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Alameda County Library

The Nov 12 Press Release from AC HCSA announced a pause to the reopening of additional activities and mentioned that Alameda County may move back to a more restrictive tier. As of today, we are determining what this means for our Library reopening plan. Read more

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Genealogy: Resources

Library Resources

Introduction to Genealogy

Researching a family can be a rewarding experience, and lead to interesting and surprising finds. If you are new to genealogical research, watch the video below for an overview. Then, use the tools on these pages to dig deeper!

An excellent overview of genealogy research and tools.

One of the first and most comprehensive resources for genealogy material. A must visit. See especially the "Are you new to genealogy?" and the many international links.

Resources, search tips, content highlights, blog posts and more in one single place. Free to all, one sign-up, no email, no library card needed.

A growing project with the goal of providing links worldwide. Search by country or region.

Genealogy Resources

Libraries and archives that focus on genealogy can provide research tips and tricks in addition to information on your family tree.  Additional research material can be found at local museums and historical societies.National Archives and Records Building

Area Institutions:

Family History Centers are operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah. The centers supply resources for research and study of genealogy and family history.  Local Family History Centers can be found in Fremont, Oakland, Livermore, and Pleasanton.  

The San Bruno facility has extensive microfilm holdings including: federal population censuses for all States, 1790-1920, passenger arrival records for the port of San Francisco, 1893-1957, and indexes to naturalization records from Federal courts in Honolulu, Reno, and San Francisco. 

The Sutro Library is the largest genealogical library west of Salt Lake City. Their holdings contain materials from all over the United States, including more than 10,000 family histories, 40,000 state, regional, county, and town histories, vital records, 20,000 city directories, and 10,000 telephone books.

Regional and National Institutions:

The California State Library houses a treasure trove of genealogical information including census data, obituaries, and portraits. Search the links on their California History Room page for specialized California genealogy resources.

The DAR Library collection contains nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country. The DAR Library is free and open to the public.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a premier genealogical research facility, with about 1.4 million rolls of microfilm on-site, along with over 600,000 books, serials, and maps. In addition, guests have free access to billions of additional record images online.

The Library of Congress than 50,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories. The collections are especially strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.

One of the largest genealogical libraries in the world. Open to the public for research use.

Genealogical societies can provide learning opportunities and the chance to meet people with expertise in the field. Many offer access to resources that might otherwise be difficult to find.  

Bay Area Societies:

The AAGSNC was founded in 1996 with the goal of promoting interest in genealogy, biography, and related history of African Americans.

Founded in 1898, this is the oldest genealogy society in the State of California. The Society offers research services, online one-of-a-kind genealogical indexes and databases, and a research library housing over 38,000 reference materials from California, the United States, and around the world.

Founded in 1977, members of this society have extracted cemetery, church, census and other records pertaining to the Tri-Valley, many of which are available for viewing either in published books or in free, online databases.

The SFBAJGS is dedicated to the development, preservation and distribution of Jewish genealogical knowledge and material, and the sharing of techniques and tools with others who may be searching their Jewish roots. Their members have experience with genealogical research in every corner of the globe and with all types of historical records.

The San Mateo County Genealogical Society supports the study of family history on the San Francisco peninsula and beyond through educational programs with locally and nationally known speakers, a library with more than 60,000 books and 80 genealogical periodicals, online catalog, databases & records, the First Families program, and research services.

National Societies:

One of the largest genealogical societies in the world. The NGS is a leader in the field in teaching genealogical research skills and providing a pathway to scholarly work.


If the deceased resided in one of the parts of the County served by Alameda County Library, we will try to locate an obituary for you by checking our local papers. Please use Ask Us!, to provide as much information as possible about the person and a librarian will respond.

The parts of the County we cover are: Albany, Castro Valley, Dublin, Fremont, Newark, San Lorenzo, Union City and unincorporated areas.

If you do not know the city of residence or the city where the death occurred, you can order an informational death certificate from the Alameda County Clerk Recorder.  This office can provide death certificates for deaths occurring since 1893 for a fee. Death certificates may also be obtained from the state of California Vital Records.

Vital Records

If the event occurred in Alameda County, birth certificates from 1940 to the present, death certificates from 1960 to the present and marriage certificates from 1854 to the present may be ordered online from Alameda County.

For other areas of California or dates not covered by Alameda County, certificates may be ordered online from the State of California Department of Public Health, Vital Records.

For areas outside of California, check appropriate state agency where the death occurred or VitalCheck.

Image of gravestoneFinding Obituaries

Online Searchable Death Indexes

Rootsweb Obituary Search has recent obituaries from 1000 newspapers.

Cemeteries and Gravesites

Find a Grave
Online Cemetery Records and Burial Indexes

Primary sources provide a first-hand account of an event from the time period in which it occurred. Primary sources often include photographs, audio or video recordings, journals, letters or diaries, scrapbooks. published books, newspapers or magazines. 

Page of 1930 Census, Wisconsin

Passenger records in a searchable database that allows you to see the actual image of the record. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the search page to view the image!

Archives of letters, diaries, or other papers left by family members.