Our California genealogists are available to research on location. They will find and analyze the best records available to further your family history research. They can search the archives and libraries in California, as well as help you with other special requests.
Our researchers are available to visit local archives and libraries to access unique record collections to help with your research. Below is a list of a few of the archives our California researchers have access to.
The National Archives at Riverside, California hold information on Southern California, as well as Arizona and Clark County, Nevada. Their collections include records from Asian immigrants, naturalization records, Arizona taxes, national censuses, records of Mexican and Canadian border crossings, and information on the Five Civilized Tribes.
The National Archives at San Francisco contain 70,000 cubic feet of original records, which date from the 1850s to the 1980s. There are also a few records from the early 2000s. These articles include records from the federal courts and more than 100 federal agency offices. Topics covered here include information about northern and central California, Nevada (except Clark County), Hawaii, the American Samoa islands, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and the Caroline Islands. Information on overseas Pacific naval bases and Asian American migration records can also be found here.
The Society of California Pioneers documents the early history and founding of California in their library. Their archives include information about the Gold Rush period, the fire and earthquake of 1906 San Francisco, and other major events in the state’s history. Articles from the Spanish and Mexican eras can be found here as well. Records with information on specific pioneers can be found here, as well as directories, diaries, papers, maps, newspapers, and periodicals.
The Bancroft Library at the University of California holds excellent collections of Western Americana and Latin American- articles, which pertain to the Spanish involvement with California and the colonial settlements of the state. Information about Native American populations from the Plains, the Far West, Alaska, Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Islands can be found here also. Totaled, these archives number at more than 600,000 volumes, 60,000,000 manuscript items, and 8 million photographs and other pictorial materials.
The California State Library is home to an expansive genealogical repository that contains 3,000 city and county directories, 13,500 telephone directories, 2,000 archived California newspapers. There is also an entirely separate and equally massive archive that holds genealogical resources from locations other than California. Their vital records include death indexes from 1905 to 1955, and marriage indexes from 1949 to 1986. The newspaper archive previously mentioned contains articles that date back to 1846.
California State Archives (Sacramento, California)
This archive contains:
Census Schedules 1852 state, 1860 federal, and 1880 federal
Includes name, age, sex, occupation, birthplace and last residence; indexes available
County Records 1850-1987
Includes probate court case files, wills, naturalizations, deeds, homesteads, and vital records for 28 counties. Not all records are available for all counties.
Mental Health Records* 1856-1934
Records may include patient registers and case files for Agnews (located in Santa Clara), DeWitt (located in Auburn), Mendocino, Modesto, Sonoma, and Stockton State Hospitals. Some indexes are available.
Military Records 1850-1942
Includes organization papers, muster rolls, and other records relating to Independent Militia Units, Indian Wars, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and II. Name indexes available for Independent Militia Units, 1851-1866 and Civil War Volunteers, 1861-1867. For United States military records contact the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Prison Records* 1850-1979
Includes San Quentin and Folsom prison registers, inmate photographs, inmate case files (samples only) and pardon files. Name indexes, 1850-1979. Also available are Youth Authority registers and some case files for Whittier (1891-1948), Ventura (1909-1963, girls), and Preston (1894-1914); names indexes are available for records dated through 1930.
The Sutro Library at the San Francisco State University is known as one of the best genealogical repositories in northern California. The collection contains 18,000 telephone and city directories, 4,000 family histories, death indexes dated from 1905 to 1955 and marriage records dated from 1949 to 1986. Records from Daughters of the American Revolution organization are also held here. Additionally, the library contains the “Mexican Collection”, which includes documents pertaining to Mexican culture, religion, and politics dated from 1540 to 1889.
The California Historical Society’s Archives holds unique special collections. Among these are the following collections: “Early Exploration and Occupation”, “Gold Rush”, “Immigration and Migration”, and “Land Use and Development”. Their entire archives number at 50,000 volumes of books and manuscripts, 500,000 photographs, and 5,000 works of art including paintings, drawings, and lithographs. The “Early Exploration and Occupations” collection holds published narratives from European explorers, diaries, log books, and letters. The “Gold Rush” collection contains books, pamphlets, overland guides, and photographs of several different miners. The description above is a small sample of the California Historical Society’s archives.
The California Genealogical Society’s library is home to the “California Name Index”, which contains 350,000 entries from state, county, and local sources. The society is known for focusing its genealogical collections on San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties. These records include California birth records prior to 1906 and death and marriage records from other years. Records about the Gold Rush period, funeral home records, archived newspapers, and selected naturalization and passenger arrival lists are also held at the library.
Oakland FamilySearch Library in Oakland, California.
This archive contains, 9,000 volumes of books, Periodicals, Family histories, City and county histories, City directories, and 37,000 reels of microfilm, and 9,000 microfiche containing millions of local vital records and historical census data.
As described by the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, it is one of the oldest and largest organizations created for “the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history.” Records that can be found here include immigration records, studies of early Chinese American communities, and labor history records (for example, information on Chinese American railroad workers).
North Baker Research Library (San Francisco, California)
This archive contains Rare books and manuscripts, Maps, Newspapers and periodicals. The collections have an emphasis is on voyage discovery, western overland travel, California’s transition from a Mexican province to Statehood, and the Gold Rush.
The Carlsbad City Library is home to one of the largest genealogical collections in southern California. The collection focuses on American history from the 17th to 19th centuries. The collection includes city directories through 1881, city histories, and state censuses, all gathered from locations across the United States.
