Saturday, January 16, 2016

California Birth Record Registrations Start

Some background info from Ancestry's California Birth Index, 1905-1995.

I've used the California birth index regularly since I started doing genealogy on Ancestry, the first search naturally being my own birth (it's there!).  It is a great source for finding birthdate and the child's mother's maiden name.

But these records didn't just magically happen, of course.  In the years leading up the July 1, 1905, there was a push to make vital records like births mandatory, as evidenced by this plea by "T.C. Stockton, Health Officer" in San Diego in 1901*** ("Attention to the Law: Health Officer Desires It. Notices Being Mailed to Physicians," San Diego Union (San Diego, California), Saturday, 27 April 1901, p 5, col 3; digital images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 16 Jan 2016).
Notice he mentions the San Diego city charter laws (Article IX of Chapter 3, sections 3 and 4) as well as the Ordinance No. 193 (in the city charter?), which required vital and interment records kept.  He also made a personal plea to "the physicians of the city" to keep good records.

In the beginning of July 1905 newspapers across California began publishing notices about the new law, which included a mailing out of "blanks" (forms), according to this mention*** in the Evening Tribune ("Business for Supervisors: New Blanks," Evening Tribune (San Diego, California), Monday, 3 Jul 1905, p 5, col 4; digital image, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 16 Jan 2016).

Here is a more thorough explanation*** from San Francisco/Oakland ("Family History Must Be Given," San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), Wednesday, 12 Jul 1905, p13, col 3; digital image, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 16 Jan 2016).

I am a bit dismayed that I was unable to ascertain an online source for either the city charter or the specific state legislation mentioned in the San Francisco article.  I have a lot more to learn about researching California state and San Diego law history, obviously.  I am guessing that the law for the state-wide collection of vital records was probably passed in 1904.

***You must be a GenealogyBank subscriber to view these links.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. Christine I love your blog and am a frequent reader. Because I like your blog so much and don't want you to get into trouble, I think you should read what Judy Russell has to say about posting images of newspaper clippings from GenealogyBank on blogs and websites -
    Heather Rojo also addresses this issue -

  2. I just wrote GenealogyBank an email to ask about how to ask for permission for use of their content. I read the two blogs you recommended and I hope I won't have to take down this post, but I would like some clarity from GenealogyBank. Hopefully I can wrap my head around what exactly I CAN use from that service.

    Thanks for the heads up, Sheri!

    1. Great! Keep us posted when Genealogybank gives you an answer. Keep up the great writing!

    2. I've written a post about it, Sheri.