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Contributed: pre-2006
Updated: January 2007.

Identification of the Historical Records

of County Government in California

Contributed by Dan Mosier

[Note: a second edition, dated 2004, is now available online in pdf format.]

Identification of the Historical Records of County Government in California.
Laren W. Metzer, Sacramento, 1981.

If you want to know about county government records and how they can be useful to your research, check out this manual compiled by Laren W. Metzer. The California county offices included are the Assessor, Auditor, Clerk, Coroner, County Administrator, County Counsel, District Attorney, Planning Department, Public Works Department, Recorder, Sheriff, Superintendent of Schools, and Tax Collector-Treasurer. There is a description of the functions and duties of each of the county offices and the types of records each office keeps. 168 records are listed. Information about the records include accessibility (open or confidential), how they are arranged (chronologically, numerically, etc.), and whether they are indexed or not. The author then gives the significance of each type of record for historical or genealogical research. Here's an example for the Assessor's Assessment Rolls:

"Research Note: Source for tracing land values, property ownership, and tax rate patterns."

The county offices are arranged in alphabetical order and under them are arranged the records in alphabetical order. For some offices such as the County Clerk, the records are grouped under Courts, Board of Supervisors, etc. At the back of the book is a useful subject index.

Some California libraries that have the above item:

  • Fullerton, California State University Fullerton Library, CALIF S400 C7818 Docs/State
  • Los Angeles, University of California Los Angeles University Research Library, F 860.2 C34 1981
  • Sacramento, California State Library, S400 .C78 Govt Pubs
  • San Jose, San Jose State University Library, CD3111.A5 1981x spec coll
  • Santa Barbara, University of California Santa Barbara Main Library, S400 .C78 Govt Pub
  • Santa Clara, Santa Clara Library, GS 352 E86
  • Santa Cruz, McHenry Library, JS414.M47 Gov Pubs Ref
  • Santa Cruz, University of California Santa Cruz Spec Coll Library, JS414.M47