World Archives Project: California Biographical Collection - California Pioneers and Immigrants

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About this project

This collection consists of index card files of indiviudals who were pioneers or migrants to California. The files are organized alphabetically by surname. The original index is located at the California State Library in Sacramento.

These cards record vital information such as birth dates and places, marriage information, and death information, as well as parents' names. Other interesting information includes: states previously lived in before California, occupations, public offices held, political information, where educated, principal events in California history, and other miscellaneous notes.


Need help keying this project?

World Archives Keying Standards

Keying Multiple Spouses

If more than one spouse is listed, please key a second line with the same information for the primary person but key the second spouse listed.
The second new line should automatically appear when you complete keying the first line of information. Project-specific sample images and form field help:

Choose a sample image from below to see the corresponding form field examples.
Index Card - Main Section
Continuation of Index Card
Miscellaneous Notes
Typed Index Card

Index Card - Main Section

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This form type is the first index card in a set of three pertaining to a specific individual. It is a preprinted form usually with handwritten information on it. There is usually a typed name in the top left corner, and the first line of information is labeled "Name in full". The bulk of the information to be keyed will come from this form type.

Index Card Year

Capture the Index Card Year from the top right corner of the card. If only a digit year is given, please key as a four digit year with "19" being the first two digits of the year and whatever is listed on the image being the last two digits of the year. On Typed Index Card form types, the year can be found in the last portion of the date listed below the words "Living pioneer" or "Deceased pioneer". On Index Card - Main Section form types, the year will be listed by itself in the corner. Not all Index Card - Main Section form types will have a year.
See Example

Prefix

Key any titles before the Given name, such as "Dr", "Rev", "Mr" or "Mrs", using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a prefix does not appear in a dictionary then key the prefix as seen.
See Example

Given

Key the first name or initial and any middle names of the primary person to whom the record pertains using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Surname

The Surname is the last name of the primary person to whom the record applies. Capture the Surname using the dictionary provided for assistance. If the surname does not appear in the dictionary then key the surname as seen.
See Example

Suffix

Key all titles, such as "Jr" or "III", following the surname of the primary person to whom the record applies using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a suffix does not appear in a dictionary then key the suffix as seen. 
See Example

Alias Given

Occasionally an alternate name may be recorded for a given individual. This name may be denoted by parentheses, quotation marks, or may be preceded by the word "nee". Key the first name or initial and any middle names using a dictionary if provided for assistance. If an alias given name does not appear in the dictionary then key the alias given name as seen.
See Example

Alias Surname

Key any Alias Surname which appears. Occasionally an alternate name may be recorded for a given individual. This name may be denoted by parentheses, quotation marks, or may be preceded by the abbreviation "for" or the words "nee" or "formerly". All the rules for keying a primary name should also be followed for keying any alias name.
See Example

Birth Location

Capture the Birth Location from the record using the dictionary provided for assistance. If a location is not found in the dictionary then key the location as seen. The Birth Location will be found on the line labeled "Place of Birth".
See Example

Birth Month

Capture the Birth Month from the designated birth date. Spell the month out in full even if the month is written numerically or in an abbreviated form on the record.
See Example

Birth Day

Capture the Birth Day from the designated birth date.
See Example

Birth Year

Key the two or four digit number designated as the birth year in the birth date. The Year must be either two or four digits.
See Example

Father Given

The Father's name will appear on a line labeled either "Parent" or "Parents of Pioneer". Enter the father's given name here including any middle names or initials. Use the dictionary provided to capture the father's given name. However, if the name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.  
See Example

Father Surname

The Father's name will appear on a line labeled either "Parent" or "Parents of Pioneer". Enter the father's Surname, using the dictionary provided to assist you. However, if the name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Mother Given

The Mother's name will appear on a line labeled either "Parent" or "Parents of Pioneer". Enter the mother's given name here including any middle names or initials. Use the dictionary provided to capture the mother's given name. However, if the name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Mother Surname

The Mother's name will appear on a line labeled either "Parent" or "Parents of Pioneer". Enter the mother's maiden name, using the dictionary provided to assist you. However, if the name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Spouse Given

The Spouse Name can be found on a line labled "If married, to whom". Capture the spouse's Given name, including the first name and any middle names or initials. Key the Spouse Given Name using the dictionary provided for assistance. However, if a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Spouse Surname

The Spouse Name can be found on a line labled "If married, to whom". Capture the spouse's Surname (maiden name), using the dictionary provided for assistance. However, if a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Marriage Day

The Marriage Date can be found on the line labeled "Date of marriage". Key the day from this date into this field.
See Example

