California, San Francisco County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at


Record Description

The collection consists of records from San Francisco County, California for the years 1824 to 1997. The collection includes the following:

  • General index
  • Alphabetical newspaper clipping file of the "San Francisco Examiner"
  • Death reports
  • Deeds and indexes
  • Marriage certificates, licenses and indexes
  • Naturalization records and indexes
  • Coroner's records
  • Alien registrations

This collection is being published as images become available.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, San Francisco County Records, 1824-1997.

Coverage Map

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of California marriages, click here.

Record Content

Naturalization indexes generally include the following:

  • The name of registrar
  • Where registrar is living at time of registration
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Nativity (Where born)
  • When Naturalized
  • Where Naturalized
  • Date of Registration

Probate indexes generally include the following:

  • Full name of individual
  • Deceased, Incompetent, or Minor
  • Volume and Page number

Marriage licenses generally include the following:

  • Name of groom
  • Age of groom
  • Name of bride
  • Age of bride
  • When and where couple was married
  • Names of witnesses

Death reports generally include the following:

  • Name of person reporting case
  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Age, gender, civil status, occupation, and race of deceased
  • Residence
  • Cause of death

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Type of record
  • Identifying information such as the age or event date or place

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Record Category"
⇒ Select the "Record Type, Volume, and Year Range" which takes you to the images.

Many of these volumes have indexes at the beginning or end. You should search these first. If your ancestor is in the index download a copy or write down the page numbers listed for your ancestor. You can then quickly turn to those pages.

If you do not find your ancestor in the index, look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors. The following examples show ways you can use the information:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records, such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. This is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for an index or for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Genealogy and History for San Francisco Bay Area

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"California, San Francisco County Records, 1824-1997." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing San Francisco Public Library.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for California, San Francisco County Records, 1824-1997.

Image Citation

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, San Francisco County Records, 1824-1997.


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  • This page was last modified on 10 September 2015, at 15:50.
  • This page has been accessed 16,275 times.