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Contributed: pre-2006

The Sourcebook of County Court Records

Contributed by Dan Mosier

The Sourcebook of County Court Records: A concise, straightforward, and informative reference manual to the main and secondary repositories of American County Court House Records. BRB Publications, Inc., 1992.

Anyone searching for court records must see this book. The court structure for each State is described. A summary tells the function and responsibilities of each court. In California, for instance, did you know that all of the Justice and Municipal Courts are required by law to maintain records filed alphabetically for 10 years, after which they are destroyed?

Under the California chapter, the State Repositories are listed. There is also a convenient list of the counties and the county seats. Then follows the profiles of each of the courts in each of the counties. For each court (Superior, Municipal, and Justice) the following types of information are provided when applicable:

  • Address and phone number of the court
  • Type of court
  • Type of searches allowed, such as in person searches, written, FAX, or phone
  • Amount of search fee
  • Amount of copy fee
  • Amount of certificate fee
  • What is required to conduct a search, such as full name, year, date of birth, social security number, etc.
  • What information cannot be released
  • Type of search medium available, such as index cards, microform, indexes, computers
  • Range of years of records available or archived
  • Whether the records are in alphabetical order or chronological order
  • Whether or not prepayment is required
  • Who to make checks payable to
  • Turnaround time
  • Address and phone number of the Recorder
  • Address and phone number of the Assessor
As you might imagine, a book such as this can quickly become out-of-date as things change. Use this book as a general guide to court records, but always check first with the court for current information before you do anything. You will find this book in the reference section of most libraries.

Some California libraries that have the above item:

  • Berkeley, University of California Berkeley Law Library, KF485 .S68 1992 Ref
  • Los Altos, Los Altos Library, R 016.9293 Sourceb, ref.
  • Oakland, Oakland Main Library, 352 SOURCEBOO, ref.
  • Palo Alto, Downtown Library, R347.973 S724
  • Palo Alto, Palo Alto Main Library, R347.973 S724
  • San Jose, San Jose State University Library, CS44.S67 1992 Clark ref.
  • Santa Clara, Santa Clara Library, Ref 016.929 S72