About Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County is in California's Central Coast region. It is sometimes considered the northernmost part of Southern California. Although it shares excellent weather, Mission-style architecture, and beautiful beaches with the rest of Southern California, the Santa Barbara area is physically remote, and has more of the laid-back attitude of the Central Coast.

Santa Barbara County is surrounded on the north by San Luis Obispo County, on the northeast by Kern County, and on the east by Ventura County. As of 2000 the county had a population of 399,347. The estimated total population of Santa Barbara County as of January 2006 was 421,625, according to The California Department of Finance. The county seat is Santa Barbara and the largest city is Santa Maria.

South Coast of Santa Barbara County, view looking northeast, showing,
from left to right, Isla Vista, Goleta, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SBSouthCoast.jpg


The Santa Barbara County area, including the Northern Channel Islands, was first settled by Native Americans at least 13,000 years ago. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence has been found in the form of a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara Coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. For thousands of years, the area was home to the Chumash tribe of Native Americans, complex hunter-gatherers who lived along the coast and in interior valleys leaving rock art in many locations including Painted Cave.

Europeans first contacted the Chumash in AD 1542, when three Spanish ships under the command of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo explored the area. The Santa Barbara Channel received its name from Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino when he sailed over the channel waters in 1602; he entered the channel on December 4, the day of the feast of Santa Barbara. Although Spanish ships associated with the Manila Galleon trade probably contacted the Chumash intermittently during this "protohistoric" period, the Spanish first colonized Santa Barbara County in AD 1769, when the DeAnza expedition explored the area and laid plans to establish a series of missions and presidios (forts). Mission Santa Barbara was founded on December 4, 1786 in what is now Santa Barbara. The county derives its name from the mission.

European contacts had devastating effects on the Chumash Indians, including a series of disease epidemics that drastically reduced Chumash population. The Chumash survived, however, and thousands of Chumash descendants still live in the Santa Barbara area or surrounding counties.

Santa Barbara County was one of the 26 original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. Parts of the county's territory were given to Ventura County in 1872.

Street scene in Santa Barbara
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santabarbarastreetscene.jpg


Viticulture in Santa Barbara County is traceable to missionary plantings in the Milpas Valley late in the 18th century. Famous for ripe, yet elegant, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the County is also gaining a reputation for Rhone varietals including Syrah and Viognier. Santa Barbara wine grapes now command among the highest prices anywhere in the state.

Located on California's South Central Coast, Santa Barbara County is an oasis of rolling hills, ancient oak trees and cattle ranches. The County now claims more than 60 wineries and 21,000 acres of vine. Santa Barbara's fame hasnít come without hurdles, as environmental issues and the social impact of big business are major issues for a region striving to maintain its identity.

Source: Wikipedia

For an expanded history, click here.

NEW! Vietnam War Casualties - Santa Barbara County

Guide to the County Archives of California

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Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
316 Castillo St., Santa Barbara, California
Mail to: PO Box 1303, Goleta, CA 93116-1303
Phone [805] 884-9909


My name is LaRae Halsey-Brooks, and my daughter,
Eireann Brooks, and I are the County Co-Coordinators
for the Santa Barbara County CAGenWeb Project.

I have been researching our family roots for 30+ years and have
volunteered for many genealogical libraries over the years.
My daughter, Eireann, is an attorney in Santa Barbara, CA.
She and I have been creating and maintaining County and
Special Project webpages for the USGenWeb for 19+ years.

If you would like to contribute Biographical Sketches of your
Santa Barbara County families to this website,
please let us know.
We will be happy to create a special page for your material
and include any photographs, scanned documents,
or other items you'd like to add to the page.

We also would like a list of your Santa Barbara County Surnames
with dates and townships. We'll include a link back
so others researching your families can contact you.

If you live in or near Santa Barbara County and would like to
take digital photographs of cemeteries and tombstones,
please let us know.

If you have access to existing cemetery transcriptions,
land records, tax rolls, school class rosters/photos, etc.,
we would be most grateful for any and all submissions.

If you are interested in hosting another county
in California for the CAGenWeb Project,
adoptable counties can be found on the
county index page,
or you may contact
CAGenWeb State Coordinator Elizabeth Bullard.

Please check back from time to time
as we add more information to the page!

Thank you!
LaRae & Eireann

Santa Barbara County Co-Coordinators:
LaRae Halsey-Brooks & Eireann Brooks

State Coordinator:
Elizabeth Bullard

Assistant State Coordinators:
Claire Martin
Joy Fisher

Jeannette Harper


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This page was last updated January 15, 2019.

© 1997-2019 by the Santa Barbara County Coordinator
for the CAGenWeb Project