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Source Information

Ancestry.com. California Birth Index, 1905-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.

About California Birth Index, 1905-1995

This database is an index to over 24.5 million births occurring in California between 1905 and 1995. Information contained in this index includes:

  • Child's name (names may be truncated at 8 letters)
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Birth county
  • Mother's maiden name (names may be truncated at 8 letters)

If possible, it is important that you use the information found in this index to order a copy of the birth certificate, as the certificate may provide additional information about the child or the parents. For information on how to order a copy of a birth certificate, visit the California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics website.

Vital records in California have been kept by the state registrar of vital statistics since 1 July 1905. Earlier vital records are entered in the county where the event took place. Pre-1905 records in the counties may be quite slim. In Sacramento County, for example, only three births were entered for the period 1858 and 1874, and only forty-three deaths between 1858 and 1864. Marriages, on the other hand, seem to have been recorded more regularly. Some court-ordered delayed birth certificates have been registered by the state registrar. For all vital records, contact the California Department of Health Services, Office of Vital Records, 304 "S" St., Sacramento, CA 95814 (Mailing address: P.O. Box 730241, Sacramento, CA 94244-0241). There is no statewide index that includes the pre-1905 records held by counties; however, the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City has microfilm copies of many pre-1905 California vital records.

Taken from Dwight A. Radford, Thelma Berkley Walsmith, and Nell Sachse Woodard, "California," in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, ed. Alice Eichholz. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004).

Vital records can be great sources of genealogical information. Besides providing the name of the person for whom the record was created, vital records can provide a wealth of other information. Birth records will generally, but not always, contain the following information: Child--name, birthplace, date of birth, sex, hospital, time of birth; Father--name, race, birthplace, age, occupation; Mother--name, race, birthplace, age, occupation, residence, term of residence in the community, term of pregnancy, marital status, number of other living children, number of other deceased children, number of children born dead.

Modern (post-1910) birth records are maintained by the states. They are extremely valuable, but many researchers, learning birth information from home sources, fail to obtain birth certificates. This reluctance is most unfortunate and can result in an inaccurate or incomplete family genealogy. Modern birth records contain much more information than earlier records. Although birth certificates vary from state to state, most of them share much information in common.

Taken from Johni Cerny, "Research in Birth, Death, and Cemetery Records," in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997).

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