According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, San Bernardino County
is the largest county in the United States, with an area containing more
land than nine states. San Bernardino County was formed from Los Angeles
County in 1853. Parts of San Bernardino County later became part of neighboring
Riverside County. The population in early San Bernardino County included
native peoples, as well as pioneers looking for adventure in the West.
The Mormons as well as some other religious groups were some of the earlier
settlers in San Bernardino County.
Although researching in such a large area can be intimidating, it is
important to note that most of the population lived in the southwestern
portion of the county. Large portions of the County in the northeastern
end are mainly desert regions that are largely uninhabited.
The following is not an exhaustive list of libraries and archives. This
list is only meant to provide you with some of the available resources.
Repositories for genealogical /historical information include:
- San Bernardino County Historical Archives: Resources include early
county records, including vital records; San Bernardino County history
books, maps, and local history files. Located behind the County's Hall
of Records at 1808 Commercenter West, Suite D in San Bernardino.
- A. K. Smiley Public
Library's Heritage Room, located in the city of Redlands, the
Library's resources include local history books and pamphlets on
San Bernardino County, Redlands, California and the West; maps from
the 1850's to the present; newspapers including the Redlands Daily
Facts and the Citrograph, which is indexed from 1887-1896; oral histories
and photographs. The Library also is the location for the Lincoln
Memorial Shrine, the gift of philanthropist Robert Watchorn to the
city of Redlands. Watchorn was a pro-immigrant commissioner of Ellis
Island from 1905-1909 who oversaw the processing of over 1,000,000
immigrants in 1905. The Lincoln Shrine is the only museum dedicated
to Lincoln west of the Mississippi River. The Shrine contains research
resources including civil war book collections, newspapers, artifacts,
and diaries, as well as letters and documents written by Lincoln's
family and those close to him.
- San Bernardino City Library's
California Room, is an archive of early San Bernardino city and
county history. Resources include vital records up to the year 1910;
the San Bernardino Sun newspaper on microfilm from 1894 to present;
city directories from 1887 to 1968; Pioneer Cemetery records; San
Bernardino High yearbooks, early histories, diaries, family group
sheets, pedigree charts and accounts of early pioneers. The California
Room is staffed by volunteers, so hours are limited. Appointments
can be made for research outside of operating hours but there is
a $20.00 per hour fee. The Library also has an online collection of historical photos provided
by city residents. The collection is organized by date and topics that
include family life, events, work life, and portraits. To see this
collection, click on http://www.sbpl.org/index_historical.html . The
California Room also includes a large collection of historical photos.
In addition, a San Bernardino Oral History Project conducted by Dr.
Joyce Hanson of Cal State San Bernardino is also available at the above
link. 35 interviews are available to read at this site. Surnames include:
Babcock, Bates, Brooks, Carter, Clemons, Deyon, Fine, Flores, Follett,
Holcomb, Holder, Hinds, Inman, Jensen, Martin, McIntosh, Molony, Monninger,
Payne, Pinckert, Post, Powers, Press, Shovey, Schuiling, Switzer, Thomann,
Thomas, Tompkins, Valles, Vaughn, Weismeyer, Williams.
- The other major library system for the County is the San
Bernardino County Library. A search of their library catalogue
will provide you with results from both the San Bernardino County
Library and the Riverside Public Library.
- One other library that boasts a local history collection is the Ontario
City Library. This collection includes the nearby cities of Rancho
Cucamonga, Etiwanda, Upland and Alta Loma. Their Local History Room
is open limited hours, so it is best to check with the library prior
to making a trip.
Some genealogy societies that may be of help in your research include:
You can find other genealogy societies at the website for the California State Genealogical Alliance