Local History Resources
East Bay Historical Societies and Museums
African American Museum and Library, Oakland
The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is dedicated to discover, preserve, interpret and share the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations.
Alameda County Historical Society
The Alameda County Historical Society was founded in 1965 to foster and encourage interest in the history of Alameda County, to publish and to aid in the publication of materials designed to preserve historical data, to increase the general knowledge of the history of the county, to provide opportunities for sociability among members of the Society, and to encourage coordination and cooperation with other history organizations.
The Alameda Museum offers permanent displays of Alameda history, the only rotating gallery showcasing local Alameda artists and student artwork, as well as souvenirs, books, and videos about the rich history of the Island City. The Alameda Historical Society was founded in 1948, and the Museum was established in 1951. In 1983 the Alameda Museum was designated as the official repository of historical documents and artifacts for the City of Alameda.
Albany Historical Society
The purpose of the Albany Historical Society is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history of the Albany area.
Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society
The Museum on Main in Pleasanton is part of the Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society (ALVHS), a non-profit organization dedicated to linking the past to the future by preserving, clarifying and disseminating information about history specific to this region. Since its founding in 1963, ALVHS continues its mission through this website, newsletters, pamphlets, special events, oral history projects, educational programming for volunteers, acquisition and preservation of artifacts, documents and photographs.
Clayton Historical Society
The Clayton Historical Society was founded in 1974 to “research, collect, record, preserve, display, borrow, share, and interpret local history information and memorabilia, and to promote understanding of Clayton origins and development.”
Concord Historical Society
The objects, purposes, and powers of the Concord Historical Society are to discover, establish, and preserve structures, objects, and materials of interest, importance, and value, in relation to the City of Concord, California, and its vicinity, and to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge of the history of the City of Concord, California, and it’s vicinity.
Contra Costa County Historical Society
The Contra Costa County Historical Society’s mission is to preserve for the benefit of the people of our County, the relics of our past.
Dublin Heritage Park & Museums
Owned and operated by the City of Dublin, Dublin Heritage Park and Museums is a 10-acre park with historic buildings, lawns, pioneer cemetery, and picnic areas. The park is designed to maintain and tell the history of Dublin.
El Cerrito Historical Society
The El Cerrito Historical Society is a non-political, non-profit organization and has only one agenda: to locate and preserve the history of El Cerrito.
The Washington Township Museum of Local History is located at 190 Anza Street, Fremont, California. It is a non-profit all volunteer group of people dedicated to researching and preserving the diverse history of Washington Township (today the cities of Fremont, Union City and Newark).
Hayward Area Historical Society
The Hayward Area Historical Society preserves the diverse history of the Hayward, Castro Valley, and San Lorenzo area. Through educational programs, interpretive exhibitions, and the preservation of historic sites and artifacts, they show the relevance of events that happened in the past to the community today.
Lafayette Historical Society
Through their collections and programs they strive to link Lafayette’s history to the lives of people. They work towards this goal by discovering and collecting any material which may help document or illustrate the history of Lafayette, preserving that material and making it accessible to all who wish to examine or study it and disseminating historical information through programs, publications, exhibits and the Internet.
Livermore Heritage Guild
The Guild manages three city-owned historic properties: the Livermore History Center, Duarte Garage and Hagemann Ranch, as well as a “Historymobile.”
Martinez Historical Society
The society has a museum, archive and library. They have maps, the city’s property assessment books from 1884 to the late 1940s, a massive collection of historic photographs, artifacts from the city and county, the county census from 1860 to 1920 including some other parts of California, and other interesting things to see.
Mission Peak Heritage Foundation, Fremont
The Foundation operates the Shinn Historical Park & Arboretum.
Moraga Historical Society
The Moraga Historical Society was established in 1965 to gather, preserve and disseminate knowledge about the history of the Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados—what is now the Town of Moraga plus portions of Orinda and Lafayette. their History Center is in the Moraga Library, and they are also working toward a future museum with Friends of the Moraga Adobe.
Point Richmond History Association
The Point Richmond History Association maintains a small museum on the downtown Point Richmond Triangle that is housed by the oldest commercial building in Richmond.
Richmond Museum of History
The Richmond Museum Association preserves the diverse history of the City of Richmond and the surrounding area. It provides educational programs, interpretive exhibits, a permanent collection of artifacts related to local history, and preservation of historic monuments like the SS Red Oak Victory.
San Pablo Historical Society
The Society manages two historic homes, the Alvarado Adobe and the Blume House, and maintains an archive of historic photos and documents chronicling the history of San Pablo.
Walnut Creek Historical Society
The Society manages the Shadelands Ranch Museum and has an extensive online archive of historic photographs.
Union City Historical Museum
The Union City Historical Museum is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to recording and preserving the history of Union City CA. The organization’s primary goals are to record an oral history from people living in the community, identify and encourage preservation of historical buildings and maintain a museum containing artifacts, historical documents, and historical books.
