California Church Records

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  California  Gotoarrow.png  Church Records

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Before 1900 the largest religious groups in California were the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches.[citation needed]

The Family History Library has several histories of the Catholic, Presbyterian, Latter-day Saint, and Methodist churches in California.

Missions

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.

Additional resources are available for the following missions through the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens through the Early California Population Project which is a database of the information contained in the mission records. The granting agencies that have supported this project are The John Randolph Haynes and Dorothy Haynes Foundation, the California State Library (Library Services and Technology Act), the Dan Murphy Foundation, the Giles W. & Elise G. Mead Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The records date from 1769 to 1850. You do have register an agree to use this resource for research purposes only.

Baja California Missions
  • Santa Maria de los Angeles
  • Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
  • San Francisco de Borja
  • Santa Gertrudis
  •  San Miguel
  • Santo Tomas
  • San Ygnacio
  • San Vicente
  • Todos Santos
Alta California Missions
  •  La Purisima Concepcion
  •  San Antonio de Padua
  •  Santa Barbara
  • San Buenaventura
  • San Carlos Borromeo
  • San Diego
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz
  • San Francisco de Asis Mission and Presidio
  • San Fernando
  • San Francisco Solano
  • San Gabriel Arcangel
  • Santa Ynes
  • San Juan Bautista
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • San Jose
  • Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Luis Rey
  • San Miguel Arcangel
  • San Rafael


Presidios
  • Santa Barbara Presidio


Other
  • Los Angeles Plaza Church

Roman Catholic

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:

  • Temple, Thomas W. An Alphabetical Listing of the California Mission Vital Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1985. FHL Collection 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. FHL Collection 979.4 K21c
  • Bowman, J.N. "The Parochial Books of the California Missions, 1961," The Quarterly (Historical Society of Southern California)], Vol. 43, No. 3. FHL Collection 979.4 B2s
  • Barton, Noel R. "Genealogical Research in the Records of the California Missions," Genealogical Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1. FHL Collection 973 D25gj v. 3-4 (1974-1975)

Many original mission records and other Catholic records have been gathered into central repositories. These include:

Santa Barbara (Old Mission)

Old Mission Santa Barbara

2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Tel (805) 682-4713
Website:http://www.sbmal.org/ 
E-mail: research@sbmal.org

A guide to this extensive collection is:

  • Geiger, Maynard J. Calendar of Documents in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives. Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1947. FHL Collection 979.491 A5. Contact the Santa Barbara Mission Archives to ask if a more recent list has been compiled.

Diocese of Fresno Archives
1550 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93703-3788
Phone: (559) 488-3788

The diocese includes the counties of: Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare


Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
Telephone: 213-637-7000
E-mail: info@la-archdiocese.org
Website: http://www.la-archdiocese.org/

Historical Archives
Archival Center for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
15151 San Fernando Mission Boulevard
Mission Hills, CA 91345
Phone: 818-365-1501
Fax: 818-361-3276
Website: http://www.usc.edu/libraries/archives/arc/lasubject/records/id69.html

Diocese of Sacramento Historical Archives
2110 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
Phone: (916) 733-0299

The diocese includes the counties of: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yolo

Diocese of San Bernardino Archives Office
1201 E. Highland Ave.
San Bernardino, CA 92404
Phone: (909) 475-5399

The diocese includes the counties of: Riverside and San Bernardino

Diocese of San Diego
3888 Paducah Drive
San Diego, CA 92117

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 85728
San Diego, CA  92186-5728
Phone: (858) 490-8200
Fax: (858) 490-8272

The diocese includes the counties of: Imperial and San Diego

Diocese of Santa Rosa
985 Airway Court
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Phone: (707) 545-7610

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 1297
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

The diocese includes the counties of: DelNorte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma

Methodist

Holt-Atherton Church Archives
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
Telephone: 209-946-2404
Fax: 209-946-2810
Website: http://library.uop.edu/ha/ua/index.asp

Presbyterian

San Francisco Theological Seminary Library
105 Seminary Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Telephone: 415-451-2845
Website: http://library.gtu.edu/services/sfts.html