African American Resources for California

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Resources for researching African American ancestors who lived in California.

William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. (October 23, 1810 – May 18, 1848), one of the earliest mixed-race U.S. citizens in California


A Research Strategy

Archives and Libraries

Click here to learn about African American Resources in Los Angeles.

Vital Records

Birth Records

Marirage Records

Death Records


  • Beasley, Delilah Leontium. The Negro Trail Blazers of California : a compilation of records from the California archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley; and from the diaries, old papers, and converstations of old pioneers in the State of California. Los Angeles:[s.n.], - 317 p.: ill, ports F870.N38 B3 1919b FHL book 979.4 F2be
  • Goode, Kenneth F. California's Black Pioneers: A Brief Historical Survey. Santa Barbara, Calif. : McNally & Loftin, 1974 [c1974].- xiii, 222p.:ill. E185.93 C2G66 1974
  • Lapp, Rudolph M. Blacks in Gold Rush California New Haven:Yale university Press, 1977 - xiv, 321 p., (Yale Western Americana Series; 29) E185.C2 L36
  • Vivian, Octavia B. The Story of the Negro in Los Angeles County. compiled by Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration under the supervision of Hugh Harlan. - [S.l.:s.n.], 1956. - 43 p. F868.L8 V5 1970
  • Los Angeles Negro Business Directory. - [FVol.1] 91952/53)- [Vol.2] (1953/54). - Los Angeles, 1953-1954 F869.L8 L82
  • History of Black American in Santa Clara Valley. [Prepared by the staff of the Garden City Women's Club]. - [Sunnyvale, Calif.: Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., c 1978]. - xxx, 220 p. :ill. F868.S25 G37 1978
  • Parker, Elizabeth L. and James Abajian. A Walking tour of the Black Presence in San Francisco during the nineteenth century: A Black history week event; - [San Francisco]: San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society 1974. - 23 p.: ill F869.S3 P22


Funeral Homes



African Americans in California is a helpful historical timeline that highlights people and events from the Spanish Era until 2003.



Probate Records

School Records

Voting Registers

Other Sources

Online Resources