Guide to the County 
Archives of California

Author: California Historical Survey Commission, Owen Cochran Coy, John Francis Davis 
Publisher: Sacramento, California State Printing Office, 1919.

Copyright by Owen C. Coy, 1919



Ventura County began its existence on January 1, 1873. The act providing for its separation from Santa Barbara County was passed by the state legislature on March 22, 1872. In 1881, however, when the boundary between Las Angeles and Ventura was surveyed, the line followed was not that defined in the code of 1872 but the line of 1856 between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. By a code amendment adopted in 1919 the boundaries were redefined and changed en the east and north. The city of Ventura has always been the county seat.

The first courthouse was built in 1873, and served the purposes of the county until 1912, when the offices and archives were all moved into the present new building, a beautiful structure erected at a cost of nearly $300,000. The present courthouse is practically fireproof, the window and door frames, and a few wooden fixtures moved over from the old building, mainly in the Clerk's vault, being about the only inflammable materials used.

It has no vaults, except a small one in the Treasurer's office housing a safe, the intention having been to construct the building in so solid a manner that no vaults would be needed. While the courthouse is practically immune from the possibility of a destructive fire from within or without, since it occupies an isolated position on the side of the hill, its windows are of plain glass and, though locked on the inside, can not be said to be particularly proof against burglary.

The third or attic story is provided with three dry, easily ventilated storerooms, labeled in this report as Recorder's, Clerk's and Sheriff's storerooms. The windows in the Clerk's storeroom are screened to keep out the bats and other undesirable inhabitants of public record rooms. Ventura County citizens may well be proud of their courthouse; it is the best sort of insurance against the irreparable loss of those records that must ever be the main source of the county's history.
The archives of this county were examined during June, 1916.


District Court, 1873-1879
Blotter, 1875-1877, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Calendar. 1873-1879, 1 v.
Execution Docket, 1871-1878. 1 v.
General Index, 1873-1879. 2 v.
Index to Court Papers. 1873-1881, 1 v.
Judgment Books, n.d., 2 v.
Judgment Docket. 1873-1879, 1 v. (1).
Minutes, 1873-1879, 2 v.; Index, 1 v.
Register of Actions and Fee Book, 1873-1878, 1 v.
County Court, 1873-1879
Calendar, 1873-1879, 1 v.
General Index, 2 v.
Judgment Docket, 1873-1879. 1 v. (1).
Minutes, 1873-1879. 2 v.
Register of Actions and Fee Book, 1873-1880. 1 v.
Probate Court and Superior Court Probate, 1873-date
Bonds. 1873-date. 5 v.
Bonds of Executors, ete.. 1901-1912, 1 v.
Calendar, 1905-1912, 2 v.; 1915-date, 1 v.
Collateral Inheritance Tax Record, 1905-1911, 2 v.
Index, 1873-date. 1 v.
Inventory of Appraisements. 1874-1910. 1 v.; Minors, 1 v.
Letters Probate, 1873-date: Testamentary. 2 v. (1. x) ; Testamentary, Administration and Guardianship, 1 v. (2) ; Administration, 2 v.; Guardianship, 1 v.
Vol. 1. Letters Testamentary, includes also Letters of Administration 
and Guardianship. 

Minutes, 1873-1891, 6 v.; Index, 1873-1879, 1 v. 
Register of Actions. 1880-1906, 1 v.; Index, 1 v. 

There is also an undated index, apparently for the years preceding.
Transferred Court Papers. Index to. n.d., 1 v. 
Will Books, 1873-date, 3 v. 

