Was your ancestor a 49-er? In the two years following the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, 90,000 gold seekers poured into California. San Francisco, a tiny town of 900 in 1849, mushroomed to more than 5,000 by the following summer and 25,000 in the fall of 1850. The demographics of the gold seekers are clearly seen in the 1850 California census: 73 percent were between 20 and 40 years old, and 92 percent were men. Of those, a quarter came from foreign lands.
If your ancestor had gold fever, here are some of our favorite Web sites to find out more:
• DistantCousin, California Census Transcriptions Online
• California GenWeb
• Gold Rush!
• Sutter Describes the Discovery of Gold
• Memoirs of the Gold Rush
• The Great American Gold Rush