Contra Costa County, California Facts
Contra Costa County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Contra Costa Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Contra Costa County Facts
- Government Website: http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/
- County Seat: Martinez
- Created Date / Origin: February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties
- Named After: The name signifies “opposite coast,” because of its situation opposite San Francisco, in an easterly direction, on San Francisco Bay. In 1853, Alameda County was formed from territory originally included in this county.
- Bordering Counties: Alameda County (south), Marin County (west), Solano County (north), Sacramento County (northeast), San Joaquin County (east), San Francisco County (southwest)
- Cities & Towns: El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg
- Other Communities: Blackhawk, Canyon, Marsh Creek Springs, North Richmond, Saranap, Shore Acres, Tormey.
- Ghost towns & Lost Cities Include: Eckley, Judsonville, Port Chicago, Nortonville, Selby, Somersville, Stewartville, Stege, West Hartley, Winehaven
Contra Costa County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Contra Costa County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Antioch Historical Society, 1500 W. 4th St., Antioch, California 94509
- Contra Costa County Genealogical Society, Concord/Walnut Creek Family History Center, 3700 Concord Blvd, Concord, CA 94519-1808; Phone: 925-686-1766
- Contra Costa :County Historical Society, 610 Main Street, Martinez, California 94553; Phone: 925.229.1042
- East Contra Costa Historical Society and Museum, 3890 Sellers Ave., Brentwood, California 94513; 925-625-3553
- El Cerito Historical Society, PO Box 304, El Cerrito, CA 94530; 510-526-7507
- Lafayette Historical Society, Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, CA 94549; 925-283-1848
- Martinez Historical Society, 1005 Escobar Street, Martinez, California
- Moraga Historical Society, Post Office Box 103, 1500 St. Mary's Rd., Moraga, CA 94556-2099; ( 925 ) 377-8734
- Point Richmond History Society, 139 1/2 Washington Avenue, Point Richmond, CA ; 510-234-5334, 510-235-1336
- Richmond Museum of History, P.O. Box 1267, 400 Nevin Avenue, Richmond, California 94802; Phone: (510) 235-7387
- San Ramon Valley Genealogy Society, P.O. Box 305, Diablo, CA 94528-0305
- San Ramon Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 39 Danville, CA 94526; (925) 837-3750
- Walnut Creek Historical Society, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road , Walnut Creek, California;
Phone: (925) 935-7871
- Contra Costa County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Contra Costa County
- Contra Costa County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Contra Costa County
- USGenWeb Archives for Contra Costa County (usgwarchives.net)
Contra Costa County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Contra Costa County court, probate, and land files as a useful resource of genealogical details. Hidden away in California courthouses and archives everywhere tend to be the dreams and frustrations of the many California inhabitants.
The possibilities are great that your potential forefathers have left a detailed document of at least a number of facets of their lives in the Contra Costa County court records. Even if your ancestors is not mentioned in a Court case, contemplate all of the other methods that could have lead to her or him showing up in court records.
Courthouse History - Built in part by inmate chain gangs from 1901 to 1903 and now a National Historic Site, the old Contra Costa County Courthouse (left) remains in use as the county's Finance Building. The cupola, used as a watchtower during blackouts in World War II, was removed in 1957 for reasons of earthquake safety. In 1966, most of the courts' offices moved into the Hall of Records (right), which was completed in 1933 and continues to serve as the county's courthouse. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Remember to get in touch with the clerk's dept to verify hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics prior to visiting or seeking information because of in some cases changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The data files are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. A good number of employees will assist persons in obtaining the materials, but it's up to the person to do the research.
Some counties encompass land settled in the eighteenth century; their records pre-date county formation. Land transactions and vital records recorded in the county are at the county recorder's office. The county clerk general has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be in either place, depending on how filed.
The following facts indicates whatever marriage, birth, death, land, wills, and court records will be in Contra Costa County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.
- Contra Costa County Courthouse (Completed 1931, all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Contra Costa County Recorder-Clerk is s responsible for examination and recording of all documents presented for recording that deal with establishing ownership of land in the County or as required by statute; administers the real property transfer tax law and maintains a permanent record and indexes of all documents for public viewing plus providing certified copies requested by the public; recording of all lawful documents such as deeds, deeds of trust, judgments, liens, affidavits, Uniform Commercial Code Financial Statements, etc; and the filing of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
- Address: 555 Escobar St. , Martinez, CA 94553
- Phone: (925) 335-7900
- Birth / Death Records: 1850
- Marriage Records: 1850
- Land Records: 1850
- Contra Costa County Clerk of Superior Court has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be here or in the Recorders Office, depending on how it was filed.
- Probate Records: 1850
- Court Records: 1850
- Contra Costa County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
- California Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in California for current fees and application process. Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events.
Contra Costa County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Contra Costa County. A majority of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a payment. This is basically a listing which has been gathered or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site above another. Feel free to suggest your own preferred Contra Costa County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Contra Costa Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications
- Historical Newspapers from California (1813 - 1978) (genealogybank.com) Easily identify names and keywords in over 450 million articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements along with other items written in over 2,800 historical U.S. newspapers. Completely new content added each month!
- Contra Costa County, California Books (amazon.com)
- California Newspapers
- Search California Obituaries (1985 to current) (genealogybank.com) Over 28 million obituaries containing helpful information such as names, dates, places of birth, death, marriage and family information make this the most complete collection from the 20th and 21st centuries - 1,100 U.S. newspapers.
- Contra Costa County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Contra Costa Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Contra Costa Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Contra Costa Co. CA Census Records
Contra Costa Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Contra Costa Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Contra Costa Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories
- California Pioneer Project - The California Pioneer List (CPL) is a list of settlers to California who migrated to or were born in California prior to 1880 (included in the 1880 California Census) and obtained from those sent (e-mailed) directly from individuals doing genealogical research.
Contra Costa Co. CA General and History Websites
Contra Costa Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Contra Costa Co. CA Military Records
- California Military Records (fold3.com) gives you easy access to military records, stories, photos, and personal documents of the California individuals that served. Great for Contra Costa County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.