Superior Court, 1880-date
Attorneys' Instructions, 1885-1891. 1 v., a scrapbook in Recorder's
Attorneys, Roll of, 1887-1899, 1 v.. only 2 pages. 
Calendar, General, 5 v. (1-5) ; current, 2 v. 
Calendar, Probate and Insolvency, 1886-1905, 3 v. 
Coroner's Inquests, 15 f .b.; Index, 1873-date, 1 v. 
Executions, Index to, 1874-1902, 1 v., partlv used. 
Executions, Sheriff's, 1874-1903, 1 v. (1). 
General Index, 4 v.  
Insane Commitments, Index to, 1874-1893; 1901-date, 2 v. 
Insane Persons, Index, 1874-1913, 1 v. (1).
Judgment Book, Index, n.d., 1 v.
Judgment Docket, 1880-date, 3 v. (1-3).
Judgments, Civil and Criminal. 1880-date, 8 v.
Jury Books, 1873-date, 2 v. (1-2).
Minutes, 1880-date, 32 v.
The rough minutes of the ( lerk have been preserved in a number of instances, among them those for 1881-1886, U v.
Register of Actions, 1880-date, 17 v.; Criminal Cases, 1882-1889,
1 v., only 16 pages used. Reporters' notes.
Hundreds of them are stored on a dozen shelves in the Clerk's storeroom, and these include a number of Justice Court cases.
Superior Court, Juvenile, 1909-date
Record, 1909-date, 1 v. (1). 
Register of Actions, 1909-date, 1 v. 


Allowance Books, 1873-1914, 11 v.. in Clerk's storeroom. 
Recent books are bound month by month. 

Allowances, Register of, 1873-1908, 9 v. (1-9), in Recorder's store- 

Board of Equalization, Proceedings, 1877-1887, 1 v.
Burial of Ex-Union Soldiers, Record of, 1893-date, 1 v.; 1 f.b.
Franchise Book, 1885-1889, 1 v. (1); "Franchises, 1885-1905," 1 v., in Recorder's office.
Minutes, 1873-date, 14 v.; Index for vols. 1-7, 1 v.; Index to Proceedings, 1873-date, 2 v.
A volume of rough minutes for 1876-18S1 is preserved in the Recorder's 

Ordinance Book, 1883-date, 2 v. (1-2) ; Index, 1 v. 
"Record of the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners 
appointed . . . 1872 to perfect the organization of the 
County of Ventura." 

This is in the handwriting of Thomas R. Bard, Clerk of the Board, later 
U. S. Senator from California. 

Road Register, 1873-1889, 2 v.


Office Routine and General Duties 
Bonds, 1873-date, 2 v. 

These are samples pasted in scrapbooks.
"Clerk's Order Book," 1891-1902, 1 v.. in Clerk's storeroom.
Fee Books, 1873-date, 11 v.
These include 4 volumes of Clerk's and Recorder's fee books, 1873-1887, all in Ihe Recorder's storeroom. Vols. 1-4, 18S8-1908, are in the Clerk's storeroom.
Hunting Licenses, 1913-1914,
Applications that have come in during 1912 and after are in the Clerk's storeroom.
Map, Index, n.d., 1 v.
Military Duty, Persons subject to. 1873, 1 v., in Recorder's store- 
Military Roll, 1889-1900, 12 v. 

The six volumes for 1889-1894 are bound.
Citizenship, Certificates of. 1873-1879: 1903, 2 v., only three entries. 
Declarations of Intention, 1873-1879 ; 1907-date, 3 v. 
These are in Petitions for Naturalization, 1907-date. 

Declarations and Naturalized Citizens, Index to, 1873-1883,1 v. (1). 
Naturalization, Certificates of. 1907-date, 4 v., stub-books. 
Naturalizations, Record of, 1880-1906, 2 v. (1, x) ; Petitions for 
Naturalization, 1907-date, 2 v. 

Registration and Elections
"Certified Abstracts of Statement of Votes of Ventura County ... in General Elections," 1898, 1900, 1902, in Clerks storeroom.
Great Register, 1873-1908, 16 v., in Clerk's storeroom.
Precinct Books for County, 1896, 22 v., in Clerk's storeroom.
Precinct Registers, 1906-date, printed.
Marriage and Public Health
Marriage License: Stub-books, 1878-1903, 7 v.; Affidavits. 1903
1915, 6 v.
Dentists, Register of, 1885-date, 1 v. 
Medical Certificates, Record of, 1876-date, 2 v. (1-2). 
Optometrists, 1903-date, 1 v. 
Registered Pharmacists, Record of, 1905-date, 1 v. 

