RESOURCES AVAILABLE THROUGH THE LIBRARY
Long Beach History Index - The Long Beach History Index is a selective index of Long Beach history-related citations. To research the history of a Long Beach home, start with a keyword search that includes street number and street name. Do not include Drive, Ave, Street, etc. See a sample search below.
The subject, for example Residences - Lemon, will be a link to all of the articles in the index with that subject. Although the index is online, the full-text articles are not. Some articles are on microfilm and some are in the Long Beach History Collection clipping files. To locate an article, bring the citation details (example below) to a Librarian at the Main Library. Microfilm is available for self-service to view or print (black and white low-resolution microfilm prints $.25 each). Many newspaper articles are available online through our Magazine and Newspaper databases.
Census Records - Long Beach Public Library subscribes to Ancestry Library, which has unparalleled coverage of the U.S. and the U.K., including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records. In-library use only.
City Directories - Polk Long Beach Directories (1899 - 1969) list the name, spouse's name, and occupation of a person who lived at an address. City Directories are available online through our Digital Archive or on microfilm in the Periodicals Department at the Main Library. Note: some Long Beach street numbers changed in January 1921. To see if a street name has changed over the years, please see Long Beach and Signal Hill Street Names Changes: 1900-2006, available for reference at the Main Library.
Long Beach Cultural Heritage Surveys - From 1979 to 1988, the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commission completed surveys of several historic areas of Long Beach. These surveys are extensive and, for some homes, list important information such as architect, builder, construction date, architectural style, and a brief history of the home. See where they're available using Encore.
Long Beach Fire Insurance/Sanborn Maps - Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (1888-1950) are available on microfilm in the Long Beach History Collection at the Main Library. These maps show street layouts, house footprints, garage locations, etc. For electronic access to these maps, see Sanborn Maps below.
City of Long Beach Development Services - Street maps of neighborhoods, the name and date of the original tract, building and alteration permits, and ownership and builder records are available through the Development Services Department. Search the Building Permit Records Archive for all permits on file for an address or search Permit Status Inquiry for activity since 1985.
Historical Society of Long Beach
The Historical Society of Long Beach is a non-profit organization which provides access to photographs, maps, brochures, selected city directories, the Cultural Heritage Surveys mentioned above, and has a variety of books for sale on the history of Long Beach.
L.A. County Tax Assessment Records
L.A. County property tax assessment records give the date built, original and current owners, data on size and structures, and current zoning for particular properties. These records are available at the L.A. County Assessor's South Office in Signal Hill. The Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles has ownership and tax assessment records from the mid 20th century through 1983. The records from 1984-present are in a database. Copies of residential grants and deeds for the Long Beach area are available only at the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk.
Builder and Contractor (March 1893 - June 1917) and Southwest Contract and Manufacturer (1908-1917) combined in July of 1917 to form Southwest Building and Contractor. These magazines list permits, owners, architects and builders of various dwellings in the Los Angeles Area. They are not well-indexed. However, later editions do have a separate section for Long Beach permits. These magazines are available through the LAPL History Department, USC Architecture Library, and UCLA Young Research Library. Please call to confirm.
Electronic access to Sanborn maps is available to Los Angeles Public Library card holders through their databases.