California Index

The California File indexes information about people, places, and events that have impacted life in Southern California.

  • Type one keyword in one or more of the search boxes.
  • Use an asterisk (*) to truncate your search term(s).
  • When searching names, enter first and last name in separate search boxes.

Keyword 1 (searches all fields)

AND Keyword 2

AND Keyword 3

About the Database

An index to people, places and events in the state, with emphasis on Southern California. Many citations are linked to the digitized documents so they may be read online or downloaded. You may search under a community name or a subject, such as a park, school, or building. You may also combine terms to narrow your search to the parks in a particular community, or you may search under a specific name, such as Bradbury Building. You may search under various ethnic groups and do so within a specific community. In addition, a large portion of the database is biographical. Many of these entries are linked to a biographical data sheet filled out by the person himself in the early years of the 20th century This is a resource unique to Los Angeles Public Library.

Many citations refer to copyright documents which could not be scanned into the database. Some of these documents are actually on file in the History Department of the library and may be requested from the :

History Department
Los Angeles Public Library
630 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

The first entry in the database may be a record indicating that photographs are also available for that query. These are often useful for the cataloging information as well as for the image.

Search Tips

Type a keyword in one or more of the search boxes. If your search uses more than one word, use a separate search box for each word. When searching names, use the format “Lastname, Firstname.” An asterisk (*) may be used to truncate your search term(s). Then click on the Submit Query box.

Cards were typed with a space between "Mc" and the rest of the last name. Thus if a search for "McNeely" returns no matches, try "Mc Neely".

Your search may result in a series of records in database form. Images of actual 3x5 cards may also appear, These cards, maintained by hand since 1925, may contain typographical errors. The record tells you what publication contains information on the query.

Some records allow you to view the actual document. Click on that portion of the index record. Note that some records warn you that the document may be large and may take time to download. It may also require Acrobat 3.0 or better to view. This may be downloaded at no charge from

For technical reasons, very short search terms of 3 or 4 letters often give false returns in addition to the desired results. Ignore these unwanted records.

Note: Biography documents are still being added to the database.