The Fresno City and County Historical Society’s archives contain an index of early farmers of the California Central Valley. Other articles located here include biographies, manuscripts, photos, oral histories, newspaper clippings, and school yearbooks.
San Bernardino City Library’s California Room (San Bernardino, California)
This archive contains many historical writings and treasures of San Bernadino and information on the indians who lived in San Bernadino before settlers came. Researchers can find records including birth, marriage, and death records up to 1910, burial records, census records from 1850-1920, Family histories and biographies from residents, and San Bernadino obituaries (some in print, some microfilm).
As for general information, the archives contain City Directories (1887-1968),telephone books from 1918-present, early maps and grid patterns of streets, Los Angeles Mexican census from 1836-1844, and the register of San Bernadino County from 1880-1886. For researchers looking for newspapers, books, and school records, the library offers the following:
San Bernadino Sun newspaper from 1894- present on microfilm
San Bernadino High School annuals
Books on early pioneers of San Bernadino
Southern California Genealogical Society’s Family Research Library (Burbank, California)
This archive contains:
Books for every state in the U.S. and many family histories
California death index (1930-1994)
California marriage index (1960-1985)
French-Canadian, German, and Hispanic American collections
Confederate veteran volumes
Manuscripts and periodicals
Los Angeles city Historical Society collection
Los Angeles County civil filings
Southern California Genealogical Society’s Family Research Library (Burbank, California)
This archive contains books for every state in the U.S. and many family histories, French-Canadian, German, and Hispanic American collections, and the Los Angeles city Historical Society collection. As for general record information, the society also offers documents containing the California death index (1930-1994), the California marriage index (1960-1985), Los Angeles County civil filings, and passenger lists. Those looking for histories can access confederate veteran volumes, family histories, periodicals and manuscripts
Los Angeles Central Library (Los Angeles, California)
The Los Angeles Central Library contains, 6 million books, over 80,000 photographs with emphasis on Southern California history, maps and various visual materials, many indexes, including obituary indexes and countless resources on government information. View the webpage for the Los Angeles Central Library to access the catalog.
Los Angeles County Archives and Records Center (Los Angeles, California_
The archive contains, court records, both civil and criminal cases, marriage and dissolution of marriage records, name change records, probate records, and property records. You may visit the site for the LA County to assist you in your research.
Los Angeles Public Library (Los Angeles, California)
This archive contains over 6 million books and other item, over 80,000 photographs with emphasis on Southern California history, Maps and various visuals, and Many indexes, including obituary indexes
San Diego Public Library (San Diego, California)
The San Diego Public Library has many genealogical records. Our California genealogists in the San Diego can search on location and provide you with the records that may be applicable to your research.
San Luis Obispo County Public Library (San Luis Obispo, California)
The San Luis Obispo County Public Library has partnered with the County’s genealogical society. The San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society can help you obtain any of the following records:
Land records, Plat maps, Naturalization records, Tax records, Voter registrations
Cemetery records, Gravestone photographs
Probate and court case records
View the San Luis Obispo Library’s Catalog to access genealogical materials.
A.K. Smiley Public Library (Redlands, California)
The collections include:
Thousands of books in the California collection, and covers subjects related to the Redlands, San Bernadino county, and the west
Rare books and autographed books
Carnegie Indian Collection, which includes volumes primarily on the Indians in California and the Southwest
Pamphlets and ephemera ranging from the 1860s to present
A map collection covering San Bernadino and the Redlands area and dating from the 1850s to present
One of the largest newspaper collections in Southern California
The Citograph, a weekly published newspaper, has been indexed from 1887-1896.
Thousands of organized manuscript collections
100+ oral histories of local families
Other major collections
View a complete list of the holdings in the Heritage Room by visiting their website.
Arroyo Grande Public Library (Arroyo Grande, California)
The Arroyo Grande Public Library has many genealogical records. Contact our California genealogists for them to research on site at this library.
Sahyun Library (Santa Barbara, California)
This archive contains, over 10,000 books, 600 CDs, and a collection of newsletters and journals from many genealogical societies all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and other countries.
Camarillo Public Library (Camarillo, California)
The collections include, billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, and photographs. In order to access the genealogy materials, one must visit the ancestry library inside the Camarillo Public Library.
Huntington Beach Public Library (Huntington Beach, California)
The collections includes 18,000 genealogical books, which are maintained by the Orange County California Genealogical Society. The collections are housed at the Central Library and are available for reference use only, not to be checked out.
National Archives at San Bruno (San Bruno, California)
This archive contains original records from the Federal courts and Federal agency field offices (1850’s-2000’s). Researchers can also access records of U.S. navy bases on foreign territory in the Pacific and far East and records of Asian-Pacific immigration. The archive has information pertaining to environmental and natural history, naval and military activity in the Pacific, and the American Indian experience, and other aspects of United States history.
Our California genealogists specialize in researching several types of documentation and are not limited to the list above. For more information or specific inquiries about our genealogists, please feel free to contact us.
Other Resources in San Fansisco:
Our California genealogists in San Francisco can use some of the following locations to discover new leads in your research:
Bancroft Library and Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley
California Genealogical Society and Library, Oakland,
California Historical Society, San Francisco
Chinese Historical Society, San Francisco
National Archives at San Francisco
Oakland Public Library
San Francisco Catholic Archdioece Archives
San Francisco City Archives
San Francisco County Archives and Records Center
San Francisco County Courthouse
San Francisco History Center
San Francisco Public Library
Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco
Sutro Library, San Francisco
Our genealogists specialize in researching all different types of documentation, and the list above is simply a small sample of what they can help you with.