California, Collections of the California Genealogical Society (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, Collections of the California Genealogical Society, 1700-1942 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
California, United States
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type Genealogical Society
Collection years 1700-1942
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What Is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1700 to 1942. The digital images may only be used by registered users of FamilySearch.

The records consist of genealogical collections located at the California Genealogical Society in Oakland. They include:

  • Original ledger listing burials in the San Francisco Odd Fellows (IOOF) cemetery, 1866-1905. The cemetery no longer exists.
  • Records of the San Francisco IOOF crematory and columbarium, 1865-1932. Includes records for individual cremations and inurnments as well as papers pertaining to the organization.
  • San Francisco Probate Register of Actions, 1906-1942. Ledgers listing all actions pertaining to each probate case in the period covered.
  • Surname index to vital records appearing in the Alta California and other Northern California newspapers, 1860-1861.
  • Records of the Phillips family in America, compiled by Henry Byron Phillips, former President of the California Genealogical Society. Each index card contains information on a specific individual related to the Phillips family.
  • Papers and index cards pertaining to the descendants and ancestors of Humphrey Griffin of Ipswich, Massachusetts, covering the period from 1600 to 1943.Compiled by Charles Frances Griffin, MD, former President of the California Genealogical Society.

The collection is arranged by sub-collection and then date. The California Genealogical Society (CGS) was the first genealogical society formed in California, organized in San Francisco on February 12, 1898. One of the premier genealogical resources in Northern California, the society maintains a library in downtown Oakland in the historic Breuner Building. The CGS Library is rich in genealogy reference materials, both standard and unique. California is the major focus with special emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area; however, the library is also particularly strong in other geographical areas such as New England, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The library has titles representing all fifty states.


To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, Collections of the California Genealogical Society, 1700-1942.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

This collection may include the following information:

  • Names
  • Birth, marriage, or death dates
  • Relationships
  • Residencies
  • Family groupings
  • Burial information

Collection Content

Coverage Map

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

Sample Image

How Do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the person
  • Birth date and place

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page. br>

  1. Select Countyl
  2. Select Town
  3. Select Record Type, Date Range and Volume

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

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


What Do I Do Next?

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record, if you can, to verify the information and to find additional information.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the locator information in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to find the event record you are looking for in the collection.
  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later.
  • Use the age or estimated birth date to find other church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find land, probate and immigration records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in censuses. Witnesses were usually family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records were kept years before counties began keeping records. They are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.


=== I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now? === 
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county.
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.

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, Collections of the California Genealogical Society, 1700-1942." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. California Genealogical Society, Oakland.

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, Collections of the California Genealogical Society, 1700-1942.


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