USGenWeb Archives Church Records Project


Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists were the largest religious groups in California in the 19th century. The first Catholic missions were organized in 1769. Most of the mission records begin in 1770 and are on film. The Family History Library and the Bancroft Library, at the University of California at Berkeley have extensive collections of early records. There are a gazillion books on California Missions, and the following publications are only a few which can help you locate vital record information:

  • An Alphabetical Listing of the California Mission Vital Records, Thomas W. Temple III
  • A Select Guide to California Catholic History, Francis J. Weber
  • The Parochial Books of the California Missions, 1961, J.N. Bowman
  • Genealogical Research in the Records of the California Missions, Genealogical Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, Noel R. Barton
  • Calendar of Documents in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives, Maynard J. Geiger
Many original mission records and other Catholic records have been gathered into central repositories. These include:


Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Tel (805) 682-4713

Diocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel (213) 637-7000

Diocese of Sacramento
Historical Archives
2110 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818-2541
Tel (916) 733-0299

Diocese of San Diego
3888 Paducah Drive
San Diego, CA 92117
Tel (619) 490-8200


Holt-Atherton Church Archives
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
Tel (209) 946-2404


San Francisco Theological Seminary Library
2 Kensington Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Tel (415) 258-6636

The USGenWeb Archives are dependent of volunteers, people just like you, donating their time by transcribing public domain records or other non-copyrighted primary sources. Transcribing records is an incredible gift to the present and future researcher. It requires dedication and patient attention to detail, but is not complicated. Your file contributions help build this repository for all researchers to come.


The USGenWeb Archives Church Records Project was founded 1 August 2000
Church Records Project Coordinator - Kelly Mullins
Assistant Coordinator - Tina S. Vickery
HTML coding & original page design by Kelly Mullins


All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged researching their family origins. Any commercial use or electronic publishing on another site without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages does so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.

Information last updated on 17 Jun 2000.
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