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 | History, Biography & Genealogy
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*African American Genealogical Resources *British and Welsh Genealogical Resources *Canadian Genealogical Resources
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*French Genealogical Resouces *Genealogy Research on the internet *German Genealogical Resources
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*Hispanic Genealogy Resources *Immigration Resources *Internet Genealogical Resources
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*Irish Genealogical Resources *Italian Genealogical Resources *Jewish Genealogical Resources
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*Military Genealogical Resources *Native American Genealogical Resources *Polish Genealogy Resources
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*Scandinavian Genealogy Resources *Scottish Genealogical Resources
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Genealogy

We have divided this subject into separate pages:

You may also wish to try the, Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, The USGenWeb Project , and FamilySearch  for resources outside our Library. We have recently subscribed to Ancestry Plus Database  and you may also wish to try that source. It is available only from PC's within library facilities.

Family History Research, a Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Begin by reading an introduction to genealogical research. Some suggestions are:

Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo, A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant and Ethnic Ancestors, Cincinnati, Betterway, 2000. Also in the Reference Collection.

929.1 C948
Croom, Emily, Unpuzzling Your Past; a Basic Guide to Genealogy, Cincinnati, OH:Betterway, 2001. Also in the Reference Collection.

929.1 C948
Greenwood, Val, The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy,Baltimore, MD: GPC, 2000. Also in the Reference Collection.

Step 2

Fill out a pedigree chart and family group sheets with the information you know about yourself, your parents, your grandparents, etc. Samples are available in many introductory books on genealogy.

929.1 C948 1996
Croom, Emily, The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook, Cincinnati, Betterway, 1996. Also in the Reference Collection.

Step 3

Check home sources such as family bibles, old photographs and letters, certificates, etc. for additional information to add to your charts.

929.1 S935
Sturdevant, Katherine Scott, Organizing and Preserving your Heirloom Documents, Cincinnati: Betterway, 2002.

929.1 T244
Taylor, Maureen, Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, Cincinnati, Betterway, 2000.

Step 4

Contact as many relatives as possible to obtain further information they may know about your family. Add this information to your charts.  Also check Genforum  on the Internet

929.1072 C899
Crawford-Oppenheimer, Christine, Long-distance genealogy. Cincinnati, Beterway, 2000. Also in the reference collection.

929.1 R813
Rosenbluth, Vera, Keeping Family Stories Alive, Point Roberts, WA: Hartley & Marks, 1997.

929.1 Z72
Zimmerman, William, How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies, Cincinnati: Betterway, 1999.

Step 5

Keep track of the information you receive, documenting all sources, oral and written.

929.1 C287
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo, Organizing Your Family History Search, Cincinnati, Betterway, 1999. Also in the reference collection.

929.1028 C976
Cunan, Joan, Numbering your Genealogy, Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2000.

929.1 L141
Lackey, Richard, Cite Your Sources, a Manual for Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records, Jackson, MS: Univ.Press of Mississippi, 1980. Also in the Reference Collection.

929.1 M657
Mills, Elizabeth, Evidence: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian, Baltimore: GPC, 1997. Also in the reference collection.

929.1072 S631
Slawson, Mary, Getting it Right: the Definitive Guide to Recording Family History Accurately, Salt Lake City, Deseret, 2002.

Step 6

Send for Vital Records Information  (birth, marriage and death certificates) to document the information you have compiled. California Marriage Index 1960-81, and California Death Index 1940-83 are available on microfiche at the Library Periodicals Desk. Also available is California Death Records for 1940-97 via the Internet . Newspapers are another source for vital record information. Another resource for death information is the Social Security Death Index .

R929.1 E93
The Handy Book for Genealogists, Logan, UT: Everton, 2002. Also in the Reference Collection Older editions in circulation. This title provides information about what vital records are available state by state.

R071.016 U58
United States Newspaper Program National Union List, Dublin, OH: OCLC, 1993.

Also try Where to Write for Vital Records  from the Internet

Step 7

Locate your family in the United States censuses working back from 1930 (the census was taken every 10 years). Make copies of the pages that show your family. You must know the state where your family was living at the time the census was taken. Censuses are on microfilm and may be borrowed through Inter-Library Loan for a fee. Many are indexed. The Soundex Code Generator  will code your surname for available indexes. The reference librarians at the Information Desk can help you order them. A full set of the U.S. Census is available at the National Archives Branch in Laguna Niguel . Information about researching the 1930 Census is available on the Heritage Quest website . For a street index to some large cities in 1930 go to Obtaining ED's for the 1930 Census in One Step . The library subscribes to Gale's Ancestry Plus Database which is available only on PC's in the library.  It contains a complete set of the U.S. Censuses and most indexes.

929.1072 D665
The Census Book, Bountiful, UT, Heritage Quest, 2000. Also in the Reference Collection.

929.1072 H659
Hinkley, Kathleen, Your Guide to the Federal Census, Cincinatti: Betterway, 2002. Also in the Reference Collection.

R929.1 S724
The Soundex Daitch-Mokotoff Reference Guide, Bountiful, UT: Precision Indexing, 1994. 2 vols.

R929.1072 S998
Szucs, Loretto, Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records, Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2001.

R929.3 T499
Thorndale, William, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, Baltimore, MD: GPC, 1987.

Step 8

Obtain further information about your family by doing research in the areas where they lived. Many libraries have local, regional and state genealogical collections which may include information for their own areas as well as other areas. You may order some of this material through Inter-Library Loan for a fee. The Sutro Branch of the California State library has a large genealogical collection. Their catalog is available through Torrance Public Library's on-line catalog (choose the MELVYL University of California Catalog). Also try: The Family History Center Catalog , and the  U.S. Genweb  Project web site.

Obituary requests:

The Reference staff will look up to three names for obituaries in the columns of the Daily Breeze (1970 to present) or the Torrance Herald (1913 to 1969). Requests must be in writing and include the decedent's full name and date of death. A self addressed stamped envelope must be included. Staff will only look up those who died within the City of Torrance. Please send requests to:

Obituary Look up
Attention Suganthi Buehler
Katy Geissert Civic Center Library
3301 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503

R929.1025 S653
Smith, Juliana, The Ancestry Family Historian's Address Book, Salt Lake City, Ancestry, 1997.

929.1072 W292
Warren, Paula, Your Guide to the Family History Center, Cincinnati, OH: Betterway, 2001.

A must read for anyone headed to Salt Lake City or learning to use the resources of the Family History Library through their microfilm loan program.

Step 9

The South Bay Cities Genealogical Society meets in the Civic Center Library meeting room on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 P.M. The meetings are free and open to the public. Volunteers from the Society are in a Civic Center Library study room on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. to help beginners get started on their research. Their address is South Bay Cities Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 11069, Torrance, CA 90510-9998. Their website is South Bay Cities Genealogical Society .

There are magazine published specifically for genealogists which include helpful articles, queries, and advertisements for books and services. The library subscribes to : Everton's Family History Magazine  and Heritage Quest  which are shelved in R929.3

Revised 09/09/05