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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

California Statute Abstracts by Sheri Fenley

Cath Madden Trindle

Over the years I've been fortunate enough to meet some really wonderful genealogists.  Sheri Fenley of Stockton is one.  Her blog, The Educated Genealogist, is a reflection of her effervescent personality, always fun and interesting.

Recently she has been abstracting the early California Statute books.  These are the books that contain all of the laws passed in each session of the California Legislature. While many laws were passed to govern the "masses" the volumes are sprinkled with laws passed for the benefit of individuals and specific neighborhoods. 

In my California genealogy classes I always mentioned these session books. They can provide fascinating details of the lives of family members.  But access was cumbersome, so few delved into the records.

Sheri's abstracts provide a new means of access.  To date she has abstracted records from a variety of years between 1850 and 1913, and it looks like she will continue.  Each year includes a link to the Statute volume, where you can read the entire proceedings.  Be sure to read the posts where she lets the stories unfold, using newspapers and other records to fill in the details not included in the Statute books, and following it forward through the years.

Sheri attributes her interest in the Statute books to  The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell.  Judy had posted about them on her blog prior to a visit to California, so thank you Judy as well as Sheri for this magnificent addition to our California research resources. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Happy Holidays

from the San Mateo County Genealogical Society 

Barry's Bits

culled from the San Francisco Examiner by Barry Goyette 

Put on the Christmas vinyl...
Sit back, relax and listen.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2017


Harold Augustine “Hal” Lane (12 Jan 1921 – 10 Feb 2004)
Submitted by Diane Elaine Wilson

Cousin Gertrude never used her real first name after she was twelve years old. She was a teenager in the Roaring Twenties, and snapshots show her in coquettish poses at the age of fourteen. Those poses later would usually include a cigarette in her hand, often in a long holder. The best smokers of the movie screen were her idols and models. Gin was tall, slender and best described as gangly. I have an unforgettable mental image of her doing the Charleston.

Ginger, or more often, Gin, was alternately in love with Commander Richard E. Byrd, whom she called her “Dickie bird,” and Robert Montgomery whom she called her passion.

Gin made me feel important. Although she was five years my senior, she always treated me like an equal, asked my opinion, listened.

When she and her next youngest sister were being taken to a barn dance, Gin suggested that her youngest sister and I come along. We were thrilled to be in the company of these almost adults. We were little more than twelve. Bobbie and I squeezed into the rumble seat of a ‘Model A” Ford roadster and enjoyed a most grown-up evening.

Hal's Graduation Picture
When I was in high school Gin had a date to go to a University of Santa Clara dance at the Palace Hotel. At the last minute her boy friend couldn’t make it, so she asked me to escort her. Was I flattered that she would be seen with a young twerp like me? Yer darn tootin’! We even went with a group down the alley from the hotel to Breen’s “where you could get a real drink.” Cousin Gin told me that it was okay for me to have a Tom Collins highball because I had a relative with that name.

I wasn’t the only person that Gin mothered or big-sistered. Her sister-in-law, Elaine [Diane: my Mom!] told me years later that Gin had been her confidant. She learned all about birth control from Gin, she said. And then she proceeded to have seven kids. Gin had four. I asked which side of the subject Gin had spoken on – pro or con.

Ginger was one of my favorite people, not only in the family, but in the world. She was a doozer.
Diane Wilson has lived in the SF Bay Area her entire life.  She is a retired computer programmer who considers herself an intermediate level genealogist.  Her other hobby is geocaching. Hal and Ginger were 1st cousins, their mothers were sisters.  Ginger was Diane’s Aunt, the oldest sister of her father.  You can contact Diane at mistycity @

© 2017 Diane Wilson - Please contact contributor for use of any portion of this story.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

SMCGS Databases Online: Leases

So, you found your family in census records but you can't find a deed?  Maybe you haven't found them at all, although the family insists they were in San Mateo County before the turn of the century.
Perhaps they leased the property they farmed or the shop they ran rather, than owning the land or building. The newest addition to the SMCGS database collection is an Index to Leases from the beginning of the county through 1921.  The early leases were recorded in Miscellaneous books but by the 1870's dedicated lease books were used.  Occasionally leases were recorded in the Miscellaneous volumes after that date, and a few are found in the Deed books.  The lease books end with #9 as does the index we used as the basis for our index.  Most likely leases continued to be recorded in either Miscellaneous books or Official Records after that date.

