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

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