I put them in a cup of water and then put them in a dark room. Don't take my word for it though, I have nicknamed myself the accidental tree killer. I did have good luck with Sequoias however, I have four planted by my barn waiting to get bigger. But make sure they don't get moldy in the water. Another thing is I put those round white styrofoam type things in a dish and put the seeds in there and kept them moist, they liked that. They did NOT like sand or more densely packed dirt.
Like I said, take my suggestions with about ten grains of salt and make sure you have backup seeds Sequoias, redwoods and pines are my favorite to watch germinate.