Find Your Roots at San Francisco Public Library

The Library’s first Genealogical and Family History Conference aims to give people the tools to discover where they came from—and all for FREE 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 7, 2024 - San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) announces an all-day Genealogical and Family History Research Conference, taking place on May 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Main Library. This event is tailored for both beginners and novice researchers, offering a unique opportunity to delve into the rich tapestry of their family's history with a diverse lineup of expert speakers.  

“We are delighted to invite everyone to join us for this enlightening journey into their family's past,” said Richard Le, Librarian-Branch Manager at SFPL North Beach Branch. “Whether you're just starting out or have some experience in genealogical research, this conference will equip you with the tools and knowledge to uncover hidden stories and create a bridge to your family's past.” 

The conference will provide attendees with invaluable insights on how to tap into billions of records, including U.S. census data, historical newspapers, obituaries, government archives, city directories and captivating photo collections. Participants will have the chance to learn the art of repairing, preserving, and digitizing their family's history book, cherished photos, records and personal letters. See full schedule below. More information at   

Genealogical and Family History Conference 
May 22, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. 
San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, Koret Auditorium, Lower Level  


Tools at the Magazines & Newspapers Center, 10–11 a.m.  
Dive into historic newspapers, directories and the obituary look-up service to discover your family’s legacy though historical newspapers with Magazines & Newspaper Center Librarian Kelci McDowell. 

How to Access Alien Case Files, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.  
Access U.S. immigration and naturalization case files to find archives of family histories, photographs and testimonies with Jeanie Low, Chinese American historian and genealogist. Learn to request records from NARA, USCIS and 20th-century Immigration and naturalization case files.  

Lunch Break, 12 – 1 p.m.  

Embracing Technology in Family History, 1 – 2 p.m.  
Ron Chan, director of the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group, leads a workshop on the resources, tools and best practices for creating family history stories. Harness artificial intelligence for oral histories, restore treasured photos and craft a digital legacy.  

Unearthing Family Stories: SF History Center, 2– 3 p.m.
SFPL’s Photo Curator Christina Moretta delves into a wealth of rare collections (e.g., manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, maps and photographs) to demonstrate how to uncover narratives of your San Francisco ancestors. 

Break, 3–3:15 p.m. 

SFPL Genealogy Databases, 3:15 – 4 p.m.
Daniel Matsumoto, eResources Librarian reveals the secrets hidden within the Library’s genealogical databases—Ancestry, MyHeritage and HeritageHub. Join an illuminating session that demystifies these powerful tools for researching your roots.  

Preserving Family Collections, 4–5 p.m.
Elise Hoschalter, conservation technician with the Library’s preservation unit, gives quick tips and advice on how to care for physical family treasured collections, including letters, official documents, photographs and scrapbooks, ensuring that these precious artifacts endure for generations to come.  

Show & Tell Tours: SF History Center, 5–5:15 p.m. and 5:15–5:30 p.m.
Librarian-archivist Tom Carey shares narratives that shaped the diverse communities of San Francisco, from oral histories of African Americans in the City, pre-World War II to Japanese American post-internment directories and wartime records. 

San Francisco Public Library connects our diverse communities to learning, opportunities and each other. More information at 

May 7, 2024