California Archives and Libraries

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


National Archives Pacific Region (Riverside)
23123 Cojaico Road
Perris, CA 92570
Telephone: 951-956-2000
Fax: 951-956-2029

Has records of southern California, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada. California Indian enrollments, Asian immigrants, naturalizations, land records, Arizona taxes, sailors, all U.S. censuses, military post returns, Five Civilized Tribes, Revolutionary War, Civil War records, passenger arrival lists, Mexican and Canadian border crossings, passport applications.[1] [2]

National Archives Pacific Region (San Francisco)
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
Telephone: 650-238-3501
Fax: 650-238-3510

Has records of California (north and central), Nevada (except Clark County), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands, overseas Pacific naval bases, Asian-Pacific immigration, American Indians, and all U.S. censuses, Revolutionary War service records, bounty land warrants, and naturalizations, naturalization indexes for San Francisco, Honolulu, and Reno.[3] [4]

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Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Telephone: 510-642-6481 Reference desk
Fax: 510-642-7589

Premier Western Americana, and Latin Americana collections, including Native Americans, Spanish encounter and colonial settlement, exploration of western America, maps and atlases, the Mexican War, westward migration, the Gold Rush, mining, land surveys, religious and Utopian communities, and ethnic communities. This library has more about western North America than any other site.[5] [6]
Nearby Doe Library has a large collection of newspapers on microfilm.


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

California historical newspapers, largest genealogical index, statewide births and deaths, death index 1905-1995, marriage index 1949-1986, censuses, great registers, city directories, genealogical periodicals.[6] A helpful guide to the California State Library is:

  • Gary E. Strong and Gary F. Kurutz, Editors, Local History and Genealogy Resources of the California State Library and Its Sutro Branch (Sacramento, Calif.: California State Library Foundation, 1983). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL book 979.4 H23c.

SFSU Campus OverView JPL Library Nov2012.JPG
Sutro Library
J. Paul Leonard Library, Rm. 610
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco 94132
Telephone: 415-469-6100
Fax: 415-469-6172
Internet: Sutro Library

The  place in northern California for genealogy research. Has an excellent collection of censuses, books, and periodicals for most states, including Great Registers, county and city directories, DAR California records, California death index 1905-1995, and marriage index 1949-1986.[6] [7]

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

Censuses, California county records 1850-1987, mental health records, military records, prison records, Supreme and appealate court records, and school reports.[8]

California Historical Society San Francisco.jpg
California Historical Society
North Baker Research Library
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: 415-357-1848
Fax: 415-357-1850

California state, county, and local histories, early California immigrants, ethnic histories, Gold Rush, Mexican War, rare books, and women.[6]

Society of California Pioneers Library
300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-1272
Telephone: 415-957-1849
Fax: 415-957-9858

Local histories, directories, diaries, papers, and California history to 1900.[6]

State Lands Commission
100 Howe Avenue. Suite 100 South
Sacramento CA 95825-8202
Telephone: 916-574-1900
Fax: 916-574-1810
Internet: California State Lands Commission

Land surveys, titles, property boundaries, school lands, maps and plats, Mexican land and rancho grants.[6]


California Genealogical Society and Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612-3031
Telephone: 510-663-1358
Fax: 510-663-1596

Genealogy collections for California and whole USA, including San Francisco and northern California manuscripts.[6]

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

One of the largest genealogy collections in southern California including programs by the North San Diego Genealogical Society. City directories, county histories, atlases, state censuses, and computer database subscriptions.[9]

Fresno City and County Historical Society Archives

Central Valley early farmers index, and biographies by appointment.[6]

Huntington Beach Library

Books, periodicals, and microfilms of the Orange County Genealogical Society.[6]

Immigrant Genealogical Society Library

Largest genealogical collection for German immigrants except for Salt Lake City.[6]

Long Beach Public Library

California, rancho and Mexican era history, computer indexes to statewide records, Great Registers, miners, and early settlers.[6]

Los Angeles Public Library

The  place for research in Southern California. Good genealogy collection and biographical indexes.[6]

Los Angeles Family History Center

One of the largest Family History Centers in America, including censuses, genealogies, and histories.[6]

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

California Indians, pre-1900 southern California newspapers, southern California and Los Angeles history, Spanish and Mexican period history, seafarers.[6]

County of Los Angeles Public Library

Californiana and Hispanic studies.[6]

Napa Valley Genealogical and Historical Society Library

Good genealogy collection with emphasis on New England.[6]

Oakland Family History Center

Censuses, books, and genealogies.[6]

Sons of the Revolution Library

American military records, genealogies, local histories, and vital records for the entire USA and some for Canada and Britain.[6]

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

Good collection for California and the rest of the USA.[6]

Tuolumne County Genealogical Society Library

In the Gold Rush district, includes the "Gone West Index" of early miners and California settlers.[6]

Online Records

The Online Archives of California provides free Internet access to detailed descriptions (collection guides) 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 above are included in the 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.


Two helpful guides to California archives and repositories are:


  1. Welcome to the National Archives at Riverside in National Archives (accessed 30 October 2013).
  2. Genealogy Research in Riverside in National Archives (accessed 30 October 2013).
  3. The National Archives at San Francisco in National Archives (accessed 29 October 2013).
  4. Genealogy Research in National Archives (accessed 29 October 2013).
  5. Collections in The Bancroft Library Internet site (accessed 26 October 2013).
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 19 and 21. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  7. California Genealogy Resources in California State Library (accessed 8 November 2013).
  8. Family History Resources in Collections - California State Archives (accessed 8 November 2013).
  9. Genealogy in City of Carlsbad, California (accessed 8 November 2013).