Source Information

California State Archive California, U.S., Spanish Land Records, 1784-1868 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data:

Index to Spanish Archives. MF8:4 (24). California State Archives, Sacramento, California.

Spanish Archives Originals. MF2:9 (32–35). California State Archives, Sacramento, California.

Spanish Archives Translations. MF2:9 (35–39). California State Archives, Sacramento, California.

About California, U.S., Spanish Land Records, 1784-1868

About the California, U.S., Spanish and Mexican Land Records, 1784-1868

General collection information

The records in this collection are dated between 1784 and 1868. They are related to land grants the United States acquired after taking possession of California in 1848. There are several records associated with each grant. The main record for this database comes from a comprehensive index of the grantees with links to original land documents written in Spanish. Some documents have English translations and property maps with boundaries as of 1861.

Using this collection

Records in this collection may include:

  • Grant holder names
  • Counties of residence
  • Dates
  • Property descriptions
  • In Spanish and Mexican California, a standard spelling didn't exist for general words or proper names. Some spellings became fixed in time, yet differed from the Castilian spellings. Posa replaced poza, zanjon became sanjon, vaca replaced baca, and berdugo became verdugo. Words may be spelled more than one way in these records.

    Most grants had names included and some had several. This index gives the names found in these documents along with cross-references to other names found in land papers, recorded deeds, and other documents.

    Today's counties came into existence in 1850 or after. The county or counties where each grant in California is now located were taken from a separate study of Spanish and Mexican land grants.

    Collection in context

    These records were created by U.S. government officials in California. They are images of the original documents, which makes them high quality primary sources. The original documents are housed in the California State Archives in Sacramento, California

    Before California became part of the United States, the Spanish Empire and the Mexican government made land grants in California called ranchos. The documents dated between 1784 and 1821 are Spanish records. After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, the documents are Mexican records.

    Bibliography California, U.S., Mexican Land Records, 1784-1868. Accessed April 29, 2022.