I actually have a lot of family who left the Midwest for California. Most settled somewhere in Southern California, and while some have passed on, many still live there today.
Some of the best resources I’ve found for working with these California folks are the various indexes on Ancestry. These indexes include:
- California Birth Index, 1905-1995
- California Marriage Index, 1960-1985
- California Death Index, 1940-1997
- California Divorce Index, 1966-1984
Although not actual “sources,” these indexes usually provide enough information to determine the correct person. Since I cannot afford to order all of the actual records, citing the index as my source is a good enough place holder for me until such time I need to acquire the record.
The one thing I like about the death index (especially the more recent deaths where more information is collected for the certificate) is that the index entries usually include the father’s surname and the mother’s maiden name. In fact, a female decedent is usually indexed by both her married name and her maiden name (if the father is listed), which is very helpful when you don’t know that she married. I have found a few marriages that way when conducting a general search on Ancestry for a female using her maiden name. Additionally, knowing the mother’s maiden name is helpful when you didn’t previously know it, or to verify the identity of the decedent .
The fact that the indexes cover a period of time that is pretty recent is also very helpful. I have been able to put together recent generations of a family and find living relatives. The birth and death indexes even helped me reunite an orphan photo with the subject’s son.
Again, even though these references are simply indexes, they are certainly a helpful starting place to quickly answer a question and obtain the information necessary to order the actual record. To bad this isn’t available for all states!!