Not every lease was recorded, and many were recorded sometime after they went into effect. Sometimes, there was a problem on one side with meeting the terms of the lease.  Other reasons might include: one of the parties assigning their rights to someone else, the surrender of the original lease, or the death of the lessor with the estate taking over.  Many properties were continuously leased by the administrators of estates and you will find copies of court permissions to lease said properties in the volumes indexed.  Be sure to check who asked for the lease to be recorded as that might give a clue as to the reason it was.

While many of the leases are short and give little information beyond the location of the property, and even that is sometimes missing, others are full of information.  The lease of a restaurant or hotel might include a full inventory of every item included in the lease, right down to salt and pepper shakers.  Farm leases might include buildings, equipment and livestock.  There might be already-sown fields that are not included or agreements that crops would belong to lessee even if the lease was terminated.

Some lucky researchers will find property maps and building plans. 

Some individuals can be followed from farm to farm, as they expand operations, change partners or move to a different area of the county.

There are a number of "mineral"  and "timber" leases, many of which were "assigned" (transferred to others) numerous times.  There are a few equipment leases. Besides a possible description of the equipment, terms often included restrictions on where the equipment could be used. 

Our index includes: Name of each party and their Role, the Date of the original lease and the Date it was recorded, Fee book number if given, Notes (description of property, location of additional records, etc.), record location (record set (book) Pages).  When a corporation or fraternal organization was one of the parties, the principals are included and identified by role, if the corporation or organization appeared to be based in San Mateo County.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Fence: Titus Webb vs County Roads

Mratha Wallace & Cath Trindle 

In Nov 1859 Titus Webb filed suit in the Circuit Court of the US. District of California, asking for $1000 in damages BG Lathrop, San Mateo County Clerk, and JV Diller, San Mateo County Road Commissioner as they had torn down his fence. He denied that there was a right of way across his land, and denied that he had made an agreement through his lawyer, Nightengale to give such right of way.

Diller and Lathrop had torn the fence down to make way for a road from Redwood City to Whipple's Mill which would be used to transport lumber and presto to the port.

Webb won the jury trial and was awarded $100 for his fence.  It does not say whether he had to give up the right of way.

21 1 318 Titus Webb Benjamin G Lathrop, John V Diller Jas Williams, John Nightingale, Gergeo D Williams, Milo Calkin, Owen McGarvey, Chas N Fox, Herman Baer, A F C Engert 8 Aug 1859 20 Aug 1859 San Mateo County Webb owned 160 acres near Cordillas Creek, part of Rancho de las Pulga and enclosed with a substantial fence. Lathrop and Diller broke down and carried away the fence; damages $1000. Whitcomb, Pringle & Felton for plaintiff; Jas McCabe for defendant 23 Nov 1859 Verdict by jury for plaintiff wit

A challenge to the reader.  Can you find a definition for Presto?  I assume that it is the sawdust and small pieces of wood left by the milling process, but I have been unable to find a definition or description.   Send any links or information to publications @ smcgs(dot) org.

It seems that Titus wasn't content with suing over his fence.  In another case that same year, a judgement against AFC Engert in the Twelfth Judicial District Court, County of San Mateo he forced a sale of Engert's property to satisfy a judgement.  (

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Barry's Bits / Winter Genealogical Class Schedule

culled from the San Francisco Examiner by Barry Goyette 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Advanced genealogy and writing
Instructors: Margaret Melaney/class
Ongoing September - June
Mondays 9:30 - 11:30
Writing group alternate weeks 11:30-12:30
Trinity Church Menlo Park  $75 annually


Family History – The Next Step (mainly intermediate level)
Thursday Mornings 8:45 am-11:15 am   1/11-3/29
Classes held at San Mateo Adult School/SMART Center, 789 East Poplar Avenue, San Mateo
Register in person, by mail or at the first class meeting.
Instructor: Inge Harding-Barlow 650-558-2100           Website
Description: Family History (Genealogy) is a journey into the lives of our ancestors – their joys, triumphs and problems. These 10 classes will review basic genealogy and websites. Then the class will discuss more advanced information available for the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany and other countries from which the ancestors of the 2017 Winter-Spring class members originate. The classes will consist of talks, discussions and individual work on class members’ family trees with “instant” help being available from the teacher and classmates on problems and some brick walls. Class members are also encouraged to set up 90-minute individual consults on their genealogical brick walls with the teacher at the specialized genealogical Family History Library in Menlo Park. These classes will also help participants understand what they can and cannot obtain via computers.

