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Placer County Mining Claim Records
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Collection Overview
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The Placer County Archives maintains a collection of official Placer Country Records regarding the recording of ownership and location of mining claims in the County.
In the early years of the California Gold Rush there was a spectacular lack of organized governmental oversight in the area. Situated between the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, the governance of California by the U. S. Military and the eventual statehood of California in September of 1850, the gold fields were beyond the reach of any established law. Miners very quickly recognized this lack and formed Mining Districts complete with Miner’s Codes. These codes regulated the size of claims in a particular area, how the claims were to be defined and other rights of the claim owner. Generally, Miner’s Codes declared that simply leaving work tools on the site of a claim was enough to show ownership. This method lasted until more and more men came into the gold regions. Conventions were called and when California was admitted as a state in 1850, counties and county governments were formed. Placer County was not one of the original twenty-seven counties in California, it was carved out of the counties of Sutter and Yuba in 1851. The records in this collection are representative of the earliest officially recorded legal claims of ownership for mining purposes in Placer County The irregularly shaped county landmass runs from the urban south Placer towns, through the Gold Country foothills region up into the Sierra Mountains around Lake Tahoe. The major waterway running through the county is the American River. This water way and the ravines were the first places gold was found. The name “Placer” comes from the Spanish word for sand or gravel in which gold is found. Gold mining was pivotal in the growth of Placer County.
30 Bound Volumes and 5 Boxes
The Collection is open for research by appointment. A separate index has been created for the earliest volumes A -C and is available at the Archives. Appointments are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 9-3.