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  • Visit The Sahyun Genealogical Library

    The Society’s Sahyun Genealogical Library is a non-lending research library open to the public. It contains over 16,000 items, including books, newsletters and journals from many genealogical societies all over the world; access to genealogical databases; 12 computer workstations, Wi-Fi, work tables, and meeting rooms. Helpful volunteers are available to assist with research questions.

    Search the Online Library Catalog

    On first use, you will need to type in “SBCGS” in the upper box. No password is needed. Once you find items you are interested in, you can save them to the clipboard, print out the list, and bring it to the library.

    Resources Available At The Library

    Books and Periodicals

    • Over 16,000 volumes on the shelves representing most regions of the world. Topics include: family histories, census and vital records, land records, cemetery records, immigration, local county histories, lineage societies, military history, and so much more.
    • Large collection of directories, yearbooks, and local history from Santa Barbara County
    • More than 100 books, formerly on compact discs, have now been converted to searchable PDF files.
    • Over 750 periodical titles, including newsletters and journals from genealogical societies all over the US, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and Europe; of these, 225 titles are now digitized and searchable from the library computers.

    FamilySearch Affiliate Library

    • FamilySearch – As a Research Affiliate Library, we provide free access to digital records, books, and images in the FamilySearch Library, some
      of which are available only at affiliate libraries. You will need to log in using your own account name and password.

    Online Databases

    Access to subscription databases available in the library.

    • Library Edition – world’s largest collection of online family records
    • – World Edition
    • American Ancestors (formerly New England Historical Genealogical Society)
    • Fold3 – Military records
    • FindMyPast – US and UK records
    • MyHeritage* – historical documents from 48 countries spanning the past five centuries
    • NewspaperArchive* – articles from 1607 to 2024, including the Santa Barbara News-Press from 2005 to 2023
    • PRDH – Quebec’s Catholic baptisms and burials as well as all of Quebec’s marriages for 1621-1849

    * Remote access for members only

    Vertical Files

    • Surname files and locality files include family group sheets, pedigrees, articles, photographs, small brochures, maps and other unbound materials, arranged by surname, place, or subject. A “S” or “L” prefix before a call number in the online catalog indicates an item is in the vertical file and not on the bookshelf.


    • The library has several hundred individual maps, many of Santa Barbara County, a large collection of Ordinance Survey maps from Great Britain, and atlases of all kinds.

    Digital Vital Records

    • Over 200,000 scanned and indexed documents and records for Santa Barbara County, including births, deaths, naturalizations, and cemetery records are available in our growing database.
    • Access to our records database is available through our website only.

    Other Essential Information

    • The Book Nook in the reception area has genealogical and historical books for sale, copies of Ancestors West, as well as flash drives and other supplies. We accept cash, check, or credit card.
    • Please turn off your cell phone ringer in the library reading room and take all calls outside.
    • We do not allow food or drinks in the library, but you may enjoy your lunch outside on the patio or in our beautiful garden.

    Plan Your Visit

    Bring your own laptop or make use of our library computers in the Computer Lab. Scanners, printers, and a photocopier are also available, as are quiet rooms to work privately.

    Also helpful to bring when you visit:

    • Copies of your pedigree/family tree, if you have them
    • Flash drive
    • Notebook or research log, if you have one
    • List of what information you want to find

    How To Find Us

    316 Castillo Street
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    Tuesdays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Most Sundays: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
             3rd Saturday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Sept – July)

    Holiday Closures:
    Easter Sunday
    Mother's Day
    Father's Day
    Memorial Day Weekend
    July 4th
    Labor Day Weekend
    Thanksgiving: Thursday – Sunday
    Winter Holiday: Dec 22, 2024 – Jan 1, 2025

    (805) 884-9909

    Free Parking

    Become a "Book Angel"

    Book Angels help us fill our library shelves by donating towards the purchase of new books to help further and guide genealogical quests.

    Pick from the pre-selected books to earn your halo.

    Buy New Books at the "Book Nook"

    Purchase new books on a variety of genealogy topics at the Book Nook in the Sahyun. Prices range from $10 to $75. Book Nook books are also available for purchase at the Society’s monthly meetings. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card.

    Donate Your Genealogical Materials

    Books, periodicals, and vital records are among the genealogical materials that the Society accepts as donations. Please see our collections policies to find out what materials we can and cannot take.

    If you have materials to donate, please call the Society at (805) 884-9909. If we can’t accept your gift, we make every effort to suggest other potential homes for your valuable materials.

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