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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It’s Great to be Alive in Colma!

 As a continuation of the blogs on San Mateo Cemeteries, we feature this reminder from the Colma Historical Association.  Their moto: It’s Great to be Alive in Colma!

To check the veracity of this claim, the Menlo Park genealogy class took a trip up to the museum.  If you’ve never been there, you’re missing a great local history resource.  It’s more than just a museum.  There’s a whole compound with train station (no train anymore), blacksmith shop, and views out over the Italian Cemetery.  The main building contains a reproduction of a turn-of-the century kitchen, and numerous local artifacts.  We claimed to recognize some of the old kitchen equipment - and to have used it.  Also on site is a research library, where some of us found ancestors.  And of course a shop with books – and t-shirts.

Do you know why Colma was the burial place for San Francisco?  Besides the fact that they couldn’t go west, north, or east?  We had a geology expert along to explain this.   It turns out the soil is very sandy in that area, and is good for planting potatoes – and people.

The association was founded in 1993 as a means of preserving some of the history of the area.  Much of their archives centers on the surrounding burial plots.  The research library contains mortuary records, transcriptions, and maps.  There are usually docents on hand to explain the exhibits and help with research. 

And speaking of research, our intrepid record transcribers, Cath Trindle, Jean Ann Carroll, Lauren Perritt, and Russ and Eunice Brabec, are up there frequently working on records from the Valente, Marini,  and Perata Mortuary.   They’re looking for someone good at cameras to help photograph the records.  Contact SMCGS if you’d like to help!

The center is open Tuesdays through Sundays 10-3PM.  Closed on holidays. Their website is

by Maggie Melaney

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