San Francisco Genealogy
Great Registers
(voter registration lists)


General Information on Great Registers

"What are the "Great Registers"?
"Of what value are they in genealogical research?"

Simply, they were compiled lists of registered voters that included such information as birth dates, naturalization dates, address and occupation. According to Jim Faulkinbury:

"The earliest Great Registers were produced in 1866 as a result of the enactment of Chapter CCLXV, Laws of the 16th Session of the California State Legislature; 1865-66. ... This legislation, approved 19 March 1866, and known as the Registration Act provided 'for the registration of the citizens of the State, and for the enrollment in the several election districts of all the legal voters thereof, and for the prevention and punishment of frauds affecting the elective franchise.'"
Please note that women were given the right to vote in 1911 in California, and first appear in the 1912 registers.

J.Carlyle Parker has written a good article, California's Great Registers, that gives a description and general information on the Great Registers of California.

Lawrence E. (Larry) Kuttner (submitted ~2000) offers this tip:
Since there were so many people living in SF, you need to check the *Index* films first.  The information you'll need for each person you're interested in is:  the *district number* in which they were living for each year you want to know about.  Once you know which *district* your person lived in, you can look at the *actual* Great Register film(s) for the districts and years you are interested in.  Otherwise, you'd have to check for the person you're looking for in every district in SF for each available year.  (Merely going through the *actual* Great Register films might work for a sparsely populated county, but it would be too time-consuming for San Francisco.)  Once you're ready for the *actual* registers, you'll find they are sorted first by district, and then alphabetically by the first letter of the surname.  (As long as you have the film, you may also want to check the other district numbers for the same surname, if it's not too common...)"


California State Library Films of Great Registers for San Francisco

Ken Tessendorff (submitted ~2000) tells us:

"According to "Great Registers of California" by Dorothy Lazelle Williams, the California State Library in Sacramento has various years from 1866 thru 1944.  [The years] 1900-1944 are on 73 rolls of film."

Ken offers this tip, as well:   "If you order any by inter-library loan, always ask your local librarian if there is a maximum number of rolls that can be ordered at one time.  The charge at your local library (if there is one) is usually the same for one roll or many rolls.  The last time I ordered this film at my local library, the maximum was 12 rolls per shipment."


San Francisco Public Library Film Numbers for the
"Index to the Great Registers of San Francisco"

Pamela Storm (submitted ~2000) was provided this list by the great staff at the San Francisco Main Library's History Center. Note:  These films are not available for interlibrary loan.

Reel # 6a  1866, 1867, 1869, and 1871 (supplement)
Reel # 6   1900, part 1
Reel # 7   1900, part 2
Reel # 8   1902, Districts 28-45
Reel # 9   1904, Volume 1
Reel #10   1904, Volumes 2-3, Districts 35-45
Reel #11   1907
Reel #12   1908
Reel #13   1910
Reel #14   1912, part 1
Reel #15   1912, part 2
Reel #16   1913, part 1
Reel #17   1913, part 2
Reel #18   1914, part 1
Reel #19   1914, part 2
Reel #20   April 1916
Reel #21   July 1916, Volumes 1-2
Reel #22   July 1916, Volume 3
Reel #23   Oct 1916, part 1, Districts 21-29
Reel #24   Oct 1916, part 2, Districts 30-33
Reel #25   1917, Districts 21-33
Reel #26   1918 Volumes 1-2, Districts 21-29
Reel #27   1918 Volume 3, Districts 30-33
Reel #28   1919
Reel #29   1920, Volumes 1-2
Reel #30   1920, Volumes 3-4
Reel #31   1920, supplement
Reel #32   1921
Reel #33   1922, part 1
Reel #34   1922, part 2
Reel #35   1923
Reel #36   April 1924, part 1
Reel #37   April 1924, part 2
Reel #38   October 1924, Volumes 1-2
Reel #39   1925, Districts 21-54
Reel #40   1927
Reel #41   July 1928
Reel #43   November 1928


San Francisco Public Library List of Great Register and Indexes in book form

Ron Filion (submitted Dec 2002) notes that the Library History Center has the following in book form:

1867
1868
1869/1872
1873
1876
1877
1905 - Index to Districts 28 - 45
1907 - Index to Districts 28 - 45
1911 - Index to Districts 28 - 38
1922 - Index to Districts 21 - 33

1890 - California Index (created by the California State Genealogical Alliance)
1890 - San Francisco Index (created by the California Genelogical Society)


LDS Film Numbers for the Indexes to the Great Registers of San Francisco

Maggee Smith (submitted ~2000) has transcribed these LDS Film Numbers for us:

She found that in the LDS Catalog, the Great Register Index films are found under the heading:

"CA-San Francisco Voting Registers, County Clerk, Great Registers Indexes 1866, 1880-1904, (microfilm of original records in the State Library, Sacramento, CA)".


