Los Angeles County, California Genealogy

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Guide to Los Angeles County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Los Angeles County, California
Map of California highlighting Los Angeles County
Location in the state of California, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Founded February 18, 1850
County Seat Los Angeles
Address Los Angeles County Courthouse
12400 E Imperial Hwy
PO Box 1024
Norwalk, Ca 90650
Phone: 562.462.2137; Los Angeles Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1849 1850 1874 1850 1850 1850 1850
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1905. General compliance by 1920.
Los Angeles Plaza 1869

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

The County Clerk has divorce records from 1880 and probate and court records
from 1850. The County Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records[2]

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

18 February 1850: Los Angeles County was created as one of 27 original counties in the new state of California. Prior to the creation of the county, the records were either at city or Franciscan mission places.

County seat: Los Angeles[3] 

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the City of Los Angeles. The County Seat is Los Angeles and was founded February 18, 1850. It is located in the southeastern area of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes [edit | edit source]

The original County of Los Angeles covered a large part of Southern California including parts of what is now Kern County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Orange County. These areas split off to form San Bernardino County in 1853, Kern County in 1866, and Orange County in 1889. In 1893 part of San Bernardino County that had originally been part of Los Angeles County became part of Riverside County.[5]

For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Records Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Local histories and biographies of the Los Angeles area are numerous. The Calfornia GenWeb project has created name indexes for some of these books. To see those, click here.

Courtesy of the Long Beach Public Library, historic photos of Long Beach are available to see here. Long Beach Photos.

Ancestry.com ($) has an online searchable copy of Greater Los Angeles & Southern California : portraits & personal memoranda. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1910. The use of Ancestry is free at many libraries. Also available at some libraries (WorldCat).

Other Online Resources

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Los Angeles, California online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See California Cemeteries for more information

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 3,530
1860 11,333 221.0%
1870 15,309 35.1%
1880 33,381 118.0%
1890 101,454 203.9%
1900 170,298 67.9%
1910 504,131 196.0%
1920 936,455 85.8%
1930 2,208,492 135.8%
1940 2,785,643 26.1%
1950 4,151,687 49.0%
1960 6,038,771 45.5%
1970 7,041,980 16.6%
1980 7,477,421 6.2%
1990 8,863,164 18.5%
2000 9,519,338 7.4%
2010 9,818,605 3.1%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

For tips on accessing Los Angeles County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.

For information about Los Angeles city census records, see the Los Angeles wiki page.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.

Baptist[edit | edit source]
  • Records of the First Baptist Church in Glendale, California as of June 1. 1929 can be searched here. Courtesy of the church and of the Southern California Genealogical Society.[7]
Lutheran[edit | edit source]
  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Los Angeles County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For the years from 1854 to 1938, the Family History Library has a microfilm series of circuit court records for Los Angeles County and other areas. These include common rule books, equity, equity decree registers, Judgement registers, common law and other items. These may be available to be viewed at any family history center.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Spanish missionaries founded California and thus Hispanics were and continue to be a significant part of the population. [8] Some Italian and German settlers came early to this area as well. [9] [10]

Los Angeles County also has a significant Asian American history. [11]

For more information about religious and minority groups, see the wiki page for the city of Los Angeles.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

The American History and Genealogy Project has a webpage with links to much helpful information; biographies of early Glendale and El Monte residents and more, histories, and newspapers, and photos of early Southern California. Find that here.

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Los Angeles County, California Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Maps[edit | edit source]

Ventura CountyKern CountySan Bernardino CountyOrange CountyCA LOS ANGELES.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Los Angeles County, California Genealogy for emigrant settlers included:

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Forts[edit | edit source]
  • Fort Drum 1862-1871 (Wilmington) [23]
  • Fort McArthur 1914-1974 (San Pedro) [24]
  • Fort Tejon 1854-1864 (Tejon Pass near Grapevine) [25]
Mexican War[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]

Regiments. Service men in Los Angeles County, California Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Los Angeles County, California Genealogy:

- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company B
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company C
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company D
Spanish American War[edit | edit source]
World War I[edit | edit source]

Second to None has a short review of the WW I activities of this division of Marines, and detailed history of the Second Division Association of Los Angeles, and a some brief biographies of its members.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

The Los Angeles County Archives has records of Los Angeles County for the years 1856 to 1886:
Los Angeles County Archives
225 North Broadway
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: 562-462-2137

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • 1800s-1999 U.S., Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-1999 at Ancestry - index ($)
  • The Los Angeles Public Library has made available on its website an index to newspaper and periodical articles containing obituary information on renowned actors, authors, journalists, and librarians. You can search the database by name, occupation, date of death, and cause of death. The data fields in the results returned may include full name, including married name, maiden name, and nickname; sex, occupation, death date, age, place of death, and information source.

