One drawer in the County Record Center contains filings of out of county brands. Most were originally filed in either Santa Clara or Santa Cruz counties. A few were filed in Alameda. Brands filed in San Mateo County have not been located at the record center.
The filing includes name, description of brands and ear marks as well as a sketch. Also included is residence of the person filing brand.
The Act of May 1, 1851, concerning Marks and Brands took effect in August of that year. It required the owners of horses, mules, cattle, sheep, goats and hogs to keep a mark, brand and counterbrand (venta - legal sale Sp.) that was different from those of his neighbors including anyone living in the county and as near as possible from anyone in the state. The recorder was to be paid a dollar for the recording.
The law set out the schedule for when the livestock was to be branded and restricted how many brands an individual could use. (Only one per ranch per owner).
A counterbrand (venta) was required when an animal was sold and no bill of sale was created.
Section 11 of the law requires the recorders of each county to submit a list of brands to the recorders of adjoining counties. The index here is the result of that section of the law. In the earliest years the the recorders submitted lists as seen in the picture above. Later, each brand was reported in a separate document.
Index to Brands Originally Filed in Other Counties
Early Brands Lists from other counties - with drawings
Act of 1851 Concerning Marks and Brands
Current California Brand Law