Orange County, California Facts
Orange County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Orange Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Orange County Facts
- Government Website: http://egov.ocgov.com
- County Seat: Santa Ana
- Created Date / Origin: March 11, 1889 from Los Angeles County
- Boundary Changes:
- All of Orange County territory was in Los Angeles County from 1850 to 1889 when it was moved to Orange County
- Named After: its extensive orange groves.
- Bordering Counties: Los Angeles County (north & west), San Bernardino County (northeast), Riverside County (east), San Diego County (southeast)
- Cities & Towns: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda
- CDPs ( census-designated place) Include Coto de Caza, Las Flores, Rossmoor, Tustin Foothills.
- Other Communities: Ladera Ranch, Midway City, Modjeska Canyon, Orange Park Acres, Santa Ana Heights, Santiago Canyon, Silverado, Sunset Beach, Trabuco Canyon
Orange County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Orange County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Garden Grove Historical Society,P.O. Box 4297, 12174 Euclid Street, Garden Grove, CA. 92840;
Phone: (714) 530-8871
- Orange County Genealogical Society, c/o Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach, California 92648; (714) 842-4481 x2227
- Orange County Historical Commission, 211 West Santa Ana Blvd , Santa Ana, CA 92701 ; (714)973-6609
- South Orange County Genealogical Society, Family History Center Institute Building, 27976 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, CA
- Leisure World Genealogical Workshop, 2300 Beverly Manor Road, Seal Beach, CA 90740
- Brea Historical Society, 125 West Elm Street, Brea, California 92821; PHONE: 714-256-2283
- Orange County Archives, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Rm. 101, Santa Ana, CA 92701; (714) 834-2536
- Santa Ana Historical Society, 120 Civic Center Dr., West; Santa Ana, CA 92701; 714 547-9645
- Orange County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Orange County
- Orange County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Orange County
- USGenWeb Archives for Orange County (usgwarchives.net)
Orange County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Orange 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 Orange 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 - One of Southern California's oldest court buildings, the Old Orange County Courthouse is also one of the state's few surviving Romanesque Revival-style buildings. The courts occupied the building until 1969, when they moved to more modern facilities on Civic Center Drive. Restoration of the old courthouse began in 1983 and was completed in 1992. The building now houses the Orange County History Center as well as county offices and 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 Orange County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.
- Orange County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Orange 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: 12 Civic Center Plaza, Room 101, Santa Ana, CA 92701
- Birth / Death Records: 1887 / 1889
- Marriage Records: 1889
- Land Records: 1889
- Orange 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: 1889
- Court Records: 1889
- Orange 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.
Orange County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Orange 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 Orange County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Orange 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!
- Orange 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.
- Orange County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Orange Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Orange Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Orange Co. CA Census Records
Orange Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Orange Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Orange 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.
Orange Co. CA General and History Websites
- See Also State History for California
- Orange County History (rootsweb.ancestry.com) A Memorial and Biographical History of Southern California, 1890
- An Illustrated history of southern California : embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, an (search.ancestry.com)
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Silverado, California, 1880s (search.ancestry.com)
- Orange County under Spain, Mexico, and the United States (search.ancestry.com)
- The story of San Clemente : the Spanish village (search.ancestry.com)
- Orange County, California Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)
- Orange County, California Wiki (familysearch.org)
- Orange Co. CA Genealogy (kindredtrails.com)
- Family History Library (familysearch.org)
- Orange County, California (linkpendium.com)
- Cyndi's List - United States - California - Counties - Orange (cyndislist.com)
- Orange County California (genealogytrails.com)
- Orange Co. CAGenweb (sites.google.com)
- Orange County Genealogy Queries (cousinconnect.com)
- Orange Co. Data Collections (search.ancestry.com)
Orange Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Orange 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 Orange County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.