Lookup Searches and Orders

Lookups volunteers check indexed sources within the CGS library. We will send you copies of the original records as they appear in the old books, microfilms, and microfiche.

You may need the help of a researcher who consults all potentially useful sources, not only within our library, but also in local courthouses, public libraries, mortuaries, cemeteries, etc. Hire a Researcher describes this option. Check the California Research Tips to learn more.


This is the index to most of our databases, which have been extracted by CGS Volunteers from state, county, and local references.  Currently, there are more than 350,000 names in the Index.  It is an ongoing project and names are added regularly. Check back!

Each source is identified by a code which reflects its contents.  We recommend that you begin by reading descriptions of these Index Codes.  

NOTE, If your search of the California Names Index indicates a probate record for a person of interest, you’ll be pleased to know that images of the probate register of actions are now available for free at FamilySearch.org at the following link:

Collections of the California Genealogical Society

To view these images, you’ll need an account with FamilySearch.org If you don’t already have an account, click on the “sign in” link at the top right of the FamilySearch page and then on “create new account” at the bottom of the screen. There is no charge.

Once you have signed in, scroll to the right to reach the probate images, which are stored in 357 folders. To find the correct folder, use the case number from your California Names Index search results (the first number in the “Info” column, usually a five digit number). Click on the folder that ends with the highest case number that is still less than the case number you are seeking. In the box above the black screen following the word “image,” enter a number which is two more than the difference between your case number and the one found in the title of the folder. Since some case numbers are missing, you may need to go back a few images to find yours.

If the page with your case number appears to be full, there may be a continuation page. If the number of images in the folder starts with “2,” the continuation pages will start after image 201 (unless some intervening cases are missing). If the number of images in the folder starts with “3,” go to the next higher folder and start looking after image 201. All continuation pages will have the same case number and generally follow close upon one another.

If these instructions seem like too much trouble, or you have a slow internet connection, or you prefer to have 11” x 17” copies, you can still order copies from the CGS look-up group along with other documents found in your California Names Index search.

You will also note that the same FamilySearch.org site has IOOF records. Some of these are the same records referred to in the CGS California Names Index search results. However, we have not yet devised a simple set of instructions to guide you to the records you want.