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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Foster City

Foster City was literally planned and created by T. Jack Foster and Company.  In 1958, leaving a short term retirement, Foster took out a $200,000 option to buy Brewer's Island from Leslie Salt and Shilling Estate Company.   During the early 1960s marshland was filled and a road and utility system built to serve an ultimate population of 36000 in one of the earliest "planned communities" in the United States.
Foster City is rated the 9th safest city in California for 2015

The town was under County jurisdiction until 1971 when it incorporated as a separate city.  Today it is a community of single family homes, condominiums, apartments, shopping malls and light industrial areas clustered around lagoons and waterways.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SMC Families - The Fox Family

Benjamin F. Fox figures in the early history of San Mateo County in that he was the judge that oversaw the second election (April 1857) in which Redwood City was declared the county seat.  The first election had been declared invalid after it was proven that an organized crime group had manipulated the vote.

Benjamin, who served as San Mateo county's first superior court judge from 1856 to 1860, was considered to be an honest. Benjamin was born in New York in 1804.  He moved to Michigan in 1826 and served in the Michigan State legislature for over 25 years.  In 1850 he traveled to California and in 1853 brought his family. They settled in Redwood City. He died in 1869 and is buried in Union Cemetery.  Obituary 

 Besides his widow, Betsey Crane, who he had married in Michigan, Benjamin left the following Children:

  • Charles N.     Charles was a lawyer with the firm of Campbell, Fox & Campbell of San Francisco.  bio  Charles m. 1st Celestia Taylor in 1856 in MI. She died in 1859. They are buried in Union Cemetery. Charles married 2 Lucy Taylor in 1860.  She died in 1864 and he married Mary Schwartz Rice later that year.  The family had moved to Oakland by 1880.
    • Hattie d. 1859 or earlier
    • Lucy d. 1859 or earlier
    • Minnie b. 1860 
    • dau. d. 1861
    • George B. 1861-1893
    • Anna Miriam d. 1863
    • Capitola Comfort d. 1863
    • Charles N. d. 1865
    • Mary 1866-1934 m. Roscoe Spaulding Gray 1887 in Oakland
    • Ida F b. 1869
  • George W. (1839-1899) George served for many years as District attorney of San Mateo County.  obituary  Bio George married Sarah T. Donald in 1864 and had 
    • Claudius b. @1866  m. Harriet Bement 1890 d. 1933
    • Parker 1867-1874 
    • Zoe  b. @1870 m. Fayette Thorpe 1892
    • Ethel Belle b, @1878
    • Beatrice  b. @ 1881 B m Charles Dimmit 1914
  • Benjamin F.  at the time of his father's death was a Lt. in the U.S. Army. He married Ella Wynn in 1869 
  • Chester P. (1840-1885) During his life C.P. worked as a farmer, a driver for the Overland State company, a guard at San Quentin, and for the Northern Pacific Express Co. Obituary 
  • Sarah E. m. Andrew Jackson Quigley. They lived in La Porte, Plumas County
  • Nancy m. Samuel Palmer They were living in Gilroy when her father died and in San Benito in 1870.
There were other early Foxes in San Mateo county, many might be connected to this family including George Williams (1816-1867) who is also buried in Union Cemetery.

 For more on the Fox Family and sources for above information see: 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

SMCGS Databases Online: Early Court Records

After San Mateo County was established in 1856 a county court and Justice courts were set up in the county.  Many of the early court records for San Mateo County have found their way to the San Mateo County Historical Association's Archives.  To date a few of those volumes have been indexed including:

  • Justice Court - Pulgas Township Docket Book  1 -  Jan 1866 - Jul 1871 George W. Fox, JP 461p. 
  • Justice Court Pulgas Township Docket Book 2 1871-1874 This is an index found in Volume 1 - To date volume 2 has not been found (the index was located in Docket Book 1)
  • Probate Court: Record of bonds, letters and inventories 1857-1871  Starts with page 55
  • Minutes: County Court 1856-1871 gift from SMC done Includes civil jury trials and appeals of justice court decisions
  • Justice Court - 3rd Township of San Mateo County 1855-1860 Horace Templeton, James McCrea etc   399 pages

 Some of the other registers in the SMCHA collections include:
  • Court of Sessions, Abstract of title- Miramontes/DeHaro Ranch recording of deeds, leases and mortgages 1853-1859  
  • Minutes Court of Sessions, Redwood City 1856-1863  
  • Judgement Book D & C Court: 12th Judicial district 1867-1875  
  • Index to County Court: Plaintiff see Durham Catherine Bk 2 p 125 Judgement #224  
  • Justice Court - 3rd Township of San Mateo County 1862-1868  
  • Justice Court - 3rd Township of San Mateo County 1876-1877 
  • Justice Court - 3rd Township of San Mateo County Nov 1877  

We hope to continue indexing these registers at a later date.  If there is anyone who would like to undertake this project, we would be happy to help you get set up.

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Golden Gate National

One of my favorite sights as I drive up 280 are the rolling hills filled with row after row of identical white tombstones that comprise Golden Gate National Cemetery. 

Located in San Bruno, 12 miles south of San Francisco this National Cemetery is often mixed up with San Francisco National Cemetery, which sits near the Golden Gate Bridge on the grounds of the San Francisco Presidio.  The first interments in this cemetery, which was authorized by Congress in 1937, occurred in 1941. 


Saturday, May 30, 1942 p. 9

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA) 

The 161 acre cemetery was dedicated on Memorial Day 1942 with Attorney General Earl Warren as the keynote speaker. 

Cemetery Map = Available as PDF on Website

As with all US military supplied tombstones, be sure to check the back for memorials of spouses and sometimes children.

Golden Gate National Cemetery - Google Maps

Golden Gate National Cemetery    
1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno

FAX: (650) 873-6578 

Phone: (650) 589-7737