Modoc County, California Genealogy
Guide to Modoc County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Modoc County, California|
Location in the state of California
Location of California in the U.S.
|Founded||February 17, 1874|
|Address||Modoc County Courthouse|
204 Court Street
PO Box 131
Alturas, CA 96101-0131
Modoc County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 Historical Facts
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Bible Records
- 5.2 Biography
- 5.3 Cemeteries
- 5.4 Census
- 5.5 Church History and Records
- 5.6 Court Records
- 5.7 Crime and Criminals
- 5.8 Directories
- 5.9 Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
- 5.10 Gazetteers
- 5.11 Genealogy
- 5.12 History
- 5.13 Land and Property
- 5.14 Maps
- 5.15 Migration
- 5.16 Military History and Records
- 5.17 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 5.18 Newspapers
- 5.19 Obituaries
- 5.20 Probate Records
- 5.21 Repositories
- 5.22 Societies
- 5.23 Taxation
- 5.24 Vital Records
- 5.25 Voting Registers
- 6 Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- 7 Websites
- 8 References
Modoc County, California Record Dates
County Clerk has divorce, probate, court and voter regisitration records from 1874
County Recorder has birth, marriage and death records 
The county was named from the Modoc people who lived in what is now northern California, near Lost River and Tule Lake. The county seat Alturas and the county was created February 17, 1874. The County is located in the northeastern area of the state.
For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:
|Native American communities|
The following web sites may have additional information on Modoc County cemeteries.
- Interment.net California cemetery records by County.
For tips on accessing Modoc County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.
- Modoc County Census Records (CAGenWeb Project)
Church History and Records
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.
List of Churches and Church Parishes
Crime and Criminals
Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
Local histories are available for Modoc County, California Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.
Land and Property
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.
- Modoc County Land and Tax Records (CAGenWeb Project)
- California Trail 1846 to 1869 from western Missouri to northern California
- Applegate Trail since 1846 (avoided the Forty Mile Desert) by leaving the Humboldt River in Nevada early at present-day Rye Reservoir, Nevada and passing through the Black Rock Desert to Fandango Pass past Goose Lake on to the Lost River and eventually the Willamette Valley in Oregon
- The Lassen Cutoff 1848 was established by gold rushers from Oregon going to California. It branched off the Applegate Trail at Davis Creek, went through Devil's Garden to the Pit River passing east of Mt. Lassen, and turning west to Lassen Rancho, California, and from there to Sacramento. In some years as much as 1/3 of emigrants mistakenly took the Applegate Trail-Lassen Cutoff, a much longer and more difficult trail than the Truckee or Carson routes.
- 1906-1935 - California, Pioneer Migration Index, Compiled 1906-1935 at FamilySearch — index
Military History and Records
- 1883 - Modoc County – List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883 (Genealogy Trails)
- Modoc County Civil War Veterans (USGenWeb Archives)
World War I
- 1914-1918 - California, Geographical and Name Index of Californians who served in WWI, 1914-1918 at FamilySearch — index and images
- Index to Modoc County World War I Draft Registrations (USGenWeb Archives)
World War II
- Index to Modoc County World War II Army Enlistees (USGenWeb Archives)
- Modoc County Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel (Genealogy Trails)
- Modoc County Korean War Casualties (Genealogy Trails)
- Modoc County Vietnam War Casualties (Genealogy Trails)
Naturalization and Citizenship
- California Digital Newspaper Collection at UCR Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Modoc County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.
Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - Modoc - Probate records.
Online Probate Indexes and Records
- 1782 – 1999 California Wills and Probate Records 1782-1999 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1833 – 1991 California Probate Estate Files 1833-1991 at FamilySearch — images
Archives, Libraries and Museums
Family History Centers
Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries
- Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
- FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.
Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries
- Introduction to Family History Centers
- Alturas California Family History Center
- Cedarville California Family History Center
California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder. See also How to order California Vital Records
- Modoc County Vital Records (CAGenWeb Project)
- 1812 - 1988 - California Births and Christenings, 1812-1988 at FamilySearch — index
- 1905 - 1995 - California Birth Index, 1905-1995 at FamilySearch — index
- Modoc County Birth Notices (Genealogy Trails)
- 1800 - 2007 - California, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1850 - 1945 - California Marriages, 1850-1945 at FamilySearch — index
- 1850 - 1952 - California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1854 - 1885 - Western States Marriage Index.
- 1960 - 1985 - California Marriage Index, 1960-1985 at FamilySearch — index and images
- Modoc County Marriage Notices (Genealogy Trails)
- 1776 - 2000 - California Deaths and Burials, 1776-2000 at FamilySearch — index, some images
- 1905 - 1939 - California Death Index, 1905-1939 at FamilySearch — index
- 1940 - 1997 - California Death Index, 1940-1997 at FamilySearch — index
California county clerks were to keep voting registers every other year from 1866 and well into the 20th century. These large books, called Great Registers, listed the men who registered to vote in that county. Besides name and age, the record may show place of birth, address, occupation, naturalization date and sometimes even a physical description.
These records are at the California State Library (1866-1944), and microfilmed copies are available through Family History Centers (1866-1910). Ancestry ($) has a searchable database of Modoc Great Registers from 1875-1898.
The Modoc records for 1874 are available on the RootsWeb site, by clicking here.
Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
Modoc County Historical Society Museum
600 South Main Street
Alturas, California 96101
Phone: (530) 233-2944
- Modoc County CAGenWeb
- Modoc County, CA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- California Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- USGenWeb Archives
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Modoc County, California Genealogy Trails
- Modoc County CA Genealogy (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Modoc County, California. Page 84-88 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 81-83.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Modoc County, California. Page 85 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Modoc County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modoc_County,_California 05/04/2017.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Modoc County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modoc_County,_California, accessed 17 September 2019.
- National Park Service, "California Trail" (map) in California National Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/upload/CALImap1-web.pdf (accessed 5 August 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 5 August 2012).