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

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Virtual Genealogist March 16th

Can you help with this query?  Please send your suggestions to  Answers will be posted March 17th.

My grandparents, with all of their family of 10, immigrated from England (Croyden, south of London) to San Mateo County between 1907 and 1910, finding work on wealthy estates. Some census records conflict on exact years, but they are all 1907-1910. And I believe they came in at least two separate groups.

They came “directly” to San Mateo as their intended destination, but I don’t know of the the stops along the way, or where they first entered the US.

Initial cursory attempts to search for immigration records have come up empty.

So, I have three questions:

1. Where/how do I focus my search to find their travel path and dates (e.g. ship records, immigration records)?

2. What would be common transport paths from England to San Mateo? Somewhere I heard to Canada, then to US at Detroit, the presumably by train to San Francisco. Others have said, Canada, cross Canada by train, then to SF via ship from BC, Canada. Were there a small number of most common paths for English immigrants during those years?

3. Any surmises in why in that era (1907-1910) a family of 10 would leave England and end up in San Mateo, apparently the intended destination from the get-go? They were lower working class, so I assume they saw a grim future in England. And perhaps they heard about the 1906 earthquake and the huge need for labor to rebuild, so they chose SF as their destination. Make sense? Any other thoughts?


And another.  Try this one??

I am looking for a baptism record for my grandmother, Olive McCormack. Her parents were John Henry Arthur James (!)McCormack and Mary Jane Kelley. Her obituary (Powell, Wyoming Tribune of 17 Jan 1929) says she was born 17 Aug 1905 at Buncombe, Illinois. “When eight years old, she was baptised a member of the Latter Day Saints.” They were living in Independence, Missouri at the time. My assumption is that the family was part of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, RLDS, since the family did not move to Salt Lake City with Brigham Young. I found no record of her or her family in the LDS records in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Can anyone give me clues where to look?
You can answer as many as you want!

My family name gets spelled many different ways once you get back to the 17th and 18th C. What is the best way to decide on how you enter a name in Ancestry or your software of choice? Birth record? Death?  Also, how best to enter the names people went by when those bore no relation to their formal name. 


Scandal in the family!

My very Southern g-g-gf left California during the Civil War for Mexico and wound up in Texas with a second wife, a widow that he’d married in Mississippi. In Texas he claimed his first wife had died, but she in fact outlived him and all but one of their children. I found no record of a divorce in the California counties where they had lived. Are there other places where one can look for a divorce record in the 1860s?  He was a lawyer, postmaster, mayor, and state senator in California so one might assume he had some knowledge of the legal system. 

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