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

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Spotlight: Napa county Library

by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor


Napa County is in northern California, north of San Francisco. Its county seat is the city of Napa. The Napa County Library has made genealogy and local history resources available on its website.
Newspaper Database 
This digital newspaper collection includes the American Canyon Eagle (2016-2018), Napa Valley Register (1856-2018), St. Helena Star (1874-2018), and Weekly Calistogan (1857-2018). In addition, there are two Napa newspaper index card databases. One is organized by name (1857-1901, 1973-1991) and the other by subject (1973-1991).

To access the databases first click "Genealogy & Local History," then "Napa County Newspaper Archive." Search by keyword or browse by title. Click the title/date link for a digital image. Browse the index card databases by title or subject.

Local History Resources 
Click "Explore Napa" for stories about Napa County and its residents. Virtual tours are also offered in this section.

This article originally appeared in The Weekly Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 
Vol. 21, No. 49, Whole #977, December 4, 2019 

For more information, see the Napa Library website: https://www.countyofnapa.org/919/Databases
Thanks to Millie Clough for letting us know about this.
Printed with permission

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2019


The Mystery Woman in my Great, Great Grandparents Grave
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 (son) 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 person.

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 another enigma!






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.  


P.S. I am not related to the Carrolls in adjacent grave.









Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Upcoming Events


Dec 2019 – No meeting, please take this time for Membership renewal or to join.

Please support our monthly speakers, workshops, seminars, and library through Membership. We need your support to be able to offer these educational programs.                                                 www.smcgs.org/membership

___________________________________________________________________________
     Sat, Jan 25,1020 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
The Orphan Train Movement
A History and Personal Story
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back. 

 Jeanne MacVicar

The Orphan Train Movement was the largest mass migration of children in American History.  It lasted from 1854 to 1929 and it is estimated that over 250,000 children were moved from orphanages in New York City to rural areas in the United States.  This presentation is an informative history of the Orphan Train Movement on a personal level.

Jeanne MacVicar is from Clyde, Kansas, where her great aunt Great-Aunt Adeline Trowbridge arrived in 1911 at age 3 on the Orphan Train. Jeanne came to California in 1970, was a school teacher, but now is a real estate agent in Los Altos.




     Sat, Feb 22, 2020 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
Titanic Connections
 Exploring the Legend & Genealogy
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back. 

 Sheryl Rinkol

Come aboard and discover the history of the Titanic from design through on-board life to disaster. The genealogy of Titanic descendants, both victims and survivors, will be highlighted including the modern-day genealogy center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Titanic collectibles will be displayed.


Sheryl Rinkol is a 35-year Titanic enthusiast, both a researcher and lecturer on the topic. She is the author of the book Titanic Today which will be available at the meeting.
___________________________________________________________________________________

               Everyone is welcome at SMCGS events.  Meetings are free  
www.smcgs.org 

Save the Date
Saturday 2 May 2020

Lisa Louise Cooke is a world-class genealogy speaker, and the producer and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast and the Genealogy Gems app. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on the topics for the SMCGS Spring Seminar 2020.

Ticket sales open on February 15, 2020

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Green Library

Have you visited Green Library Lately?  We have a wonderful genealogy library here in the Bay Area at Stanford, no airplane tickets required.  The Trinity Monday Genealogy Club recently had a field trip to the library, notebooks in hand.  Here are some of the highlights:
















Address
Cecil H. Green Library 557 Escondido Mall Stanford, CA 94305-6063
Location
Located in the heart of campus, close to the Hoover Tower.

Visitors

Visitors have library access for seven free days each year. Visitors must register and present a government-issued photo ID. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2019


Barbara Ebel


I have been a member of the Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) at Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Redwood City since 1984.  I joined that Branch (even though I am a parishioner at St. Pius Church in Redwood City) because my sister was a member of Branch 6.   The number 6 indicates the branch at Mt. Carmel was the sixth branch to organize over 90 years ago.  We used to have “polenta” dinners twice a year as fund raisers.  Polenta is coarse corn meal served hot with gravy.  By gravy I mean red sauce (bologanese).  My family always called it gravy or sugo in the Sicilian dialect.  Sicilians aren’t known for making polenta; that’s a specialty of Northern Italians. 

