Voices from the Golden State oral histories are now available online via the California State Library.

Oral Histories from Partner Institutions

(Courtesy California State Library)

The digitized interview tapes have been gathered from oral history programs and projects throughout California. These oral histories were recorded from the 1960s to the present. They provide genealogists with insight into regions, time periods, and occupations in the state from the turn of the 20th-century on. Contributors include:

  • California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • California Historical Society
  • CSU, Bakersfield
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • CSU, Fullerton’s Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History
  • Gledhill Library, Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  • Open California Oral History Project
  • UC Santa Cruz Regional History Project

Voices of the Golden State Subjects

Subjects, eras, locations, and participants reflect a great swath of history in the state. The California State Library notes:

Voices from the Golden State oakland history

(Courtesy California State Library)

“As this page seeks to explore California’s rich diversity, we will strive to include interviewees that represent different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious backgrounds, economic backgrounds, immigration status, abilities, as well as voices from all the geographic regions of the state. Because California is one of the largest economies in the world, these interviews will also reveal the multitude of industries that exist in the state and the experiences of those who have worked in these industries. Finally, the interviews will reflect the importance of civic involvement and political action in California’s history and how Californian’s from many backgrounds have meaningfully engaged in this work.”


Visit Voices of the Golden State at this link where keyword search is available.

For a list of all interviews, visit this link.

And here’s my post on becoming a better family history interviewer.

Whether it’s families who have lived in California for generations, or relative newcomers, Voices of the Golden State Oral Histories can offer insight into your family’s past in California.