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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SMCGS Databases Online: Index to Richard Schellens Collection of Historical Materials

A 191 volume manuscript collection covering the years 1852-1975 

Richard Schellens, one of the founding members of the Redwood City Archives Committee, was an accountant by trade and a historian by obsession. His love of the history of San Mateo County and San Francisco has left us with a collection of abstractions that have been organized into binders by the Redwood City Archives Committee. The originals of these volumes, which cover the whole county rather than just Redwood City, are housed in the Redwood City Main Library History Room.

Schellens gathered not only current day information, but he systematically went back through old directories, county histories, great registers, county record books and newspapers, extracting, abstracting, photocopying and indexing the lives of the residents of San Mateo County, San Francisco and beyond.

Three volumes of Redwood City real estate transactions include hand drawn maps and references to the deeds in the San Mateo County Official Record books. More than 50 books hold records of Redwood City residents sorted by the main surname of the record. Other volumes are sorted by township, with both current and no longer existent townships being covered.

While the Schellens Collection would seldom be considered an end source, being comprised of second hand materials, it is a wonderful finding aid for records of tens of thousands of San Mateo County and San Francisco residents, as well as residents of other California counties and the western states. The main limitation of this work was the lack of an index. With the help of many dedicated SMCGS members as well as members of other societies around the state, the entire 191 Volume collection has been indexed and you can find links to the indexes below.

It is important to note which index you find a name in if you are ordering copies or trying to find the item in the library.

The original volumes are housed in the Redwood City Public Library History Room.

SMCGS has copies of the entire collection housed with our library collection in the Cañada College Library. The San Mateo County collection can be found at 979.461 SCH and the San Francisco Collection can be found at 979.461.

Volumes covering the other counties of California can be found in a binder at the beginning of each county’s book collection, general volumes contained in the California Binders are also included in this index.

The collection also includes one or more volumes from the states of Alaska (1), Arizona (2), Idaho (3), Montana (4), Nevada (5), Oregon (6), Utah (7) and Washington (8).

An index to the sixty volumes covering the other counties of California can be found on the members only website of the California State Genealogical Alliance.  Members of member societies should ask their society for log-in information.

Check out the other SMCGS Databases and good luck with your research

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