Pertaining to Private Business Concerns
Articles of Incorporation, Index to. 1873-date, 1 v. 
Corporations, 1874-1897, 1 v. 
Xo entries from 1SS1-1897. 

Fictitious Names, 1912-date, 1 v. 
Partnerships, Register of, 1874-1912, 1 v. 

Relating to Other Officers
Expert 's Reports to Grand Jury, 1914, 1915, 2 v.
Justice Court Dockets, Saticoy township, 1893-1899, 1903-1906.
1904-1905, 3 v., in Clerk's storeroom. Justice Court Dockets, Ventura township. 1862-1871, 1873-date.
45 v.
The two volumes for 1862-1871 are in Spanish and preserved in the Clerk's storeroom. The Justice Court records for thn years preceding 1XK appear to have been destroyed by the retiring justice. All the records, excepting those of felony cases, which arc in the Clerk's vault. have been preserved in the Justice's office since liKXi.
Notarial Records, 1878-1912, passim, 19 v.
Seventeen books are in Clerk's storeroom, one in the Clerk's vault, and one in the Hecorder's storeroom.


Assignments of Mortgages. 1873-date, 6 v. (1-6) ; Index, 2 v. 
Attachment, Notices of, 1873-date, 3 v. (1-3) ; Index, 1 v. 

For 3853-1873, see under Transcribed records from Santa Barbara 

Ranking Statements: Assets, 1876-1879. 1 v. (1) ; Capital, 1876-1879,
lv. (1). Births and Deaths, Register of, 1873-1901, 1 v. (1).
Practically worthless, as dates are mostly omitted.
Births, Record of. 1913-date, 1 v. (4).
Bonds for Deeds and Agreements. 1876-1904, 2 v. (1-2) ; Index, 1 v.
Cash Book, Recorder, 1882-1886, 1892, 4 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Certificates of Sale, 1873-date, 4 v. (1-4) ; Index, 1 v.
Deaths, Record of. 1913-date, 1 v. (4).
Decrees, 1873-1884, 1 v. (1).
Decrees of Distribution, 1892-1894. 1 v., scarcely used.
Deeds, 1852-date, 157 v. (A-E, 1-152) ; Index, 12 v.
Election Expenses: Candidates' Statements, 1894-date, 4 v. (1-4);
Committees' Statements, 1894-1908, 1 v. (1). 
Estray and Lost Property Book, 1890-1898, 1 v., only two pages, in 

Recorder's storeroom. 
Fee Book, 1885-date, 12 v. (1-10). 

The books for 1880-1887 are in the Recorder's storeroom.
Franchises, 1885-1905, 1 v. (1).
Homesteads, 1873-date, 4 v. (1-4) ; Index, 1 v. ; Abandonment of, 1875
1913, 1 v. (1).
Instruments filed for Record, 1873-1905, 7 v. 
This is practically a fee book. 

Judgments, Transcripts of, 1874-date, 2 v. (1-2) ; Index, 1 v.
Leases, 1873-date, 9 v. (1-9); Index, 1 v. ; Assignments, 1875-date,
3 v. (1-3) ; Index, 2 v. 
Licensed Surveyors, 1891-date, 1 v. 
Lis Pendens, sec Notices of Action. 

Maps by Licensed Surveyors. 1891-date, 2 v. (1-2) ; Index, n.d., 1 v. 
Marks and Brands, 1873-date, 1 v. (1). 
Marriage Licenses, 1873-date, 9 v. (1-9) ; Index, 2 v. ; Marriage Licenses 

filed, 1889-1891, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom. 
Marriages, Register of, 1905-1914, 1 v. 
Mechanics Liens. 1873-date, 3 v. (13) ; Index, 1 v. 
Mining Claims. 1879-date, 23 v. (1-23) ; Index, 4 v. ; Index to Mining 

Locations, 1879-1881, 1 v. Mining district records: Alamo, 1878-1880, 1 v.; Ojai, 1897, 1 v.; Piru,
1874-1897, 3 v.; Piru and Alamo, 1878-1879, 1 v. (1); Index to
Miners [1888?], 1 v. 
Miscellaneous Record, 1873-date, 8 v. (1-8) ; Index, 1 v. 

