A New Source for History Seekers

I spent last week at RootsTech2020 in Salt Lake City. RootsTech is an annual conference for genealogical researchers. Readers may recall that my historical research and writing work includes partnering with my wife in a family history research business, StorySeekers. Family history is history in microcosm; genealogy and the broader history of local communities, regions and nations are inevitably inter-related.

While attending a conference seminar, “Mexican Families of Early California,” I learned of a great new source for historical records, the Early California Population Project (ECPP). The “ECPP is a database compiled by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. It consists of transcriptions from California mission registers from 1769 through 1850. These hand-written registers, as the library’s website explains, “are the books or folios in which mission priests recorded every baptism, marriage and burial conducted by that particular mission.”

These records offer vital info on Hispanic, Indigenous and Anglo-American people who interacted with the missions during that era, which is to say a big chunk of humanity. And I’m happy to say that the list of missions whose records can be found at ECPP includes the two historic San Diego County missions, San Diego de Alcala and San Luis Rey.

I’ve just begun to dig into this database. If you’d like to check it out, visit https://www.huntington.org/ecpp ,then click on “Access the Database.” When you get that far, I strongly advise you to then click on the “Help and More” tab to access their User Guide.

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