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California Fast Facts and Key Resources

By Nancy Hendrickson Premium

Fast Facts

  • Statehood: 1850First federal census: 1850
  • Available state census: 1852 (1849 for US territory census)
  • Statewide birth and death records begin: 1905
  • Statewide marriage records begin: 1905
  • Public-land state
  • Counties: 58 (27 original counties)
  • Contact for vital records: California Department of Health Services, Office of Vital Records, MS 5103, Box 997410, Sacramento, CA 95899, (916) 445-2684

Key Resources

Websites

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Publications

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  • The California Indians: A Source Book edited by Robert Fleming Heizer (University of California Press)
  • California Pioneer Register and Index, 1542-1848 by Hubert H. Bancroft (Janaway Publishing)
  • California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names by Erwin G. Gudde and William Bright (University of California Press)
  • Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California by J.S. Holiday (University of California Press)
  • Spanish Mexican Families of Early California by Marie E. Northrop (Southern California Genealogical Society

Archives & Organizations

Timeline

1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrives in San Diego

1579:
Sir Francis Drake lands north of San Francisco and claims the territory for England

1769:
Father Junipero establishes California’s first mission, San Diego de Alcala

1812:
Russian fur traders found Fort Ross in what’s now Sonoma County

1821: Mexico wins independence from Spain and takes control of California

1846: Americans establish California Republic

1860: The Pony Express arrives in Sacramento

1887: Prohibitionist Horace Wilcox founds Hollywood

1910: Angel Island immigration station opens

1937: Golden Gate Bridge is completed

1967: Up to 100,000 converge on San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district for the Summer of Love

 
1989: The 7.1-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake hits San Francisco
 

Modern County Boundaries Map

 
 

 

From the January/February 2017 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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