Santa Maria California Family History Center

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Center Location, Contact Information, & Hours[edit | edit source]


We are temporarily closed to the public awaiting the time we can reopen. Please check back by calling our phone number below to see if we have reopened. For now, stay safe and healthy.

Map:[edit | edit source]

Address:[edit | edit source]

  • 908 Sierra Madre Avenue, Santa Maria, CA 93454 United States.
  • Entrance and parking are at the southwest corner of the larger church building.
  • Please ring the bell for entrance to the Family History Center.
  • Language: English; Spanish on Mon, 12-2 pm and Tues, 7-9pm; German on Tues, 7-9pm and Wed, 1-2pm

Phone:[edit | edit source]

  • 1-805-928-4722
  • If we don't answer the phone, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Email:[edit | edit source]


Hours:[edit | edit source]

  • Sunday: 2:00pm-5:00pm every 1st Sunday of the Month
  • Monday: 10:00am-2:00pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00am-2:00pm and 7:00pm-9:00pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00am-2:00pm and 7:00pm-9:00pm

2020 Holiday Schedule:[edit | edit source]

  • Jan 1 (New Year's Day)
  • May 25 (Memorial Day)
  • Sep 7 (Labor Day)
  • Nov 23-27 (Thanksgiving week)
  • Dec 21-31 (Christmas break)
  • Jan 1, 2021 (New Year's Day)

Upcoming Events[edit | edit source]

2020 Class Schedule & Family History Courses[edit | edit source]

  • Thursday, Jan. 2 - "A Welsh Family History Experience," 6:30pm - 8pm, presented by Sandy Peterson. This is an opportunity to learn what Sandy did to prepare for meeting her newly discovered Welsh relatives, with interviews, video footage, and photos.
  • Saturday, Jan 4 - "Migration Trails Are Paper Trails: Let's Pick Thru the Crumbs," 10am - 11:30am, presented by Sheila Benedict. This is a FREE Webinar offered by the Southern California Genealogical Society, which usually requires membership to view their webinars.
  • Saturday, Jan 11 - "Making the Most of Fold3 (Military Records Research)," 10am - 11am, presented by James Tanner via BYU webinar (pre-recorded).
  • Wednesday, Jan 15 - "British Isles Research," 9am - 10am, presented by James Orman via St. George webinar (live).
  • Thursday, Jan 16 - "Roots Magic: Do I Need a Desktop Computer Program?" This presentation is offered by the Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society former president, Deanna Baker.
  • Tues-Wed, Jan 21-22 - A "2-Day Intermediate Family History Course" offered by Los Angeles FamilySearch Library, via video conferencing, 8:30am - 4:30pm each day. Please RSVP so we can make sure to have enough materials available for everyone. Cost is $4 if you would like to have a USB thumb drive containing all the documents from the classes. Instruction and hands-on experience available in this course.
  • Saturday, Jan 25 - "English Research: Civil Registration Made Easy," 10am - 11am, presented by Kathryn Grant, via BYU webinar (pre-recorded).
  • Thursday, Jan 30 - "Online Digital Newspaper Sources: Free vs Subscription," 7pm - 8pm, presented by James Tanner, via BYU webinar (pre-recorded).
  • Friday, Jan 31 - "Immigration & Naturalization," 3:00pm - 4:00pm, presented by Suzanne Hoffman, via BYU webinar (live).

Family Discovery Day[edit | edit source]

  • Saturday, September 12, 2020 - Join us for an all day event and learn more about how to discover, gather, and connect with your family and ancestors. This is a highlight of the year in family history fun and all are welcome. Invite your friends and family to join us. More details to come later.

Center Resources[edit | edit source]

Collections[edit | edit source]

  • FamilySearch Catalog: The Santa Maria California Family History Center no longer has the ability to order any of the microfilms and microfiche available through the FamilySearch Catalog. Many of the films and fiche are now digitized and therefore available online.
  • We have a Reference Library housing over 1,000 books and periodicals to help you with research throughout the world.

