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Guide to Los Angeles County California genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Los Angeles Plaza 1869

Los Angeles Plaza 1869
Dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Census
Land
Probate
1849-present
1850-present 1874-present 1850-present 1850-present 1850-present
For earlier dates, try...

18 February 1850: Los Angeles County was created as one of 27 original counties[1] in the new state of California. Prior to the creation of the county, the records were either at city or Franciscan mission places.

Remember these collections


Hand and keyboard.jpg California
Online Records


Los Angeles County, California
Map
Map of California highlighting Los Angeles County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
Location of California in the U.S.
Facts
Founded February 18, 1850
County Seat Los Angeles
Courthouse
Address Los Angeles County Courthouse
12400 E Imperial Hwy
PO Box 1024
Norwalk, Ca 90650
Phone: 562.462.2137; Los Angeles Website

Contents

County Courthouse

The County Clerk has divorce records from 1880 and probate and court records
from 1850. The County Recorder has birth, marriage, death and land records[2]

Historical Facts

Parent County

18 February 1850: Los Angeles County was created as one of 27 original counties in the new state of California. Prior to the creation of the county, the records were either at city or Franciscan mission places.

County seat: Los Angeles[3] 

Boundary Changes 

The original County of Los Angeles covered a large part of Southern California including parts of what is now Kern County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Orange County. These areas split off to form San Bernardino County in 1853, Kern County in 1866, and Orange County in 1889. In 1893 part of San Bernardino County that had originally been part of Los Angeles County became part of Riverside County.[4]


For animated maps illustrating California county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Records Loss

For a list of record loss in California counties see: California Counties with Burned Courthouses

Places/Localities

Populated Places

Los Angeles County contains 88 incorporated cities (2010) and many more named places. Los Angeles City also contains a large number of named areas many of which had their origins before they were annexed into Los Angeles.

Cities: Beverly Hills, Burbank, Compton, Los Angeles, Whittier, San Marino, more cities...

Communities: Hacienda Heights, South Whittier, Topanga, Universal City, East Los Angeles, more...

Neighboring Counties

Resources

Biography

Local histories and biographies of the Los Angeles area are numerous. The Calfornia GenWeb project has created name indexes for some of these books. To see those, click here.

Courtesy of the Long Beach Public Library, historic photos of Long Beach are available to see here. Long Beach Photos.

Ancestry.com ($) has an online searchable copy of Greater Los Angeles & Southern California : portraits & personal memoranda. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1910. The use of Ancestry is free at many libraries. Also available at some libraries (WorldCat).

Cemeteries

For a list with cemetery names, contact information, and some lists of names of deceased, see Cemeteries in the City of Los Angeles. It shows the numerous cemeteries in Los Angeles and Hollywood, which is part of the city.

Cemeteries in the County of Los Angeles lists the cemeteries in the county, but not in the city itself. This includes San Pedro and Wilmington.

A book was made with cemetery inscriptions from Sunnyside Cemetery, Long Beach; Long Beach Municipal Cemetery; and Wilmington Cemetery, Wilmington:

  • Some Early Southern California Burials. Questing Heirs Genealogical Society, Long Beach, California, 1974. Available at various libraries (WorldCat). The online version is here.

FindaGrave is also an excellent source for burial information.

To see the US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription project, click here.

Census

For tips on accessing Los Angeles County, California census records online, see: California Census.

For information about Los Angeles city census records, see the Los Angeles wiki page.

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.

Baptist
  • Records of the First Baptist Church in Glendale, California as of June 1. 1929 can be searched here. Courtesy of the church and of the Southern California Genealogical Society.[5]
Lutheran
  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Los Angeles County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

Court Records

For the years from 1854 to 1938, the Family History Library has a microfilm series of circuit court records for Los Angeles County and other areas. These include common rule books, equity, equity decree registers, Judgement registers, common law and other items. These can be ordered and viewed at any Family History Center. To order, check the Catalog at www.familysearch.org under the Search tab.

