Recent construction next to the old Plaza Church in Los Angeles unearthed remnants of a forgotten burial ground where 695 bodies were interred between 1823 and 1844. Data from Franciscan sacramental records in the Huntington Library’’s Early California Population Project reveal the origins of these people, the migration of diverse Native American peoples to the pueblo, the increasing Indian presence there after 1835, and various aspects of the lives of individuals buried there. This discussion of the burial records pertaining to this one cemetery demonstrates the potential value of the Early California Population Project to research on many aspects of the history of the Spanish and Mexican periods of California history.
Digging up the Remains of Early Los Angeles: The Plaza Church Cemetery
Steven W. Hackel, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside, is the author of Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian- Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850 (2005) and editor of Alta California: Peoples in Motion, Identities in Formation, 1769-1850 (2010). He is the general editor of the Huntington’s Early California Population Project, a database of all material in the Alta California missions’ baptism, marriage, and burial records. He is completing a biography on the Franciscan missionary Father Junípero Serra.
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Steven W. Hackel; Digging up the Remains of Early Los Angeles: The Plaza Church Cemetery. Southern California Quarterly 19 March 2012; 94 (1): 1–24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2012.94.1.5
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