San Mateo County Genealogical Society

Discovering Our Family History Together

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Welcome to SMCGS


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📚The SMCGS Library is now open: The library at Cañada College will reopen January 18th with reduced hours for the Spring semester.  Be sure that the library is open before you go. See the Library Information page for opening times and contact info.

The Menlo Park Family History Center is now open to the public from 10am-12:30 on Saturdays.  See their website at FHC They are looking for volunteers to help them staff the desk and assist patrons.  For more information please contact Dave Ellison at 

News: Please see our News page for the latest notices.

Events flyer: Please click here to download a flyer of upcoming SMCGS events.

Next monthly meeting

 Saturday, January 22, 10:30AM - 12

 via Zoom  

The 1890 Census

Speaker:  Margaret Melaney

The 1890 census is gone.

Long gone.

Almost all of the records were lost in a fire in 1921


The Washington Herald and other newspapers reported the events of January 10, 1921, and decried the loss of valuable records.

Of the US Census collections, none were more useful in studies of immigration, industrialization, westward migration, and characteristics

of the general population than the Eleventh Census of the United States, taken in June 1890. 

The population schedules were damaged in a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. in 1921. Although we assume that most records were destroyed, actual damage may have been closer to 15–25%).

Using contemporary accounts, as well as bit of forensic genealogy, Maggie will unravel the true story of the records destruction, what was actually lost, what wasn't lost, and what's available to replace those records today.

This event is free and all are welcome.  However, it will be necessary to register in advance, using this link.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.  Get more information on our website at

 For more information about our monthly meetings click here.

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About us

The San Mateo County Genealogical Society supports the study of family history in the Bay Area and beyond.

  • We get together to learn and share information in monthly meetings, twice-yearly seminars with well-known speakers, workshops and special-interest groups.
  • We support research through our genealogy library located at Cañada College, online databases, and research services
  • We connect with each other through six-times-a year newsletters (available in the Members section), a blog, a Facebook page, and occasional eNews notices about SMCGS events.

Learn more   Email us

Make your dollars work for SMCGS!

Sign up for the Amazon Smile program and Amazon will contribute 0.5% of most of your purchases to SMCGS at no cost to you.

Click here for detailed instructions.

Download the SMCGS app

Download the SMCGS app from Wild Apricot to your smartphone. With this app, you can:

  • View your member profile
  • View a list of upcoming events
  • Contact other SMCGS members

SMCGS would like to thank

San Mateo County Genealogical Society

     SMCGS is a 501(c)(3) organization

PO Box 5569
Redwood City, CA 94063-5569


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