The California State Library and theBancroft Library at the University of California-Berkeley have major collections of California biographies. Use the Online Archive of California to search for materials in those libraries as well as other repositories throughout the state.
Between 1929 and 1962 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) prepared a 26-volume biographical collection, Records of the Families of California Pioneers. It is found at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and at the Family History Library on films 844436-46. Each volume has an every-name index. Indexes to the principal persons found in this collection can be found:
- online at DAR California Pioneers
- Robert L. Davignon, Pioneers of California Index (Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1986; Family History Library book 979.4 D32pi 1986; film 1421606 item 7; another copy on fiche 6051447).
There are many published statewide, regional, and county biographical collections. Many have been digitized and are available on Internet Archive. (California Biography) The Family History Library has volumes both in print and on microfilm. Search WorldCat using names, biography and places to uncover books, articles, manuscript collections and more. Be sure to read mateials by those who were in the same place at the same time as your ancestors for background information.
County Histories are a wonderful source of biographical information for those who settled in and remained in an area before they were printed. An index of biographies published in 61 county histories from 1855 to 1898 was compiled in 1979 by J. Carlyle Parker.
UC California Digital Archives - Biographies - Regents of the University of California
- An Index to the Biographies in the 19th Century California County Histories, Gale Genealogy and Local History Series, Volume 7 (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1979. Family History Library book )