found in Lyman Palmer, History of Mendocino County, California... (San Francisco, Cal.: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880), 628-629. A summary of the early history of the press in Ukiah is found in Aurelius O. Carpenter and Percy H. Millberry, History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California... (Los Angeles, Cal.: Historic Record Co., 1914), 72-73.

The largest collection of county newspapers is held by the Held-Poage Research Library of the Mendocino County Historical Society ( ). The collection includes paper copies of older papers as well as the most complete microfilmed collection of county newspapers. Current newspapers are only archived for Ukiah. The library also maintains a Clipped Obituary File. Other current county newspapers are combed for vital records and then discarded. An index to obituaries and vital records from newspapers (though not complete) is available from the web site.

Microfilmed newspapers at Held-Poage:

Arena Register 1884-1886 Constitutional Democrat 1863-1865 Covelo Review 1904-1907 Democratic Weekly Dispatch 1875-1881 Fort Bragg Advocate 1890-1929 Frontier Gazette (Covelo) 1960-1971 Independent Weekly Dispatch 1874-1875 Little Lake Herald 1901-1910 Mendocino Beacon 1878-1979 Mendocino County Democrat 1865 Mendocino County Press 1871-1872 Mendocino County Republican 1888-1889 Mendocino Democrat 1865-1889 Mendocino Dispatch Democrat 1881-1899 Mendocino Herald 1861-1870 Point Arena News 1878 Point Arena Record 1877-1930 Redwood Journal 1929-1954 Round Valley News 1972-1993 Sonoma Democrat 1857-1862 Ukiah City Press 1877-1889 Ukiah Daily Journal 1954-Present Ukiah Independent 1886-1888 Ukiah News 1950-1956 Ukiah Republican Press 1889-1949 Ukiah Times 1912-1917 West Coast Star 1874-1877 Willits News 1892-1989

The Mendocino County Library ( ) archives some county newspapers in its three main branches as follows:

Ukiah Branch repeats the Held-Poage microfilm holdings of Mendocino Herald, Dispatch Democrat, Ukiah Republican Press and Redwood Journal with some gaps, and the complete Ukiah Daily Journal 1954-present.

Fort Bragg Branch has microfilm of the Fort Bragg Advocate 1890-1929 and 1996-present, and the Mendocino Beacon 1878-1982 and 1998-present.

Willits Branch holds the Willits News 1892-present, as well as the Little Lake Herald 1901-1910 and the Covelo Review 1904-1907.



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).