Find records from California's Spanish missions.
Mission San Luis Rey (top) was founded in 1798. Original records, such as this baptismal register, are fragile and difficult to read.
Baptism, marriage and burial registers of California's historic Spanish missions have always been accessible to few scholars. The originals, scattered across various archives, are too brittle to handle. If you can find microfilm copies, good luck interpreting the 18th-century Spanish script. The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., gives you a peek at these registers in the Early California Population Project <www.huntington.org/lnformation/ECPPmain.htm>. This online database contains transcribed information on Indians, soldiers and settlers of Alta California (roughly, the current state of California) from 1769 to 1850. Records include 101,000 baptisms, 27,000 marriages and 71,000 burials from 21 missions, the Los Angeles Plaza Church and the Santa Barbara Presidio.