Vols. 3, 5 and 8 contain numerous maps of additions and subdivisions.
Mortgages, 1873-date, 81 v. (1-81); Index, 8 v.; Chattel and Crop,
1873-date, 40 v. (1-40) ; Index, 3 v. Mortgages, Marginal Satisfactions of, 1894-1910, 3 v. Newspapers :
Ventura, Independent, April. 1896-June, 1898, 2 v. Weekly Democrat, Jan. 17, 1891-December, 1894, 4 v. Weekly Free Press, November, 1875-October, 1878; October, 1881-December, 1882 ; August, 1891-December. 1894 ; JanuaryDecember, 1896, 11 v. Signal, April, 1871-April, 1885, 13 v. Notices of Action, 1873-date, 4 v. (1-4) ; Index, 2 v. Notices of Intention to Locate, 1912, 1 v. Official Bonds, 1873-date, 7 v. (1-7) : Index, 1 v. Patents, 1873-date, 4 v. (l-A) ; Index, 1 v. Powers of Attorney, 1873-date, 4 v. (1-4) ; Index, 1873-1874, 1 v.,
scarcely used, in Recorder's storeroom. 
Powers of Attorney, Revocation of, 1862-date, 1 v. 
Pre-emption Claims, 1873-1904, 1 v. (1). 
Releases of Mortgages. 1873-date. 15 v. (1-15) ; Index, 4 v. 
Separate Property of Married Women, 1873-1898, 1 v.; Index, 1 v. 
Sole Traders, 1875-1911, 1 v. (1). 
Special Partnerships, 1885-1914,1 v. (1) ; Index, 1 v. 
Sugar Beet Contracts, 1899; Index, 1 v. (1). 
Tax Sales, Certificates of, 1873-date, 16 v. (1-16). 

For 1853-1873, see under Transcribed records from Santa Barbara 

Tax Sales, Index to Record of Certificates of, 1895-date, 1 v. 
Transcribed Records from Santa Barbara County: 

Assignments of Mortgages and Leases, Separate Property of Mar- 
ried Women, Marriage Contracts, Miscellaneous, 1851-1874, 1 v. 
Homesteads, Abandonment of Homesteads, Patents, Index to, 1861- 

1873, 1 v.
Leases, Pre-emption Claims, Homesteads, Patents, 1861-1874, 1 v. 
Mortgages, 1850-1873, 1 v. (A) ; Index, 1848-1873, 1 v. 
Powers of Attorney, Attachments, Real Property. Notices of Action. 

Certificates of Sale, 1853-1873, 1 v. (A) ; Index, 1 v. 
Releases, Assignments, etc., Index to, 1868-1873, 1 v. 
Wills, Decrees and Orders, 1856-1872; Index, 1 v. 
Water Notices, 1873-1915, 3 v. (1-3). 
Wills, 1865-1907, 1 v. (1) ; Index, 1 v. 


Annual Reports, 1878, 1879, 1881-1900, 1902-date.
Apportionment of School Funds, recent, in Recorder's storeroom.
Board of Education: Proceedings, 1880-1891, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom ; Minutes, 1891-date, 5 v.
Census Marshal's Reports, 1898, 1 v.; 1904-1909, loose bdls., in Recorder's storeroom.
Certificates, 1888-1904, 15 v., stub-books, in Recorder's storeroom.
Documents to accompany Normal School Diplomas, stub-book, 18911897, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Examiners, Record Book County Board of, 1873-1875, 1878-1886, 1888
1891, 4 v.
High School Record Book, 1891-date, 1 v.
Description of the organization and history of the five high schools in 
the county. 

