San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SMCGS Databases Online: Coroner's Records

1878 inquest for Daniel F. Gordon
"The Coroner's office must inquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths. This may require a post-mortem examination sometimes followed by an inquest. The Coroner's inquiry is concerned with establishing whether or not death was due to natural or unnatural causes. If a death is due to unnatural causes, for example in a road traffic accident, accident at work or by drowning, then an inquest must be held by law."  (SMC Coroner's Office Website)

Coroner's files can be a significant source of information.  Not only will information relating to the death of an individual be revealed, you can also find insights into family relationships, clues as to a person's behavior and other items that add color to your genealogical stories.  Here are a few snippets of information from San Mateo County Coroner’s Records......   (Read more in the Nov 2013 issue of the SMCGS Newsletter which is available to members online or in the SMCGS and other genealogical libraries.)  

SMCGS member, Russ Brabec, has created an Index to San Mateo County Coroner's Records.  It currently covers the records from the inception of the county to 1971.  A work in progress, it will eventually cover all records housed in the SMC Record Repository. Barry Goyette has joined the effort.  The index gives the case number, the container, the name, age and birthplace of the deceased and the cause of death.  As you see in this example there are some unidentified bodies, many more are listed as Unknown.

While all of the records can be ordered from the San Mateo County Recorders Office, you can avoid the fee, which is a bit hefty, for reports through 1946 by using the digital images on Family Search. To speed you on your way you will find a Coroner's Records Finding Aid that allows you to go straight to the record set that includes the case you are looking for.

Navigating through these records on FamilySearch takes just a few minutes if you use the correct technique.  Start by finding the right set for the case you want, perhaps #950.  Click on Coroner's reports no 934-988 1920-1921 to open the record set.  This set of records has 510 pages.  950 would most likely be in the first half of those records and probably well before the half mark.  Think easy navigation and pick say 200 type that into the box and assess where it got you.  In this case it was page two of a case.  I hit the back button to page one, but there was no case number so I went back another page and there it was 950.  I admit that was a little bit of luck, but generally I do not have to work very hard to find the record. Say page 200 had been case 940, you might then use the box to go to 250.  If that was case 955, you might go back to page 225.  You now have at the most 25 pages either way to find your record.

Check out the other SMCGS Databases and good luck with your research

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

San Mateo County Cemeteries

Mount Hope Cemetery

Right next door to St. Anthony's in Pescadero is Mount Hope Cemetery. Like St. Anthony's it is a rural cemetery.  There is no lawn, but the cemetery does not seem untended. Stones stand tall and little touches show a community that cares.  In fact a few years ago, San Mateo County Sheriff's Deputy, Dan Caughey, some prisoners, and a local volunteers worked hard to restore the cemetery to what it is today.

From the top of the cemetery you can catch spectacular views of town below.  Here you will find some of the early settlers, including the Steeles, Moores, Thompsons, Reeds, Blomquists, Williamsons, Weeks and Teagues.

690-1246 Stage Rd
Pescadero, San Mateo, California
United States

Sunday, November 30, 2014

SMCGS Databases Online : Sole Traders

The debut of San Mateo County Genealogical Society's new website brings with it the opportunity to tout some of our great SMCGS offerings.  Over the next few months we will highlight some of the great indexes we have created over the years, starting with our newest.  

Barry Goyette has put together an index of the Register of Separate Property of Married Women and Sole Traders 1856-1913.  While I could tell you about the wonders of California's Sole Traders law, why redo what Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist, does much better.  In two posts published the week of her recent seminar at SMCGS she explained the law and gave examples of what the records might tell you.

Reprise: California’s sole traders - Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist October 30, 2014  
Reprise: Separate property, separate debts - Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist  October 31, 2014

You can the index here:

And I am very happy to tell you that you do not need to order these records from the county!!!!  They are available on FamilySearch.  Be sure to start with a page number from the index to search through these browseable records.