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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sanchez Adobe

Nestled in San Pedro Valley (Pacifica)  is the second oldest house in San Mateo County.  Begun in 1842 by Don Francisco Sanchez it sits on land that had originally known as the village Pruristac home of the Ramaytush band of the Ohlone Tribe. 
Diagram of Mission Buildings

In 1776 Mission Dolores established an outpost, San Pedro y San Pablo Asistencia, on the site to facilitate mission work and to grow food for the mission.  Logs mark the boundaries of the original buildings.  

The outpost was abandoned in 1834 when the mission system was dismantled. 

In 1836 the land was part of the Rancho San Pedro grant to Francisco Sanchez.  Sanchez was Commandant of the Presidio and the eighth Alcade of San Francisco.  The house was finished in 1846.

In 1871 the adobe was purchased by James Regan, who defaulted on his mortgage.  It was then sold to Gen. Edward Kirkpatrick, commander of the presidio,  in 1879.  Kirkpatrick expanded the adobe to 20 rooms.  It then became Hotel San Pedro;  the Prohibition era speakeasy, Adobe House; and an artichoke storage facility before being purchased by the county in 1947.  Restoration of the original adobe was completed in 1953.

Today Sanchez Adobe is a County Park managed by the San Mateo County Historical Association.  Plans are underway for an interpretive center and other facility upgrades.  

Inside the adobe you will find examples of tools, furniture, fixtures, and more from the time of the Sanchez and Kirkpatrick families.  

Each year on the third Saturday of September, Rancho Day at Sanchez Adobe offers early California music and dance, original Rancho food, demonstrations of bygone trades and the opportunity to participate in do it yourself crafts.  This year that would be September 15.  This is a great opportunity to experience a little bit of San Mateo County's past. 

Location: 1000 Linda Mar Blvd, Pacifica

Learn More

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Historic United States Court of Appeals

In 1891 ground was purchased for a new Federal Building in San Francisco.  Designed by James Knox Taylor, supervising architect for the United States Treasury, it was planned to hold a Post Office, the Federal Courts and other Federal Agencies in the area.  Construction commenced in 1897 and seven years and $2.5 million later it was finished in time for the opening on 29 Aug 1905. 
Less than eight months later the building was one of two in the south of Market area to survive the 1906 earthquake and the subsequent fires.  Just one room, the redwood room succumbed to fire, thanks to the diligent efforts of the post office workers who used water from the hydraulic elevator to stop the fire at the doors.  The other building to survive was the US Mint.

Eighty three years later, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused enough damage that there was a possibility the building would be demolished.  However, history won out and a $91M renovation took place.  After the earthquake the Post Office moved out leaving the US Court of Appeals, 9th circuit which maintains its headquarters and four courtrooms in the building.
Mail windows in first floor corridor
Mail Chute

Marble & Mosaic on the 2nd Floor
This simple history doesn't include information on the 1933 addition, the removal of the US District Courts to the new building on Golden Gate Avenue in 1964.  There is so much more to know, including the fact that there have been only 100 9th Circuit Appellate Court Judges since the court was established in 1891. 

Mexican Mahogany Doors
Green Paint was removed
after Loma Prieta
Courtroom One

Courtroom Two
And there is so much to see.  The marble in the hallways and Courtrooms 1-3, especially Courtroom 1 is as spectacular as anything I've seen in the palaces of Europe.  It was brought in from all over the world including some exquisite green marble from Vermont.  Then there is the Redwood Room, which was rebuilt after the fire.  It was originally created for a judge from Eureka who wanted to be surrounded by his beloved forests.

So I urge you to take a tour.  Just two blocks from Civic Center Bart, it is easy to get to.  There are public tours  on many Tuesdays and you can arrange group tours in advance.  You can also wander through parts of the building on any day it is open, use the law library (created from space originally occupied by the post office), or attend an appeal hearing.  Check the website for more information. - Cath Trindle

Courtroom three

Redwood Room

Courtroom Four - Art Deco

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

SMC Newspapers: The Times Gazette

In his Story of Redwood City, which was edited by John Edmunds years after his death, Roy Cloud notes......

"During the first few years of its existence San Mateo County had no newspaper to disseminate its news or in which to publish its official doings. This deficit was overcome on April 9, 1859 almost exactly three years after the formation of the County. On that day William Godfrey published the first issue of the San Mateo County Gazette."

The story goes on to state that, "Charles N. Fox was the editor of the Gazette for the first six months, then turned over his editorial duties to Mr. Godfrey who up to that time was printer and pressman."

The paper changed hands a number of times over the next few years, there was David Downer, proprietor and publisher in 1861, George W Fox, editor in 1864, Horace Hawes, Harvey Scofield (editor) and A Warren (printer) proprietors in 1866.

In 1871 Duncan and Sandy McPherson who owned the Santa Cruz Sentinel took over and continued until at least 1886.  In 1876 the Gazette purchased the San Mateo Times which had been established in 1874. The first issue of the consolidated Times-Gazette was published on 5 Feb 1876.

In 1893 the Times-Gazette was purchased by Denis and James O'Keefe.  James left to practice law after a few years, but Denis continued as editor until 1922 and continued ownership until the paper was sold to the Redwood City Tribune.

