Merced County, California Facts
Merced County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Merced Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Merced County Facts
- Government Website: http://www.co.merced.ca.us/
- County Seat: Merced
- Created Date / Origin: April 19, 1855 from Mariposa County.
- Boundary Changes:
- Territory which at one time was in Merced County is now in Fresno County, Madera County, San Benito County, and Stanislaus County.
- Named After: derived its name from the Merced River of El Rio de Nuestra Senora de la Merced (River of Our Lady of Mercy); named in 1806 by an expedition, headed by Gabriel Moraga, which came upon it at the end of a hot dusty ride.
- Bordering Counties: San Benito County (southwest), Santa Clara County (west), Stanislaus County (north), Mariposa County (east), Madera County (southeast), Fresno County (south)
- Cities & Towns: Atwater, Livingston, Los Banos, Merced, Dos Palos, Gustine
- CDPs ( census-designated place) Include Delhi, Hilmar, Le Grand, Planada, South Dos Palos, Winton.
- Other Communities: Ballico, Cressey, El Nido, Santa Nella, Snelling
Merced County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Merced County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Los Banos
Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 1106, Los Banos, CA 93635
- Merced County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 3061, Merced, CA 95344
- Gustine Historical Society, 397 4th Street, Highway 33, Gustine CA; 209-854-6455
- Merced County Courthouse Museum- Merced County Historical Society, 21st & N Streets, Merced, CA 95340; (209) 723-2401 Phone
- Merced County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Merced County
- Merced County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Merced County
- USGenWeb Archives for Merced County (usgwarchives.net)
Merced County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Merced 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 Merced 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 - Merced's first court hearings took place under a tree on a local ranch that had been designated the county seat after the county separated from Mariposa in 1855. Construction was begun in 1874 on this grand Italianate building designed by Albert A. Bennett, one of the architects of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento. The courthouse is adorned with three statues of Justice and topped by a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. It was used as the county courthouse until 1950, when the courts moved to more modern offices. Renovation of the building began in 1975, and the courthouse was rededicated as a museum in 1983. It is 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 Merced County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.
- Merced County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Merced 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: 2222 M Street, Merced, CA 95340
- Phone: (209) 385-7627
- Birth / Death Records: 1873 / 1889
- Marriage Records: 1855
- Land Records: 1856
- Merced 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: 1855
- Court Records: 1855
- Merced 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.
Merced County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Merced 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 Merced County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Merced 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!
- Merced 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.
- Merced County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Merced Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Merced Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Merced Co. CA Census Records
Merced Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Merced Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Merced 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.
Merced Co. CA General and History Websites
Merced Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Merced 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 Merced County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.