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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Mystery Woman in my Great, Great Grandparents Grave

by Jean Ann Carroll

Several months ago, I paid a visit to Holy Cross Cemetery with the goal finding my maternal great grandparents grave, Mathew & Julia Maloney. 

I haven’t been to the cemetery for a long time; it’s too close and easy to do research. I had the location and set off looking.  No such luck. There are no markers, signs, area maps or other visuals to find a grave.  Then, I headed off to the office. I have found staff less than helpful on a variety of occasions so my expectations were low.   A nice woman looked up the location (even though I had it and gave it to her).  She looked up the name and printed out the information.

Here is the amazing part:    She gave the paper to a man standing at the counter and said he would escort me to the gravesite!  I was astounded.  He asked me to follow him in my car.  We parked; got out and he pointed to a gravestone and said, “There it is.”   I said, “No, it’s not; that says Mahoney; not Maloney.   Ohh..

He gets out a walkie talkie and asks the woman the location of where we were standing.  She gave him the location; we walked back a row and he pointed to a patch of unhealthy grass and weeds and said, “That’s it.”  There is no tombstone or grave marker.  The area is quite large.  I began to take photos of the surrounding tombstones for orientation.  The one very large raised concrete block with a center of unhealthy grass right next to the Maloney plot had one name on it:         CARROLL

I said, “Holy Sh@t!!”   He walked away from me and said something.  (Didn’t hear him.) I asked what.   He said something on the order of chastising me for language unsuitable for a cemetery.

I explained.  He said, go back to the office and ask for the names of the people who are buried in these two graves.  I did and received a copy of the two plots:  Maloney & Carroll.

The graphic showed the names and burial dates of those in each of the graves within the plot:

 GRAVE 1:  Mathew Maloney 1-5-1893; Margaret Glynn (sister to Julia)  7-12-1920
 GRAVE 2: James W. Maloney (son)  10-22-1894
 GRAVE 3:  Mary West 5-30-1906    Julia Maloney   8-9-1910    John Maloney 7-30-1927   

And, the question is:  Who is Mary West???
I made a “contribution” to Holy Cross to cover my good luck; then started researching the new mystery

Turns out Mary West is Mary Maloney West, sister to Mathew, native of County Westmeath.  She was married to Charles West who has his own interesting story; or more precisely, demise.

San Francisco Call - October 25, 1897

Then, on to find what happened to Mary West.  I was able to track her with 1900 census and city directories.

She lived in various boarding houses in in San Francisco.  And, then there was the obituary of May 30, 1906 containing facts and an another emigma!

No mention of a funeral or mass or burial.  The plot information says she was buried on May 30th.  Died in April; buried late the next month?  What’s going on here?

My conclusion is she was badly injured in the San Francisco earthquake of April 18, found and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where she died on April 24th.  Then, possibly put in “cold storage” along with hundreds of other unidentified bodies until relatives could negotiate with city authorities in the awful confusion the resulted from the quake.  It’s the best I can do until I summon up the patience, courage, and energy to go to San Francisco and negotiate the dysfunctional office of public records to get a death certificate.

Jean Ann Carroll; September 7, 2018

P.S.   Not related to Carrolls in adjacent grave.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SMC Newspapers: Redwood City Democrat/Star/Standard

The Times-Gazette, a republican newspaper,  had little local opposition until October 18, 1886 when the Redwood City Democrat was started by Nathan C. Cornell.

1893 - Remington Brothers Newspaper Manual - Pittsburg PA

After several changes of ownership, W. L. Davis purchased the Democrat in 1898, in partnership with James Vincent Swift, who had learned the newspaper business from the ground up on the Times-Gazette. The 1903 N.W Ayers and Sons American Newspaper Directory reported that Davis was the publisher and he shared editorial duties with Swift.  Shortly thereafter, according to Swifts biography, the partnership dissolved and Swift became the sole proprietor.

One notable issue of the Democrat was that of  July 4, 1910 which was produced solely by women. Posts on the Redwood City Voice. in 2015 and again as part of the Historical Blog series 2017 tell more.

When Mr. Swift, became the local postmaster in 1915, his son, Arthur V. Swift moved from the mechanical department, joining  James D. Hedge as publisher. In 1916 Hedge and Ed McGettigan added a daily paper to the mix.  That paper, The Star,  lasted only a year. 

In 1919 the Democrat was renamed the Redwood City Standard and Redwood City Democrat and in 1921 the name was shortened to the Redwood City Standard.

Publication continued until 1931 when the Redwood City Standard merged with the Tribune.

While some libraries such as UC Berkeley have limited issues, you will find many if not all issues of the papers at the repositories below.  Sources,  say the paper was started in 1886, however, no known collection begins before 1889.

Rowells American Newspaper Directory 1887 New York

  • Redwood City Democrat (weekly) microfilm 1889:3:7-1919:1:30   RCL(s),  CA Lib(s), SMCHA (p) originals RCL (p)
  • The Star (Daily)  Vol. 1, no. 19 (July 7, 1916) SMCHA Original (p)
  • Redwood City standard and Redwood City Democrat (weekly) Vol. 44, no. 20 (Feb. 6, 1919)-v. 46, no. 3 (Oct. 6, 1921) Microfilm RCL, CA Lib (s), SMCHA (p) Originals RCL
  • Redwood City Standard (weekly) Vol. 46, no. 4 (Oct. 13, 1921)-v. 45, no. 43 (Oct. 27, 1931) Microfilm RCL, CA Lib, Originals RCL
  • See the Tribune

(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
SMCHA - San Mateo County Historical Association Archives 

Newspapers of SMC Don Piercy June 1941 SM 329 (SMCHA)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

San Francisco Examiner - Jan 1928

                       Upcoming Events                         

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.



Exploring DNA and Genetic Genealogy with CeCe Moore

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


October Meeting-  Gay Scott, A Year in Salem: The Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 
November Meeting - Ray Cosyn, Prohibition 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Layng & Tinney Mortuary Files revisited

The newest SMCGS project has begun.  The over 7000 files in the Layng and Tinney Mortuary Collection will be scanned to ensure they remain available for researchers use even if the physical files disappear.

The files can provide a wondrous amount of information on a family.  Take the file of John Bryson Abbott who died 28 Jan 1935.  Inside you will find newspaper clippings tracking his family for quite a few years.  In wondering why, we discovered that his bill was not completely paid until 1946.  

The file includes a Certificate of Burial which gives parents names and birth places, his wife, the fact he had lived in Redwood City for 9 years and that he is buried in Alta Mesa Cemetery.  There are two typed obituaries, plus two clipped from newspapers.  

There is a copy of the bill for the funeral and a notice of a trustee sale for the property in 1941. 

In addition there is a notice of his son Cyril's marriage license application as well as one for a nephew, an article about his son's fiance's bridal shower, an obituary for his sister, a hand written note sending the viewer to another file for information on the marriage of another son.  In other words, a lot of genealogical information that could save hours of research time.

This project is no small undertaking.  As Barbara Ebel and I set up the process today, just three files took us 45 minutes, so we can use all the help we can get.  If you would like to lend a hand using the library scanner, or by scanning at home contact for details.