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Family Histories

A guide to resources for family history research at The Huntington Library
Francis Maxwell Moon. Age 7 Weeks.

Francis Maxwell Moon. Age 7 Weeks
Carl Moon Collection of Family Photographs and Ephemera

Wedding photo of You Chung and Mabel Hong

Wedding photo of You Chung and Mabel Hong
Hong Family papers

Unidentified African-American soldier.

Unidentified African-American soldier
Levi S. Graybill papers

Young drummer boy with his mother.

Young drummer boy with his mother (detail)
Collection of Cased Photographs and Related Images

Dora Hereford and Maria de Jesus Wilson.

Dora Hereford and Maria de Jesus Wilson
B.D. Wilson Family Collection

Alice and Charlotte Ah Tye

Alice and Charlotte Ah Tye
Chang Family papers


The Huntington Library is an independent research center for the humanities that welcomes researchers from all over the world. Collection strengths have drawn on various families' papers and single items that could be useful to genealogists and family historians tracing their ancestral stories. Among the archives are diaries, journals, family letters, legal records, photo albums, and more, traditionally collected for academic interests. Genealogists and family historians may find it challenging to use Huntington resources to establish family trees, though researchers directly descended from persons in our collections may find materials of interest.

Please consider this research guide a work-in-progress. Librarians will continue to add collections and resources to this page as they become available. In the meantime, contact the library to learn if documents relevant to your family research exist. Please send the full names of the ancestor(s) and any related persons identified in our collections with your message.

Once a familial connection or research need is established and relevant collections are identified, researchers who are at least 18 years of age may book an appointment to use the library. Learn more about access by visiting our Using the Library page.

Land Acknowledgement

The Huntington exists on the ancestral lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva and Kizh Nation peoples who continue to call this region home. The Huntington respectfully acknowledges these Indigenous peoples as the traditional caretakers of this landscape, as the direct descendants of the first people. The Huntington recognizes their continued presence and is grateful to have the opportunity to work and learn on this land.

Start Your Research

Like a search engine, Summon Discovery allows you to search seamlessly across the library's resources including The Huntington's library catalog, digital library, finding aids, full-text articles from academic databases, and lots more!

To get started:

Narrow your results using the facets on the left.

For example, to limit your results to the:

  • Library catalog, go to "refine your results" and choose "library catalog."
  • Digital library, go to "collections" and select "Huntington Digital Library"
  • Electronic resources, go to "refine your results" and select "full text online" and/or "open access"
  • Rare books and manuscripts, go to "collections" and select "rare books" and "archival collections"

Explore Huntington content in other collections through the content panels on the right.

From the panels on the right, one click will take take you to any potential results in the:

  • Finding Aids
  • Art Collections
  • California Revealed
  • Huntington Media Archive

Didn't find what you needed?

Try searching resources separately:

For additional help, don't hesitate to contact the library.

Highlights in Special Collections

Law Offices of Chow and Sing records, approximately 1949-1988
More than 5,000 immigration case files created or represented by the Law Offices of Chow and Sing starting in 1949. The law office was founded by William Jack Chow and Jack Wong Sing, in San Francisco, California, in 1949. Following regulations used by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), immigration cases that are less than 75 years old are generally closed to research. This collection is uncataloged and currently unavailable to researchers. 
Call number: mss [UNCATALOGED]

Los Angeles Area Court Records (LAACR)
Historical cases filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court between 1850-1910 were placed on long-term deposit at the library. The collection includes cases filed in the 1st and 17th District Court of California; Los Angeles County Court, Los Angeles Probate Court, Los Angeles criminal, Los Angeles Justices Court, and Superior and Probate Courts, both civil and probate. Review the LAACR research guide for instructions on using this collection.
Call number: mssLos Angeles court records

Mexican Inquisition Papers
Records of 93 trials from the archives of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, which was established in Mexico in 1751. The purpose of the Holy Office of the Inquisition was to detect and try persons guilty of any offense against the church (including violations by priests) and to investigate the bloodlines and genealogy of individuals aspiring to positions of trust in the Church or government.
Call number: mssMX

Spanish-American Institute records
Over 2,000 student records from the Spanish-American Institute, a Methodist establishment located in Gardena, California, between 1901 and 1971. The Institute has provided academic and vocational training for boys primarily of Hispanic descent and served as a connection between the churches in Mexico and the United States for the Spanish-speaking community in Southern California. Following regulations used by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), parts of the collection are sealed for 75 years after an individual's birthdate. Sealed material is noted in the finding aid.
Call number: mssSpanishAmericanInstituterecords

You Chung Hong legal papers, 1904-1965 (bulk 1928-1960)
More than 7,300 Chinese immigration cases created or represented by You Chung Hong (1898-1977), a lawyer based in Los Angeles, California. The immigration cases range from 1904 to 1965 (some earlier cases were inherited from other lawyers). Most of the cases involve sons and wives of Chinese Americans and Chinese merchants. Following regulations used by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), immigration cases that are more than 75 years old are generally open for research. Those less than 75 years old may be subject to attorney-client confidentiality, with some possible exceptions. Please contact the curator for approval.
Call number: mssHong 

Electronic Resources

Early California Population Project
A useful tool for genealogists is the Early California Population Project (ECPP), a database containing records from 21 of the California missions registers, in addition to the Los Angeles Plaza Church and the Santa Barbara Presidio, and reflects information culled from 101,000 baptisms, 27,000 marriages and 71,000 burials performed in California between 1769 and 1850. 
Review the ECPP research guide for instructions on how to use and access the database.

Research Guides
Research guides feature collections from The Huntington's 14 intersecting research strengths, including California and the West, Hispanic History and Culture, Pacific Rim, American History, and others. Included with subject guides are Library Information Guides designed to promote tools for navigating Huntington systems and services.
Explore Research Guides related to the library's vast collections. 


Ancestry Library Edition (ONSITE ACCESS ONLY)

Access to historical documents (birth, baptism, census, marriage, and death records), photos, local narratives, oral histories, indexes and other resources in databases that span from the 1500s to the present. The library edition of has fewer personalized functions than the versions available to private subscribers.

Fold3 Library Edition

Provides access to U.S. military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. - World Collection

Provides access to nearly 15,000 historical newspapers. Dating from the early 1700s into the 2000s, - World Collection contains full runs and portions of runs of well-known, regional and state titles to small local newspapers in the United States and other countries.


FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services each year to learn more about their family history. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the primary benefactor for FamilySearch services.

HeritageQuest Online

Offers research materials for tracing family lineage and American culture. Features United States census records, family and local histories, and primary source material.

Researchers may access databases with active library cards and in conjunction with library collections. Additional subscription-based resources are discoverable in the library's A-Z Databases list.