California Great Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
- 1 Collection Time Period
- 2 Record Description
- 3 How to Use the Record
- 4 Record History
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
- 9 Sources of information for This Collection
Collection Time Period
The registers cover the years 1866 to 1910.
The collection consists of County Clerk voting registers from most counties in California. The registers were created every other year. The time period varies by county.
The registers are arranged in columns and give the following information:
- Full name of each voter (only men could vote)
- State or country of birth
- If naturalized, he was to declare the name of the court and the date when the naturalization took place
How to Use the Record
The electoral registers may help you determine the residence of an individual and how long that person lived there. They may also help you locate other records in which that person might appear.
To begin your search you will need to know the following:
- Name of the ancestor
Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. You may also find the following tips helpful:
- Use the name, residence and are or birth date to locate your ancestor in church, land, and census records.
- Use ages to determine approximate birth dates.
- Use the naturalization information to find their immigration and naturalization court documents.
- Information on occupations could lead you to employer's or other related records, such as business office or military records.
- Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
- Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
- The information in voter registrations in usually very brief so it is easy to confuse individuals with similar names.
- Only men were allowed to vote.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for indexes.
The first voter registration records were county poll lists. In 1866, poll lists were replaced by voter registers known as the Great Registers. Each voter was required to register with the county clerk. An 1872 law required all counties to print an alphabetical list of voters every two years. Since 1895, data on voters has been more detailed.
Why the Record Was Created
Voting registers were created to determine who was eligible vote. If an individual’s name did not appear in the register, he could not vote.
The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the individual voter.
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
- “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.
Sources of information for This Collection
"California Great Registers, 1866-1910." FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org). California State Archives, Sacramento, California. FHL microfilm, 26 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the following article: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.