Sacramento is the capital city of California and we’re happy to announce that we’re adding The Sacramento Bee to our archives. The Bee is the longest-running newspaper in Sacramento’s history and the flagship paper of McClatchy, the second-largest local news company in the U.S. James McClatchy was an Irish immigrant and young journalist when the lure of the California Gold Rush brought him West. He became the second editor of The Bee, taking over just days after the paper began publication in 1857.

California was part of Mexican territory until the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed California as part of the United States. In 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, about 45 miles outside of Sacramento, thousands converged in the area. Many of them passed through Sacramento and the city experienced tremendous growth.

When The Bee began publishing in 1857, McClatchy aimed to provide an independent newspaper that championed the interests of the people. The paper recorded the growth of this area, including celebrating the starting point for the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1863.

When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906, residents of Sacramento felt the shaking and observed the dome of the Capitol building sway back and forth. The front page of The Bee contained numerous updates throughout the morning as the extent of the damage became more clear.

April 18, 1906

During the Great Depression, high unemployment rates resulted in a rising rate of homelessness in the city. Some destitute families banded together and formed tent cities called Hoovervilles, named after President Hoover, whom they blamed for their economic situation. Although not officially recognized, these shantytowns located along the Sacramento River were overseen by elected officials and city charters. The cities, however, lacked systems for waste removal and officials found residents living in squalor and ordered them closed. Though evicted, some continued to camp out along the river throughout the 1930s.

Residents of Hooverville Seek Food – October 7, 1931

The Sacramento Valley’s fertile soil brought many farm workers to the area. In 1965, Filipino American grape workers organized a strike to protest poor pay and working conditions. The protestors joined forces with Latino farm workers led by Cesar Chavez. Together they walked 300 miles to Sacramento to raise awareness and pressure growers into changes. The two groups formed the United Farm Workers. Their strike lasted five years but eventually led to growers agreeing to better pay and working conditions for all farm workers.

If you have ancestors from the Sacramento area, The Bee is a great place to search for things like obituaries, birth announcements, wedding announcements, and death notices. The social pages also tracked news from communities like Napa and Chico. Start searching The Sacramento Bee archives today on!

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23 thoughts on “New California Paper!

  1. This is great news!
    What about the Fresno Bee, another McClatchy newspaper? Any plans to add it?
    Please let me know!

  2. My Dad was the Editor of the Sacramento Union, the #2 paper to the Bee. His publishers were horrible to him and we managed to get Dad’s ashes mixed in the “ink well” at the Sacramento Bee so he could make the front page one last time. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Bee. That and Erwin Potts, the Business Manager, was a super friend to my Dad.

    1. Your Dad may have known my Grandfather, Myron “Max” Depew. In the ’50s and ’60s he was the City Editor of The Sacramento Bee and then Managing Editor of the Modesto, Fresno and Sacramento Bee newspapers. He finished his career as Assistant to the Editor of the McClatchy Newspapers. I, like you, am glad to finally see The Sac Bee added to Oh, and I really like your Dad’s ashes mixed with the newspaper’s ink idea. I don’t know when that was, but if it was when my Grandfather was still with the Sac Bee, I believe he would have helped facilitate getting it done.

  3. Having lived in a suburb of Sacrament for over 25 years, I greatly enjoyed reading the Bee each morning when it arrived on my driveway! Glad to see that it has been added!

  4. I found one of my great great grandfathers in an published article from this Sacramento newspaper. My GGGrandfather was Adolfo Celis Alvarez, who was a deputy sheriff in Sacramento. Let me know how to navigate your newspaper. Thanks. Irma Manzanales.

  5. Looks like anything after 1923 requires more money. Drives me crazy that my full world-wide Ancestry subscription isn’t enough!

      1. Especially since the all access ancestry now costs more every six months than a subscription use to cost for the entire year.

        1. I thought the newspapers were accessible in the libraries in perpetuity in the genealogy room?

          1. Yes, if you have the resources to travel to the libraries across the country that have the rural papers that you’re looking for and the time to look through them or microfiche….

    1. Agreed. The full-on membership should include full access to!!!

  6. My name is Janice Lynn Morris and Bolinger was my Maiden name my idenity has been stolen by 6 peaple I balieve and both my grand pas a both my father’s were in the military my father John Joseph bolinger and my grand pa Jonh Jay Bolinger on my mother’s side Jo Ann Tomblin grand pa Frank tomblin and great grandpa Bud tomblin my other great grand parents I dont remember there names they were jews that survived the torcher the they went threw but they were Bolingers I just wanted to no if may be I had something out there thank you for your time God Bless

  7. Anyone interested in the Sacramento Bee and the McClatchy family might enjoy a recent book by Annette Kassis, “Sacramento on the Air, How the McClatchy Family Revolutionized West Coat Broadcasting” (KFBK)

  8. Will you be adding the full range of dates for the Bellingham Herald (another McClatchy newspaper), as your listing for it now is limited to recent years?

  9. I’m curious if you guys can get the San Francisco Independent? It was a small local paper but lots of local sports coverage I would be interested in going over. BUT with the current situation, I can’t go to the library to view the paper as it’s on microfiche. The paper was owned by a local family that bought the SF Examiner name from Hearst (the Fangs).

  10. I have had years of subscription to through my membership. I have not found enough about the families I am researching to make it worthwhile when considering the cost Same story with Fold, the military add on. I continue my Ancestry membership on and off, but since I have been researching for over forty years, I have found most of what is available. There are free newspapers online through libraries. It seems that the subscription services could make just as much more money if they would lower subscription prices and attract a larger volume of subscribers. That way, if nothing was found, it would not be so upsetting and people could just be happy reading about what was going on the the town where there people lived, even if the names did not appear.

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