Genealogy is the study of family history based on records of important events in the lives of individuals and their ancestors. Getting started in family history, genealogy researchers attempt to identify their ancestors by interviewing family members and by tracking down vital records and other significant written documents. The objective of this rewarding and popular pursuit is to document a family's roots as far back as possible and to chart family relationships.
The Santa Clara City Library Genealogy Collection
The Santa Clara City Library, with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society, maintains a Genealogy Collection in the Heritage Pavilion of the Central Park Library.
Our international genealogy collection includes:
- Genealogy "how to" books including guides to research in specific countries and for specific ethnic groups
- United States Census microfilm through 1840, California microfilm through 1880, and Santa Clara County microfilm through 1930.
- State of California 1852 Census microfilm.
- Historical atlases and maps.
- Immigration resources including indexes to ship passenger lists
- National, state, and county histories and vital record extractions
- Early Settler Files, cemetery headstone index, land records, and vital records for Santa Clara County prior to 1905 (Note: After 1905, contact the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder's Office.)
This extensive collection is included in the Library's online catalog. You will find many titles by doing a subject search in our catalog using the following terms: "genealogy," "United States genealogy handbooks," "probate records," "register of births," "wills," "marriage records," "church records and registers," "obituaries," "death notices," and "cemeteries." New Genealogy & Local History Arrivals are the subject of a "Featured List." Microform, CD-ROM, periodical, and audiotape materials that are not listed in the online catalog are also available in the Genealogy Room.
Check the Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society home page for information on consultant services, information-sharing meetings, and beginning genealogy instruction offered at the Central Park Library for the general public.