Marriage Month

The Marriage Date can be found on the line labeled "Date of marriage". Key the month from this area, using the provided dictionary to assist you. Spell the month out in full even if the month is written numerically or in an abbreviated form on the record.
See Example

Marriage Year

The Marriage Date can be found on the line labeled "Date of marriage". Key the marriage year from this area. The year must be either two or four digits.
See Example

Marriage Location

The Marriage Location can be found by the Date of Marriage on a line labeled either "Place of Marriage" or "Place". Use the provided dictionary to assist you, but key this field as seen.
See Example

Continuation of Index Card

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This form type is the second page of the index card. The first line on this page will read, "Date of Pioneer's arrival in California" or "Date of arrival in California".

Residence Before California

Key the information for this field from the line labeled "States lived in before coming to California". Key this field as seen, including any localities that are not states. For example, if the entry says "North Carolina" and also has "Du Page Co., Illinois" written on the line below it, you would key this as "North Carolina, Du Page Co, Illinois".  
See Example

Last California Residence

Last Residence will only be captured for individuals who are not deceased. Key the information listed at the bottom of the page written in the field labeled "Present address". Key cities, counties, and states as seen. However, do not include any streets or address information. For example, an entry that says "Potter Valley - Mendocino Co. Calif." would be keyed as "Potter Valley, Mendocino Co, Calif".
See Example

Death Month

The Death Date will only be found on some of the "Continuation of Index Card" form types. If it is present, it will be located at the bottom of the page in a field labeled "Place and date of death". Capture the Death Month from this area. Spell the month out in full even if the month is written numerically or in an abbreviated form on the record.
See Example

Death Day

The Death Date will only be found on some of the "Continuation of Index Card" form types. If it is present, it will be located at the bottom of the page in a field labeled "Place and date of death". Capture the Death Day from this area.  
See Example

Death Year

The Death Date will only be found on some of the "Continuation of Index Card" form types. If it is present, it will be located at the bottom of the page in a field labeled "Place and date of death". Capture the DeathYear from this area. The Year must be either two or four digits.
See Example

Death Location

The Death Location will only be found on some of the "Continuation of Index Card" form types. If it is present, it will be located at the bottom of the page in a field labeled "Place and date of death". Capture the Death Location from this area, using the provided dictionary to assist you. However, key as seen.
See Example

Miscellaneous Notes

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This form is the last page of the index card set for an individual. At the top it says "Miscellaneous Notes", followed by lines where a small paragraph of miscellenaous information about the pioneer could be written. On the bottom half of the page, information from the Index Card - Main Section form is repeated. Since this is repeated information, it does not need to be keyed again. Therefore, nothing will be keyed from this form type and it should be marked as "Other".

Typed Index Card

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This image type consists of a white index card (without lines) with typed information on it. This card is different from the other index cards in this collection which are preprinted forms usually with handwritten information on them.

Index Card Year

Capture the Index Card Year from the top right corner of the card. If only a digit year is given, please key as a four digit year with "19" being the first two digits of the year and whatever is listed on the image being the last two digits of the year. On Typed Index Card form types, the year can be found in the last portion of the date listed below the words "Living pioneer" or "Deceased pioneer". On Index Card - Main Section form types, the year will be listed by itself in the corner. Not all Index Card - Main Section form types will have a year.
See Example

Prefix

Key any titles before the Given name, such as "Dr", "Rev", "Mr" or "Mrs", using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a prefix does not appear in a dictionary then key the prefix as seen.
See Example

Given

Key the first name or initial and any middle names of the primary person to whom the record pertains using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
See Example

Surname

The Surname is the last name of the primary person to whom the record applies. Capture the Surname using the dictionary provided for assistance. If the surname does not appear in the dictionary then key the surname as seen.
See Example

Suffix

Key all titles, such as "Jr" or "III", following the surname of the primary person to whom the record applies using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a suffix does not appear in a dictionary then key the suffix as seen. 
See Example

Alias Given

Occasionally an alternate name may be recorded for a given individual. This name may be denoted by parentheses, quotation marks, or may be preceded by the word "nee". Key the first name or initial and any middle names using a dictionary if provided for assistance. If an alias given name does not appear in the dictionary then key the alias given name as seen.
See Example

Alias Surname

Key any Alias Surname which appears. Occasionally an alternate name may be recorded for a given individual. This name may be denoted by parentheses, quotation marks, or may be preceded by the abbreviation "for" or the words "nee" or "formerly". All the rules for keying a primary name should also be followed for keying any alias name.
See Example