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Updated May 15, 2005

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California's settlement by the Spanish began in 1769 with the establishment of Mission San Diego. By the 1780s the Spanish crown gave land for "limited-time use" to veteran Spanish soldiers. With a change to Mexican rule in 1821, land was deeded to applicants who were both Mexican citizens and members of the Catholic Church.

Contained in these reports are some portions of families from this Spanish-Mexican era: Estudillo, Zamorano, Ortego and others. The U.S. war with Mexico ended in 1847 and this territory passed into American possession. This and the gold rush beginning in 1850 brought Americans and other nationals interested in the potential of this vast land. Some names from this period include: Beebee, Dalton, Davis and others.

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  • William L. Beebee (263 KB)
    William L. Beebee came to California in 1847. This photo was made of him in the late 1890s. His signature is reproduced below his image.

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