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Contributed: pre-2006


Contributed by Ken Tessendorff

Before publishing this book, Mr. Coy inventoried all the then existing records created by each county in California. Typical records include those of the Courts, Supervisors, Recorder, Auditor, Treasurer, Assessor, Tax Collector and others. He describes each type of document group by name, which department created them, the years covered and the number of volumes. He also includes a short history of the county at the beginning of each county chapter. The responsibilities of the various county departments and the laws that made these departments necessary are described in detail.

This is an excellent guide to use in determining which records were in existence in a particular county prior to 1919. Some records that were filed in special books in later years, were often mixed together with other miscellaneous records when the county was still young. This is true for records like naturalization documents that were entered into the court minute books in the early years, but recorded in special naturalization books at a later date, after laws required that they be separated. I found one record book in San Mateo County that combined information on estrays (lost horses) with marriage licenses. Mr. Coy actually pointed this out in his inventory.

Books like this are a great asset when researchers are told that certain types of documents do not exist in a particular county. Armed with the information from Mr. Coy's inventory, a researcher can point out that they did exist in 1919 and ask where they are now. If they definitely can't be found at the county in question, then they have probably been relocated to another depository and someone at the county should be able to tell you where that is.

Guide to the County Archives of California, Owen C. Coy, Ph.D., California Historical Survey Commission,1919, Sacramento

Copy is located at:
U. S. Geological Survey Library, Menlo Park, CA. Call Number 070.(276) C69G