Databases and Software[edit | edit source]

Our Center has access to the Family History Center Portal which offers free access in the Center to premium family history software and websites. Often these sites will charge subscription fees but here in the Center, there is no charge for patrons to use them. The Portal offers the following:

  • 19th Century British Library Newspapers - This fully searchable database of the British Library's newspaper holdings provides a complete run of 48 national and regional Victorian British newspapers for the 19th century from 1800 to 1900. These support the study of colonial history, genealogical research, politics, urban studies, and media courses.
  • Alexander Street Press - American Civil War
  • Research Data: Contains indexed, searchable information on over 4 million soldiers and thousands of battles, together with 15,000 photographs. The American Civil War Research Database
  • Letters and Diaries: Contains approximately 100,000 indexed pages of diaries, letters, and memoirs, including 4,000 pages of previously unpublished manuscripts, such as the letters of Amos Wood and his wife and the diary of Maryland planter William Claytor. The American Civil War Letters and Diaries
  • Images, Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera : Provides a vivid history of the American Civil War with over 1,400 images. Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States: Organized around the history of women in social movements in the United States between 1600 and 2000 A.D.
  • American Ancestors - Created by the New England Genealogical Society, the American Ancestors website allows searches in a variety of different databases including, 19th-century newspapers, court and probate records, genealogies, journals and periodicals, and immigration records.
  • (Institution version) - Ancestry gives you access to thousands of collections of records from around the world, including immigration, census, voter, vital, and military records; newspapers and periodicals; family trees; photos and images; directories, maps, court, land, wills and financial records, stories, memories, and histories; and detailed records about births, marriages, deaths, land ownership, and much more. It is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world.
  • ArkivDigital - ArkivDigital is the largest private provider of Swedish Church Records and other historical records online! All images are newly photographed color images of the original documents.
  • FamNet - The online family history network for those who have New Zealand roots.
  • - Findmypast makes it easy to research your UK ancestry and create your family tree. Search census records and trace births, marriages, and deaths to bring your family history to life. Please note that not all of the content from findmypast is available in family history centers.
  • Fold3 (Military records research) - Search or browse millions of historical documents and photos. Fold3 has refocused their efforts on gathering the best online collection of military records and stories. The Fold3 name reflects military history and honor, since traditionally, the third fold in a flag-folding ceremony honors and remembers veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.
  • Geneanet - This resource, available in centers in the United Kingdom only, contains English parish records, directories, census, civil registration, surname mapping, and selected army and navy lists.
  • Kinpoint (Premium) - Kinpoint is designed to make it easier for you to do your family history by letting you see what to work on at a glance; quickly find missing information in your family tree, and discover insights into the lives of your ancestors.
  • (Library edition) - Used by millions of people worldwide to help research family history, build a family tree, and add photos, historical records, and more.
  • - The largest online newpaper archive. 12,100 newspapers from the 1700s to the 2000s. Millions of additional pages added every month.
  • Paper Trail - Provides access to 19th-century westward American migration documents.
  • Puzzilla (Premium) - Find new research opportunities on descendant lines in Family Tree.

Hardware and Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • 15 computer workstations with printer access
  • 1 Lexmark Laser Black & White Printer/Copier (no charge for copies, limited to 10 copies per patron)
  • 2 Northwest Microfilm Readers
  • 1 Microfiche Reader
  • 1 Canon Microfiche/Microfilm Scanner-Copier
  • 1 Epson Flatbed Photo Scanner (scans photos, negatives, and slides)
  • 1 Epson Upright-Feeding Photo Scanner
  • 1 12" Paper Trimmer/Cutter
  • 1 Heavy-Duty 3-Hole Punch (punches up to 130 sheets at a time of 20 pound paper)

Center Services[edit | edit source]

Staff Research Specialties[edit | edit source]

We have friendly and experienced volunteers who have various skill sets. We also offer translation help in the following languages: Spanish, German and Latin (by appointment).

Resources in the Local Area[edit | edit source]

Santa Maria Public Library: Special Collections
421 S. McClelland St.
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2147
Santa Maria, CA 93457

The Society meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 2-4pm here at the Santa Maria Family History Center. They do not meet in July, August or December. The Society can be reached for volunteer help through the Santa Maria Public Library: 805-925-0994 or by email at If you are just getting started, new to the area, or need something special in your research they are another source of help.

Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum
616 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Links[edit | edit source]

The "Links" below offer in-depth information and education on the subject of each link and there are many more links contained within each page of information. Click the link to learn more about a particular subject and what is available to help you in your research.

Maintained by: Ramona Cashmore, Director

Last modified: 23 Jan 2020


For help and guidelines for editing this page, see the Adding details to a FHC page article.