1866 Index to the Great Registers of San Francisco
Abbe -- Hamilton, C.      1001665
Hamilton, C -- Powers, C. 1001666
Powers, E. -- Zuisell     1001667


1888 to 1904 Index to the Great Registers of San Francisco
Aa--Anderson,Charles          1001507
Anderson, Charles--Ayers, G.  1001508
Ayers, G.--Barron             1001509
Barron--Bell, A.              1001510
Bell, A--Bird, M.             1001511
Bird, M.--Borrmann            1001512
Borromeo--Breslin, A.         1001513
Breslin, A.--Brunning, A.     1001514
Bruce, Brunning, W.--Bush, C. 1001515
Bush, C.--Capriviza           1001516
Capron--Cavanagh, W.          1001517
Cavanagh, W.--Clawson, L.     1001518
Clawson, L.--Collins, J.      1001519
Collins, J.--Corbett , P.     1001520
Corbett, P.--Cronen, J.       1001521
Cronen, J.--Daley, F.         1001522
Daley, F.--Demartini, F.      1001523
Demartini, F.--Dodge, A.      1001524
Dodge, A.--Doyle, H.          1001525
Doyle, H.--Dunton, C.         1001526
Dunton, C.--Ells, J.          1001551
Ells, J.--Farrell, T.         1001552
Farrell, T.--Fitzgerald       1001553
Fitzgerald--Ford              1001554
Forde--Fuller, G.             1001555
Fuller, G.--Geiger, L.        1001556
Geiger, L.--Goddard, G.       1001557
Goddard, G.--Gray,. J.        1001558
Gray, J.--Gustave             1001559
Gustavson, F.--Hanna R.       1001560
Hanna , R.--Harris, M.        1001561
Harris, M.--Helbush           1001562
Held--Hill, A.                1001563
Hill, A.--Holt, A.            1001564
Holt, A.--Hunk                1001565
Hunn--Jacques, F.             1001566
Jacques, F.--Jones, D.        1001567
Jones, D.--Kearns, G.         1001568
Kearns, G.--Kennelly, D.      1001570
Kennelly, D.--Klinger, H.     1001571
Klinger, H.--Label, I.        1001572
Label, I.--Lawley             1001573
Lawlor--Levy, E.              1001574
Levy, E.--Lona                1001575
Lond--Lyon, J.                1001576
Lyon, J--McCourt, J.          1001577
McCourt, J.--McGrane, H.      1001578
McGrane, H.--McMaster, D.     1001579
McMaster, D.--Malcolm, R.     1001580
Malcolm, R.--Mason, F.        1001581
Mason, F.--Metge, F.          1001582
Metge, F.--Mix, C.            1001583
Mix, C.--Morrison, W.         1001584
Morrison, W.--Mun             1001585
Murphy--Newman, J.            1001586
Newman, J.--O'Brien, M.       1001587
O'Brien, M.--Ols              1001588
Olt--Parks, W.                1001589
Parks, W.--Peterson, J.       1001590
Peterson, J.--Potee, R.       1001591
Potee, R.--Radke, A.          1001644
Radke, A.--Reimer, J.         1001645
Reimer, J.--Robbins, E.       1001646
Robbins, E.--Ross, D.         1001647
Ross, D.--Samish, R.          1001648
Samish, R.--Schichting, H.    1001649
Schichting, H.--Schwinn, H.   1001650
Schwinn, J.--Sheeline         1001651
Sheen--Slocomb, H.            1001652
Slocomb, H.--Soss, S.         1001653
Soss, S.--Stetson, H.         1001654
Stetson, H.--Sullivan, J.     1001655
Sullivan, J--Taylor, W.       1001656
Taylor, W.--Tobin, T.         1001657
Tobin, T--Unger, M.           1001658
Unger, M.--Waite              1001659
Waiter--Watson, W.            1001660
Watson, W.--Wheeler, G.       1001661
Wheeler, G.--Williams, W.     1001662
Williams, W.--Woodleg         1001663
Woodley--Zuzulich             1001664

LDS Film Numbers for the Great Registers of San Francisco

Maggee Smith (submitted ~2000) has transcribed these LDS Film Numbers for us. She found that in the LDS Catalog, the Great Register films are found under the heading:

"CA-San Francisco Voting Registers, County Clerk, Great Registers 1866-1898 Indexes 1866, 1880-1904, 184 microfilm reels (microfilm of original records in the State Library, Sacramento, CA)".
You can order these films through your local FHC.