The Branch 6 ICF gravy was especially good.  When I first joined, Mary Conlin and Catherine Alessandri made the gravy for our dinners.  We retired Catherine from making gravy when she reached 92.  Mary had moved to Fort Bragg with her daughter and son in law.  Catherine gave us the recipe, and we were able to carry on.  The gravy was so good, it even won a blue ribbon at the San Mateo County Fair one year.   The RECIPE made six gallons of gravy.  Catherine made half, and Mary made the other half.  Catherine didn’t like garlic, so she omitted it.  Mary added extra to her batch.  Mary didn’t like mushrooms, so Catherine took care of those.  The two batches were combined in a large pot and was always really good.

Our dinners also had salad, rolls, chicken, Italian sausage, and dessert.  The salads were served first; and then chicken and Italian sausage with the polenta.  We used to serve two sausages, but changed to one to cut down on waste.   We’d have as many as 12 waitresses take two plates at a time and serve the salad, main course and dessert to our guests.  The most to ever attend a dinner was 220 one year.  Boy, were my legs tired after that.  Lots of walking. 

For the salads, we used bags of pre-washed salad from Costco to which we added Italian dressing (oil and vinegar).  To each salad we added slices of salami and mortadella, sometimes pepperoncini, and usually olives.  We couldn’t start the salads until half an hour before dinner was to start (or they would get soggy).  Making 200 salads in half an hour is not easy.  One person was in charge of “quality control”.  It’s easy to miss the olives or mortadella. 

I always thought it was funny that the women didn’t actually do any of the cooking.  We just made the salads.  Well, we did make the gravy, too.  The men cooked the polenta in HUGE pots, taking turns stirring with what looked like a wooden hollowed out baseball bat “spoon”.  When I started Ivan Dei Rossi was the chief polenta cook.  An older gentleman named Bill Eva always came to the dinners.  He’d usually tell me, “Tell Ivan the polenta was delicious”.  Being the good girl I am, I’d tell Ivan.  After a few years, I asked Ivan why Bill always wanted me to tell him that the polenta was good.  Ivan told me Bill (who was retired from the Piasano Bakery) taught him to make the polenta.

The favorite dessert for our dinners was cannoli from Romolo’s on 37th Avenue in San Mateo.  People just loved them.  If you know Italians, you know most of them are very careful with money.  When the cannoli cost us more than $2/each (or as Nancy Van Tricht used to say – more than the chicken) the powers that be looked for less expensive desserts.  They were reluctant to raise prices too much.  It was thought those careful Italians wouldn’t want to spend more on the dinners.  We tried mini cream puffs, cakes from Smart and Final, but none equaled the cannoli in popularity.  We should have just raised the price and served cannoli.

My co-worker, Wanda Wong, helped us serve at many of the dinners.  When she first started helping, she told me a lot of people were asking if she was Italian.  (She’s not.)  I told her to say, “I am tonight”.  That worked.  We were very happy to have her help.  I also told her to do whatever Nancy and Jeanne (Nancy’s daughter and Catherine Alessandri’s granddaughter) told her to do.  Nancy and Jeanne were kind of bossy, but they’d been serving polenta longer than me, and someone had to be in charge or there would have been chaos with all those Italians working. 
In the 80’s and 90’s we would have music and dancing at the dinners.  One of our members, Angela Szymanski (married to a Pole) was an excellent dancer.  She and Bill could really “cut a rug”.  I used to like to watch people doing the “chicken dance” and then the Macarena.  In the 2000’s there were fewer people dancing and fewer people coming to the dinners and fewer servers, and we cut out the music. 

We’d also have raffles with “prizes” at the dinners.  We’d sell tickets – so many for $5, $10, or $20.  First we’d just draw tickets out of a bowl and pick a prize and give it to the winner.  Our later practice was to put a container in front of each gift, and people could choose where to put their tickets and which prize they wanted to win.

Money (profit) from the dinners went to Scholarships.  The ICF gives out first-year scholarships to high school seniors every year.  There are also second, third, and fourth year scholarships awarded as well as scholarships for Italian studies majors.  The ICF national charity is Thalassemia – Cooley’s Anemia, and we make a donation every year to support research on this disease which afflicts those from the Mediterranean – Italy, Greece, Malta, etc.

