The matrimonial investigation records, or diligencias matrimoniales, are part of the McPherson Collection. The McPherson Collection was a gift to Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, of California materials collected by William F. McPherson, an Orange County rancher, scholar and collector; the gift was received in 1964. The records, predominantly from the Mission San Gabriel (other California missions are also represented), consist of notarized interviews with couples requesting marriage in the Roman Catholic Church during the period 1788-1861. The purpose of marriage investigations was to prove that the parties were free to marry.
The matrimonial investigation records of the San Gabriel Mission are significant because they offer a unique insight into the pre-statehood activities of the Mission. Also, they establish many facts concerning the individuals married at the Mission and provide much genealogical detail for descendants. There are 165 investigations in all, with 173 men and 170 women being interviewed. A finding aid for this collection is available online through the Online Archive of California.
These records are fragile and can no longer be photocopied. Please use this online collection to view and print the documents that interest you. If you still wish to use the collection firsthand at Special Collections, please use the digital collection to assist you in focusing your search to only those items you really need. In this way we can limit the handling of these delicate historical documents. For further information please call Special Collections at (909) 607-3977.