Palo Alto Adult School: - Winter Quarter Registration opens 1st December 2017

Jump Start Your Genealogy: Fundamentals
Instructor: Christine Bell Green, PLCGS
10 weeks • January 18 – March 22 2018
Thursday • 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Palo Alto HS Rm. 204 • $75*

Discovering your roots is exciting; it teaches you about yourself as well as your family. This class is designed to give family historians/genealogists a strong foundation. We learn to effectively use common genealogical record types and important family history websites. Helping each other by sharing our journeys is an important part of the class.  Field trip is included.

 Optional text: Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy: 3rd Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2005

Genealogy: Intermediate
Instructor: Christine Bell Green PLCGS
10 weeks • January 17 – March 21 2018
Wednesday • 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Greendell Rm. P3 • $75*
Prerequisite: Beginning Genealogy or 1 year Genealogy research experience.

Do you have brick walls in your family history or ancestors you know little about? Learn to research using a broad cross-section of genealogical records and extract all the information from them, use the Internet effectively and become skilled at inferential genealogy. We maximize our efficiency by organizing our research better and sharing helpful tips. We write stories that will interest our families.  Field trip is included.

Optional text: Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy: 3rd Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2005

Mountain  View/Los Altos Adult School – Winter and Spring Quarters Registration opens 17 November 2017

Genealogy Advanced Intermediate/Advanced
Instructor: Christine Bell Green PLCGS
8 weeks – January 8 – March 12 2018 (no class 1/15 or 2/19)
$90 ($70 seniors)
Monday – 12.30 – 3pm

Break through your brick walls and solve complex genealogical problems using a broad cross-section of genealogical records. Become skilled at inferential genealogy.

Genealogy Beginner/Intermediate
Instructor: Christine Bell Green PLCGS
9 weeks – January 9 – March 13 2018 (no class 2/20)
$99 ($79 seniors)
Tuesday – 12.30 – 3pm

Learn to use a wide variety of genealogical records to discover your roots. Sharing your journey with other passionate genealogists is a part of the class

Optional text for both genealogy classes:
Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd Edition, (Baltimore, 2005.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

San Mateo County First Families

SMCGS has revamped their First Families Project.  First Families Promoter, Laurie Coulter, is the first to say it was a complicated process for the non-genealogist.    She would like to extend the following welcome to the new program, and also to invite anyone interested in getting started to the SMCGS meeting this Saturday.  There will be a First Families/San Mateo County Round Table Session, where we will explore the many online resources for finding information on your San Mateo County Families.


Welcome to the San Mateo County Genealogical Society FirstFamilies Project!

Do you have relatives or know of someone who lived in San Mateo County in the 1880's? the early 1900's?

Do you know anything about them, like where they lived or worked or sent their children to school?
Perhaps you  have a picture of a house or business or land that identifies when or where the person was in the early development of the county.

Perhaps you have a diary or letter or business journal or map.

All of these things help to create the story. What story? The story of how people lived and contributed to the growth and development of the area.

The San Mateo County Genealogical Society is interested in these stories and learning more about the ordinary people who came to this area following their dreams. We have shelves in our library dedicated to these stories.

Our First Families Project is designed to assist friends, relatives, school children, scouts, and anyone interested in sharing these stories. We provide assistance with finding proof of residency and will assist you if you get "hooked" and want to delve into finding all the public documents related to your person or family.

Laurie Coulter


Meyer's Family at Searsville Lake - Laurie Coulter
There are three categories of early pioneers in the First Families Program:
Founding Families – Ancestors who settled before 1879
Early Settlers – Ancestors who settled between 1880 and 1905
Century Families – Ancestors who settled between 1906 and 100 years ago.  
You will find the requirements and the needed forms for a First Families Submission on the SMCGS Website.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2017

My Roommate

June Baxter

My head was filled with thoughts of summer drawing to a close and the scary new world of junior high school looming ahead, when my parents announced that my grandmother, who had not seen me since I was nine months old, would soon be coming to share my bedroom with me.

I happily asked, “Will she play cards with me?” They smiled and said probably not.

Soon my room was reconfigured—my shelves went to the garage, childish drawings came down from the walls, a drawer and a portion of the tiny closet were emptied to hold her few garments. None of this really mattered to me, for as an only child, I was looking forward to having a roommate!

