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If you would like to learn more about becoming a County Coordinator and a part of The CAGenWeb Project, or if you have any other questions relating to this county, please read our Policies & Procedures and then contact our State Coordinator.

The CAGenWeb Project sincerely thanks the dedicated volunteers who devoted time and effort toward making this site a successful one:

Jacquie Ansell, County Coordinator 1996-1997
Lewis M. Ruddick, County Coordinator 1997-2017

State Coordinator: Elizabeth E. Bullard
Assistant State Coordinator: Marc Irish
Assistant State Coordinator: Bob Jenkins


A Little Bit About Sonoma County

California Map with Sonoma Highlighted

The earliest settlers of the area known now as Sonoma County were the Coast Miwok, Pomo, and Wappo people, between 8000 and 5000 BC. Rock carvings, especially in the southern end of the county, provide archaeological evidence of these people.

The area of Sonoma County has been claimed by no less than five nations: the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of England, the Russian Empire, the First Mexican Empire (and later the Mexican Republic) and finally the United States of America.

The Russian Empire was the first to establish a permanent settlement in Sonoma County, when the Russian-American Company established Fort Ross on the coast in 1812. This stockaded fort helped to support several hundred Russian and Aleut settlers. The Russians abandoned the fort in 1841 and sold it to John Sutter, early California settler and Mexican land grantee of Sacramento.

The Mission San Francisco Solano, founded in 1823, was the last and northernmost of California's 21 Spanish missions. Today, the mission survives in the present city of Sonoma. Comandante General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo established El Presidio de Sonoma in 1836 in order to keep an eye on the Russian traders at Fort Ross, to distribute lands for further settlement, and to ensure the continued cooperation of the Native Americans of the region.

Sonoma was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846. From June to July 1846, a small group of American settlers in California rebelled against the Mexican government and proclaimed California an independent republic. The republic was short-lived because soon after the Bear Flag was raised, the U.S. military began occupying California, which went on to join the union in 1850. The Bear Flag became the official state flag in 1911.

Sonoma was one of the original counties formed when California became a state in 1850, with its county seat originally the town of Sonoma. By the early 1850s, Sonoma had declined in importance in both commerce and population. The growing towns of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Healdsburg all wanted the designation of county seat. Santa Rosa eventually was confirmed as county seat in 1854. Some of Sonoma County's land was annexed from Mendocino County between 1850 and 1860.

Sonoma County was shaken severely by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Displacement along the fault averaged 15 feet (4.6 m).

Project Links:

The CAGenWeb Project
CAGenWeb Brochure (pdf file)
The USGenWeb Project
USGenWeb Special Projects
The WorldGenWeb Project


County Message Board (
County Forum (

Neighboring Counties

Neighboring Counties Map


Mendocino (north)
Lake (northeast)
Napa (east)
Solano (east)
Contra Costa (southeast, across San Pablo Bay)
Marin (south)








This site was updated last on 31-Jan-2018 16:15