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LSTA grant from California State Library supports technology behind Early California Population Project at the Huntington Library

Individuals conducting genealogical and historical research on early California’s Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo-American inhabitants can now do so with ease thanks to the Early California Population Project at the Huntington Library (ECPP), a database project supported in part by a 2003-2004 LSTA grant of $163,000 from the California State Library.


Transcribed Early California baptismal record.
[Photo courtesy Huntington Library]

Because of the ECPP database, the public, according to the ECCP website, now has access to the facts contained in the California mission registers from 1769 – 1850. These registers hold the baptism, marriage, and burial records of each of the California missions and offer “an extraordinary wealth of unique information on the Indians, soldiers, and settlers of Alta California.”


Early California baptismal record.
[Photo courtesy Huntington Library]

 

Project leaders developed the database because original California mission registers are “too old and too brittle [for the public] to handle.” Further, many of the registers, and their poor quality microfilm recordings, are written in eighteenth-century Spanish script. Transcribing them for the ECPP online database demands “the rare skills and enormous effort” of data entry specialists proficient in Spanish and paleography.

The California State Library helped meet that demand. The California State Library’s LSTA funds paid for a data entry specialist to create records in the ECPP database. State Librarian Susan Hildreth says, ”We at the California State Library are pleased to play a part in this outstanding project which opens the door on the history of our state’s early residents.”

For more information about the ECPP project please visit their website.

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