Sunday, December 27, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Online Archive of California

Church records can be found in lots of places that are seemingly unchurch like. A good case and point is the Online Archives of California. Now, this is mostly going to be a resource for those with Californian ancestors, however, it’s a good reminder for everyone to look everywhere when researching your family history.

The Online Archive of California (OAC) is a catalog of participating institutions and their collections. According to their website, “The Online Archive of California provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 150 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies and museums throughout California and collections by the 10 University of California campuses.” It’s sort of like searching WorldCat but in this case you are searching through numerous archives in California. For a complete list, see their website at

You can search their catalog by any keyword, including a religion. A good example can be found by searching on the term “Methodist.” Search results bring up manuscript collections, church records, meeting minutes and more (

Once you see a results you are interested in, just click on the title and you will be able to read about that collection, where it is available and in some cases, when it is a digital collection, you will be able to access it from OAC.

This catalog has an impressive collection of church records and collections having to do with religions. It has everything from records about the Catholic church in Poland,, to photographs of San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church,;query=baptist;developer=local;group=Collections;idT=fff78e7e391c4c945814033164080b32.

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