About Me

I specialize in early California Hispanic research from 1769 - 1900 with a focus on pre-1850, which includes my own personal connections to Native American families and Indian Tribes of California.

My research and identifying the descendants of those who arrived with Gaspar de Portola, Juan Bautista de Anza, Fernando Javier Rivera y Moncada, Hijar-Padres, Workman-Rowlands Party, and other early expeditions is based upon reading and interpreting images of the original California Mission sacramental registers, land grants, court documents, church records, census, and padrones.

Having been a member of Los Californianos, California Mission Studies Association, National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, also Los Descendientes (Descendants of the founders of the Santa Barbara Presidio), and Los Pobladores 200 (descendants of the founders of Los Angeles), including several local genealogical and historical organizations I have been able to stay in contact with the early California history. Being the current Tribal Genealogist for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Ohlone/Costanoan Indians has greatly broadened my area of expertise.

I am Sheila Ruiz Harrell, a practicing genealogist for well over forty years and professional for the past twelve. As a 7th generation Californio I am also a direct descendant of 25 of those who arrived in California by 1781. Documenting my own family has given me a wide range of experience in genealogical and historical records research, in addition to following the descendants of those first settlers throughout California...and those who were already living here.

The California Poppy in the beautiful picture at the top of these pages seems to describe our ancestors exactly...putting down roots in only dirt and rocks with harsh winds trying to constantly blow them away, and yet they survived! Not only did they survive, but they thrived...and we know that because we are here...we are their descendants! And with all these ancestors, you and I are most likely cousins!!

Are you interested in finding your early California Hispanic ancestors, or connecting to those here earlier of the many California Native Americans?

Send me an email, and let’s get started on the adventure!