Posted in California, Research tips, State records

Updated California Links

California: My Passion And My Love - Escalon Times

I’ve added a ton of new links to the “California Links” page. There are many resources specific to individual counties and cities, and quite a few immigration records for San Francisco and San Diego. There are a good number of links to newspapers for the state.

In addition to all of the digital collections for vital records, I would recommend checking out California, Local government records at the California State Archives, for an “Inventory of County and City Records Available at the California State Archives”.

Here is an example of what you can find in that resource: Stanislaus County – Probate, 1854–1941*; Bonds, Letters, and Wills, 1911–1921*; Naturalization, 1856–1978*; Deeds, 1854–1902*; Homesteads, 1860–1904*; Birth, 1873–1905*; Marriage, 1854–1920*; Declaration of Intention, 1854–1976*. While these records are not necessarily digitized (parts are included in various databases), they are available onsite at the State Archives.

If you are doing California research you’ll want to bookmark this page!

Posted in Research tips

Researching Spanish Families in Early California

Secretary of State of California - Wikipedia

Reprinted with permission from a series of articles written by Gary Carlsen for the Monterey County Genealogy Society Newsletter, from 1997-1999.

Monterey History “They Followed Serra” part 8

Researching Spanish families in early California can be difficult at best, but the following can be extremely helpful in locating your ancestors.

Once the ancestor’s family name is located a good staring point is Marie Northrup’s two volumes, Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California, 1769-1850. The families are listed alphabetically by last name, and includes known information on the spouse and children. In many cases the children’s families are also listed. She includes a brief description of military service, taken from Bancroft’s Pioneer Index, at the end of each family.

In addition to Northrup’s volumes Dorothy G. Mutnik has put together five volumes, Some Alta California Pioneers and Descendants Division One and Two. Division One consists of three volumes and covers descendants of the Anza expeditions, while Division Two, which is two volumes covers the 1781 Expeditions to settle Los Angeles and establish the Santa Barbara Presidio. Her work was based on mission records, and the families are listed alphabetically by family name, then spouses name. She has included many notes and sites the location of the events occurring within the families.

Presidio lists of 1782 for San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco are available in the Eldrige Papers of the Bancroft Library. San Diego and Monterey were copied by Northrup and are available on LDS film 1421704, item 12.

Hubert Howe Bancroft’s 7 volume History of California notes military service and other activities when found in Spanish records. While these do not contain a lot of genealogical information, they do list places and times where the soldier was listed. Vol I and II cover the Spanish period, and III and IV the Mexican period.

1790 Padron (census) lists soldiers and their families. While the soldier and spouse are listed by name, children are listed only by sex and age. These lists are available on LDS film 1036747, and were published by Northrup in issues of the Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly.

Service records for California soldiers are stored in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, and 900 of these records were abstracted by Raymond F. Wood. They were placed in the Research Library of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

An Alphabetical Listing of the California Mission Vital Records was recorded by Thomas Workman Temple III, and is available on LDS Micro Fiche 6047009. This listing shows the page, entry no., date, mission, book, and name.

Many of the early mission records have been microfilmed by the LDS Church, and are available through local Family History Centers including Monterey…

[NOTE: The Early California Population Project at is an online database of baptism, marriage, and burial records from California missions.]

Northrup, Mutnik, and Bancroft’s books are available through most libraries in California, or through inter-library loan from the California State Library in Sacramento.

Posted in Archives and Libraries, California, Friday Finds

Friday Finds: Into the Calisphere

Here’s a fun and informative website that is not just for California researchers, even though it is a part of the University of California system.  “Calisphere” is loaded with interesting content in the form of primary sources—images and documents organized into subject areas or historical era.

Topics like “Everyday life” and “Popular culture”, along with “The Transcontinental Railroad” and “Japanese-American Relocation” are just a few of the interesting things to explore which could add perspective to a family history.

I also found a helpful guide to primary source analysis, intended to help history students but applicable to family historians: “The 6 Cs of Primary Source Analysis”

Calisphere is worth a visit—I know I plan on spending some time there.  I’d be interested in hearing what you find!

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy 162nd Birthday California!

California became a state one hundred and sixty two years ago today, (September 9th, 1850 for the math-impaired among us). I am sharing an article by Michael Leclerc posted on Mocavo’s website where he shares 5 great resources for California research.

I even learned that the first daily newspaper in California The Daily Alta Californian has been digitized. The first capitol of California was Alta, later known as Monterey—my stomping grounds.

I recommend them all and thought Leclerc did such a good job describing them it would be best to just provide the link. Happy (California) Trails!