Sweet Anna Mary Krecek Pazderka, age 84 years (to my 12), made the long journey by bus from Omaha, Nebraska, to Palo Alto, California, with my mother’s older brother, Jim. I had not seen photos nor even talked on the phone with her.

As I look back now, I wonder what her thoughts were as she left the only home she had known since traveling with her family from then-Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) when she was about five years old. I’m sure she was delighted to finally be able to spend time with her precious daughter, but what about rooming with a pre-pubescent girl?

Once Grandma was safely ensconced in her new abode, I set off with great trepidation to the first day of junior high. I was soon immersed in mountains of homework, accordion lessons, and much to my chagrin, ballroom dancing lessons.

A quiet lady who had led a hard life as a widowed mother of two young children and worked in a meatpacking plant in Omaha to support them, Grandma loved sitting in a chair by the living-room window and gazing across the street at Matadero Creek. She neither read nor played cards, but watched a favorite soap opera on our newly purchased—and first—TV and faithfully dried the dinner dishes every evening.

When Grandma became ill my senior year of high school and my mother sat up with her all night, every night, I either slept on the couch or at our next-door neighbors’. After a few months, she moved to a nursing home just eight miles away; my mother even learned to drive so she could visit every day, with my dad and me accompanying her on weekends.

One day toward the end of May, filled with end-of-year angst, I came home to find my mother and several close friends sitting in the living room. I asked how Grandma was.

(From my diary): “To my greatest sorrow, I learned that my beloved Grandma passed away this morning at 7:00. At first I didn’t cry because I was really glad for her sake—and Mom said that she didn’t have it very easy. Then I really cried. I loved her so…”

Grandma was two months shy of her 90th birthday. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood and appreciated how she had enriched my life with her quiet resolve, acceptance and gentleness. How grateful I am to have had her as my roommate. April 2017


June Baxter was born and raised in Palo Alto, lived and raised her three children in Campbell and has now retired to Half Moon Bay. June was a high school English and business teacher for 25 years and currently writes the senior page for the Half Moon Bay Review as well as editing and writing newsletters for the state parks and the HMB history association.  She says she has little genealogical expertise, but her son is exploring her mother's history in Omaha, NE and she hopes to get more involved in the future. 

© 2017 June Baxter - Please contact SMCGS for use of any portion of this story.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

SMCGS Databases Online: Miscellaneous Ledgers

The Miscellaneous Registers for San Mateo County date from late 1856.  Register 7 goes into 1892.  At that point separate registers had been created for leases, mortgages, lis pendens and other record sets found originally only in the Miscellaneous Registers.  However, some of all those record types still find their way into the Miscellaneous Registers instead.

Besides leases, mortgages and lis pendens, you can find builders contracts, assignments, tax certificates, bonds, judgements, power of attorney, decrees of distribution and much more.  There are a number of maps tucked into the volumes.  In some cases there is a copy of the map as well as an original with a note that the original had been stolen but has now been restored to it's original home.

Some of the records in the early books were in Spanish and there are a few that are recorded in both Spanish and English.

Unfortunately, these books were not digitized.  Miscellaneous Registers 2-38 are located in the County Record Center.  Register one is not with them, perhaps it is at the Recorder's Office in Redwood City. To obtain copies of records found in the registers, contact the San Mateo County Recorders Office.    

An Index to Volumes 1-7 SMCGS Miscellaneous Registers  Indexes to later volumes are located on the same shelves with the Registers.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fall Seminar

Federal Records plus Mapping the West

More info:


Pamela Boyer Sayre,CG, CGL, FUGA
& Richard G. (Rick) Sayre,CG, CGL, FUGA

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9 am - 3 pm
Early Bird & Online Registration is closed. Walk-ins welcome! Price: $55.  See you Nov 4!
      • Mapping the West: Lewis & Clark to railroad surveys
      • Rivers & Canals: Finding federal records
      • Capital Treasure: Case studies featuring federal records

Pam & Rick Sayre are among the best instructors in genealogy. Federal records, including maps and land records, are their specialty. You are invited to join them for an engaging day exploring records from the National Archives to the BLM.

