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  • About Donating Genealogical Materials

    The Book Committee evaluates suggested gifts and donations according to the Society’s mission and the Sahyun Genealogical Library’s collection policy. Current needs and physical space also are taken into account.

    We collect from around the world, as appropriate genealogical materials are published and become available, and as space allows.

    Unsure if your items fit our criteria? Review the guidelines below.  Questions? Please contact us. 

    Guidelines for Genealogical Donations

    Click below for information.


    • U.S. genealogical published materials in print or electronic form from reputable publishers
    • Worldwide genealogical published materials in print or electronic form from reputable publishers
    • Vital records from parish, town, church, cemetery records
    • Genealogical materials compiled by noted genealogical researchers and authors
    • Publications and periodicals from genealogical regional and lineage societies
    • Durable print materials of major genealogical relevance and interest with national, state, and countywide emphasis


    • Sources that provide indexes, bibliographies, and source citations are preferred
    • Topics relevant to genealogy and family history that are of enduring value are preferred over how-to books or “trendy” topics
    • Materials in English are preferred, but materials in other languages are considered based on library users’ needs
    • Materials must include genealogical information to be added to the collection

    Geographic Priorities

    • Santa Barbara County
    • California
    • North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico)
    • Europe

    Formats Collected

    • Books
    • Periodicals
    • Electronic resources via licensed databases (e.g., Ancestry Library Edition, American Ancestors, etc.)
    • Printed and bound family histories; published and unpublished
    • School yearbooks – Santa Barbara County only
    • City directories – Santa Barbara County only
    • Telephone directories – Santa Barbara County only
    • Lineage and society directories

    Not Collected

    • Archival materials, including original family history documents and photographs
    • Textbooks
    • Audio and video cassettes
    • Compact discs
    • Microfilm and microfiche
    • E-Books or other electronic media requiring hosting
    • Scrapbooks
    • Photographs
    • Oral histories: tapes and transcriptions
    • Government documents
    • Materials freely available via online resources (census, vital records, etc.) or items commonly available in regional libraries
    • Items with evidence of mold, infestation, or other damage

    About Donated Materials

    • All donated materials become the sole property of the Society.
    • We reserve the right to determine the disposition of donated material, either by adding it to the collection, by trading or selling it to provide for additional acquisitions, or by discarding.
    • Donated materials that have been added to the collection may be deaccessioned in accordance with the Sahyun Genealogical Library Collection Policy without consulting the donor
    • Donations made to SBCGS are deductible by donors as provided under applicable sections of state and federal laws. The SBCGS is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
    • It is the responsibility of the donor to assign a monetary value to the materials. SBCGS is not allowed to provide a written appraisal for tax purposes.
    • For all donations of research materials, the Sahyun Genealogical Library Research Material Donation form must be completed, signed, and dated by the donor. The original form will be kept on file in the Library office and a copy of the form will be given to the donor.
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