Open to the public by appointment
Please note: The Research Library will be closed from June 28 – July 14, 2017. No research appointments, research requests, or image requests will be processed during this time. Please plan accordingly.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment or to submit a research request. You should receive a response within 24 hours. Appointments are available 8:30am-2pm Monday-Wednesday, and Friday. Other appointment times are available by special request.
What is available at the Research Library?
In addition to our library of several thousand volumes documenting the history of San José and Santa Clara County, we offer a rich collection of personal papers, government and organizational records, maps, ephemera, architectural records, photographs and audiovisual material dating from the 1780s to the present.
Guide to the History San José Library & Archives Holdings
Historic Buildings and Sites Resource Guide
Biographical Research Resource Guide
What is an archive? How is it different from a library?
You may have questions about how to do research in archives, and what the difference is between a library and an archive. The Society of American Archivists has prepared a Guide to Effective Research for both first-time archives users and scholars who have already conducted research in archives.
Research Fees, Image Rights & Reproductions
Please visit our Research Fees page for details.
Search our Collection
Indexes & Directories
- Inventory of San Jose Records from City Hall 1884-1988 (Unprocessed) Note: The earliest city council records have been individually cataloged in our PastPerfect database
- 1870 Reverse San Jose Directory
- Santa Clara County Wills 1849-1912
- Santa Clara County Subdivision Maps 1930-1970
- San Jose Block Books circa 1925-1965
- Santa Clara County Probate Files 1849-1913
- Santa Clara County Real Estate Records 1850-1952 (bulk 1850-1906)
- Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Mug Books 1874-1941
- Index to Bureau of Standards Publications in the Perham Collection Library (1904-1929)
- List of Names in the Hartford Fire Insurance Company policy book for Campbell California 1898-1913 | Hartford Fire Insurance Company policy book for Campbell California 1898-1913
- Index to Utility Permits filed with City of San Jose Department of Public Works 1936-1979
Search our online catalog, which includes detailed descriptions and many scanned images of library, archives, and photographic material: http://historysanjose.pastperfectonline.com/
Online Archive of California
Search the Online Archive of California for guides to personal papers, government and corporate records, and photograph collections:
Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society
The SCCHGS is located at the City of Santa Clara Central Park Library, and has a large collection of genealogy resources along with a great historical collection available for the public’s use. Their website provides access to online indexes and genealogical research help.
Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office
If you are looking for vital records, real estate history and maps, please start at the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office, as they also hold documents from 1851 onward.
Santa Clara County Archives
The County Archives collection complements History San Jose’s holdings. Many of their databases are searchable online.
Search California Newspapers
The California Digital Newspaper Collection is a project of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside, providing keyword search of 72,729 digitized issues.
California Room at King Library
The San Jose Public Library’s California Room is a source for California and local San Jose history. Their website provides a guide to researching your old house, and access to other records including digitized Sanborn maps (library card required).
California State Archives
The State Archives holds many local government records as well as family history information such as probate, deeds, and naturalization records, military records, and mental health records from Agnews. See also The Historical Records of County Government in California.
California Department of Public Health – Vital Records
California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.