Sierra County, California Facts
Sierra County, California genealogy and family history research page. Identify links to record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you locate your own Sierra Co., ancestors. Get going by constructing a Free Family Tree.
Sierra County Facts
- Government Website: http://www.sierracounty.ws/
- County Seat: Downieville
- Created Date / Origin: April 16, 1852 from Yuba County
- Boundary Changes:
- Most of Sierra County territory was in Yuba County from 1850 to 1852 when it was separated to create the new county.
- Territory was in Yuba County from 1850 to 1866 when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory in Yuba County from 1850 to 1852, and in Sierra County from 1852 to 1866, was in Plumas County from 1866 to 1868, when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory in Butte County from 1850 to 1854, was in Plumas County from 1854 to 1863 when it was added to Sierra County.
- Territory which at one time was in Sierra County is now in Nevada County and Plumas County
- Named After: Sierra nevada in Spanish means “snow saw,” applied to the Sierra Nevada mountain chain because of the jagged, serrated, sawtooth peaks forming the skyline.
- Bordering Counties: Nevada County (south), Yuba County (west), Plumas County (north), Lassen County (northeast), Washoe County, Nevada (east)
- Cities & Towns: Loyalton
- Other Communities: Downieville
Sierra County Societies and Family History Resources
A list of Sierra County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
Sierra County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often overlook the advantages of Sierra 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 Sierra 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 - On November 26, 1885, local carpenters erected wooden gallows in a yard adjacent to this courthouse for the execution of a 19-year-old Irish immigrant convicted of murder. The next day, the gallows was dismantled and stored in the attic of the courthouse until 1927, when startled county employees discovered it. Despite complaints that it was "not conducive to happy thoughts," the gallows was reerected adjacent to the courthouse and survived the 1947 fire that destroyed the building. Restored in 1988, the gallows is recognized as a California Historic Landmark 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 Sierra County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land was later added from counties Yuba (1866) and Plumas (1863 and 1866). Courthouse Fire in 1947 destroyed courthouse. No records were lost
- Sierra County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Sierra 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:P.O. Drawer D, Downieville, CA 95936
- Phone: (530) 289-3295
- Birth / Death Records: 1857 / 1873
- Marriage Records: 1853
- Land Records: 1852
- Sierra 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: 1852
- Court Records: 1852
- Sierra 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.
Sierra County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Sierra 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 Sierra County genealogy or family history associated sites.
Sierra 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!
- Sierra 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.
- Sierra County California Genealogy Books (books.google.com)
Sierra Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Sierra Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
Sierra Co. CA Census Records
Sierra Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Sierra Co. CA Church & Bible Records
Sierra 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.
Sierra Co. CA General and History Websites
Sierra Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Sierra 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 Sierra County genealogists, researchers, historians and more.