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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Looking Across The County Line

Barry E. Hinman

As genealogists we know the importance of familiarizing ourselves with the geography of the area we are interested in. Where is that county in the state? What are the neighboring counties? Where exactly is our town of interest situated and is it near a county line?

We also know that we need to have at least a general knowledge of the history of the area, so that, for example, we know when records of various types begin.

All of this information we can gather from The Handy Book for Genealogists or usgenweb. But what we usually can’t find in such sources as those is the institutional history of the area, which can have a great impact on our ancestors’ daily lives and the decisions they made.

To apply this specifically to San Mateo County and Redwood City, here are two examples. Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City opened its doors for the first time on 25 Oct 1950. Prior to that time, there was in the county only Mills Hospital in Burlingame. Seven miles south, however, just across the creek dividing San Mateo County from Santa Clara County to the south, was Palo Alto General Hospital. Obviously it was much closer to Redwood City than Mills, and it was there that large numbers of Redwood City families went when they had occasion. For that reason, the births of many children who lived in Redwood City are not found in San Mateo County records but in Santa Clara County records.

The old Palo Alto General Hospital building still exists on the Stanford campus, easily visible from El Camino Real, lying just to the south of the front parking lot of the Stanford Shopping Center. Today it is called the Hoover Pavilion located at 211 Quarry Road.

Hoover Pavilion - Hoover Medical Campus
As with birth, so with death. Many Redwood City residents will have died not in San Mateo County but in Santa Clara County prior to 1950. To this day many will be buried in that county as well. Union Cemetery in Redwood City was closed to most burials except those of paupers in 1918, and Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park was for Catholics only. Once again, for those living in southern San Mateo County, the nearest institution was south, across the county line, in Santa Clara County—Alta Mesa Memorial Park at 695 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. It was much closer than the cemeteries of Colma, and, of course, the climate was much better.

So if you have not found births or deaths or burials of residents of Redwood City or southern San Mateo County look south across the county line.

Santa Clara County Birth Certificates
Santa Clara County Death Certificates

California State Birth Index 1905-1995
California State Death Index  1905-1939 1940-1997

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SMCGS Databases Online: The Clipping File

The SMCGS Clipping file is a small, but growing, collection of articles about San Mateo County residents. 

Researchers are encouraged to submit articles about early San Mateo County ancestors to aid others researching the same families.  If desired contact information for the submitter will be supplied to anyone requesting copies.

Index to the SMCGS Clipping File

Copies of clippings from this collection can be obtained by contacting the Research team at SMCGS.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

San Francisco Examiner

                       Upcoming Events                         

Barry Hinman and Mary Lou Grunigen volunteer at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society library located at Canada College in Redwood City. They welcome members of the Society and visitors who would like a tour of the library and an introduction to its holdings. They are also available, of course, to consult about genealogical problems or research strategies. They are there from 1:00-4:00 on the second Tuesday of every month if the Canada library is open to the public on that day.  

Thu, Oct 11, 2018 – Workshop: Getting the Most Out of FamilySearch
Christine Bell Green PLCGS 

2:30 am–4:00 pm; CaƱada College Library Computer Lab, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, San Mateo

FamilySearch is a powerful (and free) genealogical program that is constantly growing and changing. This hands-on workshop allows users to experience the records, the catalog, the Wiki – and learn which records can be accessed at home and/or at a Family History Center.
Cost $5 SMCGS members, $10 non-members

Christine Bell Green is a professional genealogist and teacher at Palo Alto and Mountain View/Los Altos Adult Schools. She is a past-president of SMCGS.

October Meeting:  

A Year in Salem: The Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
Gay Scott

 Join us for a Halloween meeting looking into what happened in the Salem witch trials. Gay will delve into witchcraft roots from Mesopotamia to Europe and England leading up to the witchcraft crisis of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Gay's 7x great grandmother was accused of being a witch in Salem in 1692.

Gay Scott has a love of history and is a member of the Mt. Diablo Chapter DAR, the Anne Hutchinson Chapter Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, San Francisco Chapter Magna Charta Dames and Barons and now the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. She is married with two children and three grandchildren. She told her two grandsons that now they could be members of the Sons of Witches but they didn't seem too interested.

Saturday, October 20 
10 am - cookies and coffee
10:30-12 noon  
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo Entrance in back.


November Meeting: Prohibition  -- Ray Cosyn