The Genealogy Collection at the University Library at Sacramento State contains basic works and references familiar to most active genealogists and focuses primarily on information about the United States and Canada with additional materials about Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and limited materials about other countries. It was developed in the 1980s to support an education class on family history that was later eliminated from the curriculum, so very little is currently purchased in this subject area.
Browsing through the almost 500 items in the CS call number, you will find that the emphasis is on sources that guide you to materials, rather than on individual family histories. CS 16 call number is where most of the books for novice genealogists can be found. Sourcebooks with addresses of archives and libraries are mostly out of date as the Internet has supplanted and updated many such guides.
California and US Census
The University Library collection also contains microfilm census records from selected California counties and Indian census rolls dating back into the 1800s. The earliest California Census was actually done in 1850, during the gold rush when the state was admitted to the Union. To obtain a more reliable picture of the population, the State of California conducted its own census in 1852, the only one in the state’s history. It is available on microfilm here, under the title: California census of 1852. Microfilm copies of subsequent census rolls from the Sacramento region can be found by searching under the uniform title: "Census of Population (year) California" in our EUREKA catalog. We also have an excellent Guide to the Census:
Atlases and Biographies
As an academic library we also provide a wealth of historical information that
can be useful for family history researchers. Try the extensive Atlas and Map
Collections on the second floor to see historical maps or detailed
topographic maps so you may trace your family's travels. If you have a place
name that you can't locate, try the Getty Thesaurus of
Geographic Names Online. It's a gazetteer containing
more than a million entries and is provided free by the Getty Research
Look for county histories for areas where your family may have lived, but be prepared to take the glowing descriptions of your ancestors with a grain of salt. During the 1890s and at the turn of the century several publishing firms wrote "history and biography" books for California counties, often called "mug books" because they included many photographs of prominent local citizens. Theses books were sold by subscription so you won't read anything but complimentary phrases. The county histories produced by Thompson & West in the 1880s are well worth hunting down for the wonderful detail of the "bird's eye view" illustrations of local properties. If you are not searching for California antecedents, the area your ancestors lived in during the same period may have similar volumes. Due to the efforts of many volunteers, the biographical sections of many Sacramento Count histories have be indexed and scanned and placed on the web. As of the January 2010, biographies from the following books can be read online:
- Wright, George F., "History of Sacramento County, California" 1880.
- Davis, Hon. Win. J., An Illustrated History of Sacramento County,
California. Lewis Publishing Company. 1890.
- “A Volume Of Memoirs And Genealogy of Representative Citizens Of Northern California” Standard Genealogical Publishing Co. Chicago. 1901.
- Willis, William L., History of Sacramento County, California. Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA. 1913.
- Reed, G. Walter, History of Sacramento County, California With Biographical Sketches. Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA. 1923.
- Wooldridge, Jesse Walton, Maj., “History of the Sacramento Valley California Vols. 1-3”. The Pioneer Historical Publishing Co., Chicago (1931)
We also have the Biography and Genealogy Master Index. This tool directs you to the appropriate biographical tool (such as Who Was Who) that contains an entry for the name you have searched.