Research in California

Research in California covers the State’s history, settlement, and migrations. The author discusses state and national archives and the Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the Online Archive of California. Readers will find an overview of the county, local, and religious records; its ethnic records, its mission system, and the movie industry; each county’s genealogical and historic societies as well as more esoteric topics such as cattle brands.

The guidebook also discusses the loss of records from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake; the efforts taken to recreate these vital records; and the best, if incomplete, resource for family historians. Another section describes California’s ethnic history and the societies and repositories that are good resources for genealogists. This section makes special note of resources for those researching Chinese, Japanese, Native American, and  Spanish/Mexican ancestors.

Published by NGS, Research in California is one volume in the Research in the States series edited by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS. It is available for purchase in the NGS online store in both PDF and print versions.


Sheila Benedict is an historical and forensic genealogist. A former board member of NGS, she also is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, and the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.