California, County Birth and Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
California, United States
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Flag of California
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type County Birth and Death Records
Collection years 1800-1994
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes birth and death records from 1800 to 1994.

The collection consists of images of registers, records, and certificates of county birth and death records acquired from county courthouses. This collection contains some delayed birth records, as well. Some city and towns records are also included. Records have not been acquired for the following counties:

Contra Costa Modoc Siskiyou
Imperial Napa Solano
Kern San Francisco Tulare
Kings San Mateo Ventura
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994.

Collection Content

Sample Image


What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Birth records may include the following information:

  • Child's birth date
  • Place of birth
  • Name of Child
  • Gender
  • Race or Color
  • Number of children in family
  • Living or stillborn
  • Names of Parents
  • Race and nativity of parents
  • Father's occupation
  • Parents' birth place
  • Age of parents
  • Residence
  • Maiden name of mother
  • Legitimacy of child


Death records may include the following information:

  • Death date
  • Place of death
  • Name of deceased
  • Age at death
  • Gender
  • Nativity
  • Cause of Death
  • Attending physician

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The date of birth or death.
  • The place where the birth or death occurred.
  • The names of known relatives or associates.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "County/Town" category
⇒Select the “Record Type, Date Range and Volume" category which takes you to the images

Look at each image. Again you will need to compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. 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 wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s birth or death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. 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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

The following examples show ways you can use the information:

  • Use the names and relationships as a basis for compiling family groups.
  • Use the names, date, and residence or place to locate the individual or family in the census.
  • Use the names and places to locate additional records about the individual or family such as church and land records.
  • Use ages listed to determine approximate birth dates.
  • 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.
  • If the record is a death record look for burial and probate records in the same location.
  • If the record is a birth record look for records of the parents.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the images.
  • Search the records of neighboring counties.
  • Search for an index. Local historical and genealogical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

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 support@familysearch.org. 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.

Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. County courthouses, California.

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, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.