Santa Cruz County, California Facts
Santa Cruz County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Santa Cruz Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Santa Cruz County Facts
- Government Website: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/
- County Seat: Santa Cruz
- Created Date / Origin: February 18, 1850 as one of the original 27 counties
- Boundary Changes:
- Territory which at one time was in Santa Cruz County is now in San Mateo County
- Named After: In the original act, the county was given the name of Branciforte after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797. Less than two months later, the name was changed to Santa Cruz. Established in 1791 and completed in 1794, the Santa Cruz Mission was destroyed by earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931. Santa Cruz signifies “holy cross.”
- Bordering Counties: San Mateo County (northwest), Santa Clara County (northeast), San Benito County (southeast), Monterey County (southeast & south)
- Cities & Towns: Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville
- CDPs ( census-designated place) Include Amesti, Aptos, Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Corralitos, Day Valley, Felton, Freedom, Interlaken, Live Oak, Opal Cliffs, Rio del Mar, Soquel, Twin Lakes.
- Other Communities: Bonny Doon, Brookdale, Davenport, Mount Hermon, Swanton
Santa Cruz County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Santa Cruz County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- California State Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County, PO Box 72, Santa Cruz, CA 95063-0072; (831) 427-7707, ext. 5794
- Art and History Museum of Santa Cruz, 705 Front Street, Downtown Santa Cruz
- Capitola Historical Museum, 410 Capitola Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010; 831.464.0322
- Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association
- Pajaro Valley Historical Association, 332 East Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076; (831) 722-0305
- Santa Cruz County, California Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Santa Cruz County
- Santa Cruz County, California Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Santa Cruz County
- USGenWeb Archives for Santa Cruz County (usgwarchives.net)
Santa Cruz County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz 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 - This much-admired brick, Romanesque Revival courthouse was rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1906 and served the county until 1967, when court offices moved to a new location. The building was remodeled and opened in 1972 as the Cooper House, a mix of offices and retail businesses. It was later demolished after sustaining serious damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.
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 Santa Cruz County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county.
- Santa Cruz County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Santa Cruz 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.
- Birth / Death Records: 1873
- Marriage Records: 1851
- Land Records: 1847 (Alcalde records included from 1779. See Land Records.)
- Santa Cruz 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
- Santa Cruz 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.
Santa Cruz County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Santa Cruz 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!
- Santa Cruz 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.
- Santa Cruz County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Santa Cruz Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Santa Cruz Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Santa Cruz Co. CA Census Records
Santa Cruz Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Santa Cruz Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Santa Cruz 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.
Santa Cruz Co. CA General and History Websites
Santa Cruz Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.