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  Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of archives program?

The purpose of Robert J. Fitch Archives Program is to identify, collect, preserve, and make available the County’s documentary heritage of records of permanent value.

What records do you hold?

We hold records covering more than 100 years. County of Riverside’s government records, which have been selected for permanent preservation, are sent to the Robert J. Fitch Archives. Examples of records in our Archives are: Cattle Brands and Marks (1893 -1938); Land Patents (1893 – 1930); Mining Claims (1893 -1930); Real Property Ownership Records (1893 – 1970); Assessor Maps (1893 – 1970); and Water Claims (1893 -1930). The Archives does NOT issue copies of birth, marriage and death certificates. Also, these vital records are NOT available for research in Archives. Copies of these vital records may be obtain at the County of Riverside Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s office.

Can you help me with research?

You are welcome to bring your research questions to the archives, and the archives staff will provide materials that may answer the questions and perhaps suggest more. Generally, Archives staff will identify the series most likely to contain the information requested. However, the responsibility for the research and conclusions made from it reside with the researcher. We strongly encourage researchers to come in person. However, if a researcher is unable to visit, staff will perform a limited amount of research on a case-by-case basis.

How can the County of Riverside Archival records be utilized?

Historical records are unique, one-of-a-kind sources of information. They contain valuable information that can help explain how people, organizations, government agencies were formed. Historical records may also help to place current issues in historical terms, providing context and background. Here is one example of how government records have been used by researchers.

In order to satisfy the requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), historical archeologist and civil engineers use local government records when researching the history of a piece of property. They review county tax assessment records (map, tax rolls, etc.) and property records (deeds, liens, mortgages, land patents, etc.) to help identify any historical resources that may be affected by a new project. Studying environmental impact reports for adjacent areas, submitted to the Planning Department, can also be a good source of contextual information. Aerial photographs maintained by the Flood Control District provide a wealth of detail about the geography and man-made features of an area.

Can I visit the County of Riverside Archives?

The County of Riverside Robert J. Fitch Archives is open to the public. Visits are by appointment during open hours. The Archives is open to the public between 9:00am – 12:00pm. Tuesday – Thursday (Except County Holidays). You may contact the Archives to request for appointment by sending an email to:

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