Or experience conducting archival searches?
It's not exactly urgent, but I've been toying with the idea of looking up my family's roots. I blame Game of Thrones for this. All those cool sigils and family words. Some of my favorite: "Fire and Blood" (Targaryen), "Family, Duty, Honor," (House Tully), "We Do Not Sow," (neither do I, House Greyjoy; oh wait...you meant something else...), and "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" (too sexy House Martell!).
See, I'm led to believe that one of my ancestors may have been a member of an order of knights in Portugal, and I'd like to learn more about this order my family is supposedly descended from. Their motto was something like, "Peaceful Are Our Works" or "May Our Work Please God." Which means that, if Westeros were real, and they were living there, my ancestors would have been eaten alive.
Anyone know where I should look for information? Keep in mind that I'm in Southern California. I'm not sure if any of the universities near me have collections of medieval records, and if they do, who knows if they let just anyone have access.
Any and all ideas are welcome and would be most appreciated.
ETA: Some Mormon temples/communities keep extensive genealogical records cuz of all of the post-mortem baptism craziness. Does anyone know where in SoCal there might be a Mormon genealogical records place, and whether or not they'll let me look stuff up there? Not Mormon, fyi.