California Church Records
Before 1900 the largest religious groups in California were the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches. The Family History Library has several histories of the Catholic, Presbyterian, Latter-day Saint, and Methodist churches in California.
Ausustine Mission, Cabazon Mission, Cahuilla Mission, Campo Mission,Inaja-Cosmit Mission, La Jolla Mission, La Posta Mission, La Purisima 1787, Los Coytes Mission, Manzanita Mission, Mesa Grande Mission, Morongo Mission, Pala Mission, Pauma and Yuma Mission, Pechanga Mission, Ramona Mission, Rincon Mission, San Antonio 1771, Santa Barbara 1786, San Buenaventura 1782, San Carlos 1770, Santa Clara 1777, Santa Cruz 1791, San Diego 1769, San Fernando 1797, San Francisco 1776, San Gabriel 1771, San Jose 1797, San Juan Bautista 1797, San Juan Capistrano 1776, San Louis Obispo, San Louis Rey 1798, San Miguel 1797, San Pasqual Mission, San Rafael 1817, Santa Rosa Mission, Santa Ynez 1804, Santa Ysabel Mission, Soboba Mission, Solano 1823, Soledad 1771, Sycuan Mission, Torres-Martinez Mission, Yuma Mission.
The first Catholic missions were organized in 1769. Most of the mission records begin in 1770 and are on film. The Family History Library and the Bancroft Library have extensive collections of the early records. For the index to these records, see Thomas W. Temple III, An Alphabetical Listing of the California Mission Vital Records (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1985; Family History Library film 1307621 item 4; fiche 6047009).
The following sources may help you find Catholic mission records:
- Weber, Francis J. A Select Guide to California Catholic History. Los Angeles, California: Westernlore Press, 1966. (Family History Library Book 979.4 K21c)
- Bowman, J.N. "The Parochial Books of the California Missions, 1961," The Quarterly (Historical Society of Southern California), Volume 43, number 3. (Family History Library Book 979.4 B2s)
- Barton, Noel R. "Genealogical Research in the Records of the California Missions," Genealogical Journal, Volume 4, number 1.
Many original mission records and other Catholic records have been gathered into central repositories. These include:
Santa Barbara (Old Mission)
Old Mission Santa Barbara
- A guide to this extensive collection is Maynard J. Geiger, Calendar of Documents in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives (Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1947). Contact the Santa Barbara Mission Archives to ask if a more recent list has been compiled.
Archival Center for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
15151 San Fernando Mission Boulevard
Mission Hills, CA 91345
Diocese of San Diego
3888 Paducah Drive
San Diego, CA 92117
P.O. Box 85728
San Diego, CA 92186-5728
Holt-Atherton Church Archives
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
San Francisco Theological Seminary Library
105 Seminary Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960