Did you know that 1 out of every 8 Americans is a Californian? Since its admission to the Union on September 9, 1850, it has been one of the fastest growing states in population. California’s population grew from an estimated 26,000 before the Gold Rush in 1848 to just under 380,000 in the 1860 U.S. Census, and has been the most populous state in the U.S since the early 1960s.
The Golden State – with its rich agricultural promise, its amazing vistas, its variety of technological companies, and the glitter of the entertainment industry – has always attracted many new inhabitants.
California was settled initially by the Spanish in 1769 in San Diego. By 1823, they had built twenty-one missions stretching from San Diego to Sonoma along El Camino Real, “The King’s Highway.” Ask any graduate of the 4th grade in California and they can tell you all about the mission they did for their California Mission Project. And their parents, no doubt can tell you all about the last minute chaos as they finished the project.
Both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous 48 states are in California: Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) and Mount Whitney (elevation 14,496).
And we’ve just added a California Research Guide to help you get a new start on your California ancestors. And don’t forget to check out our other Research Guides as we build out our collection in 2014. We’ve already added Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and Alaska.
In 1872 California began requiring that registers be kept recording births, marriages, and deaths. Marriages needed to be recorded within 30 days. Births and deaths had to be recorded at the end of each quarter, with a fee attached of 25 cents per name. A fine of 50 dollars for not recording an event was incentive to adhere to the policy. In 1905, the filing requirement was changed to within five days after the event for births and deaths and three days for marriages, and copies were sent to the state.
And we’ve just added over 100,000 records in our latest California data collection: California, Birth Records from Select Counties, 1872-1987
So get ready to rediscover The Golden State!
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.