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1851-City-CharterPublic Records

CSH is the official repository for public records of enduring value created by Sacramento city and county governments. A good starting point for exploring our holdings is For the Record: A Catalog of the Public Records, City of Sacramento, 1849-1982, and Sacramento County, 1848-1982Our collections include government documents from more than 80 city and county departments, divisions, and offices dating from 1849, including the following, which are not exhaustive lists:

CITY OF SACRAMENTO RECORDS

  • City charters
  • City council minutes, ordinances and resolutions
  • City clerk records (including staff reports, agenda packets, agreements, bids and contracts)
  • Papers of former mayors and council members
  • City assessor map and roll books
  • Planning and building records
  • Parks and recreation records
  • Housing and redevelopment records
  • Police and fire records
  • Utilities, transportation, and public works records
  • City of North Sacramento records before its annexation

SACRAMENTO COUNTY RECORDS

  • Board of supervisors minutes, ordinances, and resolutions
  • County assessor map and roll books
  • Clerk/Recorder filings for property transaction (including deeds, homesteads, and mortgages) and articles of incorporation
  • Grand jury reports
  • Coroner records
  • Registrar of voters records
  • Planning and building records
  • Parks and recreation records
  • Sheriff's records
  • Utilities, transportation, and public works records

COURT RECORDS

  • Nearly complete civil and criminal court case files from the earliest Court of First Instance to the modern Superior Court
  • Naturalization certificates and declarations of intent
  • Probate case files

These records provide users with the most complete set of local public documents of any archives in California. Documents are transferred to CSH on an ongoing basis under city and county records retention schedules and include paper, ledger books, photographs, digital databases, and computer files.

 

Accessing the Collections

CSH has a number of guides to accessing the public records collections, including the following online databases, finding aids, and indices. The guides below represent only a small sampling of the public documents held at CSH. Please contact the Government Records Archivist if you have additional questions.

ONLINE DATABASES

Archive.org hosts a number of CSH's digitized city and county records.

City of Sacramento assessor map books, 1850-1918
These map books of the City of Sacramento show property lines and ownership in the central city grid, with most books also including the blocks north of A Street and various tracts and additions. Some also show Central Pacific Railroad land. The maps were created by the assessors’ offices of both the City and the County of Sacramento. Later volumes are continually being added as they're digitized.

Sacramento County assessor map books, 1856-1899
These map books show property lines and ownership throughout Sacramento County, including Folsom, Galt, Florin, Elk Grove, Isleton, Town of Sutter, and Antelope. The maps were created by the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office. More dates are in the process of being added. Volumes are continually being added as they're digitized.

Sacramento County survey map books, ca. 1850-1945
These Sacramento County Recorder’s Office survey maps show a wide range of areas throughout the county, including towns and cities, subdivisions, ranches, swampland, personal and commercial property and tracts, railroad lines, the City of Sacramento, and areas that were later annexed into the City of Sacramento. 

Sacramento Police Department mug books, 1860-1949, and jail registers, 1867-1940
Created by the Sacramento Police Department, this collection includes mug books and jail registers. Most mug books are chronological, but some are specific to crime, gender, ethnicity, and International Workers of the World affiliation. The collection also includes wanted books and mug books copied by SPD from San Quentin State Prison, Folsom State Prison, and police departments in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Denver, Portland, Stockton, and Reno. A searchable index of names covering the 1860-1926 mug books is also available. The jail registers are chronological.

Sacramento County, Sheriff’s Department mug books, 1873-1924
This collection contains wanted and mug books created by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Most include a searchable index of names.

 

FINDING AIDS

More finding aids are available in-house and at the Online Archive of California.

For the Record: A Catalog of the Public Records, City of Sacramento, 1849-1982, and Sacramento County, 1848-1982
This provides an overview of the public documents holdings at CSH.

Gold Fever Exhibition, 1998-2000
This collection contains material related to the exhibit Gold Fever! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush, which was held at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1999 as part of the sesquicentennial commemoration of the discovery of gold in California. The collection includes correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, tour information, staffing information, security procedures, incident reports, facilities information, promotional packets, educational materials, audio guide transcripts, exhibition photographs, and videos.

Illa Collin Papers
This collection documents the political career of supervisor Illa Collin. Collin sat on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors for 28 years, which at the time made her the board's longest-serving member. Her political career included supporting social programs for children, the elderly, the homeless, people with mental illness, and the poor, as well as efforts to protect the environment. She was instrumental in the creation of the region's light-rail system, the American River Parkway, and the Sacramento Tree Foundation.

