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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

French Hospital

While indexing the Mortuary Files of Valente, Marini, Perata & Co, we noted many deaths in French Hospital.  It appeared that some of the burials were arranged and paid for by the hospital.  A little research shows that it was the earliest private hospital in California and in fact an HMO from it's inception, the first in the United States.  Established in 1851 by the newly formed French Benevolent Society, it first opened it's doors on 30 Dec of that year.  In 1858 it was moved to Bryant Street near the Mission Bay shoreline.
French Hospital [graphic] / Geary Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues,
Close to Golden Gate Park / San Francisco, California 1913
California History Section Picture Catalog - California State Library

In 1895 a state of the art hospital was built on Point Lobos Ave.  The street was later renamed Geary Blvd and the hospital is located on the corner of 6th Ave.  In the 1960s the original hospital was seismically upgraded, resulting in the original brick facade being replaced by reinforced concrete.  Ascetically not as pleasing, but definitely a better choice for an earthquake prone area.

 In 1989 French Hospital was purchased by Kaiser.  It is now known as Kaiser French Campus.   .

Dr. Claudine Chalmers of the French Mutual Benefit Society is writing a book about French Hospital. The society has a website in development, and you can be notified when it is functional by signing up at  Dr. Chalmers has written other books on the French in San Francisco you can find more information on her website.

Learn more of the history of French Hospital and the French in San Francisco

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

SMCGS Sharing Stories 2019

The Radivojs of Ravenswood
Submitted by Barry Elwood Hinman
© 2019 Barry Elwood Hinman 

According to the story I heard from my mother, her father Anton Radivoj was walking along Market Street in San Francisco one day when a leaflet advertising land in San Mateo County was pressed into his hand. An immigrant from Austria-Hungary to the United States in 1897, Radivoj had settled in New York City, where he met and married his wife Kate Tadejevich, who in 1899 had also emigrated from Austria-Hungary. Both came from an area in the northern Adriatic Sea which is now in Croatia. In 1907 they had taken the train from New York to San Francisco, where they settled near Lone Mountain. The climate of San Francisco, however, was very damp and bad for Kate Radivoj. Anton, therefore, was interested in the prospect of moving to the Peninsula.

On l July 1920 A. Radivoj and Katie Radivoj his wife bought from Edward Albert Pagel for $10 land in San Mateo County, 1.94 acres between University Ave. and Donahoe St., in an area then called Runnymede, next to Ravenswood, of which it was frequently considered a part, and known officially from 23 October 1924 as East Palo Alto. According to newspaper articles collected by Richard N. Schellens the Runnymede Poultry Farm was incorporated in September 1918, but by January of 1920 Charles Weeks had taken over management and begun selling lots. In January 1920 Weeks filed a deed by which he took over the Cornelius O'Connor tract, 103 acres fronting on Woodlawn Avenue.[1] He subdivided this plot into smaller lots and placed it on the market. It was lots 7, 8, 9, 10 and a portion of lot 11 in block 7 of “Map of Woodland Place, Subdivision No. One of Ravenswood” that the Radivojs now bought.[2]

In the first issue of the Redwood City Tribune (1 May 1923) an article appeared on p. 3 with the headline: Runnymede Colony of Attractiveness: Progress is Unusual. There we read:
"'An acre and independence!' That's Runnymede ... This famous little farm colony, noted for its chicken, rabbit and berry raising, is one of the most prosperous and interesting settlements in the entire district ... The outgrowth of a plan formulated and propagated during the past ten years by Charles Weeks Runnymede is a community of contented and prosperous people ... The colony is by its very nature a co-operative institution ... Runnymede homes are havens of contentment and they are uniformly fine in their simple but attractive schemes of architecture.”

The Index to [Voter] Register, San Mateo County, 1920, lists Anton Radivog, chicken rancher, and Katie Radivoj, housewife, at Box 60B, R.F.D., Menlo Park, in Menlo Park Precinct No. 3. Both are Republicans.

The property they bought lay where University Avenue meets highway 101, lying between that highway and Donohoe Street, which is parallel to the highway. Their youngest child, Lillian Radivoj, a school teacher in Redwood City, remembered that while their house was being built the family lived in their tank house at the back of the property.

On 24 August 1921 Joseph and Elizabeth Limboth entered into an agreement with Anton Radivoj and Katie Radivoj his wife to sell to them 1.71 acres of land, being lots 5, 6, 12, 13 and a portion of lot 11 in block 7 of “Map of Woodland Place, Subdivision No. One of Ravenswood” for $1700 over time[3] The Radivojs made their payments and the land was deeded over to them on 25 October 1923.[4]

In the Index to [Voter] Register, San Mateo County, 1922, they are listed in Menlo Park Precinct No. 4 as Anton Radivoj, chicken rancher, and Mrs. Katie Radivoj, housewife, same address. They are listed in the 1922-23 Runnymede Directory as A. Radivoj (Katie), poultry, Cooley, box 58.

As we see, Anton and Katie Radivoj raised chickens on this land, and they also raised berries, especially raspberries. My mother, their daughter Antoinette, well remembered working with the raspberries, and in later life refused to eat raspberries, her experience having marked her.

Anton is called a farmer in Polk's Palo Alto Directory for 1926, and in 1927 his address is given as 400 Donahoe, Ravenswood. Listed with him in that year were: Anna, student; Kate, wife; Antoinette, clk; and Geo., poultryman. The listings remain substantially the same for the following years until 1934, when Lillian, sten., is added to the family. This is in error, since it was the other two daughters who were stenographers, while Lillian was a student.