Unfortunately, Ivan is 88 years old now and unable to cook polenta.  His nephew cooked at our last polenta dinner a couple of years ago (Ivan supervised), but we decided we can’t host polenta dinners any more.   I don’t miss the work and the arguing (did I mention there was always a fight about something?  It wouldn’t have been a polenta dinner without that), but I do miss the polenta.  Bill was right.  It was delicious.
________________________ 

ICF GRAVY


  • 3 lbs ground beef                         
  • 1 lbs Italian sausage                         
  • 1/2t each thyme, oregano     
  • Cloves, nutmeg, allspice                 
  • 1 T pepper              
  • 1 C red wine                                                                                            
  • 2-1/2 lbs onions
  • 1 C chopped parsley
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 lb mushrooms
  •  1 #10 can each of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato puree

Brown the beef and sausage; breaking up the meat into small pieces.  Remove from pan.  Add onions first then garlic and cook until onions are no longer translucent.  Remove from pan.  Cook the mushrooms (sliced) till brown.  Add three types of tomatoes and spices.  If desired, add the red wine.  Add at least 1 #10 can of water.  Simmer on the stove for a couple of hours.
Meat can be omitted, and meatballs used instead




















Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Upcoming Events


     Sat, Nov 23, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
Brick Wall Busters
 Techniques for Genealogical Success
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.


Sharon Hoyt, CG  

No one method can address each and every brick wall problem, so we’ll cover several techniques to help you get unstuck and move your research forward. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dec 2019 – No meeting, please take this time for Membership renewal or to join.

Please support our monthly speakers, workshops, seminars, and library through Membership. We need your support to be able to offer these educational programs.                                                 www.smcgs.org/membership

___________________________________________________________________________
     Sat, Jan 25,1020 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
The Orphan Train Movement
A History and Personal Story
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back. 

 Jeanne MacVicar

The Orphan Train Movement was the largest mass migration of children in American History.  It lasted from 1854 to 1929 and it is estimated that over 250,000 children were moved from orphanages in New York City to rural areas in the United States.  This presentation is an informative history of the Orphan Train Movement on a personal level.

Jeanne MacVicar is from Clyde, Kansas, where her great aunt Great-Aunt Adeline Trowbridge arrived in 1911 at age 3 on the Orphan Train. Jeanne came to California in 1970, was a school teacher, but now is a real estate agent in Los Altos.



     Sat, Feb 22, 2020 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
Titanic Connections
 Exploring the Legend & Genealogy
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back. 

 Sheryl Rinkol

Come aboard and discover the history of the Titanic from design through on-board life to disaster. The genealogy of Titanic descendants, both victims and survivors, will be highlighted including the modern-day genealogy center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Titanic collectibles will be displayed.


Sheryl Rinkol is a 35-year Titanic enthusiast, both a researcher and lecturer on the topic. She is the author of the book Titanic Today which will be available at the meeting.
___________________________________________________________________________________

               Everyone is welcome at SMCGS events.  Meetings are free  
www.smcgs.org 

Save the Date
Saturday 2 May 2020


Lisa Louise Cooke is a world-class genealogy speaker, and the producer and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast and the Genealogy Gems app. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on the topics for the SMCGS Spring Seminar 2020.

Ticket sales open on February 15, 2020

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2019


We May Have Been “Silent”
But We Rocked Around the Clock
June Baxter


If you remember Bill Haley and the Comets playing “Rock Around the Clock,” then you’re in my age group. That song marked the beginning of my life as a college student.

How well I remember living in a boarding house at San Jose State, where, after dinner, we girls would crank up Haley’s classic tune, line up on the linoleum floor in the dining room, and practice our moves. How forgiving were our housemother and father.

What a time it was! We fell in love with Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront.” We pledged various sororities. We had coffee in “The Coop” and tried smoking L&M or Viceroy cigarettes. My best friend gave me a red leather cigarette case and lighter, which I hid in a drawer so my parents would not know. Never learning how to inhale, however, my life as a smoker was thankfully short-lived.

Joining the sorority was an exhilarating experience. Our house was a historic home in San Jose, once owned by a judge. I felt so grown up just to be sharing one large upstairs room with three other girls. We washed our hair in the tub (requiring creative contortions), held our chapter meetings in the stately living room with its beautiful crystal chandelier and marble fireplace, and crowded around long tables in the dining room each evening.



One tiny closet didn’t begin to hold all of our wool skirts, cashmere sweaters and saddle shoes, the classic school wardrobe of our era. A bay window overlooked East San Antonio Street. From this vantage point, we could keep our eye out for the fraternity guys who passed by every day. How handsome they were with their crew cuts, cuffed jeans and white socks.

Living in a sorority house with our housemother, a sweet little lady, Mrs. Brown, meant we had lots of rules:

• Do not leave any object lying on your bed after 8 a.m.
• Do not wear pants or shorts on campus.
• Do not smoke while walking between classes.
• Do not hide liquor in room.
• Do not host any male visitors save for a relative above the first floor.
• Do not stay out past 11 p.m. on school nights and midnight on weekends (except 2 a.m. if a special occasion, and only once a semester).

