Tulare County is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California, south of Fresno. Sequoia National Park is located in the county, as are part of Kings Canyon National Park, in its northeast corner (shared with Fresno County), and part of Mount Whitney, on its eastern border (shared with Inyo County). As of the 2010 census, the population was 442,179, up from 368,021 at the 2000 census. Its county seat is Visalia.
The county is named for Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes. Drained for agricultural development, the site is now in Kings County, which was created in 1893 from the western portion of the formerly larger Tulare County.
The land was occupied for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. Beginning in the eighteenth century, Spain established missions to colonize California and convert the American Indians to Christianity. Comandante Pedro Fages, while hunting for deserters in the Central Valley in 1772, discovered a great lake surrounded by marshes and filled with rushes; he named it Los Tules (the tules). It is from this lake that the county derives its name. The root of the name Tulare is found in the Nahuatl word tullin, designating cattail or similar reeds.
After Mexico achieved independence, it continued to rule California. The United States defeated Mexico in 1848, and European Americans formed Tulare County from parts of Mariposa County in 1852. There were two early attempts to split off a new Buena Vista County in 1855, and Coso County in 1864, but both failed. Parts of the county's territory were given to Fresno County in 1856, to Kern County and to Inyo County in 1866 and to Kings County in 1893.
The infectious disease Tularemia caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis is named after Tulare County.
In 1908 Colonel Allen Allensworth and associates founded Allensworth as a black farming community. They intended to develop a place where African Americans could thrive free of white discrimination. It was the only community in California founded, financed and governed by African Americans. While its first years were highly successful, the community encountered environmental problems from dropping water tables which eventually caused it to fail. Today the historic area is preserved as the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The genealogy room offers over 7,000 volumes of various genealogy related books and publications, Hyde II Collection, which contains books that can be checked out, The Tulare Advance Register newspaper on microfilm, Copies of 1892 to 1928 Visalia Daily (later Morning) Delta newspapers on microfilm, records relating to Tulare County, such as birth, death, and marriage indexes, Access to the Porterville Evening Recorder newspaper for obituary look-ups, Internet access which includes a subscription to Ancestry.com, Surname files of information other researchers have already found, Microfilm and microfiche readers, many census records on microfilm, Copy machine, helpful volunteers, genealogy classes taught by a professional genealogist.
Genealogical research books are listed in the online library catalog for the San Joaquin Valley Library System. Search under the Genealogical Collection.
For those out of the area-Obituaries from The Tulare Advance Register are $3.50 each, Obituaries that have to be obtained from another Tulare County library are $5.00 each, basic research is $10.00 per hour plus copy and postage charges. When mailing requests include SASE.