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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Kings Mountain

Kings Mountain was the scene of extensive logging from the 1860's until the 1920's.  Thousands of acres of virgin redwoods were felled.  Today the area is again heavily forested with mostly second-growth trees.
Purissima Creek Checkerspot
Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional by Akkana Peck (1)

Located along both sides of Skyline Blvd, the community formed around the 19th century landmark hotel, the Kings Mountain Browhouse, which was run by the Frank King family. Until the 1950's the area was mostly populated by "summer residents." With the completion of interstate highway 280 the area became more accessible and is now a full time residential community.

It is a majestic area containing the historic Purisima Canyon and part of the former toll road to the west. Here you will find Methuselah-of-the-skyline a giant Redwood with an estimated age of 1800 years.

King's Mountain was the site of the 1953 crash of BCPA Flight 304 in which all passengers were killed.  Take a walk through the Purisima Creek Open-space preserve and you can still see remnants of the crash.

The first King's Mountain Art Fair was held at King's Mountain in 1963 to support the operations of the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade.  Still going strong, it is run entirely by volunteers every Labor Day Weekend.  If you haven't been give it a try, if you have you know it is worth an annual visit.  Don't plan to park close, watch for the shuttle bus stops or incorporate a hike into your day.

(1) Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Minorities Not Welcome

Most genealogists, who spend any time online, have seen one or more posts about the 14 year old girl who one upped the college professor who had taken it upon himself to insist that "No Irish need apply" was a figment of an imaginary past.  Well, those of us with Irish ancestors know that the prejudice encountered was real as were the signs.  My own great-grandparents were lucky enough to find jobs in St. Paul on their arrival, but housing was another matter.  In the end they pooled their money and made a down payment on land where they built a multifamily dwelling.  Even then an unscrupulous landowner tried to cheat them, and their new neighbors, out of the land by not filing the deeds.

Prejudice did exist in all phases of the settling of the US.  Against Anibaptists, against Native Americans, against Catholics, against Jews, against Irish, against Germans, against Blacks, against Asians, and on and on.........

Time does not change the past..only hopefully the attitudes that created that past.  A good genealogist and a good historian will not only accept that the past happened but try to learn more about it.  

S0...... fitting right in with that concept and the July SMCGS: Databases Online, is the "Cases of Sing Sheng and Robert U.M. Ting" by Mitchell P. Postel in the new issue of La Peninsula, the Journal of the San Mateo County Historical Association.  The focus of the entire issue is Chinese Americans in San Mateo County.  The article discusses the successful effort of a South San Francisco neighborhood to keep Sheng, a SF Airport mechanic,  and his family from purchasing a house in their neighborhood in 1952. The second part of the article is equally interesting. Robert U.M. Ting was a purchasing agent for Magna Engineering and a charter member of the Menlo Park Exchange Club.  Then, in 1954, the National Exchange Club stepped in stating the rules did not allow "non-whites" to belong.  In this case the Menlo Park club ended up disbanding rather than oust Ting.  They were followed by other California chapters.

This article as well as the rest of the journal is a must read for anyone interested in San Mateo County, or for that matter in US history.  If you don't belong to SMCHA you will find a copy of the journal in the SMCGS library.  Or visit the SMCHA Archives where you are sure to find a copy as well as being able to access some of the sources that went into the writing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SMCGS Databases: Online: Early Death Record Index

The team that indexes records at the San Mateo County Record Repository has finished another new index.  The Early Death Record Index incorporates Register 1 and Death Certificate Books A-D.  The two should pick up all recorded births in the county through 1920.

Death Register 1 includes the earliest recorded deaths for the county, starting in 1873.  The register includes deaths through 1907 although many of those from 1905-1907 are just an index to deaths recorded in the Death Certificate Books.  Many records were included in both the register and in books A-C but enough were not that both were used.  Where appropriate records were combined.

The certificate books cover the following years.
  • Book A 1880-1901
  • Book B 1902-1905
  • Book C 1906-1918
  • Book D 1919-1920
The register portion is a full transcription of each line.  For the Death Certificate books, the full name, death date, age, sex and death date were extracted as well as the Maiden name in some cases.  If you see a name in the Maiden name column for a male, it is most likely his mother's maiden name.  One indexer included those names and we left them as a clue rather than remove them.

There are six more registers on the shelves that most likely duplicate records found in the Certificate Books.  The certificate books continue on with book 7 dated 1921.  There are also assorted indexes to the death records including a 100 year index.

Use this index in conjunction with the James Crowe Death Book, the Coroner's Records and the San Mateo Times Gazette index to find all those early deaths.

There is a column titled other.  This gives a page for book IA which was not found but was included in some register entries.  The book might exist somewhere so the information was included here.

If you would like to join us in indexing other record collections at the at the SMC record depository contact

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Serbian Cemetery

The Serbian Cemetery in Colma dates from 1901 when five acres were purchased by the First Serbian Benevolent Society. Relocation began of the cemetery that had been located at Turk and Parker Streets in San Francisco.  Originally run by the Orthodox Society the cemetery had been transferred to the Serbian Society when a loan defaulted.

Eleven acres have been added to the original five and the cemeteries five sections are about 50% full.

The First Serbian Benevolent Society of San Francisco, the oldest Serbian organization in America, was founded in 1880. Originally called the Serbian-Montenegrin Literary and Benevolent Society, it was organized by Antonije Vukasovich, Jovan Jovovich, Jovan Pavkovich, Krsto Gopcevich, Rade Begovich and Vladimir Jovovich, all from Boka Kotorska, George S. Martinovich from Montenegro, and Mikhail Rashkovich from Vojvodina  to "promote social and intellectual interchange, and establish a system of general philanthropy and benevolence for Serbian immigrant laborers toiling far from their homeland." (See the FSBS website for more on the history of the society, the cemetery and the Serbian community in Northern California.)

Serbian Cemetery
Serbian Cemetery - FindAGrave
Serbian Cemetery on Flickr

San Francisco Chronicle 1918
San Francisco Chronicle 1928

Serbian Cemetery 1801 Hillside Blvd, Colma, CA 94014  
First Serbian Benevolent Society  PO Box 2123, Menlo Park, CA 94025