San Mateo County Times Gazette Index 1859-1899
San Mateo County Gazette Transcriptions by Chris Havnar on SFGenealogy 1906


  • San Mateo County Gazette (w) Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 9, 1859)-v. 13, no. 24 (Sept. 9, 1871) Original RCL, CA Lib (p), Microfilm RCL, UCR, CA Lib
  • San Mateo Gazette  (w) Vol. 13, no. 25 (Sept. 16, 1871)-v. 17, no. 44 (Jan. 29, 1876) Original RCL, CA Lib (p), Microfilm RCL, UCR, CA Lib
  • Times and Gazette (w) Vol. 17, no. 45 (Feb. 5, 1876)-v. 28, no. 8 (May 22, 1886) Original RCL, CA Lib (p), Microfilm RCL, UCR (p) , CA Lib
  • San Mateo County Times and Gazette  (w) Vol. 28, no. 9 (May 29, 1886)-v. 31, no. 24 (Sept. 14, 1889) Original RCL, CA Lib (p), Microfilm RCL, UCR (p) , CA Lib   
  • (Redwood City) Times Gazette (w) Vol. 31, no. 25 (Sept. 21, 1889)-v. 75, no. 60 (May 24, 1935) ; v. 75 (May 31, 1935)-v. 76 (May 27, 1949) Original RCL, CA Lib (p), Microfilm RCL, UCR (p) , CA Lib   
  • Times Gazette: The Peninsula Beacon  (w) June 3, 1949-v. 104, no. 48 (Mar. 27, 1963) Original RCL (s), Microfilm RCL, CA Lib (p)
  • Times Gazette (w) Vol. 104, no. 49 (Apr. 3, 1963)-114th year, no. 52 (Apr. 25, 1973) Original RCL

(w) weekly (d) daily (n) daily except Sunday and holidays
(p) partial run  (s) scattered missing issues
CA Lib - California State Library
UCR - University of California Riverside - Newspaper Master Files
RCL - Redwood City Public Library
SM Lib - San Mateo City Library

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

San Francisco Examiner

                       Upcoming Events                          
FALL SEMINAR 2018 - Registration opens on August 15. 

We encourage you to register early as this event will sell out.

Exploring DNA & Genetic Genealogy with CeCe Moore

Sat, November 3, 2018,  9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Menlo Park LDS Church Hall, 1105 Valparaiso, Menlo Park

CeCe Moore is a well known, well respected, and well loved genetic genealogist. She is an innovator in the use of autosomal DNA in genealogy and has been a long-time expert on the PBS show  "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr."


No August Meeting

September Meeting:   

Researching Your Civil War Ancestors

     Date:        Saturday, September 22, 2018

         10:00 am Cookies & coffee
         10:30 am - 12 noon 
Location: Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
         Entrance in back.

Speaker: Mary Boyle

From 1861 to 1865, this country was torn apart by an internal war. Counting both the Confederate and Union armies, 3.3 million men were in the service. The U.S. 
population in 1860 was 31,443,321. Find out how you can discover whether or not your ancestor served and what happened in "his" war.
This presentation will cover resources both digital and printed that will help with Civil War research. We will look at examples from both the Union and Confederate sides. Learn why the war lasted so long and produced so many casualties and get some insight into why it is still impacting us in 2018.

Mary Boyle has been a librarian at the Santa Clara City Library since 2004. She is currently Local History/Genealogy Librarian and has assisted many people in furthering their genealogy research. Mary has lectured in California on genealogical topics since 2014 and has been researching her family for more than thirty years. In 2010, she proved her lineage to a Revolutionary War patriot, Prince Soper. His grandson, her great grandfather, served on the Union side in the Civil War.


October Meeting:  

A Year in Salem: The Witchcraft Crisis of 1692

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

SMCGS Databases: Abstract of Judgements

Abstract of Judgment is a copy or summary of a courts judgment. It is a document disclosing a monetary award issued by the court in favor of a person who won the lawsuit against a losing defendant. It includes the rate of interest to be paid on the judgment amount, court costs, and any specific orders for the losing defendant. An abstract of judgment is a public record and creates a lien on any real estate property owned by the defendant in the county in which the abstract of judgment is recorded. Issuance procedure and contents of abstract of judgment varies according to statutes. (

This transcription of San Mateo Counties Index of Abstracts of Judgment appears to include  Judgments from Township courts in San Mateo County and a variety of courts in other counties.  It does not include Judgments made by the Superior Court of San Mateo County.   Most likely they are indexed in the Docket Books for the Superior Court.

Many of the earliest Judgments were not recorded into books, but rather filed.  Whether those filed record still exist is unknown, but it seems unlikely.  From 1856 until 1918 those Abstracts of Judgment that were recorded are found mainly in the Miscellaneous Books, with a few recorded in the Deed Books.  Starting in 1918 a separate set of Books called Transcript of Judgment was kept.  

Information in this transcription includes:
Fee Book Number, Page in Index, Debtor, Creditor, Judgment Notes, Judgment Amount, Costs, Date Recovered. Court of Recovery, When Filed, When Recorded, Record Set, Book, Page, Satisfaction Date, Notes.

Judgement Liens on Property in California - Nolo Press
Abstract of Judgement - Wikipedia