Anton Radivoj also worked as waiter at the Menlo Country Club in Woodside while raising poultry and produce on his land. According to his death certificate, in August 1934 he had worked 10 years in that occupation.

The Redwood City Tribune of 31 August 1934 has the headline: "4 Die in Three Peninsula Crashes." Below is: "Bayshore Automobile Accidents Claim Trio ... Miss Radivoj's Father Fatally Hurt in Third Mishap." The story continues: "A. Radivoj, 48, of 400 Donohoe avenue, Ravenswood, an employee of the Menlo Country Club, killed by an automobile while walking along the highway near his home ...  Pedestrian Is Struck. Radivoj, father of Antoinette Radivoj, employed here at the Bank of America, was walking along the Bayshore highway south of University avenue, East Palo Alto, at about 7 o'clock last evening. He was in the vicinity of Cooley avenue when struck.”

After her husband’s death, Kate Radivoj sold the property they owned in East Palo Alto and moved with her two daughters and son to Redwood City, where she died in 1947. The current overpass from University Avenue to highway 101 passes through the land that the Radivojs owned. For many years the house remained, and cars taking the cloverleaf to go north to San Francisco passed right next to it. In its last years it served as a real estate agency office.

[1] Redwood City Standard, 29 Jan 1920
[2] San Mateo County, California, Deeds 292:340
[3] San Mateo County, California, Deeds New Series 19:222
[4] San Mateo County, California, Deeds New Series 84:487

 See also 
A Biography of Anton Radivoj
A Biography of Kate Tadejevich Radivoj

Barry has donated his Radivoj files to the Vollmeyer Local History Room at the Redwood City Library.  Contact them for access to the collection.

© 2019 Barry Elwood Hinman 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SMCGS Databases: Board of Supervisors Minutes

The SMCGS project team is busy digitizing the Board of Supervisors minutes from the earliest records through 1940, thanks to the cooperation of the county.  Housed in a closet in the Hall of Justice, these minutes contain some of the earliest records of San Mateo County residents.

The books start with #2 which leads one to wonder what happened to #1, until you read page one and realize that it is the minutes of the FIRST meeting of the board of Supervisors.
Among the information you will find in the minutes are the amounts of Poll and Road taxes.... a total of $7 per taxable individual (able bodied men 21 and over) in 1857.  The building of roads and the payment of those doing so consumes many pages in every volume.  There are extensive lists of those who get relief from their property tax assessments. You can find lists of jurors and lists of election officials.  The boundaries for elections are described and results of elections are presented for each district.  This is just the beginning.  There are many entries for individuals, which is why we are hoping to create an index to volumes 2-34.

YOU CAN HELP.  Join us on August 24 from 10:30-12:00 in the Canada College Library Computer Lab.  If you can read and write you have the required skill set. The images, which are located in the SMCGS Dropbox, will be available on the computers and attendees will help create a simple index.

If you can't attend that day, but would like to help, this is a project that can be done from home.  Contact for more information.

It is expected that the digital copies will be done by September, and we hope to have the index done by the end of the year.

Sat, Aug 24, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
SMCGS Work Day: Indexing
Cañada College Library Computer Lab, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, San Mateo.
Coordinator: Cath Madden Trindle, SMCGS Publications Chair

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Barry's Bits and Upcoming Events

                       Upcoming Events                         

Sat, Jul 27, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free. 
Round Table Discussions
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.

The SMCGS Round Table meeting is for attendees to share on research or projects they have done on the three topics. Sharing and questions are encouraged! Attendees can “hop” from table to table to participate in more than one Round Table. 
  • Family History Examples: Share a project that you have done, e.g. a family tree, an album, a blog.
  • DNA Testing: Share about tests you have taken, unexpected results, connections with relatives, etc.
  • Brick Walls: Share about a brick wall you have, or that you broke through. 

Sat, Aug 24, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
SMCGS Work Day: Indexing
Cañada College Library Computer Lab, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, San Mateo.
Coordinator: Cath Madden Trindle, SMCGS Publications Chair

SMCGS members and other interested individuals are invited to join us as we begin an index to the early San Mateo County Board of Supervisor Minutes. These contain references to early settlers. No experience is necessary. If you can read and write your skill will be of use. Digital images will be available on lab computers.


Sat, Sep 28, 2019 10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free
What You Don’t Know About
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.
 Crista Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist,
Many of us are not aware of everything there is to know about Come along and learn as Crista shares her deep and wide knowledge of to open up new avenues of
research for all of us. Crista Cowan has been employed by since 2004; her involvement in family history,
however, reaches back to childhood. A professional genealogist, Crista has spent thousands of hours discovering, documenting and telling family stories.

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 OPENS THURSDAY, AUGUST 15. Please register early, this event may sell out.
Everyone is welcome at SMCGS events.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

County Poor Farm Cemetery Update

The Inmate List for the County Poor Farm now includes burials up to plot 699.  Not all of those buried were inmates at the time that they died, in fact few if any of those added were.  However, they are buried in the Poor Farm Cemetery.   The addition to the listing is thanks to Larry Witham who obtained the list from the San Mateo County Historical Association.

List of Inmates County Poor Farm - updated