It is a good idea to to familiarize personally with any repository in California that you choose to might visit by making contact with to the best suited archive or library ahead of time.

Many, if not all, California repositories have published materials that show its collections and research policy.

California archives and historical organizations also provide Internet web sites that supply identical content. Some actually possess down-loadable databases for some or parts within their collections.

California Archives

  • California State Archives, Office of Secretary of State, 1020 O Street, Room 130, Sacramento, CA 95814; Reference Desk: (916) 653-2246; General Information: (916) 653-7715; FAX: (916) 653-7363; California State Archives has microfilm of selected county records, 1850–1919.
  • The National Archives-Pacific Region maintain three facilities in California
    • Laguna Niguel (Archival Research Room, Microfilm Research Room)
    • Riverside, CA;
      (Records Center Research Room – requires originating agency approval)
    • San Francisco; (Archival Research Room, Microfilm Research Room, Records Center Research Room – requires originating agency approval)

    These offices work together to preserve and make available the documents created by Federal agencies in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, the Pacific Trust Territory, and American Samoa.

  • Amador County Archives, 12200-A Airport Rd., Jackson, CA 95642; Phone:(209) 223-6389
  • Calaveras County Archives, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249; Office: (209) 754-3918
  • Orange County Archives, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Rm. 101, Santa Ana, CA 92701; (714) 834-2536
  • Placer County Archives, 11437 D Avenue West , DeWitt Center, Auburn, CA 95603; 530-889-7789
  • Santa Clara County Archives, 1875 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112; PHONE NUMBER: (408) 755-7895

California Museums

California Libraries

  • California State Library, 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814This is the parent organization of the Sutro Library with a fine collection of its own. Microfilms of the federal censuses are housed here as well as a number of state-wide research materials. Some of the important collections include the following:
    • The California Information File: about 640,000 index cards covering 1.2 million items in such things as newspapers, manuscripts, periodicals, and county histories. Microfilmed county histories are available on interlibrary loan.
    • Pioneer Record File: biographical material on Californians who came before 1860—information submitted by the actual pioneers or by their descendants.
    • Biographical files: California artists, authors, actors, and musicians along with material on California political leaders may also be of interest.
    • Directories: a large collection of city, county (from 1850s) and telephone directories (from 1897). See also Nathan C. Parker’s Personal Name Index to the 1856 City Directories of California. Vol. 10 of Gale Genealogy and Local History Series. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1980.
  • Sutro Branch of the California State Library, 480 Winston Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132This library is a branch of the California State Library but differs from the main library in Sacramento in its holdings in that its focus is on genealogical research outside of California; although the collection includes many California materials (census, local newspapers, periodicals). The Sutro collection is available to the public either at the library or through interlibrary loan. Both the Genealogy Catalog and Local History Catalog (the index to the bulk of the library’s holdings) can be obtained on microfiche and are supplemented on a regular basis by the publication of additional titles as they arrive.

    There are many genealogical and historical societies and institutions catering to people with various research problems. Only a few are listed below. Since the largest portion of California residents active in local history and genealogy may themselves be recent migrants to the state, local organizations focus may be on research problems in other locations.

  • University of California and California State University LibrariesThere are excellent special collections at universities throughout the state including the Bancroft collection at the University of California at Berkeley, the Wyles collection of Civil War materials at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Mandeville collection at the University of California at San Diego, the Western Association of Map Libraries at University of California at Santa Cruz, and the California State Library at Chico and Turlock.
  • Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley
  • Richard Nixon Library, Yorba Linda
  • The Los Angeles Public Library, History and Genealogy Department, 433 South Spring Street (location), 630 West Fifth Street (mailing address), Los Angeles, California 90071, has been reopened to the public and is rebuilding its excellent collection for genealogical research.
  • The Glendale Branch of the Family History Library, 1130 East Wilson Avenue, Glendale, California 91206; has a large collection of printed and microfilm source material in addition to access to the extensive collection available by mail service from the Salt Lake City collection.
  • Amador County Library, 530 Sutter Street, Jackson, CA 95642;
    Phone: (209) 223-6400
  • Arroyo Grande Genealogical Library, Arroyo Grande Public Library, South County Refional Center, 800 W. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande, California
  • Butte College Library, 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville, CA 95965
  • Butte County Library, 1820 Mitchell Avenue, Oroville, CA 95966; Phone: (530) 538-7525
  • Colusa County Free Library, 738 Market Street, Colusa CA 95932;
    Phone (530) 458-7671
  • Del Norte County Library District, 190 Price Mall, Crescent City, CA 95531;
    Phone: (707) 464-9793
  • Doris Foley Library for Historical Research, 211 N. Pine Street, Nevada City, CA 95959; Open Thurs – Sat 10-4 (closed during lunch); (530) 265-4606
  • El Dorado County Library, 345 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA; Phone: (530) 621-5540
  • Fresno County Public Library, 2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno, California 93721;
    Phone: (559) 488-3195
  • Imperial County Free Library System, 1125 Main Street, El Centro, California 92243; Phone: (760) 482-4791, Fax: (760) 482-4792
  • John Steinbeck Library, 350 Lincoln Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901; (831) 758-7311
  • Kings County Library, 401 N. Douty Street, Hanford, CA 93230;
    Phone: (559) 582-0261
  • Lake County Library, 1425 N. High Street, Lakeport, CA 95453; Phone: (707) 263-8816
  • Madera County Library, 121 North G Street, Madera CA 93637; 559-675-7871
  • Mendocino County Library, Fort Bragg Branch, 499 Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437;
    Phone: (707) 964-2020
  • Monterey Public Library, 625 Pacific Street Monterey CA 93940; By Phone: 831.646.3933
  • Petaluma Historical Library and Museum 20 Fourth Street (Corner of 4th and B Street), Petaluma, CA 94952; (707) 778-4398
  • Sacramento Public Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814;
    Phone: (916) 264-2920
  • San Luis Obispo Genealogical Library, San Luis Obispo Public Library , 995 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, California; Phone: 805-785-0383
  • San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102;
    Phone: (415) 557-4400; Branches & Main Directory
  • Searls Library (Archive of Nevada County), 214 Church Street, Nevada City, CA 95959; Open Mon – Sat 1pm-4pm; (530) 265-5910

California Periodicals

Genealogical publications make available a number of sources of facts, they might be ignored by genealogy researchers and genealogist in researching for family history. A good number of regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals that contain records with regards to the region or vicinity they serve. Sometimes these publications offer articles pertaining to records that aren’t obtainable anywhere else.

  • California Historical Society’s Index to California Historical Society Quarterly (1922–61; 1962–75), available from Channing Books in Marion, Massachusetts, cross-indexes fifty-four volumes of the periodical. The California Genealogical Society publishes a newsletter six times a year.

California Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. In addition to their own work, California groups from time to time help synchronize the efforts of area societies within the California. Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created by the area societies.

Regional and State

County, Township and City

Religious and Ethnic

California Newspapers & Publications

California Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) provide all sorts of beneficial information and facts about individual ancestors, complete lineages and families, places in time, and concerning all sorts of genealogical records and repositories. They allow you to discover a variety of details about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These different kinds of sources can frequently bolster public records and offer you information and facts that is not recorded someplace else. Here, you can discover more pertaining to your ancestor’s potential daily activities by setting them in the context of their time.


Newspapers – California newspapers can offer all types of evidence about historical incidents, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and much more.