Kern County, California Facts
Kern County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Kern Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Kern County Facts
- Government Website: http://www.co.kern.ca.us/
- County Seat: Bakersfield
- Created Date / Origin: April 2, 1866 from Tulare County and Los Angeles County
- Boundary Changes:
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1852, was in Tulare County from 1852 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory in Mariposa County from 1850 to 1851, was in Los Angeles County from 1851 to 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory was in San Luis Obispo County from 1850 until 1866 when it was moved to Kern County.
- Territory which at one time was in Kern County is now in Inyo County and San Luis Obispo County
- Named After: derived its name from the Kern River, which was named for Edward Kern, topographer of General John C. Fremont’s 1845 expedition.
- Bordering Counties: Los Angeles County (south), Ventura County (south), Santa Barbara County (southwest), San Luis Obispo County (west), Kings County (northwest), Tulare County (north), Inyo County (northeast), San Bernardino County (east).
- Cities & Towns: Bakersfield, Delano, Arvin, California City, McFarland, Ridgecrest, Shafter, Tehachapi, Wasco, Maricopa, Taft
- CDPs ( census-designated place) Include Bear Valley Springs, Bodfish, Boron, Buttonwillow, China Lake Acres, Derby Acres, Dustin Acres, Edwards Air Force Base, Fellows, Ford City, Frazier Park, Golden Hills, Inyokern, Johannesburg, Keene, Kernville, Lake Isabella, Lake of the Woods, Lamont, Lebec, Lost Hills, McKittrick, Mettler, Mojave, Mountain Mesa, North Edwards, Oildale, Onyx, Pine Mountain Club, Randsburg, Rosamond, Rosedale, South Taft, Squirrel Mountain Valley, Stallion Springs, Taft Heights, Tupman, Valley Acres, Weedpatch, Weldon, Wofford Heights.
- Other Communities: Caliente, Cantil, East Bakersfield, Famoso, Grapevine, Havilah, Walker Basin, Wheeler Ridge
Kern County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Kern County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Kern County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 2214, Bakersfield, CA 93303-2214
- Kern County Historical Society, P.O. Box 141, Bakersfield, CA 93302
- Kern River Valley Historical Society, 49 Big Blue Rd., P.O. Box 651, Kernville, California 93238-0651; (760) 376-6683
- Taft Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 7411, Taft, CA 93268
- Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, P.O. Box 2001, 230 W Ridgecrest Blvd. Ridgecrest, CA 93555; (760) 375-8456
- Ridge Route Communites Historical Societies and Museum, Box 684, Frazier Park, CA 93225; 661-245-7747
- Kern County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Kern County
- Kern County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Kern County
- USGenWeb Archives for Kern County (usgwarchives.net)
Kern County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Kern 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 Kern 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 - When mining activity around Havilah began to subside, Kern's county seat was moved from the one-time boomtown to Bakersfield. The town's first courthouse was constructed in 1876 but soon proved inadequate for the growing county, and in 1896 it was reconstructed with additions that doubled the size of the original building. When a more modern courthouse was built across the street in 1912, the county sold the old courthouse to the City of Bakersfield for use as its city hall. Both the old and new courthouses were damaged in a 1952 earthquake and demolished. A cement-and-wrought iron fence that enclosed the 1896 courthouse now stands inside the entrance of the Kern County Museum.
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 Kern County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.
Land from San Luis Obispo County was added in 1866.
- Kern County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Kern 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: 1655 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301
- Phone: (661) 868-6449
- Birth / Death Records: 1850
- Marriage Records: 1850
- Land Records: 1850
- Kern 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: 1866
- Court Records: 1866
- Kern 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.
Kern County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Kern 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 Kern County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Kern 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!
- Kern 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.
- Kern County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Kern Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Kern Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Kern Co. CA Census Records
Kern Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Kern Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Kern 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.
Kern Co. CA General and History Websites
- See Also State History for California
- Kern County History (rootsweb.ancestry.com) Memorial and Biographical History of the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kern, California 1892
- A Memorial and biographical history of the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kern, California : containing a history of this impor (search.ancestry.com)
- Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties, California Biographical History (search.ancestry.com)
- Where rolls the Kern : a history of Kern County, California (search.ancestry.com)
- Little dramas of old Bakersfield : as seen by a boy and told in after years (search.ancestry.com)
- Pioneer days and Kebo Club nights (search.ancestry.com)
- Kern County, California Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)
- Kern County, California Wiki (familysearch.org)
- Kern Co. CA Genealogy (kindredtrails.com)
- Family History Library (familysearch.org)
- Kern County, California (linkpendium.com)
- Cyndi's List - United States - California - Counties - Kern (cyndislist.com)
- Kern County California (genealogytrails.com)
- Kern Co. CAGenweb (cagenweb.com)
- Kern County Genealogy Queries (cousinconnect.com)
- Kern Co. Data Collections (search.ancestry.com)
Kern Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Kern 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 Kern County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.