Directories

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups

Spanish missionaries founded California and thus Hispanics were and continue to be a significant part of the population. [6] Some Italian and German settlers came early to this area as well. [7] [8]

Los Angeles County also has a significant Asian American history. [9]

For more information about religious and minority groups, see the wiki page for the city of Los Angeles.

Genealogy

The American History and Genealogy Project has a webpage with links to much helpful information; biographies of early Glendale and El Monte residents and more, histories, and newspapers, and photos of early Southern California. Find that here.

History

Local histories are available for Los Angeles County, California. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Maps

Calosangeles.png

Migration

Early migration routes to and from Los Angeles County, California for emigrant settlers included:

Military History and Records

Historical Forts

Fort Drum 1862-1871 (Wilmington) [21]

Fort McArthur 1914-1974 (San Pedro) [22]

Fort Tejon 1854-1864 (Tejon Pass near Grapevine) [23]

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Los Angeles County, California served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Los Angeles County, California:


- 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union), Company B
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company C
- 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry (Union), Company D


World War I

Second to None has a short review of the WW I activities of this division of Marines, and detailed history of the Second Division Association of Los Angeles, and a some brief biographies of its members.

Naturalization and Citizenship

The Los Angeles County Archives has records of Los Angeles County for the years 1856 to 1886:
Los Angeles County Archives
225 North Broadway
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: 562-462-2137

Newspapers

  • The Los Angeles Public Library has made available on its website an index to newspaper and periodical articles containing obituary information on renowned actors, authors, journalists, and librarians. You can search the database by name, occupation, date of death, and cause of death. The data fields in the results returned may include full name, including married name, maiden name, and nickname; sex, occupation, death date, age, place of death, and information source.

Courtesy of the Whittier Public Library:


Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Los Angeles County, California newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries

The Southern California Genealogical Society has created The Los Angeles Times Obituary Index database searchable by either first name, last name or a combination of the two. If the name is found, the index provides the year of the obituary. If a copy of the obituary is desired, then it is necessary to purchase it from the Society.  Currently the Index covers the period 1988 to 2004.

Rose Hills Memorial Park has a searchable database with some online obituaries. Burials:1914-present, Some Obituaries: 2011- present

Probate Records

The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - Los Angeles - Probate records.

Repositories

Archives, Libraries and Museums

Los Angeles FamilySearch Library
10741 Santa Monica Blvd
West Los Angeles, CA 90025
Telephone: 310-474-9990
Hours: T-W-Th 9 am-9 pm; Mon-Fri-Sat 9 am-5 pm; Closed Sun

Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library
417 Irving Dr.
Burbank, CA ~ 91504 818-843-7247

Sons of the Revolution Library
600 South Central Avenue
Glendale, California 91204-2009 Telephone: (818) 240-1775
Library and Museum Hours: Wednesdays Noon to 6:00 p.m. Thursday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday through Tuesday, Saturdays before a Monday holiday, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the entire month of December.

County of Los Angeles Public Libraries is a system of local libraries with some microfilmed newspapers and city directories and biographies. They will search for obituaries (Click the link above for their search policy.) This system has four ethnic centers: The Black Resource Center, the Asian Pacific Resource Center, the Chicano Resource Center, and the American Indian Resource Center.

County Courthouse

 County Courthouse Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012 (county seat)

Family History Centers

FamilySearch Centers are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

Schools

Long Beach High School Yearbooks: 1900s-1950s: courtesy of the Long Beach Public Library

Societies

417 Irving Dr.
Burbank, CA 91504
818.843.7247
P.O. Box 15102
Long Beach, CA 90815-0102

P.O. Box 4367
Whittier, California 90607-4367
Meetings at Masonic Lodge
7604 Greenleaf Ave.
Whittier, CA
1310-B West Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, California
P. O. Box 7369
Burbank, California 91510-7369
Telephone: 818.848.3122
Meetings: 2nd Saturday Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov at 3 pm
Los Angeles Family History Library
P.O. Box 307
Buena Park, CA 90621-0307
Meetings: Los Angeles Family History Library
10471 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: 310.474.9990

Taxation

California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder. See also How to order California Vital Records

For early marriages see the Matrimonial Investigation Records of the San Gabriel Mission, which span 1788–1861. These are notarized interviews with couples wanting to marry in the Roman Catholic Church, performed to establish the couples’ freedom to marry. The collection includes 165 investigations, with 173 men and 170 women, primarily from the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. William McPherson donated the original documents to the Claremont Colleges. Click here to see those images.

