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Contents

Tips
  • If at first you don't find a name, try again under another spelling.
  • Photocopy each ancestor's census. Identify where you found it.
  • Look for an ancestor in every census during her or his lifetime.
  • On the family group record show each person's census listings.
  • Study others in the same household, neighbors, and anyone with the similar names nearby on the census in community context.


  • For a list of the exact date of each federal census, click here.

Online California indexes and images

1880-1940

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of California 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
1940 indexes Link - Link
Link
- - Link Link Link Link -
images Link - Link
Link
Link
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Link
1930 indexes Link - - Link Link Link Link Link Link
images - Link - Link Link Link Link Link - Link
1920 indexes Link - - Link - Link Link Link Link -
images - Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link
1910 indexes Link - - Link - Link Link Link Link -
images - Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link
1900 indexes Link Soundex - Link - Link Link Link Link -
images Link Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link
partial 1890 indexes - - - - - Link Link Link - -
images - - - - - - - - - -
1880 indexes Link Soundex - Link - Link Link Link Link -
images - Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link

1790-1870

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of California 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
1870 indexes Link - - Link - Link Link Link Link -
images - Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link
1860 indexes Link - - Link Link Link Link Link Link Link
images Link Link - Link Link Link Link Link - Link
partial 1850 indexes Link - - - - Link Link Link Link -
images Link Link - Link - Link Link Link - Link
partial 1834 Colonial indexes - - - - - Link Link Link - -
images - - - - - - - - - -
partial 1796-98 Colonial indexes - - - - - Link Link Link
images - - - - - - - - - -
partial 1790 Colonial indexes - - Link - - Link Link Link
images - - Tran-
script
- - Link Link Link
  Family Search Internet Archive Misc.  Heritage Quest Fold3 Ancestry FHL  Ancestry Library  Ancestry Home Archives Family Link
Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card) Pay


Federal population schedules

Microfilm Images

Federal Census Microfilms Available from the Family History Library
1940 N/A 1910 and Soundex 1870    
1930 1900 and Soundex 1860
1920 and Soundex 1880 and Soundex 1850


Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the population schedules of California, click here

Federal non-population schedules

Online indexes and images

Online Federal Non-Population Schedules for California

Free Free at Some Libraries(usually with library card) Pay
Year Type Record Search Heritage Quest Ancestry FHL Ancestry Library Ancestry Home
1880 Defective Link - Link Link Link
1880 Mortality Link - Link Link Link
1870 Mortality Link - Link Link Link
1860 Mortality Link - Link Link Link
1850 Mortality Link - Link Link Link

Microfilm images

Family History Library Federal Census Non-Population Schedule Microfilms for California

National Archives Federal Census Non-Population ScheduleMicrofilms for California

  • 1935 Census of Business

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the non-population schedules of California, click here.

State, territorial, and colonial censuses

California often took censuses in the years between the federal censuses, the dates are listed below. State census records may have columns that were different or more unusual than those found on federal censuses. The responses and years of coverage may give additional information on the family.

California
1852 State[8]
1844 Los Angeles[9]
1837 Santa Barbara[10]
1836 Los Angeles[11], Monterey[12]
1834 Santa Barbara[13]
1816 Los Angeles[14]
1808 Monterey[12]
1804 Monterey[12]
1798 San Antonio, and Soledad[8]
1797-1798 San Luis Obispo[8]
1796 San Carlos[8]
1790 Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara[10][15]
1788 Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Villa Branciforte[8]
  • The California State Library and the Family History Library have copies of a state census of 1852 FHL 909229-909234. This census gives information on the entire household, including an individual's state or country of birth and last residence.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

California 1852 State Census (FamilySearch Historical Records)

  • Pre-statehood lists (called padrons) of Spanish, Mexican, and Indian residents have been published in The Quarterly (Historical Society of Southern California), Volumes 15, 18, 41-43, 54 FHL 979.4 B2s. Especially helpful are the Los Angeles censuses of 1790, 1836, and 1844. The original records are scattered among various archives. The Family History Library has copies on microfilm.

Existing and lost censuses

For a list of available and missing California censuses, click here.

Why use a census?

A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor's family lived and when they lived there. You can also use censuses to follow the changes in a family over time, and identify neighbors. These and other clues provided by censuses are important because they help find additional kinds of records about the family.

More about censuses

Click here for additional details about how to use censuses, such as:

Sources and footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 FamilySearch, a free online service of the Family History Library, including free images of many federal censuses.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Internet Archive, a free online service includes free images of most of the federal censuses.
  3. 3.0 3.1 HeritageQuest has arranged with many subscribing public libraries in the United States to allow users free access on home computers by means of their personal library card numbers. HeritageQuest provides images of all surviving 1790 to 1930 federal censuses, and indexes to many but not all of them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fold3, formerly known as Footnote.com, a subscription site partnering with the National Archives and includes some federal censuses. Free access is available at many public libraries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Ancestry.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources. They have three online editions: (1) an FHL edition free only at the Family History Library and a few Family History Centers, (2) a slightly smaller Library edition free only at some public libraries, and (3) a Home edition subscription service for individuals.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Archives.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal census records, among other sources.
  7. 7.0 7.1 FamilyLink.com, a subscription site that provides online images (and some indexes) to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 21-26.
  9. Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 21-26, citing the Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, 42 (1960).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mrs. Joseph M. Northrop, California Collection (Typescript, Los Angeles, Calif.: Northrop, 1958)[FHL Book 979.4 D4n; Film 1421704 item 12].
  11. Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 21-26, citing the Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, 18 (1936).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Catholic Church, Monterey (California), "Extracts of Monterey municipal censuses, 1804-1836" Microfilm of photocopy of original typescript. (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 197-.)[FHL Film 944282 Item 12].
  13. Ancestry.com, "California Census, 1790-1890" at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3535 (accessed 4 January 2010).
  14. Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 21-26, citing the Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, 43 (1961).
  15. "1790 Padron (census) of California" (Typescript [photocopy], copied from Las Familias de California section in Southern California Historical Society Quarterly.)[FHL Book 979.4 A1 no. 67; Film 1036747 Item 6].

 

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  • This page was last modified on 7 May 2012, at 21:00.
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