Friday, June 1, 2007

California Vital Records

California is one of the states with fairly open vital records. Births, marriages and deaths can be searched online at:

1) BIRTHS - 1905 to 1995 are available on:

a) You can search on first name, last name, county, mother's maiden name, birth day, month, year, or any combination thereof.

b) The same database is available at if you are a Premium Member. For those that aren't Premium members, you have to use a Guest Pass (give them an email address and they will email one to you). You can search by last name only (four letters maximum, with % as a wild card) The results are in first name alphabetical order and you can page through the entries (30 to a page). This works OK for uncommon surnames, but is nearly impossible for common surnames. You cannot skip ahead to a certain given name - you have to go one page at a time. As an example, I can find Crouch entries by entering Crou% and get 3,103 results, many of them Crouch.

2) MARRIAGES - 1949 to 1986. Online marriage records are at the site. With a Premium membership you can search both of the bride and groom marriage lists. Without a membership, you can access the Bride marriage list for 1986 only. Until recently, any searcher could enter the marriage index for 1949 to 1959 and 1960 to 1985. The 1949 to 1959, and 1986, records are scanned lists from microfiche, and the 1960 to 1985 records are in an SQL database.

There are microfiche indexes of the 1960 to 1985 marriage indexes available at the LDS Family History Center in Mission Valley (and other locations, I'm sure). Carlsbad Library has a microfiche index for San Diego County marriages from about 1905 to 1985 on the shelf in the Genealogy collection.

3) DEATHS - 1905 to 2000. There are several online portals for death indexes:

a) has Deaths for 1940 to 1997 in their offerings. You can input first name, last name, county, mother's maiden name, father's surname, death day, month, year, and birth day, month, year, etc.

b) (free access) has Deaths for 1940 to 1997 - similar to, but with more listings for some reason. You can input birth place (state or OTHER) and death place (County), but can input only a birth year or death year.

c) has death indexes from 1905 to 2000. Unless you are a Premium Member, you will have to use a guest pass, but using the system is not onerous (like births) or restrictive (like marriages). There are three databases here:

* 1905 to 1929 in scanned images,
* 1930 to 1939 in scanned images, and
* 1940 to 2000 in an SQL database.

You have to scroll through the scanned images, but can input last, first and middle names, birth day, month, year, death day, month, year, county of death, birthplace (state), mother's last name, father's last name, SSN, age, etc.

There are other sources for California births, marriages and deaths, but they are not comprehensive. See the lists at for births and marriages, and for deaths.

If you know of additional resources, please let me know!

1 comment:

Frank said...

Interesting post Randy!! Vital Records