Resources in the State of California

Please let us know if you have found a resource you want to share for research in California!


California GenWeb Project

California Genealogical Society

2201 Broadway, Suite LL2,
Oakland, CA 94612-3031
Tel. (510) 663-1358 FAX (510) 663-1596

The Society's Mission Statement:
The mission of CGS is to help people trace and compile their family histories. To accomplish this, the Society maintains a library, gathers and preserves vital records, disseminates information through its publications and internet access, and teaches genealogical research methods through meetings, seminars and workshops.

California Historical Society

678 Mission Street,
San Francisco CA 94105
voice 415.357.1848 || fax 415.357.1850

Our mission is to inspire and empower Californians to make the past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives.

The current CHS headquarters accommodate the administrative offices, North Baker Research Library, exhibition galleries, and museum store.

California State Archives

1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Reference Desk: (916) 653–2246
General Information: (916) 653–7715 || Fax: (916) 653–7363

About the CA State Archives

The California State Archives collects, catalogs, preserves, and provides access to the historic records of state government and some local governments. The Archives collection is primarily composed of records from California state agencies, the governor's office, the state legislature, and the State Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. The records are organized under the name of the agency or office that transferred the records to the Archives. The collections also include some private papers that have been donated to the Archives. As of January 2009, the collection consists of millions of paper documents, maps, photographs, three–dimensional artifacts, and records in other formats such as audiotape and videotape.

California State Library

State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich
Library and Courts II Building
900 N Street, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814
Voice: (916) 654-0266 || FAX: (916) 654-0064

Abour the CA State Library 'California History Section'

The California History Section holds a major collection of documents from and about California's rich history. The documents range from books, maps, newspapers, and periodicals, to pictorial materials (including daguerreotypes, lithographs, stereographs, and paintings) and ephemera (such as posters, programs, pamphlets, and sheet music). Researchers of all types—authors, historians, reporters, legislators, filmmakers, genealogists, historic preservationists, graduate students, teachers, and California citizens—visit the California History Room to use these resources. All are welcome!

Sutro Library (Genealogy and Family History)
480 Winston Drive
San Francisco, CA 94132
Voice: (415) 731-4477 | FAX (415) 557-9325

The National Archives at San Francisco

1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, California 94066-2350
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Wednesday, 4 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. (Microfilm research only)
Closed weekends and Federal holidays.

California Department of Public Health

Obtaining Birth and Death / Marriage and Divorce Records
At this time, the Office of Vital Records can only accept orders submitted by mail. Please follow the 6 Steps listed below to place your order.
  • Step 1 – Determine whether you can obtain an authorized copy or an informational copy.
    In the State of California, authorized copies of vital records can only be obtained by the individual named on the record, parents of the individual named on the record, and certain other individuals or entities specified in law. All other requestors can only obtain informational copies. All copies issued are "certified copies".

  • Step 2 - Download pamphlet for obtaining certified copies of birth and death records
    Pamphlet for Certified Copies of Birth and Death Records (PDF)
    Pamphlet for Certified Copies of Marriage or Divorce (PDF)

  • Step 3 – Download and complete the application form (and sworn statement if appropriate – see “Note” in Step 3)
    Application for Certified Copy of Birth Certificate (PDF)
    Application for Certified Copy of Death Certificate (PDF)
    Application for Certified Copy of Marriage or Divorce Record (PDF)

  • Step 4 – Have your sworn statement notarized
    You must have your sworn statement notarized if ordering an authorized copy.
    Note: A notarized sworn statement is not needed if ordering an informational copy. However, unless an informational copy is indicated on the application form, applications received without a notarized sworn statement will be returned to the sender.

  • Step 5 – Determine certified copy fee
    A certified copy fee must accompany all requests for copies of vital records. Requests received without the appropriate fee will be returned to the sender. Make your check or money order payable to the Office of Vital Records. Checks must be drawn on a United States bank. Money orders must be drawn on a United States bank or issued by the United States Postal Service. Do not send cash. If no record is found, we will issue a Certificate of No Public Record and retain the fee for the search according to State law.
    Vital Record Fees

  • Step 6 – Mail your request to the Office of Vital Records
    Include completed application form, notarized sworn statement if requesting an authorized copy, and check or money order for the certified copy fee.* Do not send cash. Mail to:

    California Office of Vital Records
    MS 5103
    P.O. Box 997410
    Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

    If using a courier service that requires a physical address for delivery, please use the following address:
    California Office of Vital Records
    MS 5103
    1501 Capitol Avenue
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    NOTE: Before submitting your application to the Office of Vital Records, please view our processing times to make sure they are acceptable for your needs. If not, you should submit your request to the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the birth or death took place.

    *Note: Fees are deposited upon receipt.
NOTE: Concerning Confidential Information on Birth Record -- The bottom portion of the birth certificate (entitled "Confidential Information for Public Health Use") contains confidential personal information (race, occupation, and medical data - including pregnancy history). Health and Safety Code Section 102430 allows this confidential information to be included on an authorized copy only when specifically requested by the person named on the certificate, the mother listed on the certificate, or the parent who signed the certificate (a father may only receive a confidential copy if he signed the child's birth certificate). Because a confidential birth certificate contains very personal information, it is not commonly used (or needed) for identification, travel, school, or sports-related purposes. If requesting a birth certificate that contains the confidential information, please write "Confidential Copy" on the application form.


Land Patents Database contains the following information for each land transaction: date, location (township, range, section, meridian), name of person the land was patented to, case type, conveyance type, county, case number and the patent document identification number.