Genealogy at the Library

It’s like digging through your grandma’s attic, without the dust.

Don’t worry. We’re not in her attic, but we can help you discover your family tree and connect you to your roots in a number of different ways. 

  • Get started on your search from the comfort of your home
  • Then dig through online and physical archives at the Library
  • Talk to an expert who walks into the past with different families every day 
Discover your unique family history with billions of free records from around the world, including census and vital records, immigration and passport records, plus periodicals, books and photos. You can also send documents home from the library for your own records. Available in-library only beginning January 4, 2022.

Heritage Quest
Start your ancestry search online from the comfort of your own home with digital collections of U.S. census data, bank records, Revolutionary War records and more.

American Ancestors
Research genealogy using the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s collection of civic and church records, newspapers, military and court records, tax and voter lists, diaries, published genealogies and more. Available only at Central Library.

The Sacramento Room
Access extensive local archives including books, periodicals, maps, ephemera, postcards and photographs, as well as online access to many digital archives of local history. Located at Central Library.

Genealogist Collection
A select group of reference books, periodicals, and other materials to support your family history research. Located at Central Library.

Genealogy Virtual Programs
Join us for free monthly genealogy lectures on a variety of topics that will help you with your family history research.  Presented by knowledgeable and qualified speakers, topics include census and vital records, newspaper research, important genealogy websites, and DNA testing, to name a few.

Here are the upcoming genealogy presentations (on Zoom) through December, 2022. They are all on Saturdays, 1 to 2:30 p.m.:
March 26: Breathe Life into Your Genealogy with the Power of Story, with speaker Bill Cole
April 23: Splitsville: Divorce Records and the Hidden Gold Within, with speaker Stephanie K. West
May 21: Confirming Cherokee Ancestry, with speaker Nicka Sewell-Smith
June 25: Researching LGBT Relatives, with speaker Janice Sellers

July 23: Finding Missing Ancestors in Institutional Records, Part 1: Hospitals, Sanitariums, and Asylums, with speaker Madeline Yanov
August 27: Re-Branded Lives: Tracking Name Changes, with speaker Kathryn Marshall, PhD
September 24: Finding Missing Ancestors in Institutional Records, Part 2: Poor Houses, Orphanages and Prisons, with speaker Madeline Yanov
October 22: What City Directories Can Tell Us, with speaker Mary J. Sayles
November 19: Obituaries: The Dead Said, with speaker Glenda Gardner Lloyd
December 17: In the News: Finding Tales of Your Ancestors in Newspapers, with speaker Lisa Gorrell

View past genealogy presentations on our YouTube channel.
Have Questions?
What are the qualifications of your genealogists?

Our genealogists have years of experience conducting family history research. Many are active members of genealogical societies, and at least one has written books about her family’s history. They regularly attend genealogy classes and conferences to maintain their research skills.

Can you trace my family history using my DNA?

That’s not a service that we offer at the Library, but we can provide you with recommendations to reputable services or you can attend one of our upcoming presentations on DNA testing.

Why am I only able to access at the Library?

The library subscribes to the database Ancestry Library Edition, which is the institutional version of One of the conditions set by the database vendor is that Ancestry Library Edition must be accessed through computers located in the library.

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