County of San Diego


Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Chronological List of Assessors, Recorders, and County Clerks

On September 9, 1850, California was admitted to the United States as the 31st state. One of the first acts of the legislature was to adopt a statewide land records system. Under the Spanish and Mexican governments, there were no statewide recording laws and there was a need for a system by which evidence of title to, or an interest in land, could be collected in a convenient and safe public place. The basis of the California recording system is modeled after the recording system established by the American colonies that was in use in many eastern states at the time California became a state. The system allows for persons intending to purchase or otherwise deal with land to be informed as to the ownership and collection of the title, and to be protected from secret conveyance and liens. The system provided for a public official, known as the County Recorder, to transcribe a record of each land transaction into an official ledger, known as the Official Record.

The County Recorder, as the custodian of the Official Record, is obligated to preserve this information permanently, and is one of the very few government offices that must keep information forever. Ownership can be proved if throughout the history of the property, the rightful owners properly sold their land. All documents that have ever been recorded must remain open to public inspection and be on record forever.

In 1991, the departments of the County Recorder and the County Clerk merged. In 1996, there was further consolidation to form the Office of the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk. 

2010 Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.
2009 David L. Butler
1983 Gregory J. Smith
1965 Eldon C. "Chuck" Williams
1965 John C. Cox
1956 John C. McQuilken
1953 Arthur C. Eddy
1936 Crowell D. Eddy
1931 James Hervey Johnson
1922 George W. Moulton
1919 Charles H. Swallow
1907 Montgomery M. Moulton
1904 Gustave W. Jorres
1899 Jacob D. Ruth
1895 John P. Burt
1894 G. Frank Judson
1891 Clarence H. Shepard
1877 Josephus M. Asher
1879 Martin D. Hamilton
1875 David Burroughs
1873 Mark P. Schaffer
1871 Michael S. Julian
1870 William Smith
1863 John M. McIntire
1862 Andres E. Maxey
1861 Henry Clayton
1860 James McCoy
1858 Albert Smith
1857 William C. Ferrell
1855 Albert B. Smith
1854 Eugene B. Pendleton 
1853 William C. Ferrell
1852 Archie T. Crowell
1852 Santiago E. Arguello
1851 Frederick J. Painter
1850 Jose A. Estudillo
2010 Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.
2009 David L. Butler
1994 Gregory J. Smith
1991 Annette J. Evans
1979 Vera L. Lyle
1971 Harley F. Bloom
1961 Albert S. Gray
1938 Roger N. Howe
1931 Orpha M. Swope
1930 Nellie Parsons
1907 John F. Ferry
1893 John F. Forward
1892 L. W. Allum
1891 Edwin H. Miller
1887 Elon G. Haight
1885 Samual A. McDowell
1882 Elon G. Haight
1879 Gilbert Rennie
1877 David A. Johnson
1872 Alfred S. Grant
1871 Chalmers Scott
1857 George A. Pendleton
1854 William B. Couts
1852 Philip Crosthwaite
1850 Henry G. Matsell


2010 Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.
2009 David L. Butler
1994 Gregory J. Smith
1991 Annette J. Evans
1974 Robert D. Zumwalt
1971 Jesse Osuna
1954 Robert B. James
1947 Thomas H. Sexton
1917 James B. McLees
1911 John T. Butler
1907 William H. Francis
1904 Frank A. Salmons
1893 Will Holcomb
1892 C. W. Thompson
1891 William H. Gassaway
1889 Martin D. Hamilton
1883 Josiah M. Dodge
1878 Sylvester Statler
1871 Alfred S. Grant
1871 Chalmers Scott
1858 George A. Pendleton
1854 William B. Couts
1852 Philip Crosthwaite
1850 Richard Rust