For a PDF of the seminar flyer click here.
For more information see our Seminar page.
Also at the seminar:
Special Door Prize!  
A FREE registration to Jamboree 2018 will be awarded to a lucky attendee. 
The Southern California Genealogical Society holds the West Coast's largest genealogical conference May 31-Jun 2, 2018.
Book Sale
We've received loads of new donations of genealogical research books that will be available!
Silent Auction - Some great donations from the following companies:
2 semi-annual World Explorer individual memberships to Ancestry
1 annual subscription
1 annual Basic subscription
1 AncestryDNA kit
1 year subscription to My Heritage
1 My Heritage DNA kit
From  1 year premium subscription to FindMyPast
From Genealogy Bank:   1 year subscription to Genealogy Bank
Home-baked Cookies - SMCGS bakers will be mixing up their usual hard-to-resist homemade cookies and bars.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Barry's Bits

culled from the San Francisco Examiner by Barry Goyette 

Need A Little Dental Work?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2017

February, 1942

Jennifer Harris

My parents Meriel and Erich Wellington lived in a big house in Berkeley, California, with their two children Frederick Sherwood and Jennifer Jane, plus Meriels mother Marie Elizabeth Byrne Sherwood.  Since they had an empty room upstairs and lived about a mile from the University of California campus, they provided room and board for a female student in exchange for help around the house.  It was a good arrangement for my parents and for the student.  My mother always preferred to have Japanese-American girls because they were so neat and clean.  These girls were often my baby sitters. 

I remember two of these girls very well.  Aiko was the daughter of a turkey farmer who lived in Turlock.  At Christmas and Thanksgiving her father would arrive to pick her up for the holiday with a freshly killed turkey for our family.  Since this was during the depression my parents were happy to receive this gift; the drawback was that my mother had to gut or draw the turkey which she did not particularly like doing.  In later years when I had to draw ducks my husband and I had shot when hunting I appreciated how she felt.

The last young woman who lived with us was Marie Kurihara who was studying nursing.  After December 7, 1941 there began to be rumblings about the Japanese-American residents of California.  On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 stating that all Japanese American residents in the west would be rounded up and sent to internment camps.  These poor souls had little time to prepare and often lost farmland and homes.  Their plight is well chronicled in the novels Snow Falling on Cedars and Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I was only ten years old so was not very aware of what was happening. 

Some of the university students were permitted to continue their studies but only at colleges and universities located inland in the United States.  They were not allowed to be on the coasts.  It was a horrible thing to have done to these innocent hard working citizens.  It meant that we no longer had young Japanese-American women to live with us.  We felt they had been part of our family. 

One of the young women, probably Aiko, met a man with whom she fell in love at the internment camp.  It was spring and she knew we had a big garden full of flowers.  She wrote and asked my mother to send some flowers for the wedding.  I remember my mother cutting large sprays of our flowering plum trees and packaging them carefully before sending them off to Aiko.

The student living with us in February 1942 was Marie Kurihara who was studying to be a registered nurse.  She was a lovely person and we were so sorry to see her go.  As far as I know we did not have contact with Marie after she was so brutally taken away from us. 

Fast-forward to 2008 when I signed up to attend an Inclusion Day at The Sequoias San Francisco, a companion community to the Sequoias Portola Valley where I live.  Upon arriving I saw on the program that one of the speakers was a Sequoias San Francisco resident named Marie Kurihara.  I wondered if it was the same Marie Kurihara who had lived with us in Berkeley.  I wrote her a note asking if she had lived with the Wellington Family while a student at UC Berkeley and if so telling her that I was the young girl for whom she had baby sat.  She said yes.  I was thrilled to see her and we hugged each other.  She gave me a lovely origami crane which has now disappeared.  I believe she still lives in San Francisco but I have lost contact with her.

Marie had been able to complete her nursing studies and had never married.  She had returned to the Bay Area where she worked at UC Hospital in San Francisco and eventually became the Director of Nursing there.  My mother, who loved things medical, would have been thrilled to know this. 

Marie had retired and moved to the Sequoias shortly after my aunt Betsy Sherwood, who also lived there, had died.  They just missed each other; I think Marie would have remembered Betsy who often came to visit us on weekends from San Francisco where she worked.  Betsy was so incensed by the Executive Order which was announced on February 19, 1942, that she tore down one of the posters announcing the ruling which was posted on a telephone pole in San Francisco and she kept it for years.  Somehow in many moves it was lost so I do not have it. 

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of that horrible Executive Order 9066 by Franklin  
Roosevelt.  It was a decision that I hope will never, ever, be repeated in our country and is certainly a black mark in our history as a nation.   


