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History - California, Sacramento and Local History


Many of the materials in this category are considered published primary sources. They are produced by various local, state, and federal agencies and are available to the public. Some of these materials are located in the Reference Collection and others are located in the Government Documents Collection.

The first census of the United States was in 1790. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census of the population every 10 years to determine how many people live in a different areas of the country and to describe the characteristics of the population in terms of age, sex, ethnic background, marital status, income and other variables.

The Library has historical decennial censuses in paper format from 1850. Locating the paper census can be difficult. Some are cataloged and can be looked up in OneSearch by performing an ADVANCED KEYWORD search using the specific date and the word census. For example: census and 1890. One can also browse the Government Documents collection under the call number C 3.223.

Search Historical Census Browser for historical censuses.

Census Schedules are the records of where people lived when the decennial censuses were taken. There is a 72 year restriction on the release of these records. A fire destroyed almost all of the 1890 records, but the rest remain intact.  To date, the census schedules up thru 1930 are available on microfilm. The CSUS Library has purchased microfilm for northern California cities and counties. They are available in the Gov Docs microfiche cabinets on 2 North: Population Schedules (of Northern California cities and counties) Gov Docs Film C 3.23

On April 2, 2012, National Archives and Records Admininstration (NARA) will provide access to the images of the 1940 United States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.

The most recent censuses are available from the U.S. Census Bureau. This site also has some historical and state specific data. The CSUS Guide to the Census has additional information including suggest web sites.

These paper indexes allow one to identify the types of statistics that one will find in the historical decennial censuses and in which volumes they are contained.

Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications, 1790-1972 Gov Docs C 3.163/3:790-972

Population Information in Nineteenth Century Census Volumes Ref HAZ 7164 .D3 S44 1983 (indexes censuses from 1790-1890)

Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes, 1900-1940 Ref HAZ 7164 .D3 S45 1985

Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes, 1950-1980 Ref HAZ 7164 .D3 S46 1988

Contact Ben Amata, (278-5672), History Librarian, for help locating census information in OneSearch or with any questions on the census.

Government Documents

Aside from the census there are thousands of documents published by federal, state, and local agencies. CSUS Library receives many of them and they are located in the Government Documents Collection (2nd Floor North). The California State Library will have a more complete collection of government documents. You will find government documents published by local Sacramento agencies under these call numbers:

Gov Docs CA-L S32   Sacramento City

Gov Docs CA-L S325  Sacramento County

Gov Docs CA-L S326   Sacramento Region

Index to Current Urban Documents (1972/73-1999/00)   ref HTZ 7165 U5 I654

People of Sacramento Archives: The History of Sacramento’s Diverse Ethnic Groups Gov Docs Computer CA-L S325 .E3 P5x

Urban Documents Microfiche Collection, Sacramento, CA  LMC fiche #000167 (Contains documents cited in Index to Current Urban Documents).

 Many statistical sources are compilations of information gathered from government documents. Some good sources for historical statistics on California/Sacramento are:

California Statistical Abstract   Older issues at Ref HA 261 C3

County and City Data Book (various years 1949-current)   Ref HA 202 A36

Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in California, vol. 1-2   HA 38 C2 H52

Statistical Abstract of the United States  also available in cloth format at Ref HA 202 (ceased with 2010)

Proquest's Statistical Abstract of the United States (current)

Public Records

Early Court Records of Sacramento County, California    Ref KFC 969 S12 B3

(Indexes cases in civil and criminal courts for the years 1849-1879.)

For the Record: Catalog of the Public Records, City of Sacramento 1848-1982, Sacramento County 1848-1982    Ref F 868 S12 S39

Historic Cosumnes and the Slough House Pioneer Cemetery  2 South 860 R43

Paper Trails: a Guide to Public Records in California   CD 3111 N48 1990

Placer County, California [cemeteries], vol. 1-6   Ref F 860 P43 1984

Population Schedules (of Northern California cities and counties)    Gov Docs Film C 3.23

Marriage Affidavits, 1893-1897, Sacramento County, California    Ref F 868 S12 B39

Marriage Affidavits,1904-1906, Sacramento County, California    Ref F 868 S12 B394 1982

Rest in Peace: Early Records from Cemeteries in the City and County of Sacramento, California   Ref F 868 .S12 B4  (Includes New Helvetia Cemetery, St. Joseph's Cemetery, Sacramento City Cemetery and others.)

Sacramento County Cemeteries, vol. 1    Ref F 860 S34 1985

Sacramento Bee Newspaper Index of Births, Marriages, Deaths    Microfiche 218

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2024 11:17 AM