Local Preservation Groups
Alameda Architectural Preservation Society
The continuing goal of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society is to increase public awareness and appreciation of historic architecture in Alameda.
Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) has been working since 1974 to educate the community about Berkeley’s rich architectural heritage and encourage the preservation of its historic buildings.
Berkeley Path Wanderers
Berkeley Path Wanderers Association is dedicated to the creation, preservation and restoration of public paths, steps and walkways in Berkeley for the use and enjoyment of all.
Friends of Five Creeks
Friends of Five Creeks is an all-volunteer group working hands-on for clean water and healthy watersheds.
Friends of the Fountain and Walk
The Friends of the Fountain and Walk is a non-profit group of volunteers who reconstructed the fountain beginning in the early 1990s and who now assist the City in maintaining the fountain and the surrounding area. The fountain is in northwest Berkeley, California, and has a rich history and is a focal point for the surrounding community. The fountain is located at The Circle and Marin Avenue. It is in the middle of a traffic roundabout with seven streets radiating off of it.
McGee-Spaulding-Hardy Historic Interest Group
The McGee-Spaulding-Hardy Historic Interest Group is dedicated to researching and publicizing the social and architectural history of the area bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Dwight Way, Sacramento Street, and University Avenue.
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Oakland Heritage Alliance advocates the protection, preservation, and revitalization of Oakland’s architectural, historic, cultural and natural resources through publications, education, and direct action.
The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley
First housed in the attic of California Hall, and then in the Doe Library, The Bancroft Library moved into its present quarters in 1973. At the same time, the original scope of the library was enlarged to include a number of other “special collections,” including the former Rare Books Collection. The Bancroft Library now includes the Mark Twain Papers and Project, the Regional Oral History Office, the University of California Archives, the History of Science and Technology Program, and the Pictorial Collection. It has become one of the largest – and busiest – special collections in the United States.
Berkeley Public Library History Room
The Berkeley History Room provides a space dedicated to an expanded collection of historical materials, sure to be of interest to genealogists, researchers, students, scholars, and especially the historically curious.
California State Library, Sacramento
The California State Library serves the people of California in several ways. It is the central reference and research library for state government and the Legislature. It provides non-partisan research to the Legislature and the Governor. It collects, preserves, generates and disseminates information ranging from California’s priceless historical items to today’s online texts. It advises, consults with, and provides technical assistance to California’s public libraries, and it directs state and federal funds to support local public libraries and statewide library programs, and services.
Oakland History Room, Oakland Main Library
The Oakland History Room has books, clippings, and photographs documenting the history of California with an emphasis on the East Bay.
San Leandro History Room, San Leandro Library
The History Room explores the treasures and stories of the past at the Main Library. This special collection contains more than 7,000 books on California and San Leandro history, over 2,500 historic photographs of San Leandro, documents from the City of San Leandro, and a variety of pamphlets, newspaper clippings and maps.
California and Alameda County Genealogy Pages
California Genealogical Society helps people trace and compile their family histories.To accomplish this, the Society maintains a library, gathers and preserves vital records, disseminates information through its publications and internet access, and teaches genealogical research methods through meetings, seminars and workshops. Most services are fee-based or through being a member.
This site is a compilation of various biographies, links, cemeteries, census lists, church directories and death certificates for people in California.
The Oakland Public Library’s resources available to the genealogy researcher are focused specifically on events and subject matter occurring within the greater Oakland metropolitan area.
The California Genealogy and History Archives are a FREE site storing thousands of records and photos for the researcher. It will continue to add records through volunteers providing new data.
This is a compilation of California genealogy maintained by Linkpendium.
Access Genealogy complies and presents genealogical information and databases. Native American research has been greatly improved to provide quality data to the Native American researchers. The data has differed from other efforts online by understanding of what has been posted online and how it relates to other data. The ability to integrate the multiple databases, such as the Final Rolls, makes the data more useful to the researcher. It’s not just names researchers need, they also need to understand how that data plays into their ancestry. Though known for Native American data, there is actually have more data for the regular American researcher than Native American.
The African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC) was created for AAGSNC members as a useful supplement to other family history research tools.
The organization is inactive at the present time and the material presented here on the Web is for informational purposes only. Copyright rules still exist. La Familia is a research association whose members specialize in discovering and preserving the history of their Mexican-American, Mexican (European and indigenous) ancestors. It promotes and encourages the study of Hispanic ancestors in historical and cultural contexts.
Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Genealogy Data Records for Eastern Alameda County, California was formed to help beginning genealogists get started, exchange information with fellow members, learn more about sources available for genealogical research and undertake genealogy-related public service projects.
Kindred Trails is a site devoted to genealogy resources throughout the world.
Other Websites of Local Interest
National Register Sites in Alameda County
The National Register of Historic Places is the Nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. The National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources.
National Register Sites in Contra Costa County
UC Berkeley Digital Library
The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE builds digital collections and services while providing information and support to digital library developers worldwide.