Courtesy of the Whittier Public Library:

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Los Angeles County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

The Southern California Genealogical Society has created The Los Angeles Times Obituary Index database searchable by either first name, last name or a combination of the two. If the name is found, the index provides the year of the obituary. If a copy of the obituary is desired, then it is necessary to purchase it from the Society. Currently the Index covers the period 1988 to 2004, with some gaps.

Rose Hills Memorial Park has a searchable database with some online obituaries. Burials:1914-present, Some Obituaries: 2011- present

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - Los Angeles - Probate records.

Original Records

  • 1850 - 1900 Original records of cases filed in the Los Angeles County Court and District Court for Probate case files from 1850 through 1900 and for Civil case files from 1850 through June 1910 are stored at the Huntington Library Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Site to search index of probate and court records at Huntington Library

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Archives, Libraries and Museums[edit | edit source]

Antelope Valley Genealogical Society
557 West Lancaster Blvd.
Lancaster, CA 93534
Telephone: 661-947-4558
Hours: Every Friday 11 am-4pm; Second and Fourth Saturday of every month

Los Angeles FamilySearch Library
10741 Santa Monica Blvd
West Los Angeles, CA 90025
Telephone: 310-474-9990
Hours: T-W-Th 9 am-9 pm; Mon-Fri-Sat 9 am-5 pm; Closed Sun

Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library
417 Irving Dr.
Burbank, CA ~ 91504 818-843-7247

Sons of the Revolution Library
600 South Central Avenue
Glendale, California 91204-2009 Telephone: (818) 240-1775
Library and Museum Hours: Wednesdays Noon to 6:00 p.m. Thursday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday through Tuesday, Saturdays before a Monday holiday, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the entire month of December.

County of Los Angeles Public Libraries is a system of local libraries with some microfilmed newspapers and city directories and biographies. They will search for obituaries (Click the link above for their search policy.) This system has four ethnic centers: The Black Resource Center, the Asian Pacific Resource Center, the Chicano Resource Center, and the American Indian Resource Center.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

 County Courthouse Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012 (county seat)

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Schools[edit | edit source]

Long Beach High School Yearbooks: 1900s-1950s: courtesy of the Long Beach Public Library

Societies[edit | edit source]

Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library
417 Irving Dr. Burbank, CA 91504

Whittier Area Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 4367
7604 Greenleaf Ave.
Whittier, California 90607-4367

Immigrant Genealogical Society
1310-B West Magnolia Boulevard, P. O. Box 7369, Burbank, California

Nordic Genealogical Society of Southern California

Polish Genealogical Society of California
P.O. Box 307 Buena Park, CA 90621-0307

Taxation[edit | edit source]

California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder. See also How to order California Vital Records

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
(for Birth, Marriage and Death records going back at least to 1852) Norwalk RR/CC Building
12400 Imperial Highway
Norwalk, CA. 90650
Office Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Friday (open 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of every month)

  • Note: There are several other sites to get birth, marriage and death records in Los Angeles County but Norwalk is the only facility that you can view records personally.

Viewing Vital Records: The following will provide you with the procedure for viewing vital records. Certificates and indexes of birth, death and marriage records not exempt from public inspections may be examined at the Office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. , Monday through Friday, except holidays. In addition to certificates on file, there are indexes of birth, death and marriages available for public inspection as follows: Births prior to 1905 and from 1964 to the present; Deaths from 1877 to the present; and Marriages from 1852 to the present. Records of confidential marriages performed pursuant to Family Code Section 500 are not available for public review. Certificates and indexes may be examined at no charge unless a deputy is requested search and/or retrieve more than five records. Random searches of the indexes or the certificates are not allowed. An application is required for each record searched. Information sufficient to identify the requested record must be provided.

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]

For early marriages see the Matrimonial Investigation Records of the San Gabriel Mission, which span 1788–1861. These are notarized interviews with couples wanting to marry in the Roman Catholic Church, performed to establish the couples’ freedom to marry. The collection includes 165 investigations, with 173 men and 170 women, primarily from the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. William McPherson donated the original documents to the Claremont Colleges. Click here to see those images.

Online Records

Divorce[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Los Angeles County Death Records at the Family History Library:
Los Angeles County Death Records are available through the Family History Library System.  First, search the index film for the year the person died.  Note that in 1958-1960, there are separate film sets for different cities in Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Long Beach.
Note that entries in the county wide index with certificate numbers preceded by an "L" pertain to the Long Beach set of death certificates

The California Death Records 1940-1997 can be searched for free on Rootsweb. California Death Records

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

California county clerks were to keep voting registers every other year from 1866 and well into the 20th century. These large books, called Great Registers, listed the men who registered to vote in that county. Besides name and age, the record may show place of birth, address, occupation, naturalization date and sometimes even a physical description.

