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

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 

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     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.     

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

SMC Newspapers: A List

This list is a work in progress.  It needs the collaboration of all those with a knowledge of the newspapers past and present of San Mateo County

Originally complied from the Library of Congress US Newspaper Directory it has been enhanced with miscellaneous other sources.  Linked titles go either to a blog post about that paper or to a current online newspaper.

For those newspapers that do not currently have online versions or a blog post, pointers to online digital images are noted if known.  LOC - Chronicling America  ANC- Ancestry  GB-Genealogy Bank

Advocate (San Mateo)
Almanac (Menlo Park) 199?
Banner (San Bruno) 1910
Beachcomer (HMB)
Belmont Courier Bulletin
Boutique and Villager (Burlingame) 1975
Brisbane Bee-Democrat 1961
Brisbane Byline 1950-1952
Brisbane Star 1939
Brisbane Sun 193?
Broadway Editor (Burlingame) 1944-1946
Burlingame Advance
Burlingame Herald 193?-1944
Burlingame Sun
Coast Advocate (HMB)1890-19?
Coast Advocate-Pennant (HMB)
Coast Side Comet (Moss Beach) 19?-1918
Coast Side News (Moss Beach)
Coastside Chronicle (San Bruno) 1959
Coastside Tribune (Sharp Park) -1959
Colma Record
Country Almanac (Portola Valley) 1965-
Daily Journal (online)
Daily News Leader (San Mateo) 1922-1926
Daly City Herald
Daly City Record
Daly City Shopping News
Daly City Tattler
Editor of Burlingame 1946-
Explanatory Globe (East Palo Alto)
Foster City Islander
Foster City Progress
Free Press (Redwood City)1893
Half Moon Bay Review
Half Moon Bay News 1922
Home Front News 1944-1946
Independent (Burlingame) 1998
Menlo-Atherton Recorder 1965
Menlo Park News
Menlo Park Gazette
Menlo Park Recorder
Millbrae Sun and Leader
Pacific States enterprise 187?
Pacifica Record
Pacifica Tidings and Sharp park Breakers 1957
Pacifica Tribune 1959
Peninsula Beacon
Peninsula Bulletin (East Palo Alto) 1967
Peninsula News (San Bruno) 1914
Pescadero Pebble
Ravenswood Post
Recorder-Progress (San Bruno)
Redwood City Almanac 1979
Redwood City Daily News 2000
Redwood City Daily Tribune
Redwood City Democrat
Redwood City Star
Redwood City Standard
San Bruno Herald and Peninsula News
San Bruno Progress 1946
San Bruno Recorder
San Bruno Union 193?
San Bruno Who's Who
San Carlos Courier Bulletin 1944-1952
San Carlos Enquirer 194?
San Mateo County News
San Mateo county Recorder 1933
San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo Leader ANC
San Mateo Post 1946 ANC
San Mateo Times ANC
Searchlight (Menlo Park) 1929
Shao Nian Zhongguo Shi Bao- New Cathay (Millbrae) 1991
Sharp Park Breakers and Pacific Tidings 1938-1957
South San Francisco Enterprise
South San Francisco Journal
South San Francisco News 189?
Star (Woodside) 1895
Stockman's Market Journal (South San Francisco) 192?
Tanforan Totalizer (San Bruno) 1942
Times Gazette
Westlake Times (Daly City)
Wildcat-a-log (Woodside) 1959
Woodside World 1959
Your Carlmont Enquirer-Bulletin (San Carlos) 1981-1985

This list will become a page that can be accessed from the sidebar of this blog following it's publication.  Links will be updated as newspapers are covered.