East Bay House Museums
Belvoir Springs, Fremont
The historic Belvoir Springs is a picturesque extended stay guesthouse, tucked away in the Fremont hills with an easy commute to the greater San Francisco Bay Area and East Bay.
Blume House, San Pablo
The Blume House and “Bunk House” adjacent to it are open to the public Sunday afternoons from noon to 4:00 pm and admission is free. Built in 1905, it is a great example of agricultural era living in the Bay Area.
California Nursery, Fremont
The history of the California Nursery Co. is preserved in a museum containing the archives (catalogues, photographs, records, landscape design plans, 16mm films, etc.) and restored nursery equipment. The site also contains the restored original horticultural plantings for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations. It creates a public living history preserve of this 140 year legacy, dedicated to the memory of George C. and Frances B. Roeding, Jr.
Cameron-Stanford House, Oakland
The only remaining Victorian on Lake Merritt, the 1875 Italianate stands as a grand reminder of what this exclusive neighborhood used to look like. It was home to several of Oakland’s leading families of the late 1800’s and later served 57 years as the Oakland Public Museum.
Cohen-Bray House, Oakland
The Cohen-Bray house was built in 1884 as a wedding present to Emma Bray Cohen and her husband Alfred H. Cohen. Emma’s parents bought them the land and house, and Alfred’s parents bought them the furniture, which is still in the house to this day.
Dunsmuir Historic Estate, Oakland
The Dunsmuir-Hellman Historical Estate was built in 1899 and features a 37-room Neoclassical Revival mansion set on 50 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.
John Muir House and Martinez Adobe, Martinez
Muir chose to live in this urban environment because his wife Louise and her family were from here. Muir’s in-laws, the Strentzels, finished the mansion after two years of construction in 1882. John Muir moved into the home with his wife and two girls in 1890. Muir lived and wrote in the home for the last 24 years of his life. The site includes the Muir home, orchards, the Martinez Adobe and Mt. Wanda.
McConaghy House, Hayward
The McConaghy Estate is a 12-room farmhouse, tank house, and carriage house. The home is furnished in the style of 1886. This site is owned by the Hayward Area Parks and Recreation District and is operated by the Hayward Area Historical Society. A major event at the museum is the McConaghy Antique Show that is held the last weekend in July with 55 dealers participating in this outdoor sale.
Old Mission San Jose, Fremont
Mission San Jose was founded on June 11, 1797 by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen on a site which was part of a highway by way of the Livermore Valley to the San Joaquin Valley. It is the fourteenth of the 21 Spanish Missions in Alta California. They were founded to secure Spain’s claim to this land and to teach the native people Christianity and the Spanish way of life.
Pardee Home Museum, Oakland
Oakland’s Pardee Home is one of the greatest architectural and historical treasures of Northern California. First-time visitors might initially be attracted by the exterior beauty of the house and its gardens, but after entering the house they learn of its outstanding historical importance and of its unique interiors and artifacts from throughout the world.
Patterson House, Ardenwood, Fremont
A visit to Ardenwood is a journey back to the time of the Patterson Ranch – a prosperous, 19th-century country estate including a beautiful mansion and its elaborate Victorian Gardens. Today the Historic Farm exhibits agricultural practices from the 1870s to the present, demonstrating the transition from horse-powered to horsepower.
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, Oakland
A local and state landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this farmhouse represents Spanish-speaking California on the cusp of a new era after the Gold Rush and annexation of California by the United States. Externally, the house is restored and maintained to its original appearance, and inside it houses permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as administrative offices. Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
Shadelands Ranch, Walnut Creek
Built by Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman (1824-1907), the main house on the Shadelands Ranch grounds is a 1903 redwood-framed Colonial Revival structure that now showcases numerous historical artifacts, many of which belonged to the Pennimans. It also houses a rich archive of Contra Costa and Walnut Creek history in its collections of old newspapers, photographs, and government records.
Shinn House, Fremont
The Shinn Historical Park contains several homes and an arboretum. The “Big House” was started in 1865 and completed in 1876. It is a rare Victorian Farm Style with Bavarian influence.
Vallejo Adobe, Fremont
Located at 36500 Niles Boulevard, the Vallejo Adobe Historical Park is a quaint park location with an authentic adobe house built in 1843 as the centerpiece. The Adobe has 36” thick walls and is 40 feet long by 27 feet wide, and was built to be used as sleeping quarters for the Vaqueros of the Vallejo Rancho. As a part of the residential development surrounding the present historical park, the City of Fremont accepted title to the Vallejo Adobe in December of 1972, and subsequently dedicated it as “Vallejo Adobe Historical Park.”
Williams Historical Park, Fremont
Once a part of the old Chadbourne Ranch, the Carriage House is reminiscent of the 19th-century horse and buggy days. This house and the surrounding Williams Historical Park were donated to the City by Burdette Williams in 1960.