Letter files, State Superintendent's Letters, 1910-date, 1 f.b. 
Life Diplomas. 1891-1907, 1 v.; Card Index of, 1907-date; Recom- 
mendations for. 1889-1901, 2 v., in Recorder's storeroom. 
-Manual for Schools, 1891-1915. scattering, 12 v. 
Official Acts, Record of, 1878-1898, 1 v. 

Official Visits, Record of. 1879-1885. 2 v., in Recorder's storeroom. 
Promotion Records. Ventura County, 1893-date, 23 v. 
''Ramona's Uome.'? 16 photographs. 

It is located near 1'iru, Ventura County. The photos are by Brewster.
Requisitions, 1889-1891, 1 v.. in Recorder's storeroom; Stubs, 1891
1901, 1903-1904, in p.h., in Recorder's storeroom. School Directories, 1903-date, 1 p.h. School district records, 1891-date, 82 f.b.
These records contain teachers' reports, trustees' appointments, and election certificates, claims, orders, and the official acts of the superintendents.
School District Registers, 1883-1902. 6 v., for Sisar, Live Oak, Alamo districts.
Besides these, there are also to he found in the Recorder's storeroom a Sisar school district .Journal. 1893-1894, an Alamo Trustees' Record. 18.X8-1899, Rincon Librarian's Record, 1891-1892, and a Live Oak District Record, 1889-1900.
School Warrants, 1873-date.
Nine volumes are in the Superintendent's office, the remainder in the 
Auditor's office and the Recorder's storeroom. 

Teachers, Card Index of, 1901-date, 2 f.b., nearlv complete. 
Teachers' Institute Record, 1891-1894, 1899-1902, 1907, 10 v. 
Teachers' Retirement Salary Fund, 1914-date, 1 v. 

This volume is made up of copies of the superintendent's report to the 
State Board. 

Trustees' Orders, 1889-date.
In packages, unbound, practically complete. A few for 1897-1901, and 1898-18!19 are in the Recorder's storeroom.
Trustees' Records, 1891-date, 1 v.
Warrants on Auditor, 1893-1895, 1897, in p.h., in Recorder's storeroom.


Annual Reports. 1903-1914, 1916. 13 v. 
Assessment Rolls: 

Original, 1873-date, 116 v.; Index, 1874-date.
Duplicate, 1873-1880, 6 v.
Delinquent Tax, 1873-date, 36 v.
Operative Property, 1911-1915, 4 v.
San Buena Ventura School District, 1880. 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Cash Book, 1874. 1 v., only 7 pages, m Recorder's storeroom; 1897
1898, 1 v., in Tax Collector's vault. Cash Book, 1890, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom. Cash Book of Clerk, Recorder, etc., 1878-1883, 1 v., in Recorder's
storeroom. Day Books, 1873-date, 6 v.
Vols. 1-4 are in the Recorder's storeroom.
Delinquent Tax Sales, 1875-1876, 1 v.
Delinquent Taxes, scrapbook, etc.. 1880, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Ledger, County School Superintendent, 1876-1900, 6 v.
Ledger, School Warrants, 1905-1908, 1 v.
Ledgers, 1873-1890, 4 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Those books belong to Auditor's and Treasurer's offices, and have not been further identified.
Licenses, Auditor's Receipts to Tax Collector for, 1878-1882, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Orphans and Half-orphans, Record of. 1904-date, 2 v. 
Outstanding Warrants, 1881, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom; 1902date. 2 v.
Personal Property Tax, "Collected by Assessor," 1896-date, 21 v.
Poll Tax receipts, 1873. stub-book; 1886-1888, 9 v.. in Clerk's storeroomPoll Taxes, paid and delinquent, 1881-1884, 4 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Register of Requisitions, 1895-1896, 1 v.
School Requisitions, Register of, 1880-1886, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
School Warrants, Register of, 1878-1879. 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom: 1880-date, 10 v. (1-10).
Sheriff's Fee Book, 1885-1910, 4 v.
A volume for 1889-1802 я in the Recorder's storeroom, the others in the 
Clerk's storeroom. 

