Difference between revisions of "San Francisco County, California Genealogy"

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Revision as of 01:00, 3 March 2012

United States Gotoarrow.png California Gotoarrow.png San Francisco County

County Courthouse

Quick Facts

Parent County

18 February 1850: San Francisco County was created as an original county. County seat: San Francisco [1] 

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

1906: Courthouse burned and many records were damaged in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties


Archives and Libraries


San Francisco California Area Funeral Home Records: A free internet index and images to the California, San Francisco Funeral Home Records can be viewed on the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections website. For a description of the collection see San Francisco California Area Funeral Home Records.

A wiki article describing this collection is found at: 

San Francisco California Area Funeral Home Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)



1850 (1851) for the county is missing.

Church History and Records

City Directories

Fold3.com ($) has San Francisco City Directories 1861-1923 (4 yrs. missing) available online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Balboa
  • Mission
  • San Francisco
  • Sunset (San Francisco)



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:

California, San Francisco Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)


Land and Property  

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). 


For historical maps,search the following free sites:

Military History and Records

Civil War

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.


Probate Records


Vital Records  

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has birth and death records since April 1906. You can obtain an informational copy for a fee by mailing the application (Birth Application, Death Application) with your payment and a self-addressed stamped envelope. As with other California counties, you only need to get the form notarized if you want a certified copy. Informational copies do not need a notary. Mail the application to: San Francisco Public Health Department
Office of Vital Records
101 Grove St., Room 105
San Francisco, CA 94102

San Francisco Funeral Home Records

Societies, Libraries and Museums

Family History Centers


A wiki article describing this collection is found at: 


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