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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mortuary Files of Valente Marini Perata & Co.

The firm of Valente, Marini, Perata and Co. was established in San Francisco in 1888.  129 years later it has closed its doors and donated the records to the Colma Historical Association.

Most burials are for those living in San Francisco, however, there is a smattering of records for those in the northern parts and coast of San Mateo County as well as other places through out Northern California.  Information in the early records can be sparse, some of the earliest give only a date and the name of the person "purchasing" services.  They are included in the Index, as the family name might lead to more information.

Other records give a wealth of information.  The ledgers for the years around 1910 often include obituaries, many are from Italian, French and other foreign language papers.  The index includes name, death date (in some cases this might be a burial date, date plot was purchased, or date of removal from one cemetery to another), birthplace, age, city of residence (or death), cemetery when they are given.  Volume and page direct you to the original record.  A note column might give a hospital, or other interesting information.

Embalming Table
The index is no substitute for the original record.  Contact the Colma Historical Association for a copy of the original entry.  Even better, visit and look through the journal's yourself.  Not included in the index are the many notations of payments for the burials that were indexed.  Payments might be made for months or years after a burial.  In the early books, you will find notations of "drinks" being expenses when arrangements and/or payments were made.

Embalming machine

Spelling of names is inconsistent even within single entries.  Think creatively about how your names might be spelled, or how we might have misread them,  The early books also have purchases of supplies and more recorded in the same books.  Later, the book pages become forms and the amount of information increases.

If you visit, be sure to allow time to tour the museum.  Not only will you find information on all of the cemeteries in Colma, you will also find some really fascinating  items, such as embalming tables and machines in the collections.  There are also some wonderful early photographs.  And best of all a crew of people that are eager to help you.

Index to the Records of Valente, Marini, Perata and Co.  

 Carolyn Williams posted the following on Facebook recently.

"Are you looking for a great genealogy event to attend in the Bay Area, California or nationally? There are three main calendars for finding genealogy events:
Conference Keeper (Calif & national events), type ‘California’ into the Search bar
Eastman’s Online Newsletter Calendar (Calif & national events)
Sutro Library in San Francisco has taken over keeping up to date the old SF Genealogy calendar most recently kept by Kathryn Doyle. Thank you to Sutro Library, California State Library! "

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