Robbie Waters Papers
This collection documents the legal and civic activities of councilman Robbie Waters, who served as a representative of District 7 on the Sacramento City Council from 1994 through 2010, and backed numerous revitalization projects and community programs during his tenure.

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Downtown Development collections

Delta KingThis collection is related to the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency’s creation of a master plan for the riverfront area of Old Sacramento, with emphasis on how the Delta King could contribute to the economy and become solvent. Included are recommendations for land use, building areas, layout of open space, art, recreation, services (shops, hotel, eateries), parking, marine access, and pedestrian access.

Hyatt Regency Hotel: This collection contains material related to the purchase of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, located at 1209 L Street in Sacramento, by Mutual of New York Real Estate Investment Management. It contains correspondence, reports, and financial and performance analyses.

Performing Arts Center: This collection is related to the planning of a performing arts center and includes administrative records, correspondence, studies, proposals, and public responses.

Sacramento Festival of Cinema: This collection is made up of material related to the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency’s efforts to establish the Sacramento Festival of Cinema, a film festival that was intended to spotlight Sacramento as a filmmaking destination and generate revenue for the city. Material includes planning and development records, and the financial analysis of the 1996 festival.

Sacramento Police Department Collection
This collection contains a wide range of material dating from 1860 to 1993, spanning most of the department's history. The majority of the collection is made up of mug books that date from 1860 to 1949 and jail registers that date from 1867 to 1973. The rest of the collection consists of other logbooks, various administrative records, and photographs. More than half of the photographs are portraits or group shots of the police force that date from the first half of the 20th century.

The People v. Dorothea Montalvo Puente case files (Sacramento County Superior Court criminal case #18056)
This collection is made up of records from the Sacramento County Superior Court trial of Dorothea Puente, who was accused of murdering nine people, eight of whom were her boarding house tenants, between 1982 and 1988 in order to collect their government benefit checks. Seven of her victims were found buried in the yard of her rented boarding house at 1426 F Street in Sacramento. Material covers the entirety of the trial, including evidence collected during the investigation, trial exhibits, photographs and video footage of the crime scene, video footage and transcripts of suspect and witness interrogations, and appeals records.

 

INDICES AND GUIDES

The Center has a number of indices and guides available online and in-house.

CITY OF SACRAMENTO

Clerk’s Office records database, 1921-present
At this City of Sacramento website, you can search agenda and meeting material, ordinances, resolutions, minutes, budgets, building permits, and city policies.

Clerk’s Office microfilm index, 1921-2002
This index of microfilmed records held at CSH includes City Council, Housing Authority, Financing Authority, and Redevelopment Agency resolutions; ordinances; action minutes; agenda synopses; and index cards.

Sacramento City Cemetery, 1849-2000
This index provides information about people buried at the historic city cemetery, including name, age, death and burial dates, cause of death, location in the cemetery, and other information about the person. Also see our online interactive plot map.

 

SACRAMENTO COUNTY

County Court Civil Case Files, 1850-1879
CSH holds the case files of the County Court. This index provides case numbers, names of plaintiffs and defendants, actions, and dates for civil cases.

County Court Criminal Case Files, 1863-1879
This index includes the names of defendants, crimes, dates, and case numbers.

Court of Sessions Criminal Case Files, 1850-1863
This index includes the names of defendants, crimes, dates, and case numbers.

Court Records for Sacramento County, 1849-1968
This index provides a listing of the types of court records held at CSH for the County Court, District Court, Court of First Instance, Justice Court, Police Court, Probate Court, Recorders Court, Court of Sessions, Juvenile Court, and Superior Court. These records include case files, naturalization records, declarations of intent, wills, probate and estate records, grand jury reports, calendars, dockets, testimonies, fee books, tax decrees, minutes, and more.

District Court Criminal Case Files, 1850-1875
This index includes the name of the defendants, crimes, dates, and case numbers.

Justice Court Records, 1850-1877
This index provides case numbers, names of plaintiffs and defendants, actions, and dates for civil cases.

Separate Property of Married Women and Sole Traders, 1850-1930
This index includes the names of married women who owned property separate from their husbands or were sole traders, also listing their trade or property, date, and husband’s name.