Poster from Department of the Interior War Relocation Authority.  Obtained on Wikipedia 18 February 2017

Note: the Library of  Congress Blog Post Journalism Behind Barbed Wire explores the newsletters of the Japanese Internment Camps

Jennifer Wellington Harris is a retired secondary teacher who taught science for three years at Fleming Junior High in for the Los Angeles Unified School District, nineteen years at Ukiah High School in Ukiah, California, and one year at the International School of Lusaka in Lusaka, Zambia.  In 1986 she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching for California.  She retired in 1991 continuing as an Educational Consultant and a teacher and student teacher evaluator for Dominican College’s credentialing program in Ukiah.  She became interested in genealogy in the 1950s and has been researching off and on ever since.   In 2003 she moved to the Sequoias Portola Valley where she now lives.

© 2017 Jennifer Harris - Please contact SMCGS for use of any portion of this story.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

SMCGS Databases: Reports Under Alien Land Law

"Vote Yes on Proposition No. 1 Alien Land Law. Save California from the Japs. To Prevent the Japs from Owning Our Land. Vote Yes."  This is a sign promoting Proposition 1, the California Alien Land Law of 1912-1913 that prohibits Asian migrants from owning property. It passed.:
The California Alien Land Law of 1913, also known as the Webb-Haney Act for attorney Francis J. Heney and CA state attorney general  Ulysses S Webb who co-authored the bill. The law prohibited aliens who were ineligible for citizenship from owning or holding long term leases for agricultural land.  Leases up to three years were permitted.   The law was mainly enacted to stop the growing Japanese community from dominating the agriculture of California, but all Asian immigrants including Chinese, Koreans, Indians, etc. were included.  One work around to holding land was to have in put in the name of a minor child who was born in the United States, and therefor a citizen, and have a trustee control the land.  Land that had been owned by aliens prior to the enactment of the law might also be placed in the hands of an acceptable trustee.

Section 5a of the law as amended in 1923 defined the term "trustee" as any person, company, association or corporation that as guardian, trustee, attorney-in-fact or agent, or in any other capacity has the title, custody or control of property, or some interest therein, belonging to an alien mentioned in section two hereof, or to the minor child of such an alien, if the property is of such a character that such alien is inhibited from acquiring, possessing, enjoying or transferring it.

Section 5b goes on to state that "annually (b) Annually on or before the thirty-first day of January every such trustee must file in the office of the secretary of state of California and in the office of the county clerk of each county in which any of the property is situated, a verified written report showing :

  1. The property, real or personal, held by him for or on behalf of such an alien or minor; 
  2. A statement showing the date when each item of such property came into his possession or control; 
  3. An itemized account of all expenditures, investments, rents, issues and profits in respect to the administration and control of such property with particular reference to holdings of corporate stock and leases, cropping contracts and other agreements in respect to land and the handling or sale of products thereof.

The following is an index to reports located in cabinet RC5B1-drawer 3 in the San Mateo County Record Center(1). You might also find these records in the Ancestry Collection California Alien Land Ownership Records.  If you do not have a subscription you can access Ancestry from many public libraries.  There might have been other reports filed in the county, these are the ones found in this drawer.
  • Hagihara,Edwin Masaru (minor) age 21 on 8/31/1946 part of pulgas grant (1/31/1934-2/8/1943)
  • Hagihara, Chisuko (minor) age 21 on 8/4/1944 part of pulgas grant (1/31/1934-1/31/1947)
  • Yamada, Takuzo  (minor) Santa Ynez Park San Mateo (1/28/1927-1/25/1933)
  • Yamada, Sieko  (minor) Santa Ynez Park San Mateo (1/11/1934-1/31/1938)
  • Endo, Towru  (minor) San Mateo block 19  (1/29/1930)
  • Endo, Katsuko  (minor) San Mateo block 19 (1/29/1930)
  • Endo, Toshio  (minor) San Mateo block 19 (1/29/1930)
  • Endo, Katsuji parent San Mateo block 19 (1/29/1930)
  • Inouye, Hirosuke  (minor)  Valota Park (1/22/1935-1/27/1936)
  • Takahashi, Kazuhide  (minor) Linda Vista ( 1/29/1930-1/25/1933)
  • Murota, Toshiko Miller & Lux Lands by Flood Estate (1/30/1928-1/27/1931)
  • Murota, Benji Miller & Lux Lands by Flood Estate (1/30/1928-1/27/1931)
  • Shioya, Kiyo  Santa Cruz Ave - Menlo Park (2/3/1923-1/31/1929)
  • Shioya, Shoichi Santa Cruz Ave - Menlo Park(2/3/1923-1/24/1932)
  • Shioya, Yoshiko Santa Cruz Ave - Menlo Park (2/3/1923-1/31/1929) 
  • Yamaguchi, Hisao D St, San Mateo  (1/31/1927-1/24/1935)
  • Yamaguchi, Kunio D St, San Mateo (1/31/1927-1/24/1935)
  • Itayama, ZH (trustee) Santa Inez Park (1/20/1947-1/25/1949)
  • Itayama, Imiko (minor) Santa Inez Park (1/20/1947-1/25/1949)
  • Hoshi, Imiko (minor) (see itayama) Santa Inez Park (1/20/1947-1/25/1949)
(1) To obtain copies of these reports, contact the San Mateo County Recorders office.  Be sure to give cabinet and drawer number as they are not familiar with these small record collections. 

