California Genealogy – Free California Genealogy

California Genealogy – Records and Links. This state page of our website provides direct links to major databases and historical titles and information found on California Genealogy, whether they exist on our site, or across the web.

California Biographies

California Cemeteries

California Census

California County History and Records

  • Chronological Record of Police Appointments City and County of San Francisco
    This free collection contains three volumes of handwritten manuscripts which depict the chronological record of police appointments for the city and county of San Francisco from Oct 1853 - Nov 1947. They are set up in a ledger format with an index at the front of each volume. The volumes, since they are handwritten, are not searchable.
  • Madera County
  • San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records
    Name index and images of funeral home records from the Halsted N. Gray – Carew & English Mortuary Collection, located at the San Francisco Public Library. Images for all years in collection can be browsed, but name index currently covers only years 1896-1931. Collection includes a number of different funeral homes acquired over time by the Halsted N. Gray – Carew & English Mortuary company, most from the San Francisco area, but also including some from Burlingame, Stockton, and Sacramento. The collection includes funeral register books, burial registers, account books, case books, etc. Indexes appear at the beginning of some volumes.

California Directories

California History

  • 1921 California Automobile Registrations
    A collection of 585,940 California automobile registrations for 1921 as published in 14 volumes, complete with name, address, type of auto and engine number
  • California Goldrush Most Wanted
    This web site is dedicated to the CA-GOLDRUSH mailing list subscribers. It represents our Most Wanted (most elusive, brick wall) ancestors lost in California during the time of the Goldrush 1840s-1880s. The Webmaster of this page does not guarantee the accuracy of the data in the submitter’s queries. The conclusions of the authors are not necessarily those of the webmaster. The right to edit is reserved and in the interest of saving space, mailing headers will be deleted.
  • How to Research Mining Claims
    This special article is published to help our readers conduct research into mining claims for themselves.
  • The Adventures of a Forty-niner
    An Historic Description of California, with Events and Ideas of San Francisco and Its People in Those Early Days, By Daniel Knower. Daniel went to California in 1849 during the start of the gold-rush days. This manuscript provides sketches on events and ideas that he saw, as well as detailing his trek to the gold rush town of Coloma.
  • Old Mission Stories of California
    Of the last six stories comprising the seven in this little collection of Stories of the Old Missions, all but one have, as a basis, some modicum, larger or smaller, of historical fact, the tale of Juana alone being wholly fanciful, although with an historical background. The first story of the series may be considered as introductory to the mission tales proper. In these quiet, unpretending stories the writer has attempted to give a faithful picture of life among the Indians and Spaniards in Nueva California during the early days of the past century.
  • Death Valley In ’49
    Autobiography Of A Pioneer, Detailing His Life From A Humble Home In The Green Mountains To The Gold Mines Of California; And Particularly Reciting The Sufferings Of The Band Of Men, Women And Children Who Gave “Death Valley” Its Name.
  • The Forty-Niners
    A Chronicle of the California Trail and El Dorado, by Stewart Edward White.
  • La Baja California
    Very soon after the conquest of Mexico the attention of Cortez was attracted by certain stories told by some of the conquered tribes regarding a mysterious but wonderful country, lying far to the northwestward. This land they called Ciguatan, or The Realm of Women; and they declared that it abounded in gold, in pearls, rubies, garnets, turquoises, and many other products, rich and precious.
  • Missions of California and the Old Southwest
    In musing over the history of the old Missions, the mind is led to inquire as to the benefits that have been conferred upon mankind by the labors, triumphs and defeat of the padres during their brief sojourn in the Southwest. Through their work was confined to a few heathen tribes, its pure and unselfish purpose and beneficent results cannot be questioned, for these are attested in the annals of those days.
  • New Empire and Her Representative Men
    Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
  • Old Mexico and her lost provinces
    A journey in Mexico, southern California, and Arizona by way of Cuba.
  • California Narratives: Men and Memories of San Francisco
    Theodore Augustus Barry (1825-1881) and Benjamin Ada Patten (1825-1877) established their credentials as California pioneers by arriving in their adopted state before January 1, 1850. Men and memories of San Francisco (1873) gives later arrivals a detailed picture of the city as it existed a few months before California statehood. They describe the streets and the residences and business that lined each thoroughfare and alley as well as the men and women who owned those homes, boarding-houses, hotels, restaurants, saloons, stores, offices, and shops. They also chronicle the fire of May 1851 which destroyed so many of the structures they describe. While they focus on the city as it was in early 1850, their sketches of its residents extend further, often forming capsule biographies of their subjects.

