Napa County, California
History and Genealogy
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In prehistoric times the valley
was inhabited by the Patwin Native Americans, with possible
habitation by Wappo tribes in the northwestern foothills. Most
villages are thought to have been constructed near the floodplains
of watercourses that drain the valley. The maximum prehistoric
population is not thought to have exceeded 5000 persons.
Napa County was one of the
original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of
statehood. Parts of the county's territory were given to Lake County
in 1861. The word napa is of Native American derivation and has been
variously translated as "grizzly bear," "house," "motherland" or
"fish." Of the many explanations of the name's origin, the most
plausible seems to be that it is derived from the Patwin word napo
A joke among local youth is that the word means "you will return,"
referring to the insular nature of the town, and the fact that many
of them who try to "escape" to college and elsewhere often end up
either coming back or never managing to truly leave at all.
Vital Records Resources
County Administration Building
1195 3rd Street, Rm 310
Napa, CA 94559-3035
National Archives - San Francisco
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
Calistoga Public Library
Napa Main Library
Saint Helena Public Library
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