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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

San Mateo County Genealogy & History Events Calendar

Be sure to check out the newest page on this blog.  It is a calendar of genealogy and history events occurring anywhere in San Mateo County.  It was the wealth of Victorian Walking Tour events coordinated by the San Mateo County Historical Association that made me realize that there was no one place to go to find all the events close by.

There is a SF Bay Area Genealogy calendar which can be accessed from the new page. It includes genealogy events within 75 miles of San Francisco, but does not include most history events.

And San Mateo County Genealogical Society calendar which you can access from the SMCGS website or from the new calendar page, which includes only SMCGS events

And most of the local historical societies have their own calendars or event pages ... BUT I was unable to find any good compilation of all the societies events.

So I added all the walking tours, added a SMCGS calendar and a few other upcoming events.  I have also sent email and FB messages to contacts for some of the historical societies in the county and hope to send more out to those I've missed.

If you know of a genealogy or history class, meeting, event, tour etc. occurring anywhere in the county that is not on the calendar, please submit information to  Alternately, if a society creates their own google calendar it is possible to add it to ours allowing that society to keep their own events and meetings up to date for all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Barry's Bits

From the files of Barry Goyette

If one wonders why some work their way through projects faster than others, the answer might be found by some deep research.  In Barry's case, we discovered that obituaries couldn't be cut before the "other side" of the page had been carefully perused. And as we discovered we were often chuckling or fondly reminiscing at the resulting finds, we decided to share.  Here is the first of Barry's Bits....

SF Examiner 21 Aug 1924

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

San Mateo County Places - La Honda

John Sears settled the forested mountain area around La Honda (the Sling) in 1862 and built a small inn along the stage road to Pescadero.  Legend states that Jim and Bob Younger of the Jesse James gang helped with the construction.  (The original store was destroyed by fire in 1960.) 

The Marysville Daily Appeal reported on 4 Mar 1873 that the Senate Amendments to create post roads were to go into effect that day.  Those post roads included the route from Redwood City to Pescadero through Searsville and La Honda Junction.

A little colony and resort grew around La Honda Junction with saloons aptly named "Robber's Roost" and "Apple Jacks".  Since the 1870's La Honda has remained an area of lumbering and ranching with a population in 2010 of 928.

Sacramento Daily Union 18 Oct 1873
In 1873 a store and hotel at the junction were owned by Sayers and Lausman as reported in the tale of Major Pauline Cushman.

The Pacific Rural Press announced the opening of a new Grange in La Honda on 25 Jul 1874.  There were also granges in Pescadero, Ocean View and San Mateo.

On 28 Nov of that year the following letter which was placed in the Pacific Rural Press gives a picture of farming in the area.

You can find hundreds of articles about La Honda and its residents on the California Digital Newspaper website. Articles include reports of bear hunting, camping, visiting and visitors, court cases, employment advertisements, accidents as well as births, marriages and deaths. There are nearly 1000 from the San Francisco Call alone.  When searching be sure to use quotes around "La Honda" to avoid getting results for each word.

Links and More:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Home of Peace

San Francisco Bulletin
28 Oct 1865
p3 The Cemeteries of San Francisco

Home of Peace Cemetery was was dedicated in Nov 1888 by Congregation Emanu-El on 20 acres at the foot of the San Bruno mountains. 

It was the third cemetery established by the congregation, the first opened during the gold rush on Vallejo St., the second Navai Shalome, (the Peaceful Abode) in 1860 in the area that is now Dolores Park. Across Eagle street Giboth Olam (Hills of Eternity) opened early the next year. 

In 1888 the two congregations bought adjoining land in San Mateo County and all burials were removed from San Francisco and reinterred individually. 
San Francisco Chronicle
30 Nov 1888 p8

San Francisco Chronicle
27 Dec 1888
Today there are designated sections for two bay area synagogues; Congregation Beth Sholom (San Francisco) and Peninsula Temple Sholom (Burlingame).   

Some of the famous buried there include: the Fleishhaker Family (banking); Adolf Sutro; Levi Strauss; the Sellerbach Family (Crown Zellerbach); and IW Hellman (founder of Wells Fargo).


