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
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
South Coast of Santa Barbara
County, view looking northeast, showing,
from left to right, Isla Vista, Goleta, Hope
Ranch, Santa Barbara.
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.
in Santa Barbara
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
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 hasn’t come without
hurdles, as environmental issues and the social
impact of big business are major issues for a
region striving to maintain its identity.
For an expanded
history, click here.
NEW! Vietnam War Casualties - Santa
the County Archives of California
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County Genealogical Society
316 Castillo St., Santa Barbara, California
Mail to: PO Box 1303, Goleta, CA 93116-1303
Phone  884-9909
HELLO - WELCOME!
My name is LaRae Halsey-Brooks, and my daughter,
Eireann Brooks, and I are the County
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
My daughter, Eireann, is an attorney in Santa
She and I have been creating and maintaining
Special Project webpages for the USGenWeb for 11+
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
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
with dates and townships. We'll include a link
so others researching your families can contact
If you live in or near Santa Barbara County and
would like to
take digital photographs of cemeteries and
please let us know.
If you have
access to existing cemetery transcriptions,
land records, tax rolls, school class
we would be most grateful for any and all
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 State Coordinator Martha
back from time to time
as we add more information to the page!
LaRae & Eireann
LaRae Halsey-Brooks & Eireann
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This page was
last updated January 1, 2016.
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for the CAGenWeb Project