More about Alien Land Laws on the West Coast
Alien Land Laws - Santa Cruz Public Library
Alien Land Laws Densho Encyclopedia
White Supremacy and the Alien Land Laws of Washington State

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SMC Places: San Mateo 1950s

a submission to SMCGS Sharing Stories 2017

Imagine SAN MATEO in the 1950's

Laurie Coulter, 2017, age 70 years

St. Matthews Catholic Church c 1950 - Ellsworth St.
(San Mateo County Historical Association)
The El Camino Real, "the royal road", was from my earliest memories, significant in our town, San Mateo, California. The El Camino is the path Fr. Junipero Serra took walking between the nine Spanish Missions he established in the mid 1700's. Stretching from Baja Mexico to Sonoma, they were a day's walk apart.  Mission Santa Clara is to the south of us and Mission Dolores in San Francisco to the north. There were  metal bell shaped markers on placed along the El Camino, which reminded us of our heritage. The name "San Mateo" is Spanish for St.  Matthew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, so it is not surprising that there were two churches with that name: one Catholic and one Episcopalian. Both churches had schools and both churches were located within four blocks of each other.

I remember feeling connected to the history of the state of California and our Spanish heritage. The Spanish influence went beyond names as many homes and also buildings downtown like the U.S. Post Office on Ellsworth have white stucco exteriors with red tile roofs, wooden balconies and tile patios, porches or entries.

My Sense of Place.
533 Edinburgh, first home, Spanish style - personal photo Collection

I grew up in San Mateo, a city about twenty miles south of San Francisco, California, from the time I was six months old until age fifteen. My childhood memories are of riding my bike with neighbor kids all over our neighborhood which was from Edinburgh Ave. and 5th Ave/ Parrot Drive, then later, Aragon Ave to Borel.

Our neighborhood was safe and mostly flat so our parents did not limit our explorations. There was a paved narrow road that ran from the Alameda de las Pulgas down to the El Camino Real. It was six long blocks and was called, "the alley." It ran behind homes, so you walked or rode your bike with little if any car traffic. We walked to St. Matthew's Catholic School from about half the distance of the alley and collected students along the way. Even in First Grade, I remember walking home at noon with a girl who lived about three blocks up the alley, then I was on my own for two blocks on my street. I walked home for lunch until I was in the 4th grade.

Central Park

Figure 3 postcard Central Park, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 
Crystal Springs Reservoir 
(Photographer: Ken Glaser Jr., Smith Novelty Company, San Francisco, CA.)
We spent a lot of time in Central Park. Facing the El Camino from Fifth Avenue to Ninth Avenue, it seemed huge. There was a train ride open ride on weekends, and a stadium where events were held. We once got to see David Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet T.V. fame with a circus. He was a gymnast as I recall. I remember biking all over the park.
We spent a lot of time at the playground. My favorite things were the curly slide and the merry go round that you hung onto and ran like heck before jumping onto and riding it. We took turns running.

Also, I remember walking through the park from school to get to the church. Either our class or the whole school walked from Ninth Ave. to Third Ave, "cutting through" the park to get to Ellsworth and then to St. Matthew's Church. This happened in Lent when we went to confession and to the Stations of the Cross or when we had rehearsals for sacraments or special Masses.


