California Birth Records and Announcements in Newspapers 1846 - 1999
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California Birth Records
Are you trying to uncover your family history?
California birth records are some of the most valuable resources available. However, states were rarely diligent in the filing and storing of these records. It’s not uncommon for birth records to be scattered across different archives, depending on which era they’re from.
Looking through the California birth index manually is time-consuming and difficult. GenealogyBank makes it easy by compiling all birth records in California into one easily searchable online database.
Just some of the reasons why it’s worth taking the time to look into California birth records include:
- Build your family tree in California.
- Learn about long-lost family members.
- Compile your family story for future generations.
Our online database contains more than 200 years of American history and records. Plus, 95% of GenealogyBank records are unavailable through any other online service, making this your most important family research tool.
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How to Search Birth Records in California
One of the most frustrating parts of family research is a lack of standardization regarding recordkeeping. Many states didn’t even keep records of births within their territory before a certain date, and birth records in California are no exception.
We make it easy for you to find your family history by combining birth records from all the major collections in one place.
To aid in building your story, download our free guide on “Tips for Searching TITLES” to expand your research.
If you need to search the California birth index, here’s what you need to know before you begin your research.
- Step One - Enter the first and last names of your relative. If you have any middle names, this will make your results more accurate. Alternatively, try surname research.
- Step Two - Add keywords, such as the town you believe your ancestor was born in or even the name of the hospital.
- Step Three - Exclude keywords to narrow down your results. Adding exclusions will prevent you from looking at the birth records of people with no relation to you.
- Step Four - Include a year range. Even if you don’t know the exact year when a specific person was born, entering a rough estimation could yield the birth record you’re searching for.
- Step Five - Change the sorting filters. Don’t just look at the first results that come up. Order your results by showing the best matches, looking at the latest entries, or looking at the oldest entries.
Tips for a Successful California Birth Records Search
It’s not uncommon to be led astray by results for people who share similar names but are actually unrelated to you. One mistake could lead you down the wrong path, so it’s important to find the right relatives.
When searching through California birth records, you can implement some important strategies to ensure you get accurate results.
Here are our top tips for a successful search of the California birth index:
- Older records don’t always include the name of the person born, believe it or not. Instead, we recommend searching by surname, particularly when dealing with earlier records.
- Can’t find an ancestor? Search for other family members around the same period to find that elusive birth record.
- Search for common misspellings. Records were often compiled verbally, so mistakes were frequent.
- Look for the mother’s name. Illegitimate children were often registered under their mother’s names.
Sifting through birth records in California can be exciting, but when you’re dealing with more than two centuries worth of history, it can get confusing quickly.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider beginning your research closer to the modern-day and working your way backward. Sometimes it’s better to begin your research with more recent relatives then working your way back to the past.
What is the California Birth Index?
Each state within the U.S. has its own system for registering births. Although some of the details have varied throughout history, all states have kept some type of birth index.
The California birth index is your primary source for looking up the births of lost relatives who you know lived in California.
These records will generally give the following information:
- Child’s name
- Place of birth
- Names of the parents
In some cases, only the mother’s name may be present. This occurs when the father is not present, or the mother chose not to add the father’s name.
You should also be aware that corrected records of birth can be a factor. These occur if a name is added to the certificate or a name is changed.
For more recent records, you may still be able to request a physical copy. Every state has its own rules on how long they keep physical records.
However, GenealogyBank maintains total and complete digital records of all birth records in California, so there’s no need to worry. You’ll always have access to the birth certificates of your ancestors.