1866-1867                       0977096
---
1869                            0977096
---
1870 Supplement                 0977096
---
1872-1873                       0977097
---
1875                            0977098
---
1876-1877                       0977099
---
1878                            0977100
---
1880 1st Ward                   0977101
1880 2nd-4th Wards              0977194
1880 5th-7th Wards              0977195
1880 8th-9th Wards              0977196
1880 10th Ward                  0977197
1880 11th Ward Precinct 1-16    0977198
1880 11th Ward Precinct 17      0977199
1880 12th Ward                  0977200
---
1882 1st-2nd wards              0977201
1882 3rd-4th wards              0977202
1882 6th ward                  0977202
1882 7th-8th wards              0977203
1882 9th ward                   0977204
1882 10th ward                  0977205
1882 11th ward, precinct 1-16   0977206
1882 11th ward, precinct 17-33  0977207
1882 12th ward                  0977208
---
1886: Districts 29-30           0977209
1886 Districts 31-32            0979476
1886 Districts 33-36            0977210
1886 Districts 37-38            0977211
1886 Districts 39-40            0977212
1886 Districts 41-44            0977213
1886 Districts 45-46            0977214
1886 Districts 47-48            0977622
---
1888 Districts 29-30            0977623
1888 Districts 31-32            0977624
1888 Districts 33-34            0977625
1888 Districts 35-36            0977626
1888 Districts 37-38            0977627
1888 Districts 39-40            0977628
1888 Districts 41-42            0977629
1888 Districts 43-44            0977630
1888 Districts 45-46            0977631
1888 Districts 47-48            0979475
---
1890 Districts 29-30            0977632
1890 Districts 31-32            0977633
1890 District 33                0977634
1890 Districts 34-36            0977635
1890 Districts 37-38            0977636
1890 Districts 39-40            0977637
1890 District 41                0977638
1890 District 42                0977639
1890 Districts 43-44            0977640
1890 Districts 45-46            0977641
1890 Districts 47-48            0977642
---
1892 District 28                0977643
1892 District 29                0977644
1892 District 30                0977645
1892 District 31                0977646
1892 District 32                0977598
1892 District 33                0977599
1892 District 34                0977600
1892 Districts 35-36            0977601
1892 District 37                0977602
1892 District 38                0977603
1892 District 39                0977604
1892 District 40                0977605
1892 District 41                0977606
1892 District 42                0977607
1892 District 43                0977608
1892 District 44                0977609
1892 District 45                0977610
---
1896 District 28                0977611
1896 District 29                0977612
1896 District 30                0977613
1896 District 31                0977614
1896 District 32                0977615
1896 District 33                0977616
1896 District 34                0977617
1896 District 35                0977618
1896 District 36                0977619
1896 District 37                0977620
1896 District 38                0977621
1896 District 39                0977257
1896 District 40                0977258
1896 District 41                0977259
1896 District 42                0977260
1896 District 43                0977261
1896 District 44                0977262
1896 District 45                0977263
---
1898 District 28                0977264
1898 District 29                0977265
1898 District 30                0977266
1898 District 31                0977267
1898 District 32                0977268
1898 District 33                0977269
1898 District 34                0977270
1898 District 35                0977271
1898 District 36                0977272
1898 District 37                0977273
1898 District 38                0977274
1898 District 39                0977275
1898 District 40                0977276
1898 District 41                0977277
1898 District 42                0977278
1898 District 44                0977279
1898 District 45                0977280

LDS Film Numbers for "San Francisco County Index of Naturalized Voters"

Maggee Smith (submitted ~2000) notes the LDS catalog also lists "San Francisco County Index of Naturalized Voters 1850-1898, 6 microfilm reels (microfilm of records located in the SF Archives-cards contain name of voter and date when voter was naturalized. Also includes number of voterís precinct & ward)"

The "Index to Naturalized Voters" should not be confused with the "Index to Great Registers".  They are two separate indexes.   The "Index of Naturalized Voters" consists of only those registered voters who had been naturalized, while the "Index to the Great Registers" would list any registered voter.

Index of Naturalized Voters for San Francisco County:
A-C  1378779
C-H  1378780
H-MA 1378781
Mc-R 1378782
R-V  1378783
V-Z  1378784


Great Register of Voters (1890) on CD

The "1890 San Francisco Great Register of Voters" was transcribed and published by the California Genealogical Society (CGS). The information includes:

  • Name, age, birthplace, address, county, registration date, whether or not naturalized, where naturalized, occupation, remarks, and page numbers.
  • A portion of this information is also included in the "1890 California Great Register of Voters," also published by this company.

    Note: San Francisco and California Great Register of Voters are available in book form (available at various libraries and from CGS) and on CD (by HeritageQuest do a search for "Great Register" on their home page).


    Foreign-Born Voters of 1872

    "The Foreign-Born Voters of California in 1872: Including Naturalization Dates, Places, and Courts of Record" was published by Jim W. Faulkinbury in 1994. It includes naturalization data appearing in Great Registers for each California county.

    Mr. Faukinbury has an index available on the internet and will make copies of the information for a fee. Note that the index does not include the individual's county.


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    Copyright © 1996-2008 Pamela Storm and Ron Filion. All rights reserved.