I was in heaven! Having shared my bedroom with my elderly grandmother throughout junior and senior high schools and being an only child, I loved having so many sisters. And the rules were not so different from the ones already followed at home. Hey, it was the 1950s after all.

I majored in Business (Marketing) and minored in English, with loads of homework (about which I complained endlessly). Fewer than 8,000 students attended San Jose State, which meant we could usually get our classes and our “tuition” was about $50 a semester.

Friday afternoons brought beer busts with the fraternity guys we kept our eyes on. Loud music accompanied our playful repartee: Elvis Presley kept us moving with “All Shook Up” and Little Richard, “Tutti-Frutti.” When in a more romantic mood, we slow-danced to “Only You” (the Platters) and Al Hibbler’s “Unchained Melody.”

In many ways, it was an innocent time. Korean War vets were back home and attending college. Ike was president. Moms were homemakers and dads brought home the bacon. Violence was unheard of back then.

Almost all of us were middle-class kids who wanted a college education on our way to a job that we expected to support us. Our dreams included early marriage, three or four children, and a home in one of the brand-new housing developments sprouting up all over the Santa Clara Valley. And we would live happily ever after.

Our perfect lives that had begun with “The Wedding March” and soon had us singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” began to change, as did the music.
• Lost your job? “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival).
• Suddenly single? “Leaving On a Jet Plane” (Peter, Paul & Mary).
• Our leaders assassinated? “Abraham, Martin & John” (Dion).
• Off to war? “Eve of Destruction” (Barry McGuire).
• Women going back to work? “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” (Helen Reddy).

We may have been the silent generation, but oh baby, we never stopped rocking around the clock! (Now, however, rocking chairs on the front porch may be more our style.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SMCGS Databases: SMCHA Monograph Collection

The first President of the San Mateo County Historical Association, Dr. Frank Stanger, was also a history professor at San Mateo County Junior College.  As part of his class assignments he required his students to write monographs of events, places and families from San Mateo County.

Like all student work the results are uneven, but the best of these papers could definitely have been published.  Fortunately, a large collection is located in the SMCHA Archives, where it is easily accessible for use.

However, it wasn't always easy to know what was there, so our newest database.  This original list was compiled by Craig Siulinski from the card catalog in the History Museum Archives and edited by Archival Collection Specialist, Debra Peterson.


"The San Mateo County Historical Association’s student monograph collection includes winners of the Charles N. Kirkbride competition at San Mateo Junior College (now College of San Mateo). The award was given to the best three term papers written each year on local history. Ranging from the 1930s to the late 1980s, they contain one-of-a-kind photographs and interviews with local historical figures.


"The Historical Association’s staff is continually increasing the accessibility of our collections across online platforms, whether it is partnerships with other local historical organizations, Facebook, or the Association’s Online Collections Database." [Debra Peterson]




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

SF Call 15 Nov 1916


                        Sat, Oct 19, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
Researching Ancestors in Historical Events: 
A Salem Witch Trials Case Study
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.


Melinda Kashuba

If your ancestor participated in or lived near the area of a major historical event, this talk will help you discover how to draw upon narratives penned by historians and other researchers to fill in your ancestor’s story. A case study on the Salem Witch Trials will highlight techniques that you can use for events in which your ancestor was involved. Melinda Kashuba holds a PhD in geography from UCLA and is a popular lecturer on many topics including American research and maps. 


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Sat, Nov 2, 2019 – FALL SEMINAR 
The Law, GPS Evidence, and DNA Ethics
9 am–3 pm. Members $50, Non-members $60. After Oct 25 Walk-ins, add $10. LDS Hall, 1105 Valparaiso, Menlo Park

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist

Join us for a day of gaining insight about genealogy, more than you may have thought. Judy Russell is a genealogist with a law degree and one of the best thinkers and lecturers in the field. Her talks are delivered with good humor, perception, and thoughtful connections. She will address law in our ancestors’ time, conducting solid research, and ethics surrounding today’s DNA testing. 

Registration opened Aug 15 

______________________________________________________________________

     Sat, Nov 23, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
Brick Wall Busters
 Techniques for Genealogical Success
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.


Sharon Hoyt, CG  

No one method can address each and every brick wall problem, so we’ll cover several techniques to help you get unstuck and move your research forward. 



               Everyone is welcome at SMCGS events.