12 California Genealogy Sites & Resources You Need to Be Using

California genealogy records

Photo Credit: *~Dawn~* via Compfight cc

If you’re in the midst of your genealogy research, or just looking to start, and it’s centering around the state of California, you’re in luck. Here at Crestleaf, we’ve put together ten of the best sites for California genealogy records, family history resources and blogs that you can find.

No matter what level of researcher you are, these are resources that will be of great use to you. Every little bit helps when you’re building a comprehensive family tree!

1) CaliforniaGenealogy.org

This is a great all-encompassing resources for California family researchers, as it includes everything from genealogy records (broken down a variety of ways, all the way to Indian tribes and gold rush “most wanted” lists) and cemetery records to books that have been uploaded to the site to aid you in your quest for information.

2) California Genealogical Society & Library

If you’re serious about your genealogy research in California, you’re definitely going to want to get acquainted with the California Genealogical Society. It offers a lot of different resources, but the events calendar is definitely something you’ll want to watch closely, as it gives you a lot of opportunities to meet fellow genealogists, take advantage of your membership (if you have one), learn about different processes and research techniques, take classes and more.

3) Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library

Now, if you live in Southern California, this is another group that you’ll want to know. In addition to a free searchable database on the site, along with blogs, publications and more, SCGS membership includes everything from access to different content on the website and educational opportunities to webinars, seminars & workshops, field trips, guided research trips, a monthly lunch-and-learn and more.

4) California Genealogy and History Guide

This site gives you everything you need to conduct your California genealogy research: census records, a county list, courthouses, various genealogy societies (like the ones we mentioned above), historical museums, mailing lists, marriage records, land records, pioneer lists and more. A great site to keep handy as you dig deeper into your family’s background.

5) Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

Elyse is a well-known genealogy researcher who has spoken at a number of genealogy society meetings and conferences. She also shares her knowledge on her blog, where she writes about a wide range of topics, including tips and tricks, her own family research findings, various reviews and more. She also provides a “Freebies” section on the site where she offers readers a pack of six forms that she regularly uses in her own genealogy research.

6) The Ancestor Hunt – California Genealogy 

Here is another comprehensive – and constantly growing – resource for California genealogists. Need access to statewide and/or county resources? Archives and libraries? Genealogical and historical societies? Newspapers, photos and maps?! You got it!

7) Genea-Musings

This is one of the best genealogy blogs out there, written by Randy Seaver, who just so happens to be a Californian. His blog offers research tips and techniques, news items and commentary, genealogy humor, family history research and his own family history stories, along with San Diego genealogy society news.

8) The Educated Genealogist 

As a member of the California Genealogical Society and Library, the National Genealogical Society, the California State Genealogical Alliance and more, you know you’re going to be getting some great information from Sheri Fenley. That includes a whole bunch of resources, including different scholarships and opportunities for awards. She also writes about her own research projects and family branches, which offers fellow genealogists a different perspective on the craft.

9) The Family Curator

This blog is great because it’s devoted to “preserving and sharing our family treasures.” If you have a number of family heirlooms and artifacts that have become part of your researching journey, this is the must-read blog for you.

10) Crestleaf

Crestleaf is important to California genealogy enthusiasts for a number of reasons. First, you can search through our California surname database for the names in California’s history:

And even better, as you continue to build your research and build your family tree, you can upload all of your findings – including photos, family artifacts, the family tree itself and any other documents – in our system so you can stay organized as you continue to move forward.

11) California State Library – California Genealogy Resources

Always remember that libraries are excellent resources for finding records and other genealogical information of your family. The California State Library has a wealth of information from: census records, voting records, city and county directories, telephone directories and historical newspapers from around the state. This can help supplement your research on California vital records which can be found on the California Department of Public Health website.

12) California Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Records

California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records. Services provided by Vital Records include:

  • Issuing certified copies of California birth and death records that are on file from 1905 to the present.
  • Maintaining a central registry of California marriages and divorces
  • Preparing new certificates for adoptions and changes in paternity information
  • Correcting and amending vital records as authorized by State law
  • Issuing certified copies of California fetal death and still birth certificates.