These records are at the California State Library (1866-1944), and microfilmed copies are available through Family History Centers (1866-1910). Ancestry ($) has a searchable database of Los Angeles Great Registers from 1873-1896.

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Los Angeles City Historical Society
P.O. Box 41046
Los Angeles 90041

Los Angeles Westside Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10447
Marina Del Rey 90295

Genealogical Society Family Research Library
417 Irving Drive Burbank
California 91504
Phone: 818-843-7247

Antelope Valley Genealogical Society
PO Box 1049
Lancaster, CA 93584-1049

Azusa Historical Society
213 E. Foothill Blvd.
Azusa, CA 91702

British Isles Family History Society
2531 Sawtelle Blvd., PMB 134
Los Angeles, CA 90064-3124

California African American Genealogical Society
PO Box 8442
Los Angeles,
CA 90008-0442

Covina California Chapter, DAR
2441 S N. Cameron Avenue
Covina, CA 91724

Covina Valley Historical Society
125 E. College Street
Covina, CA 91723

Downey Historical Society
PO Box 554
Downey CA 90241

Duarte Historical Society
PO Box 263
Duarte, CA 91010

Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society
2035 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041

El Monte Historical Society
3150 North Tyler Avenue
El Monte, CA 91731

Encino Historical Society
16756 Moorpark
Encino, CA 91436

Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Southern California
P.O. BOX 2472
Santa Fe Springs,CA 90670

German Genealogical Society of America
2125 Wright Avenue, C-9
La Verne, CA 91750

Glendora Genealogical Group
PO Box 1141
Glendora, CA 91740

Glendora Historical Society
PO Box 532
Glendora, CA 91740

Historical Society of La Verne
PO Box 7761
La Verne, CA 91750

Historical Society of Long Beach
428 Pine Avenue
Box 1869
Long Beach, CA 90801

Immigrant Genealogical Society
PO Box 7369
Burbank, CA 91510-7369

Jewish Genealogical Society of LA
PO Box 55443
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-0443

La Puente Valley Historical Society
PO Box 522
La Puente, CA 91744

Las Virgines Historical Society
PO Box 124
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Little Landers Historical Society
10110 Commerce Avenue
Tujunga, CA 91042

Los Angeles Westside Genealogical Society
PO Box 10447
Marina del Rey, CA 90295

Pacific Palisades Historical Society
PO Box 1299
Los Angeles, CA 90272

Pasadena Genealogy Society
PO Box 94774
Pasadena,CA 91109-4774

Pasadena Historical Society
470 West Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Pomona Valley Genealogical Society
PO Box 286
Pomona, CA 91768-0286

Pomona Valley Historical Society
1569 North Park
Pomona, CA 91768

Questing Heirs Genealogical Society
PO Box 15102
Long Beach, CA 90813

Redondo Beach Historical Society
PO Box 978
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society
PO Box 3486
Winnetka, CA 91396-3486

TRW Genealogical Society
One Space Park, S-1435
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Whittier Area Genealogical Society
PO Box 4367
Whittier, CA 90607

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Los Angeles County, California. Page 84-88 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 81-83.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Los Angeles County, California. Page 85 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Los Angeles County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County,_California 5/03/2017.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Los Angeles County, California" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County,_California (accessed 15 February 2013).
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Los Angeles County, California," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County%2C_California, accessed 15 September 2019.
  7. Free Databases at Southern California Genealogical Society (accessed 27 June 2014).
  8. California History (accessed 25 July 2014)
  9. Germans in California at German American Pioneers (accessed 25 July 2014)
  10. Italians in Los Angeles at Southern California Historical Society (accessed 25 July 2014)
  11. LA County is the Capital of Asian America at Social Focus on KCET (accessed 25 July 2014)
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "El Camino Real (California)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Camino_Real_%28California%29 (accessed 14 September 2011).
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Old Spanish Trail (trade route)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Spanish_Trail_%28trade_route%29 (accessed 14 September 2011).
  14. "Oregon California Trails Association" at http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ (accessed 18 July 2011).
  15. Wikipedia contributors, "Jefferson Hunt" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Hunt (accessed 6 September 2011).
  16. Wikipedia contributors, "Butterfield Overland Mail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfield_Overland_Mail (accessed 14 September 2011).
  17. Wikipedia contributors, "Central Overland Route" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Overland_Route (accessed 13 September 2011).
  18. Wikipedia contributors, "Union Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  19. Wikipedia contributors, "Central Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  20. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Fe Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  21. Wikipedia contributors, "Southern Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  22. Wikipedia contributors, "Atlantic and Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_and_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  23. The California State Military Museum
  24. Fort McArthur Museum
  25. Fort Tejon Historical Association