Monterey California Family History Center

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FamilySearch This article describes the services and resources available at a Family History Center, a branch facility of the Family History Library.

The Monterey California Family History Center serves the people of the Central Coast of California. The center was established in January of 1968. Special book collections have been acquired through the kind donations of others over the past 43 years. The center is open to the public, and there is no charge to use the facilities. Nominal fees are charged for film rental, computer printing and copy services.

Center Contacts and Hours

Location & Map:

  1. 1024 Noche Buena Street, Seaside, CA 93955.  You may link to map using Google or other map sites and this address.
  2. The center is located at the corner of Noche Buena and Plumas Streets in Seaside. Please notice the signs on the outside of the left side of the building. Good parking is available near the back fence. Follow the sidewalk around the building to the first door. First-time visitors should call 831-394-1124 to reserve a computer, ask questions, or to check current hours.

Phone: 831-394-1124 (please call during open hours as given below)

Open Hours:  Tuesday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday (by appointment)

Holiday Schedule:

Center Resources


  • Family History Library Catalog: This center has the ability to order any of the films and fiche available through the Family History Library Catalog.
  • The entire collection of over 9,000 items in this center includes genealogy reference books, surname collections and publications donated (and many prepared) by genealogy students studying at nearby Monterey Peninsula College which offers an Associates Degree Program in Family History as part of their Librarian program.
  • There is over a 35 year collection of periodicals from various states and societies which have been extracted by locality and surname for quick reference in the FHC on-site catalog. These may contain copies of vital records from family Bibles, deeds, wills, property transactions, tax assessments, census reports, and Native American records. The entire published PERSI (Periodical Source Index) collection (which indexes all known genealogical periodicals) is part of this collection. 
  • Since Monterey County was settled early by Hispanic and Native Indian tribes there is a core collection of Spanish Catholic Church records for Monterey County and surrounding counties.
  • An extensive collection of Native American Indian materials is also in this center because of the great interest of people who originally settled the area from the dustbowl time period.
  • Several foreign genealogy reference books as well as language aids have been donated to help in translation of original documents because of patrons associated with the local Defense Language Institute and those working in the language training field during World War II. This includes a large master catalog of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean records, and a valuable German and Germans from Russia collection. Because the patrons of this center are constantly contributing information on their ancestral lines, there is a small but substantial holding of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Scottish, Scandinavian, and British records.

Databases and Software

FHC Portal: This center has access to the Family History Center Portal page which gives free access in the center to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions. 
Helpful volunteers are available to assist people in the use of the Personal Ancestral File and Legacy genealogy computer programs.
Hundreds of CDs are available on Family History Data donated over the years covering census, military, and historical information as well as sources for contributions to the Pedigree Resource File. 

Hardware and Equipment

  • There are 6 microfilm readers, 5 microfiche readers, a reader-printer, and a scanner available to make electronic copies of film, fiche, or papers.
  • There is a limited number of computers available on a first-come, first-served basis with a one-hour limit if others are waiting (except for genealogical data entry which has a two-hour limit). 

Center Services

Staff Research Specialties

Highly trained and experienced volunteers with specialties in Portuguese, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Immigration, German, Mountain West, Midwest, and other areas are available. Please call 831-394-1124 and leave a message for the Assistant Director if you wish help in a specific area so that an appointment can be arranged.

Resources in the Local Area

  •  The Monterey County Genealogy Society Inc. (MoCoGenSo) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization serving the Central Coast of California. They contribute many volunteers to the FHC and have an active program of interest to genealogists in the area. 
  • The Commodore Sloat Chapter of Pacific Grove, California, Daughters of the American Revolution holds a joint annual conference with the Monterey, California, Family History Center the end of January or first of February each year. DAR volunteers also serve in the FHC.
  • Inland from the coastal area of the Monterey Peninsula is the historic Salinas Valley. Visit the County Historical Society and its fascinating collection of resources including the Boronda Adobe and hundreds of pages of early history including a Castroville Japanese School Project.


  • The Monterey, California page at the USGenWeb project contains numerous links to resources involving the county of Monterey and its early history.
  • The Salinas Public Library has a collection of the earliest newspapers in the Salinas Valley on microfilm.  They  were indexed by the Monterey County Genealogical Society and are found in the Library Catalog
  • The Monterey County Library in the City of Monterey maintains the California History Room. This is a jewel of a collection in one building for the Monterey Peninsula. It maintains a link to the Presidio of Monterey Museum with its historical collections, as well as the City of Monterey Museums including Colton Hall. When doing historical research for early residents of Monterey, it is worth your while to search all these areas because experience has shown that each facility might contain information not available in the other areas.
  • The Monterey County Library has a large collection of histories from the town of Monterey as well as surrounding towns of Carmel, Pacific Grove, Big Sur, Seaside, Watsonville, etc. Check its online catalog for details.
  • The California Historical Society links to Monterey County historical organizations on its homepage.


Volunteer at the Center

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Director, Donald Locke, or Assistant Director, Dana Jacobs by leaving your contact information at 831-394-1124.