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Resources for genealogy research

Looking for something to do while you ride out the shelter in place order? Perhaps this is the time to delve into your family history. If you are just getting started there are some excellent free online resources available. For example:

The National Archives

The Library of Congress

Most require onsite access, but not all

FamilySearch.org

This is a free database, but you will need create an account.

The Sutro Library (San Francisco) - Genealogy Collection

Although closed the public at this time, you can search their catalog online. Telephone and email reference services are still available, and requests may be submitted via Ask-A-Librarian portal.

The Sonoma County Library

Although all branches are closed, many of their online resources are available remotely, all you need is a Sonoma County Library card. Temporary eCards are available.

The library has added some expanded digital resources.

For those interested in finding their ancestors in the U.S. Census and other records go to HeritageQuest. Here is some information about what this database offers.

But don’t limit yourself to HeritageQuest, I recommend clicking on all the databases. You’ll be able to tell which are available remotely and those that are not.

Sonoma County Genealogical Society

You don’t need to have ancestors from Sonoma County to benefit from what this organization has to offer including very informative monthly newsletters. In fact, many of its members are not from Sonoma County.

Be sure to check out their Facebook group page where I found this great post.

And if documenting your family genealogy doesn’t interest you, but you enjoy history, consider becoming a Citizen Archivist for the National Archives.

(Katherine Rinehart is the former manager of the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library and current consulting historian.)

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