Genealogy Research and Family History Resources in the San Francisco Bay Area

There are many substantial collections of genealogical materials — telephone and city directories, school alumni directories, newspapers, electronic subscription databases — in San Francisco Bay Area specialty libraries.

The California Genealogical Library and Society is located in downtown Oakland. I mentioned this resource at my Google+ site. See the list of their United States City Directories — available only to members, accessible to anyone for a small fee. One room of the library is dedicated to the extensive collection of California telephone books and city directories. A few college alumni directories are also here. The subscription databases available onsite include (see their California collection) and the state birth, marriage, divorce and death indexes from Vitalsearch covering 21 states, including California.

The most extensive collection of family history and genealogical resources west of Salt Lake City is in the Bay Area, housed at the Sutro Library, a branch of the California State Library and located in San Francisco. Their collection of 20,000 city directories and 10,000 telephone books is a gift of gold to those of us who are Bay Area private investigators — a professional field that prized these tools to locate people and businesses and reverse telephone numbers long before there were electronic databases.

The Family History Center in Oakland can order microfilm from the Utah repository (you can also order online and view it at any Center) of some California birth, death and marriage certificates and other records that are not online. You pay a modest fee of $7.50. The catalog indexes other libraries where you can find the materials, too.

My prior post on Genealogical Resources in U.S. Federal Depository Libraries is still current and I’ve updated the links in Find historical records – 50 state list. Future posts will address free 20th century genealogical databases on the Internet of interest to private investigators. Meanwhile, peruse these genealogy resources and links.

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