1850-1930--The National Archives, the California State Library and the Family History Library has the U.S. federal censuses for the state of California.
1890--Census has been destroyed.
1850 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1850, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.
1860 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1860 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1860, birthplace, occupation, other family members, whether married or single, and neighbors.
1870 United States Census---A free internet index and images can be viewed on FamilySearch Record Pilot site. This index includes the full name, age, sex, race, birthplace, occupation, month if born in census year, month if married in census year, birth place of father and mother, if born in a foreign country.
1880 United States Census– A Free Internet Index and Images to the US Census can be viewed on theFamily Search Record Pilot – Pilot Site. This index includes an every name index to population schedules listing inhabitants. It includes the full name, race, sex, age, birth month (if born during the previous year), relationship to head of household, whether married, single or divorced, whether married during the previous year, country or state of birth of each person and his parent’s, occupation and street address and house number.
1900 Federal Census - A free Internet index and images to the 1900 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. Important additions to this census are month and year of birth of each household member, number of years married for each married person, number of children born to each mother and the number of those still living, year of immigration, and number of years in the United States.
1920 United States CensusA free Internet index to the 1920 United States Census can be viewed on the Family Search Record Search Pilot. This index includes every name listed on the census. Index includes the name, residence, estimated birth year, age in years, birth place, relationship to head of house, gender, race or color, marital status, father birth place, mother birth place, film number, digital GS number, image number and sheet number.
1940 to 2000--Can be obtained by heirs or legal representatives for named persons. There is a legal charge mandated fees for this service. More recent census records for deceased family members are available to direct line only. Transcript form B.C.600 can be obtained from:
- Personal Census Search Unit
- US Census Bureau
- PO Box 1545
- Jeffersonville, IN, 47131
1821--Spain granted Mexico its independence. California was included with Mexico.
1848--Mexico ceded California to the United States.
1850--California became a state.
California Census years 1850, 1860, and 1870 have been indexed. They are available at the Californina State Library and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
Statewide indexes are available in book format for the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses. Soundex (phonetic) indexes are available on microfilm for part of the 1880 and all of the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses.
1850 census is not complete. Several counties are missing.
1850-1880--Mortality schedules for the censuses are at the California State Library. A published index to the 1850 schedule is available at the Family History Library. Those schedules included inquiries about people who died during the 12 months shortly after the federal census was taken
The mortality schedule is an alphabetical list of people who died in the twelve months proceeding the federal census. The Mortality schedules include the name, gender, age, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. The schedules could give race as well.
California has some industral and Agriculture schedules for the years 1850,1860, 1870 and 1880. The information in those schedules show name name of the land owner or manager, the acres of land, the present cash value, the number and value of live stock and crops.
Colonial and State
Pre-statehood lists (called padrons) of Spanish, Mexican, and Indian residents have been published in The Quarterly (Historical Society of Southern California), Volumes 15, 18, 41-43, 54 (Family History Library book 979.4 B2s). Especially helpful are the Los Angeles censuses of 1790, 1836, and 1844. The original records are scattered among various archives. The Family History Library has copies on microfilm.
The California State Library and the Family History Library have copies of a state census of 1852 (Family History Library films 909229-34). This census gives information on the entire household, including an individual's state or country of birth and last residence.
The California State Archives also has some censuses for California cities covering the period 1897 to 1938. These generally contain only the names and addresses of the persons enumerated, although some records give more information. The Family History Library has copies of several of these censuses through 1910, including:
Los Angeles and San Jose (1897)
San Diego (1899)
Heritage Quest Online: http://www.heritagequestonline.com
Census Finder: http://www.censusfinder.com/california.htm
Census Online: http://www.census-online.com/links/CA/
Access Genealogy: http://www.accessgenealogy.com/census/california.htm
Distant Cousin: http://www.distantcousin.com/Links/Census/CA/
Genealogy Today: http://dir.genealogytoday.com/ca/census.htm
National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/
California States archives and Libraries: http://statearchives.us/california.htm
California Historical Society: http://www.californiahistory.org/
US Census internet site: http://www.census.gov
Mortality Schedules: http://mortalityschedules.com/
California Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2003.