This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford, Thelma Berkey Walsmith, and Nell Sachse Woodard for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Several books are helpful in researching the evolution of California. Warren A. Beck's Historical Atlas of California (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975), available in many libraries, provides a basic map reference at different points in California's history. William O. Bright's classic work, 1500 California Place Names: Their Origins and Meaning (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), is an excellent resource for place-names and the history behind them.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) website offers topographical maps of California for sale at www.usgs.gov. The California USGS office is at Placer Hall, 6000 J St., Sacramento, CA 95819-6129.