Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Archive News in Santa Clara County

By Pat Burrow

I am part of a volunteer group who index records from the Santa Clara County Archives. We index and summarize old ledgers and put them online so that others who cannot travel to this area will have access. County Archivist Dr. Michael Griffith has allowed us access to some very interesting material, and I would like to ensure that the word gets out so that those researching Santa Clara County can look for their family.

Here is the website of the Santa Clara County Archives
They have recently added some new collections including Probate and Coroner Reports. We hope to get the Naturalization index up within the next month.

The collections are:

County Probate Cases Collection
The County Probate Cases Collection consists of approximately 2,100 cases heard by the Probate Court between May 1893 and September 1908. Each case includes those papers filed with the court as part of the proceedings. Files may include wills, detailed lists of property, collections of claims by creditors, and various legal papers. Files may provide extensive information about the decedent, about costs for the period, and about the operation of a farm, business, or profession. This collection does not include all cases heard by the Probate Court in the period 1893 to 1908; there are a number of gaps and missing cases.

Coroner Inquests Collection
The Coroner Inquests Collection consists of 9,300 reports of corner inquests from 1891 to 1932. Coroner inquests were made to establish a cause of death. Each inquest record includes basic information about the subject of the inquest (name, age, country of birth, and residence at time of death), date of death, and the cause of death established by the inquest. Additional remarks or notes also are sometimes present.

County Wills Collection
The County Wills Collection consists of approximately 10,000 wills filed with the County Clerk. The wills date from the early twentieth century into the 1970s, with the bulk of the wills from the years after 1940.

Henry B. and Raymond W. Fisher Surveys Collection
The Henry B. and Raymond W. Fisher Surveys Collection consists of approximately 1,700 surveys made by Henry B. Fisher and by his son, Raymond W. Fisher, from the 1890s until the 1960s, primarily in Santa Clara County. The surveys are of private property, both rural and urban, and typically include one or more maps or drawings and pages of calculations and/or written descriptions of property boundaries. Many surveys are plans for subdivisions in Santa Clara County, and the collection also includes many plans for capital improvements such as sewer systems and roads improvements.

County Photographers' Collection
The County Photographers' Collection consists of over 57,000 images which depict a wide array of the County's activities and development between 1950 and 1993. The pictures include aerial photographs of rural and urban parts of the county; portraits, award ceremonies, and retirement functions of county officials and employees; interior and exterior construction progress of various county buildings, such as the county government center, county service center, juvenile center, public and mental health centers, county jails and hospitals; and a variety of photographs that include the airports, schools, courts, and parks throughout the county. Of the 57,000 images, approximately 50,000 are negatives, 2,500 slides, and 4,500 prints.

(Material from the archives website used by permission.)