California Land Records

  • U.S., Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908
    3,907 land management tract books containing official records of the land status and transactions involving surveyed public lands arranged by state and then by township and range. These books indicate who obtained the land, and include a physical description of the tract and where the land is located. The type of transaction is also recorded such as cash entry, credit entry, homesteads, patents (deeds) granted by the Federal Government, and other conveyances of title such as Indian allotments, internal improvement grants (to states), military bounty land warrants, private land claims, railroad grants, school grants, and swamp grants. Additional items of information included in the tract books are as follows: number of acres, date of sale, purchase price, land office, entry number, final Certificate of Purchase number, and notes on relinquishments and conversions.

California Maps

  • American Geographic Society Library Digital Map Collection: California
  • American Memory (Library of Congress)
    Includes images of over 900 historical California maps. Using “Search All Collection” enter “California maps” to browse all California maps in the collection or enter more specific keywords. Includes “bird’s eye” view maps for many keys cities in California.
  • Barry Lawrence Ruderman Collection
    Includes over 550 historical California maps and images.
  • California Historical Maps and Atlases
    Contains more than 6,500 maps from over 350 historical atlases spanning 1579 through 1964. Maps have a limited free view.
  • Calisphere: Maps
    Includes over 2500 images of California historical maps selected from the University of California libraries and museums and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations. Browse or search by keyword.
  • David Rumsey Collection
    Included within the 28,000 online historical maps are over 3500 maps and images of California and its regions and cities, dating mostly from the 19th century.
  • Historic Map Index
    Indexes over 2000 digital historical maps on California available from 100 major map collections.
  • Historical Maps of California
    Contains approximately 100 images of California historial maps selected from the University of Alabama Map Library and other sources.
  • Union Catalogue of Map Collections
    Catalog of approximately 700 maps of California and the West from three collections: The Huntington Library, the Pasadena Museum of History and the Altadena Historical Society. Each entry includes an online image.
  • WPA Land Use Survey Maps for the City of Los Angeles, 1933-1939
    Series of 345 hand-colored land use survey maps produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The maps resulted from a land use survey conducted from 1933 to 1939 for the city of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning that covered approximately 460 square miles.

California Military Records

California Native American Records

California Newspapers

California Obituaries

  • Monterey County Herald Obituary Index
    The index includes obituaries from January 1, 1995 to June 30, 2014 and local news articles and features from January 1, 1995 to June 30, 2003. The Herald Archives indexes news articles beginning January 1, 2002. The Monterey County Herald index was created by staff and volunteers of Monterey Public Library and Pacific Grove Public Library.
  • San Mateo County Obituary Collection
    This collection currently includes over 57,000 indexed and scanned obituaries as well as a large collection of obituaries that are indexed elsewhere. Included are the Redwood City/ Peninsula Times Tribune Obituary Morgue (1969-1992); The SMCHA obituary Collection which includes obituaries culled from the historical societies biographical files; The Daily Post; The Daily Journal; The Daily Post; The San Mateo County Times (assorted); Veteran’s Memorials; and a collection of obituaries of former San Mateo County residents from other papers. The scanned images include the Pacifica Times Tribune and the San Mateo Times from 1999, which were indexed by Chris Havanar on The Obituary Daily Times The original index was created by the SMCGS Computer Club. The original collection of obituaries is available in the SMCGS Library. See research to obtain copies of those as well as the added obituaries.

