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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Cemeteries: Alta Mesa

Although Alta Mesa Cemetery is located in Santa Clara County, it is the home of many deceased San Mateo County residents.  Among those buried there are the Clouds and the Hinmans, 

The Website Offers a Map of the Cemetery and a Virtual Tour
 "The Alta Mesa Improvement Company bought the land occupied by the Alta Mesa Cemetery in March 1904 and immediately commenced work improving the property. They have since erected a handsome gateway and convenient office, a beautiful chapel and receiving vault, a residence for the superintendent and a large pumping plant, laid out the grounds under the direction of a landscape gardener, and now have a cemetery complete in every aspect."  (1905 - promotional booklet) 

Today Alta Mesa has a crematory, three mausoleums, a columbarium, several memorial gardens for cremated remains, a scattering garden, as well as the original cemetery grounds.  in 2010 they added a funeral home. 

Alta Mesa does not allow photographs of tombstones without permission from the family. They will take a photo for you, but the charge is $30.  You can request that a volunteer be allowed to take the photo by emailing  Be sure to include your relationship to the deceased and ask for the exact location of the burial.

If you are visiting the cemetery to take your own photos, check in at the office for location and permission.  

The Palo Alto Historical Association has a number of pictures of the cemetery in their photo collections

695 Arastradro Road
Palo Alto CA 94306
Alta Mesa Memorial Park
Alta Mesa Funeral Home

Tour of Grounds
Alta Mesa on Facebook
Find A Grave lists over 32,000 burials and says they are 81% photographed.
Steve Jobs TOMB at Alta Mesa Memorial 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

                       Upcoming Events                         

Barry Hinman and Mary Lou Grunigen volunteer at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society library located at Canada College in Redwood City. They welcome members of the Society and visitors who would like a tour of the library and an introduction to its holdings. They are also available, of course, to consult about genealogical problems or research strategies. They are there from 1:00-4:00 on the second Tuesday of every month if the Canada library is open to the public on that day.  

November Meeting: Prohibition

Speaker: Ray Cosyn

Date:  Saturday, November 17, 2018

               10:00 am Cookies & coffee
               10:30 am - 12 noon 
Location: Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
         Entrance in back.

From 1920-43, the United States prohibited the manufacturing and sale of alcohol. How and why did this happen and what was its impact? What impact did this period have on your family?

January 2019 Meeting
Blogging for Sharing Family History Stories
Speaker: Craig Siulinski
Saturday, January 26, 2019   10:30am - 12:00 pm 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hoover Institution Archives - Part 2 of a series on local archives

As the Menlo Park Monday class continues our investigation of archives in the area, we have come across a few which seem to be little known to genealogists, yet which store a fantastic collection of resources.  Well, it depends on what you are researching.

Hoover Institution

The Hoover Institution is right here in our backyard on the Stanford campus.  There are several repositories here: the main archives, which extends underground right under Hoover Tower (yes), the library with open shelves, which is normally in the tower but is undergoing renovation right now, the exhibit space in a separate building which has rotating exhibits of historical interest, and the institution itself, which provides space for researchers from around the world.

To quote from their website: "Today, the Library & Archives that bear Hoover’s name boast nearly one million volumes and more than six thousand archival collections—in sixty-nine languages from more than one hundred fifty countries—pertaining to war, revolution, and peace in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Institution's resources support a vibrant international community of scholars and a broad public interested in the meaning and role of history."

Our class went to visit a couple of weeks ago and were met by one of the research librarians who introduced us to some of the more interesting holdings in their collections.
Jean Cannon, Hoover archivist, gave us a most interesting tour of the archives and Vietnam photo exhibition.

We met at the steps to Hoover Tower.  Most of us took the Marguerite shuttle, which stops right in front.

Founded by Herbert Hoover in 1919, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives are dedicated to documenting war, revolution, and peace in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

 Some of the items on display:  the orders to drop the bomb (lunch first), letters from Chiang Kai-shek, photos of Mao, KGB mug books, a piece of the Lusitania, a skull X-Ray (don't ask).

Joseph Warren Stilwell was a United States Army general who served in the China Burma India Theater during World War II. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname "Vinegar Joe". Distrust of his Allies and a lack of resources meant Stilwell was continually forced to improvise. 

John McCain, shot down in Hanoi.  American hero.   Mug Book kept by KGB agents.  

WE SHOT THE WAR: OVERSEAS WEEKLY IN VIETNAM   Rarely seen photographs take center stage for the Hoover Library & Archives’ new exhibition We Shot the War: Overseas Weekly in Vietnam

The archives are open to the public.  Registration and a photo ID are required.  Materials allowed are similar to other restricted archives.

Margaret Melaney and the
Trinity Monday Genealogy Club