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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Digging For Roots Onlne

By Dennis L. Maness, MLS

Today we’re going to talk about PODCASTS.

The article on podcasts in  Wikipedia  states, “A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a neologism derived from "broadcast" and "pod" from the success of the iPod, as podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.”

In short, it’s a free (my mantra in this blog series) file that can be downloaded and listened to on your computer or mobile device (I use my smart phone) or burned to a CD. In our case the file will be about genealogy. While the term may be new to some of you, podcasts have been around for a while now. In fact as I was writing this my wife reminded me that before she retired as a Teacher’s Aide for Special Education 4 years ago she had a class that was assigned to make a podcast for the school. Of course since the students were deaf they made a video version not an audio file like we’re discussing today. But I digress.
NPR, the BBC, various newsmagazines, sports organizations, and news commentators and others have podcasts available.

A good introduction to the podcast world is a talk that Lisa Louise Cooke gave at the RootsTech 2012 (you know, the genealogy conference that had more than 4000 people attending!). It is archived at . Note, you’ll have to pause the first video that starts and go down the page until you see Lisa and the “Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101” thumbnail.

Some of the most popular genealogy podcasts are put out by

Thomas MacEntee on Geneabloggers Radio , which has more than 70 shows archived;

The " Genealogy Guys " (George Morgan and Drew Smith) who just put up their 242nd (!) podcast;

Even the Federation of Genealogical Societies(FGS) has a podcast for members of  genealogical societies (that’s us folks!);

Probably the most popular (I’m just guessing here) is the Genealogy Gems podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke which started about 2007. She just uploaded Episode 143. Although there is a “Premium Version” that you can pay for, the basic podcasts are free;

FamilyTree Magazine (not associated with Family Tree software) has been putting out podcasts since 2008;

Personal Life Media hosts a Family History podcast that is also hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke. They’ve just posted their 46th episode.


You can listen live by going to a genealogy website, or download the podcast for later listening. I’ve found that the most efficient way to get downloads is to go to iTunes , search for “genealogy podcast” and an enormous list of podcasts will appear including more than I’ve listed here. And again, they are all free!

So the next time you’re doing chores around the house, driving in your car, or using your treadmill you can multitask by learning more about our favorite subject, genealogy.

Remember, as Legacy Family Tree’s Geoff Rasmussen says,

“Life is short; do genealogy first!”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

San Mateo County Places

(c) Wikipedia
                              City of Souls                              
Cath Madden Trindle

The Town of Colma is the smallest city in San Mateo County.  Known worldwide as the "City Of Souls,"  it is just over 2 sq. mi in size, has just over 1,600 residents and houses more than 1.5 million souls residing in sixteen cemeteries. That's nearly 1000 bodies for every live person!

The community of Colma started as a cluster of businesses and homes along the railroad tracks and the El Camino.  In the late 1880s, with their San Francisco cemeteries reaching capacity, the Catholic and Jewish communities established cemeteries in the area.  When San Francisco banned all new cemeteries within their borders in 1900 and then demanded the removal of all burials in 1912 Colma became home for all San Francisco burials.  The number of cemeteries grew from the original three to a collection of sixteen today.

Although called Colma in early years, the Town incorporated as Lawndale in 1924. The residential and business area immediately to the north continued to be known as Colma. Because another city in Los Angeles County had the name Lawndale the post office retained the Colma designation, and the town changed its name to Colma in 1941.

Visit the Museum of the Colma Historical Association for a mini history of the town and it's living and dead residents.  Even better, plan ahead and book a tour that includes some great stories along with a visit to some of the cemeteries.  When the tour is over, stay awhile and browse through the great library collection.

It may be a small town, but Colma has it's own musical.  Colma - The Musical was nominated for a variety of awards when it came out in 2006, including the Gotham award for Best Film not in Theaters.  It won a few.  If you missed it, you can rent it from netflix or find used copies of this story of  growing up in the City of the Dead on Amazon for under $5 including shipping.


                                         History and Genealogy                              

                                         Town Information                                      

                                        Further Research                                       

Colma - A Worldcat Bookshelf
Online Archive of California - Colma
Colma - Arcadia Books
Epodunk - Colma
California Genealogy - Colma
Squiddo - Colma