Tax Sales, 1874-1894. 2 v., in Recorder's storeroom. 
Warrants, Register of, 1873-date, 17 v. 


Bonds, County, 9 f.b. 
Cash Books, 1873-date, 3 v. 

The first two volumes, 1873-1903, are in the Sheriff's storeroom.
Day Books, 1873-date, 5 v., in Recorder's storeroom. 
Day Books, Bank deposits, 1907-date, 3 v. 
Inheritance Tax Receipts, 1906-date, 2 v. 
Ledger, 1887-date, 4 v. 

A volume entitled "Ledger, County Treasurer," 1898-1003, is in the 
Recorder's storeroom. 

Receipts from the State Controller, 1 f.b.
Teachers' Permanent Fund, 1914-date, 1 v.
Warrants, Register of, 1873-date, 31 v.
These include 5 volumes of Registers of School Warrants. 1887-191 Under the present Treasurer the warrants are registered in loose leaf hinders one for each fund. Twelve volumes of Warrant Rezisters, /i >T ' nre m ""' Sheriff's storeroom, and 9 volumes, lS73-19UTi (1-9), in the Recorder's storeroom.


Abstract Companies, Weekly Reports of, 1905-date. 1 v.
There are two volumes of a similar nature for 1889-1891 and 1893 that 
have been prepared by the Assessor. 

Assessment Rolls, Index to Personal Property, 1902, 1 v. 
Assessment Statements, 1906-date, 112 v. 

There is a volume for each road district and one for each incorporated 

Block Books, 1896-date, 9 v.
There is an undated block book in the Recorder's storeroom.
Files, current, 65 f.b.
Lots in Eastern Addition, Index to, 1 v. ; Index to Lots in Original
Township Plat, 1 v. Maps, miscellaneous, 19 drawers and 20 cases ; Map Book, 1876-1880,
1893-date, 4 v. 
Poll Tax Roll, 1898, 1902, 1906, 1909-1914, 9 v. 

There are duplicate volumes for 1010-1914, and a separate roll for 
Japanese, 1912-1914. 

Property Owners, Index to, 1 v., in Recorder's storeroom.
Recorder's Abstract of Mortgages, Deeds of Trust, etc., 1907-1909, 1 v.
Sales, 1891-1890, 2 v.
Tax Roll, 1896, 1898, 1900, 1903, 1904, 1907, 6 v.


Assessment Rolls, current, 4 v. (1-4).
Auditor's Receipts, 1907-date, 1 f.b.
Blotter, 1911-date, 4 v.
Cash Book, 1911-date, 2 v.
Delinquent Lists, 1908-date, printed.
Letter files, 1907-date, 2 f.b.
License Book, 1899-1907, 1 v.
Taxpayers, Index to, 1916, 1 v.
Tax Receipt Book stubs, 1907-date, Nos. 1-5100.
Tax Receipt Cash stubs, 1907-date.

"Guide to the County Archives of California," Vol. I, Owen Cochran Coy, Director and Archivist, Publication of the California Historical Survey Commission, Sacramento, California State Printing Office, 1919, 617 pp. 

(Part II. Guide to the County Archives" begins about pp. 87.)

The book is available on Google Books - Full View Books at:


"Letter of Transmittal"

To His Excellency, William D. Stephens, Governor, Sacramento, California

Sir, herewith is presented the "Guide to the County Archives of California," which is the product of one phase of the activities of this commission in its working of making a survey of material on local history within the state.

Respectfully submitted,
California Historical Survey Commission...
Sacramento, California, August 15, 1919


The "Preface" states: 

"Most of the field work was accomplished during the years 1916 and 1917. The date when each court house was examined is stated in the introduction accompanying each report for that particular county...."


This page was last updated February 24, 2010.