Gerald D. Kennedy Reference Library

The San Joaquin County Historical Society maintains an archival collection on behalf the County of San Joaquin. The collection includes historic records from the County and the Cities of Lodi and Stockton, as well as books, manuscripts, business and legal records, maps, photographs, and ephemera pertaining to the history of the County.

The archives and library are located in the Erickson Building of the San Joaquin County Historical Museum in Micke Grove Regional Park.

The archives and material in the Reference Library are accessible to researchers high school level and above by appointment only. Researchers are asked to complete a registration form and show identification upon their arrival.  Materials in the library are non-circulating; however, photocopies and/or digital images of some materials may be made subject to the policies of the Society at the discretion of the archivist.

Researchers from a distance are requested to make contact with the archivist/librarian, by e-mail, telephone, or postal service. Research that requires more than one-half hour will be billed at the rate of twenty dollars per hour, prepaid, plus any applicable copy expenses, service fees, and mailing charges.

Strengths of the Archives and Library Collections

Online Resources
As part of an ongoing project to make important archival material from the San Joaquin County Historical Museum's collections widely available, the San Joaquin County Historical Society in cooperation with Internet Archive has digitized and placed online County Assessors' plat books from 1876 to 1919. Click here for links to these volumes. The Society, working with Internet Archive, has also made available online a collection of maps and drawings related to San Joaquin County reclamation district records. The origins of the documents range from 1862 to 1980. A guide to this material, with links to the documents themselves, can be found at the Online Archive of California. In addition, a complete run of the San Joaquin Historian, the San Joaquin County Historical Society's periodical publication, can be viewed online.

The collection includes directories that cover Stockton, Lodi, and other cities of the County during most of the twentieth century and much of the nineteenth. It also holds published and unpublished records of births, marriages, and deaths, as well as marriage certificates from 1874 to 1950. Of special interest are the library's Pioneer Family Register, which includes genealogical research submitted by descendents of longtime County residents, a collection of more formal genealogical resources compiled by individuals, and plat books that afford visual evidence of landholding from 1876 to 1919.

Genealogical researchers are encouraged to consult the San Joaquin County Public Library Obituary Index, 1850-1991, which can be accessed online. The Obituary Index is a joint project of the Delta College IT Department,, the San Joaquin County Historical Society, the San Joaquin Genealogical Society, and the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library.

Water Rights
Among the records are warrants for land grants in the San Joaquin Delta; petitions, correspondence, election materials, and maps and drawings for the County's reclamation districts from 1860 to 1960; countywide plat books; and aerial photographs from 1937, 1940, 1957, 1963, 1983, and 1990.

The library holds more than seven thousand photographic images—prints, slides, tintypes, and glass plate negatives—that cover a wide range of historical topics in San Joaquin County. Most of these images can be searched at the Museum with an electronic catalog.

Agricultural Equipment
Because of the Museum's strength in agricultural technology, the Reference Library possesses owner's manuals, catalogs, and related publications that deal with tractors and other agricultural equipment used in San Joaquin County farming from the 1880s to the 1970s.

Other notable material in the library includes the Weber-Kennedy papers, from Stockton 's founding family, as well as business records, photographs, and blueprints related to Lodi agriculturalist William G. Micke, through whose initiative Micke Grove Regional Park came into existence.