California got its name from an expedition led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. It is thought that the members of the expedition, which sailed from the southern tip of Mexico northward, got the name “California” from a 1510 Spanish novel, which talked about an idyllic fictional island by that name. Now the state is known by many names, including “the Golden State.”

That name, which is the state’s official nickname, was coined due to the role the gold rush played in California becoming the 31st state on September 9, 1950. Although, some people think that “golden” refers to the states crop fields or sunshine. The State of California became a territory in 1847 when Mexico surrendered it to John C. Frémont.

California Counties – The State of California was created as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. It has 58 Counties. The State of California is bordered by Oregon, Nevada, Arizona. The capital is Sacramento and the official state website is

Select a California county to view information & records pertaining to each County

California Genealogy Record Guides