Some marriages are also on the Western States Marriage Index.

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
(for Birth, Marriage and Death records going back at least to 1852) Norwalk RR/CC Building
12400 Imperial Highway
Norwalk, CA. 90650
Office Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Friday (open 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of every month)

  • Note: There are several other sites to get birth, marriage and death records in Los Angeles County but Norwalk is the only facility that you can view records personally.

Viewing Vital Records: The following will provide you with the procedure for viewing vital records. Certificates and indexes of birth, death and marriage records not exempt from public inspections may be examined at the Office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. , Monday through Friday, except holidays. In addition to certificates on file, there are indexes of birth, death and marriages available for public inspection as follows: Births prior to 1905 and from 1964 to the present; Deaths from 1877 to the present; and Marriages from 1852 to the present. Records of confidential marriages performed pursuant to Family Code Section 500 are not available for public review. Certificates and indexes may be examined at no charge unless a deputy is requested search and/or retrieve more than five records. Random searches of the indexes or the certificates are not allowed. An application is required for each record searched. Information sufficient to identify the requested record must be provided.

Los Angeles County Death Records at the Family History Library:
Los Angeles County Death Records are available through the Family History Library System.  First, search the index film for the year the person died.  Note that in 1958-1960, there are separate film sets for different cities in Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Long Beach.
Note that entries in the county wide index with certificate numbers preceded by an "L" pertain to the Long Beach set of death certificates


The California Death Records 1940-1997 can be searched for free on Rootsweb. California Death Records

Voting Records

California county clerks were to keep voting registers every other year from 1866 and well into the 20th century. These large books, called Great Registers, listed the men who registered to vote in that county. Besides name and age, the record may show place of birth, address, occupation, naturalization date and sometimes even a physical description.

These records are at the California State Library (1866-1944), and microfilmed copies are available through Family History Centers (1866-1910). Ancestry ($) has a searchable database of Los Angeles Great Registers from 1873-1896.

Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries

Web Sites

References

  1. California State Association of Counties (accessed 1 July 2014)
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Los Angeles County, California. Page 85 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Los Angeles County, California" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County,_California (accessed 15 February 2013).
  5. Free Databases at Southern California Genealogical Society (accessed 27 June 2014).
  6. California History (accessed 25 July 2014)
  7. Germans in California at German American Pioneers (accessed 25 July 2014)
  8. Italians in Los Angeles at Southern California Historical Society (accessed 25 July 2014)
  9. LA County is the Capital of Asian America at Social Focus on KCET (accessed 25 July 2014)
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "El Camino Real (California)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Camino_Real_%28California%29 (accessed 14 September 2011).
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Old Spanish Trail (trade route)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Spanish_Trail_%28trade_route%29 (accessed 14 September 2011).
  12. "Oregon California Trails Association" at http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ (accessed 18 July 2011).
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Jefferson Hunt" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Hunt (accessed 6 September 2011).
  14. Wikipedia contributors, "Butterfield Overland Mail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfield_Overland_Mail (accessed 14 September 2011).
  15. Wikipedia contributors, "Central Overland Route" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Overland_Route (accessed 13 September 2011).
  16. Wikipedia contributors, "Union Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  17. Wikipedia contributors, "Central Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  18. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Fe Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  19. Wikipedia contributors, "Southern Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  20. Wikipedia contributors, "Atlantic and Pacific Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_and_Pacific_Railroad (accessed 14 September 2011).
  21. The California State Military Museum (accessed 1 July 2014)
  22. Fort McArthur Museum (accessed 1 July 2014)
  23. Fort Tejon Historical Association (accessed 1 July 2014)

 

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  • This page was last modified on 2 August 2014, at 01:00.
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