Marriage Records States Genealogy Genealogy Directory Search for Ancestors Surname Queries

California Genealogy

The state began to keep their own collections of vital records in 1905 but many individual counties have material that is older than that. You can go back as far as 1824 if you are looking in Monterey County.

California Vital Records

There are no privacy restrictions or time limits when looking to get any kind of California birth or death records. Instead, they have a system with two types of records. The authorized copies are legal forms of identification, and the informational ones are not (generally ideal for California genealogy). Authorized copies are only given out to immediate relatives, and the informational one will be issued to anyone. So as long as you request the right type of document, there should be no problems.

Getting either copy means you have to send an application form either to the Vital Records branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in Sacramento, or at the local county clerk's office where the event took place. If you are getting an authorized copy, you will have to provide notarized proof of your own identity along with the forms. The fee for either a birth or death record is $16.

Getting copies of marriage and divorce records work the same way, with 2 kinds of available documents. You can order these from the CDPH but the cost for a copy of a marriage record is only $14. You can also get these documents from the local clerk's office for quicker service. Getting a marriage record from the Vital Records office can take months by mail.

State Archives Resources

California genealogy can go far beyond just getting copies of vital records. There are two good state resources that you should look into: the California State Archives and the California State Library. The first one is a government-based archive where you can find military records, census records, school registrations, wills, deeds, prison documents and more.

The State Library is where you need to go for other historical material. Their holdings include some census records, local county histories, newspaper archives, old maps and periodicals, photographs and more.

Both of these Sacramento facilities offer free research areas where you can browse their materials at no cost, and they are open during standard business hours through the week. Photocopying is usually for a small fee per page.

California Genealogy Groups

Another way to further your research is to join a group or society. There are many for the state of California, and almost every county has one of its own if you want to narrow your options. But the main large group is the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland. They maintain their own library of genealogical resources and have volunteers who can help you with lookups and references. Becoming a member would give you further access to their materials and also help you connect with other people doing research in California. Once you start sharing information, you can discover a great number of new leads.

State Resources


  • Roselawn Cemetery   Formerly known as the Masonic Cemetery, and more formally known as Roselawn Memorial Park, is in Livermore, California


  • Klamath County, California  On 25 April 1851, Klamath County was created in California, extending from approximately the Mad River on the south to the Oregon Territory on the north, and east into the middle of what is now Siskiyou County. Klamath County never flourished. It was cut apart by rivers and mountains. On 28 May 1874, the state of California officially dissolved Klamath County dividing the area that had not become a part of Del Norte County in 1857 between Humboldt and Siskiyou Counties.

Databases & Indexes

Death Records and Obits


  • The Great 1906 Earth Quake and Fire  A great deal of information about the earth quake including lists of the dead and copies of newspaper articles from the Museum of the City of San Francisco




Other Resources:

California Maps


Charts and Resources

Online Books, E-Books, Books on CD, and Other Books Available

Select a state
AL  | AK  | AZ  | AR  | CA | CO  |  CT  | DE  | FL | GA  |  IA  | ID  | ILIN | KS  | KY  | LA  | MA | MD | MI  | MN  |  MO  | ME  | MSMT  | NC  |  NDNE  | NH | NJ  | NM  | NV | NY  | OH | OK   | OR  | PA  | RI  |  SC | SD  | TN  | TX  | UT  |  VAVT  |  WA  |  WIWV  | WY


  View and post searchable marriage records
  All Genealogy Sites Directory





African American
Birth Records
Church Records
Coal Mines
Colonial America
Commercial Sites
Diaries & Letters
Family Bibles
Goodspeed's History
Marriage Records
Medical Terms
Native American
Orphan Trains
Resource Sites
State Archives


New Sites
You'll Want to See!

Ancestor Archive  Find photos of your ancestors 

All Ancestors  Find the records your ancestors left!

All Surnames  Surname resources

Surname Archive  Find your surnames!

Genealogy Finds   Scanned documents with names! 

Colonial Ancestors  The colonies

All Biographies  Online Biographies

Ancestor Surnames 

Female Ancestors
Genealogy Data
Contact Us
Add a Site
Death Records on Surname Archive 

Free Searches:
Search for Ancestors
Free Look Ups

The Genealogy Register

Site Index