Source Information

California State Archive California, U.S., Spanish Land Records, 1784-1868 [database on-line]. Provo, 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

Before California came under U.S. rule the Spanish Crown, and later the Mexican government, made grants of land in California called ranchos. These records relate to those land grants which were acquired by the United States after it took possession of California. There are several records related to each grant. The main record for this database comes from a comprehensive index of the grantees. That record will have links to original land documents (in Spanish), English translations of some of these documents, and maps of the property (diseños). These maps show boundaries as of 1861.

Records can include names, dates, and descriptions of property.

The California State Archives offers the following details about these land records:

Spelling of Spanish Names.

In Spanish and Mexican California a standard spelling of names did not exist either for general words or for proper names; some spellings became fixed in time, yet differed from the Castilian, Posa replaced Poza, Sanjon instead of Zanjon, Vaca instead of Baca, Verdugo for Berdugo. Also on the same page or in the same expedients or in the same land case a word may be spelled more than one way — Berreyesa is also Berrelleza, or Berreyezza.

Names of the Grants.

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

The Counties.

The present counties came into existence in 1850 and later. The county or counties in which each grant in California is now located have been taken from a separate study of the Spanish and Mexican land grants.

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