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Contributed: pre-2006

Index to the 1850 Census of the State of California

Contributed by Dan Mosier

Compiled by Alan P. Bowman, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1972.

California had 27 counties in 1850 when it joined the union. That was the year of its first Federal Census, which are now preserved on four rolls of microfilm. Bowman made it easier to find names in that census with the compilation of this index.

The index is arranged in alphabetical order by county. One major drawback of the index is the omission of three important counties: San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara. Apparently the census records for these counties were not available for the compilation.

Within each county, the surnames are listed in alphabetical order and then the given names are listed in alphabetical order. Other information given include sex, race, age, birthplace, special notes, and page leaf numbers. Special notes are referred to Table 5 where additional information on age and birthplace are given. The page leaf numbers are referred to Table 3, which gives the census date, and Table 4, which gives the town or geographic area name. Table 1 gives possible transcription errors and Table 2 gives the birthplace abbreviations.

What makes this index difficult to use is the lack of an overall surname index. This index is designed for those who already know which county to search in. But, if you don't know the county, you will have to search for the name in all 24 counties, which is essentially 24 indexes. Another thing to remember when using this index is not to forget to look at the list in the Addenda in the back of the book where names in eleven counties were added after the major compilation was completed.

Some libraries and archives that have the above item:

  • Berkeley, Berkeley Public Library, 929.3 B684i, ref.
  • Berkeley, University of California Berkeley Bancroft Library, F860 .B7658 Reference
  • Burlingame, Burlingame Public Library, R929.3794 B684i
  • Daly City, Serramonte Branch Public Library, R317.94 B-HISTORICAL
  • Hayward, California State University Hayward Library, F860.B6 Periodical
  • Los Angeles, University of California Los Angeles Spec Coll Library, F 860 B68i
  • National Archives Branch, Federal Bldg, Laguna Niguel
  • Oakland, Oakland Main Library, 929.3 BO, ref.
  • Pleasanton, Pleasanton Branch Library, 929.3794 Bowman, ref.
  • Pomona, California State Polytechnic University Library, F860.B6 ref
  • Riverside, University of California Riverside Rivera Library, F860 .B6 Govt.Pub Ref
  • Sacramento, California State Library, HA266 B6 California, HA266 B6 California Non Circ
  • Sacramento, Sutro Library, HA266 B6
  • San Bruno, National Archives
  • San Diego, San Diego State University Library, F860.B6 Gov. Pub. ref
  • San Francisco, California Historical Society Library, REF F860 .B684
  • San Francisco, San Francisco Public Library, 317.9 C128b Gov Info Rm
  • San Jose, San Jose State University Library, F860.B6 circ
  • San Luis Obispo, California Polytechnic State University Library, F860.B6
  • San Mateo, College of San Mateo, REF/F860.B6
  • San Mateo, San Mateo Public Library, SECOND FLOOR-REFERENCE SECTION R929 B
  • Santa Barbara, University of California Santa Barbara Main Library, F860 .B6
  • Santa Clara, Santa Clara Library, GR 929.3794 B78
  • Santa Cruz, University of California Santa Cruz McHenry Library, F860.B6 Reference