My sister and I took tap, ballet and acrobat as preschoolers. I ended up taking some form of jazz dance through 8th grade. We had piano lessons from an early age and rode our bikes to the piano teacher's house when old enough. We learned to swim when very young as our mother could not and was terrified of us drowning. The early lessons were at an indoor pool on Baldwin Ave. Later we rode the bus to San Mateo High School for Red Cross lessons. We loved to roller skate at the Rolladium, a large domed building with a huge wooden roller rink. We learned to ice skate at the Belmont Ice rink. Both were locations for birthday parties through the years.

For a quarter, we saw movies, sometimes a double feature and always with a newsreel downtown at the San Mateo Theater or further south at the Palm or Manor theaters.
Summers were spent creating carnivals in someone's garage or back yard or building forts, playing board and card games and riding our bikes. Long summer nights were spent playing baseball in the street hating to hear that call to come in at 10pm.
As a teen, I had a friend two years older than I and sometimes she could borrow her dad's '57 Chevy and we would "cruise" the El Camino from Kibby's Restaurant in San Mateo down to Kibby's Drive-In in Redwood City. Sometimes, we would go north to King's Drive-In in Millbrae. We barely had money for gas let alone more than a coke at each place, but we were "out there."

4th Ave. looking East from El Camino c.1950
(Archives of the San Mateo County Historical Association, #88-96.19) 

Our family shopped downtown, for a couple of reasons. The big stores like Macys and Emporium were in San Francisco. Also, the downtown had everything we needed and we did not have to dress up. Going to San Francisco meant dressing up which included hats, gloves and dress shoes. Even when we went to visit friends, if they lived in "The City", we dressed up. Also, we had our own local department stores, Levy Brothers and a J.C. Penney's as well as Roos Atkins, Joseph Magnin and Jud Greene clothing stores.

Downtown San Mateo was laid out in a grid perpendicular to the El Camino Real. The hub was 3rd and 4th Avenues between the El Camino on the West and B Street on the East, which paralleled the Southern Pacific train tracks. It did extend north to Baldwin and there was a shopping district south, off the El Camino, on 25th Ave. Of course when Hillsdale Shopping Center opened in 1956/7, that became our shopping hub.

3rd Ave. looking East from El Camino circa 1950
(Archives of the San Mateo County Historical Association, #88-96.20)
I savor the memories of ice cream sundaes at Borden's Creamery and saving our allowance to go into Blum's Bakery and Cafe and sitting at counter and ordering decadent coffee crunch cake. I can still smell the minestrone soup from the Shadows Restaurant and feel the pinch new oxfords from our annual school shoe shopping at Sommer and Kauffman.

Near B Street we got to shop for toys and birthday gifts at Talbots and get our ballet shoes and tights at Cappezio's. We also got our hair cut and loved browsing at the 5 and 10 cent store and getting a coke at the lunch counter. A special treat was going to Benny's Meat Market on 3rd Ave. Benny or his brother Evo would give us a raw hot dog while taking our mother's meat order. Fridays in Lent meant no meat, so clam chowder or filet of sole at Vince's Seafood market was a treat. The Villa Chartier was a place for special family celebrations. We had to dress up to go there.

Villa Chartier Restaurant c late 1950's
       (Archives of the San Mateo County Historical Association, #88-96.50)
There are so many memories of friends and neighbors from the three houses in which we lived. I cherish my time there. I was very fortunate that I had the freedom to explore and experience a small town life in the midst of the larger community near a large city.
When I met my husband, I was happy to find out that he grew up in Hillsdale. We have since lived down the El Camino about ten minutes in Redwood City for nearly forty years, while raising three children, one grandson and recently welcoming a new granddaughter. San Mateo County is our home.
Laurie Coulter has been a member of SMCGS for 8 years. She was born in San Francisco but raised in San Mateo and has lived on the peninsula ever since. Her Dad was born in Woodside in the 1890s where the family had a farmhouse until the 1950s.  She is actively working on her First Families Application and is now Chair of the First Families Committee.  Laurie started taking classes from Gayle Simon and says "My classes led me to writing stories about my family as a way of sharing the family history which is so much more than a pedigree chart. Since I had no elders to ask, I decided that my own memories and those of my sister and cousins will have to do. I use research for gaps, but I inherited a lot of documents and photos which gain meaning and context in the stories. For now my focus remains on what we know collaboratively  and what I can verify."

© 2017 Laurie Coulter - Please contact SMCGS for use of any portion of this story.