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Guide to the Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office records
CNTY0005  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Alternative Forms of Material Available
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office records
    Dates: 1850-1977
    Collection number: CNTY0005
    Creator: Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office
    Collection Size: 100 linear feet (136 boxes + 16 volumes)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811-0229
    Abstract: The Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office records contains case files, registers, indexes, death certificates, and inquests of deaths registered in Sacramento County, California, from 1850-1977, with separate transcribed indexes available for each of the coroner's various records. The collection also contains papers and photographs collected by Laura (Synhorst) Santos, Sacramento County's first deputy coroner. Santos' papers include crime scene notes, coroner and police reports, and notes for identifying bodies from the 1988 Dorothea Puente serial murder investigation; photographs and other material that document the coroner's office and staff from 1958-2001; and copies of inquests from 1850-1934.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    Collection is open for research use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office records, CNTY0005, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information

    Coroner's inquest files were transferred from the Sacramento County Coroner's Office in 1982 and 1999 (accessions 1982/156 and 1999/45). Death certificates were transferred from the Sacramento County Clerk's Office in 1978 (accession 1978/93). Laura Santos donated her papers in 2004 (accession 2004/042).

    Alternative Forms of Material Available

    Inquest files are also available on microfilm (76 microfilm reels).

    Processing Information

    Transcriptions of the coroner's inquest case files and registers were performed by members of the Root Cellar - Sacramento Genealogical Society. Finding aid was created by archivists Sean Heyliger (2019) and Kim Hayden (2021). Inquest box numbers were altered for the finding aid to provide for a continuous box count (boxes 1-138). Previously, boxes were numbered 1-64 and 1/72-72/72 (now 65-138). Descriptions of unknown bodies were described by the person's race by the coroner's office and may include antiquated racial terms that may be considered offensive.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office records contains case files, registers, indexes, and inquests of deaths registered in Sacramento County, California, with separate transcribed indexes available for each of the Coroner's various records. Volumes include ledgers of property description, coroner's record (chronological), coroner's record (alphabetical), record of inquisitions, coroner's receipt of property, and indigent property burial records. The bulk of the records are inquest case file reports, which were created when deaths were unattended by a physician or of a suspicious nature. These are arranged alphabetically within each calendar year, and include a general report with vital statistics and a statement by reporting official, and sometimes supplemental reports.
    The collection also contains papers and photographs collected by Laura (Synhorst) Santos, Sacramento County's first deputy coroner. Santos' papers include crime scene notes, coroner and police reports, and notes for identifying bodies from the 1988 Dorothea Puente serial murder investigation; photographs and other material that document the coroner's office and staff from 1958-2001, and copies of inquests from 1850-1933.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into 4 series:
    • Series 1. Inquest reports, 1850-1977
    • Series 2. Death certificates, 1901-1902
    • Series 3. Ledgers, 1887-1969
    • Series 4. Deputy Coroner Laura Santos papers, 1850-2001 (bulk 1968-2001)

    Related Materials

    The Center for Sacramento History holds the Superior Court case files for the Dorothea Puente serial murder case (CNTY0004).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Sacramento County (Calif.) Coroner's Office
    Coroners--California
    Death--Causes
    Sacramento (Calif.)--History
    Puente, Dorothea