Early California Population Project

Mission San Carlos Borromeo, Baptismal record entries 920-932, 1783, December 16-24 (mssHM 46541). The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

The Early California Population Project (ECPP), a database developed by the Huntington Library, provides public access to all the information contained in the California mission registers from 1769 – 1850. Within the baptism, marriage, and burial records of each of the California missions sits an extraordinary wealth of unique information on the Indians, soldiers, and settlers of Alta California. But the vast potential of California’s mission records has in many ways remained unexploited. The original registers are scattered across California and too old and too brittle to handle. Microfilm copies of the registers exist in archives but are of poor quality and often hard to locate. Understanding the registers–written as they are in eighteenth-century Spanish script–demands rare skills and enormous effort. Lacking adequate staff and resources to facilitate genealogical and historical research, libraries, archives, missions, and dioceses each year turn away countless individuals who are eager to study early California’s Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo-American inhabitants.

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