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Recorded documents and maps are public records; they are available for public viewing in our offices at no cost, but California law prohibits the display of recorded documents on the internet. We store records dating from 1835 to 1979 in our office on microfilm; we store records from 1980 to the present as digital images on computer.
The Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor does offer an online Index of Official Public Records recorded from 1964 to the present. You can search this online index to locate documents that can be reviewed and purchased by visiting our office in Santa Rosa. Documents recorded prior to 1964 (going back to 1835) are not indexed online, but are indexed in handwritten volumes which can be examined in our office at no cost. We also have a cumulative map index in our office for subdivision maps, parcel maps, surveys and assessment districts.
All recorded documents are indexed by the names of the principal parties. To locate a document in our indexes, you will need to know the name of at least one party and the approximate year the document was recorded.
Indexing Change Effective January 1, 2010
As of January 1, 2010, the Sonoma County Recorder's Office does not abbreviate any word written into the Grantor/Grantee index. All words appear in the index as written on the recorded document. If the document contains an abbreviation then the index will contain the same abbreviation.
In the past, hundreds of words such as Bank, Company, Trustee etc. were abbreviated as, BK, CO, TR etc,. This practice was initiated because of the limited length of space allocated in the electronic format and was potentially confusing. We are no longer constrained by the length of space.
From 1964 through 1990, the first word of an index entry was abbreviated so, for example, SECURITY PACIFIC NATIONAL BANK would appear as SEC PAC NATL BK.
In 1990 we discontinued the practice of abbreviating the first words so in our example, SECURITY PACIFIC NATIONAL BANK appeared in the index as SECURITY PAC NATL BK.
Beginning January 1, 2010, SECURITY PACIFIC NATIONAL BANK will appear as SECURITY PACIFIC NATIONAL BANK.
When searching for a record prior to 2010, remember to use abbreviations; after January 1, 2010, search under the exact name of the person or company.
If you have any questions, please contact our office.
Please note that you can research and buy copies of birth, death and marriage certificates only at the office of the Sonoma County Clerk.
The staff of the Recorder's Office are forbidden by California legal codes to practice law or provide legal advice; this prohibition includes giving advice about what forms you might need or how you should fill them out.