California Vital Records

  • California Vital Records
  • Western States Historical Marriage Records Index
    Over the past decade, the BYU-Idaho (formerly known as Ricks College) Family History Center has been extracting early marriage records from counties in the western part of the United States. Virtually all of the pre-1900 marriages are included in the index for Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. Many Idaho, Nevada and Utah counties have been extracted into the 1930’s and some, much later. A significant number of marriages from Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, western Colorado and selected counties in California are also included. For more details, see “List of Counties by State”.
  • Early California Population Project
    The Early California Population Project (ECPP) provides public access to all the information contained in California’s historic mission registers, records that are of unique and vital importance to the study of California, the American Southwest, and colonial America. Within the baptism, marriage, and burial records of each of the California missions sits an extraordinary wealth of unique information on the Indians, soldiers, and settlers of Alta California from 1769 – 1850.
  • B. W. Coon Co. Funeral Home (covers 1922-1926)
    Abstract of Records from the Funeral Register

Additional Offsite Free California Genealogy

United States Genealogy

American History and Genealogy Project

Kern, Los Angeles, Modoc, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sonoma

CAGenWeb

Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, Yuba.

United States Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1800-c. 1955

3,907 land management tract books containing official records of the land status and transactions involving surveyed public lands arranged by state and then by township and range. These books indicate who obtained the land, and include a physical description of the tract and where the land is located. The type of transaction is also recorded such as cash entry, credit entry, homesteads, patents (deeds) granted by the Federal Government, and other conveyances of title such as Indian allotments, internal improvement grants (to states), military bounty land warrants, private land claims, railroad grants, school grants, and swamp grants. Additional items of information included in the tract books are as follows: number of acres, date of sale, purchase price, land office, entry number, final Certificate of Purchase number, and notes on relinquishments and conversions.

Sacramento California Police Mug Books 1864-1949

Mug Books of the past have been replaced by computer databases now, but back before the days of computers and databases, they served as an effective method for Police Departments to keep track of past criminals and wanted people. The Sacramento Police Department has generously provided these scanned images to archive.org for free access to everyone. If you are not aware if one of your ancestors may have been arrested for a crime, then I suggest you first search the newspaper records available online for free of Sacramento California, so that you have a year span to choose from. Unless you’re like me and just like perusing the old mug shots…

California World War 2 Casualties – Army, Air Force

This database contains War Department casualties (Army and Army Air Force personnel) from World War II for California. Information provided includes serial number, rank and type of casualty. The birthplace or residence of the deceased is not indicated. An introduction explaining how the list was compiled, a statistical tabulation, and the descriptions of the types of casualties incurred are also included.

Small Town Newspapers

Small Town Papers gives you free access to the people, places and events recorded in real time over the decades or even centuries! Browse and search the scanned newspaper archive from 1846 up to the current edition! Their archives contain millions of names of ancestors not found anywhere else. Enhance your Ancestry research with their high resolution scanned newspaper archive. Find distant relatives and discover your ethnic heritage by reading the articles about family and friends written back in the day.

Ancestry of Herbert Isam Mitchell of Brockton, MA

The family bearing the name of Mitchell is one of the oldest in the New World, its progenitor being Experience Mitchell, who came over in 1623 in the “Ann,” and from that time to the present the records of various towns of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chiefly Plymouth, Duxbury and the Bridgewaters, bear mute testimony of the prominence in peace and war of the members of the family in the different generations, and the present head of the family in Brockton, Isam Mitchell, president of Isam Mitchell & Co., lumber dealers and contractors, and his son, the late Herbert Isam Mitchell, active in business with his father and prominent in fraternal circles, have proved themselves firm in purpose and able in business.

Wiyot Tribe

A small tribe, whose name Powell adopted for the Wishoskan linguistic family, on the coast of North California about Humboldt Bay. The word seems to be a misapplication of their own name for their Athapascan neighbors, Wishashk. Wiyot, which has sometimes been used as an equivalent, is therefore probably a better term than Wishosk, though not entirely exact.

Biography of Hon. Joseph B. Crockett

The following sketch was written by Hon. James F. Buckner, of Louisville, for the Kentucky New Era. Col. Buckner was a student of Mr. Crockett, and for several years his law partner, hence no one is better qualified to write an impartial sketch of the man, and he pays...

Chronological Record of Police Appointments City and County of San Francisco

This free collection contains three volumes of handwritten manuscripts which depict the chronological record of police appointments for the city and county of San Francisco from Oct 1853 – Nov 1947. They are set up in a ledger format with an index at the front of each volume. The volumes, since they are handwritten, are not searchable.

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