Volunteer with California Genealogical Society
Did you know that the California Genealogical Society is an all-volunteer organization? From the president and the board of directors to the researchers, the bookkeepers, and the people who shelve books, we all are volunteers because we love genealogy and interacting with others who share our passion for genealogy.
Are you a current member interested in helping out? Do you have some skills to share and some free time? We have projects that you can work on at home as well as projects at the library. To volunteer, use this form.
Current list of CGS Volunteer Opportunities
Recommended Sites for California:
- sfgenealogy.com is the site for information and free databases concerning San Francisco family history, and now expanded to other California counties.
- Southern California Genealogical Society was organized in 1964 to foster interest in genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and train researchers in effective and accurate techniques
- CA State Library catalogs covers both Sacramento and the Sutro branches. Plan ahead for your personal visit to either branch of the California State Library, or request a title via interlibrary loan (although this can be very slow).
- WorldCat.org let you search many library catalogues. CalCat searches many libraries in California.
- California GenWeb links to each county's GenWeb site. Different volunteers manage each site so their depth and complexity vary. Do check them out!
- The Huntington Library Early California Population Project.
- The Digital Public Library of America provides a portal to the HathiTrust, the New York Public Library, Harvard University Libraries, the National Archives and Records Administration, and many other useful research libraries and databases.
- Jim Faulkinbury's Genealogical Research Services site has several useful resources including
- San Francisco Call Database - Index, 1869-1900, birth, marriage and death data in San Francisco. This is a good substitute for records destroyed in the earthquake. Also has an index to 1872 foreign-born California voters. For more detail, you can order copies of the complete information for a fee of $12, or less.
- The California Digital Newspaper Collection is another newspaper archive (it's a beta version in 1/2008) covering some early issues of the newspaper San Francisco Call and the Daily Alta California. You may be surprised to find a mention of your ancestor.
- The Tombstone Transcription Project, State of California page.
Locating local historical and genealogical societies:
- Censusfinder.com lists California historical and genealogical societies web sites. This is on the "101 Best" FamilyTree Magazine list above, but you'd have to dig a little to find it.
- California State Genealogical Alliance has a clickable map to California historical and genealogical societies by county, and a calendar where societies can post their events at a central source.
Look at society websites - they often have local data right there! For example:
- Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society has genealogy data records for Eastern Alameda County.
- Marin County Genealogical Society has an index of naturalized citizens, 1856-1934, Marin County, California.
- San Mateo County Genealogical Society has birth, deed, and obituary indices, among others, derived from county records. Once at their site, click on Databases.
Forty-niners and more:
- California Bound contains passenger lists for ships and wagon trains traveling to California between 1848 and 1873 ... and more. Did you lose an ancestor on his/her way to California? A surname and ship name search box searches the whole page.
- Maritime Heritage Project--Search Captains, Ships, News and More than 20,000 passengers arriving in San Francisco during the 1800s.
- Golden Nugget Library--California databases for genealogical research.
- Lahontan Images Presents--Exploring Northeastern California History.
- Tehama Pioneers-- early immigrants who lived in or near Tehama County.
Come to the Library
COME TO THE LIBRARY2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland CA
Tel. (510) 663-1358 FAX (510) 663-1596
Open Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.
- Non-members are welcome for a $5 use fee.
- The first Saturday of each month is free.
- Library has 6 computers, a laser printer, and a copier/scanner for patron use.
- Free WiFi! Bring along your laptop or tablet!
Books and periodicals - Whether you have ancestors from the South, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Midwest, the West or California, you will find books, periodicals and resources to support your genealogy research. We also have holdings on Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries.
City directories – CGS has a variety of city directories with an emphasis on directories of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Internet access and subscription websites– Bring your laptop or use one of our computers. CGS has library subscriptions to the following, accessible from any computer on our network, including WiFi:
- Ancestry.com Library Edition
Our computers also have handy links to:
- California Genealogy
- Digital Public Library of America
- Family History Archives
- Historic American Newspapers
- Information Wanted
- Library of Congress Catalog
- S.F. Genealogy
Manuscript collection – Discover our unique manuscript collection which contains pedigree charts, letters and information that is available only at our library.
Vertical File - Dive into the treasure trove in our Vertical File collection of families and places. Search our on-line index which includes a synopsis of each file, providing information to help you determine if coming to the Library to examine the file would be beneficial to your research.
Microfiche - View our microfiche index to see Our holdings which include: Australia, England, Ireland, and many states.
Microfilm – View index to see our records that include many states, Canada and France.
Index to large pedigree charts - View our surname index to large genealogical charts in the library.