Home of Peace Cemetery 1299 El Camino Real, Colma (650) 755-4700
Home of Peace on FindAGrave  over 3000 listings over 80% photographed

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

NARA: Private Common Law Case Files 1855-1863

Plat of Rancho de las Pulgas - on Calisphere
Martha Wallace & Cath Trindle

This blog presents the first of the indexes to US Northern District Court files held at NARA in San Bruno.

Index to Private Common Law Case Files 1855-1863.  

While most of the US Northern District Court Records have the US government as the complaining party the Private Common Case Law files are an exception.  They provide a glimpse of actions between individuals in the area covered by the court.

The following is an overview of just one case (#56 - Dec 1860)  between residents in San Mateo County.

The defendants, Greer et al.,  were living on land that belonged to Maria de la Soledad Ortega Argüello and Jose Ramon Argüello.  They, Greer et al., claimed that the land was part of Rancho Cañada de Raymundo that had belonged to John Coppinger and now to his heirs.  John Greer, who married Coppinger's wife, Maria Luisa Soto, was his executor.

The decision went to the Argüellos because they had a survey that described the exact metes and bounds of their property, while the map for Rancho Cañada de Raymundo was vague and had not been surveyed.  Ejectment of Greer et al was ordered with some costs awarded to those being ejected.

Some of the documents found in the file include:

  • A copy of original Mexican Land Grant 1835.  This document notes that the land was originally occupied by Jose Dario Argüello by 1800 and that his Spanish grant had been affirmed by the Mexican government to his son Don Luis Argüello in 1835. 
  • A copy of US confirmation of Patent 1853 to Maria Soledad Ortega de Argüello and Jose Ramon Argüello                             
  • A copy of the Official Survey Map
    1835 Land Grant
  • Newsclipping of case circa Dec 1860 paper unknown.  A full article about the Supreme Court decision can be found in the  Sacramento Bee 19 Dec 1864 vol 28 #4288
  • Papers that state John Coppinger became a Mexican citizen and married Maria.  As noted above, Maria was Maria Soto the daughter of Ignacio Soto.  John and Maria had only one child Manuella who married Antonio Miramontes. 
  • A list of  jurors and a list of those that didn't show up 
Also included was a two inch thick pile of documents debating WHO WAS A CITIZEN OF WHERE as the defendants disputed the jurisdiction of the court in the case.  Simon Mezes, agent for the Argüellos, claimed Spanish citizenship and the Arguellos claimed Mexican citizenship. They claimed the defendants were US citizens. The defendants in turn claimed that Mezes and the Arguellos were citizens of California and that they WERE NOT.  It wasn't a fight they were likely to win as California by this time was a US State.

Cañada de Raymundo
Once the Supreme Court made its decision most of the defendants left their lands, but not all. Lawrence O'Neill was not eager to go. Marshall William Rabe tried to serve the eviction notice but O'Neill was not there.  He left a message that O'Neill should show up in Redwood City and yield possession of the land.  That didn't happen and Rabe went back again.  There was one mention of the fact that O'Neill might have been trying to lease the land from the Argüellos.  As the file ends, that had not been resolved. On 29 Jun 1860 Lawrence Oneil (sic), farmer,  was living in Woodside, twp 3.  He is 30 years old, born in Ireland and has personal property worth $2000 but no real estate.(1)  In 1870, having aged only 5 years, he is living with the Michael Byrnes family in Belmont.(2)

This case did not start in 1860, in fact the US Northern Court decision was the result of an appeal of an 1858 decision of the US Circuit Court.(3)  But that was also not the beginning.  We need to look back nearly twenty years for the first decision in the dispute. In 1841  Francisco Guerrero of Rancho Corral de Tierra, and Alcade of Yerba Buena, was brought in to settle a dispute over the boundaries of the two Ranchos. He found for the Argüellos, but that did not stop Coppinger from selling pieces of the disputed land over the next few years.

Neither did the case stop in 1860.  Greer et al. appealed the US Northern District Court decision to the Supreme court.  The decision of the Supreme court for the Argüellos was reported in the Sacramento Bee article in 1864.

(1) 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration,  Roll 65 p 79 Township 3, San Mateo, California 
(2) 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593 Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, Roll 87 p. 372B, Township 3, San Mateo California
(3)  Daily Alta California, Volume 10, Number 302, 3 November 1858