California Archives and Libraries

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United States Gotoarrow.png California Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

The Online Archive of California

provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.  Many of the repositories listed below are included in the collections.

Statewide Collections

California State Archives

1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: 916-653-7715
Fax: 916-653-7363

National Archives—Pacific Region (Riverside)

23123 Cojaico Road
Perris, CA 92570
Telephone: 951-956-2000
Fax: 951-956-2029

National Archives—Pacific Region (San Bruno)

1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
Telephone: 650-238-3501
Fax: 650-238-3510

California State Library

914 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing address:
P. O. Box 942837
Sacramento, CA 94237-0001
Telephone: 916-654-0261
Fax: 916-654-0241

A helpful guide to the California State Library is Gary E. Strong and Gary F. Kurutz, Editors, Local History and Genealogical Resources of the California State Library and Its Sutro Branch. Sacramento, California: California State Library Foundation, 1983. (Family History Library book 979.4 H23c)

The Bancroft Library

University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

Telephone: (510) 642-3781 Administration office (510) 642-6481 Reference desk
Fax: (510) 642-7589  


The Bancroft Library has an extensive collection of California materials.  Nearby Doe Library has a large collection of newspapers on Microfilm.

California Historical Society

North Baker Research LIbrary

The California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: 415-357-1848
Fax: 415-357-1850


Society of California Pioneers

300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-1272
Telephone: 415-957-1849
Fax: 415-957-9858

To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of California counties, use the 16 inventories of the county archives produced by the Historical Records Survey around 1940. The Family History Library has 13 of these inventories.

Regional Collections and General Genealogical Libraries

See each county for local collections

California Genealogical Society and Library

2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612-3031
Telephone: 510-663-1358
Fax: 510-663-1596

San Francisco and Northern California Manuscript Collections 

Southern California Genealogical Society Library

417 Irving Drive
Burbank, CA. 91504
Telephone: (818) 843-7247 or (818) THE-SCGS
FAX: 818-843-7262

Carlsbad City Library

1250 Carlsbad Village Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Telephone: 760-434-2931

Two helpful guides to California archives and repositories are:

Coy, Owen C. Guide to the County Archives of California. Sacramento, California: California Printing Office, 1919. (Family History Library film 962744.)

Directory of Archival and Manuscript Repositories in California. Redlands, California: Beacon Printery, 1975. (Family History Library book 979.4 J54d; film 1036038 item 3.)

California Digital Collections

Hand and keyboard.jpg California
Online Records

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

Web Sites

You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from California in a variety of sources at local, state, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost.

Addresses on the Internet change frequently. Currently the following sites are important gateways:

The USGenWeb Project

A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, and state.

Cyndi's List - United States - California


A useful list of sites and resources. Includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.


The Family History Library and some Family History Centers have computers with FamilySearch™. FamilySearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. FamilySearch is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources.

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