San Mateo County Genealogical Society

Discovering Our Family History Together


Searchable online databases

For nearly 40 years, the members of SMCGS have worked with County and Federal Institutions to create the record indexes and transcriptions that are listed on this page. For each record collection, the SEARCH link will take you to separate website with our searchable databases.  Return to this page for more information on each database.   The ABOUT link will take you to a PDF file describing the collection and where to obtain copies. In a few cases, the PDF button will take you to a PDF publication of the index or records rather than to a searchable database.

The databases contain indexes to records. To obtain full copies of the records held by SMCGS, please see our Research Services page.  Those documents held by other agencies should be ordered through that agency.  SMCGS does not provide off site research services.

The following links are shortcuts to the various record types. You can return to the top of the page by clicking on the Top link at the bottom of each section.  

Birth & Marriage  *  Death & Substitutes  *  Court And Criminal  *  Land and Maps  *  Naturalization  *  Recorder's Office  *  Institutional  *  Schools  *  Historical & Biographical  *  NARA - Pacific  *  Inventories  *  Publications

Birth and Marriage

San Mateo County Marriage Index : 1853-1948    ABOUT   SEARCH  

An index of the San Mateo County Marriage Certificates from the earliest times to the end of 1948 when the state index begins.    

San Mateo Times Gazette Index : 1859-1899   PDF

An index to vital statistics listed in the San Mateo Times Gazette. The paper is available on microfilm in the Redwood City Main Library.

Index to SMC Births  ABOUT  SEARCH

SMCGS amended the California Birth index that is online on various websites, adding book and page numbers to aid the SMC Recorder's office in locating records. Additionally records that predate the CA birth index were added, including delayed birth records which were mainly filed about the time Social Security went into effect. Order all birth records directly from the County; their website gives explicit instructions.  

Death Records and Substitutes

Index to San Mateo County Deaths - Earliest to 1920  ABOUT  SEARCH

Included in this index are Register 1 1873 to 1906 and Certificate Books A-D covering the years 1880-1920. Many of these deaths were filed at a later date.

Index to SMC Coroner's Records 1856-1984     ABOUT  SEARCH

Compiled by Russ Brabec with a little help, this index covers Coroner's records from the beginning of the county to 1984. The index includes, name, age, nativity, residence at time of death, and cause of death as well as case number and box where the original file is located. 

James Crowe Register of Deaths : 1880s – 1920s   ABOUT  SEARCH

James Crowe (1841-1913) was an undertaker who served as the coroner for San Mateo County for many years.

Public Administrator's Reports   ABOUT   SEARCH

When there is no one to administer an estate it falls into the hands of the Public Administrator. These reports cover 1880 and then 1897 through 1960 with about a dozen missing years. They include names, dates, amount of the estate and costs. Various years include other information.

Index to San Mateo County Obituaries   ABOUT   SEARCH

Nearly 80,000 entries for obituaries of San Mateo County residents. Over 75,000 have been scanned and are available from SMCGS see the research page for more information on obtaining copies.

Layng & Tinney Mortuary File   ABOUT  SEARCH

Index to the Layng & Tinney Mortuary File Collection housed in the San Mateo County Genealogical Society Library. Contact SMCGS Research to obtain a copy of the contents of a file.

Mortuary Files of Valente, Marini, Perata & Co  ABOUT  SEARCH 

The firm of Valente, Marini, Perata and Co. was established in San Francisco in 1888. 129 years later it has closed its doors and donated its records to the Colma Historical Association. This an index to the records at CHA.  In includes over 54000 records kept in ledgers, journals and books from 1888 to 1994 and some records from databases from 1994 until the doors closed.


Court & Criminal

Early Court Records  ABOUT   SEARCH

An index to Court Minute and Record Books located in the San Mateo County Historical Association Archives. 

Appeals & Venue Changes   ABOUT   SEARCH

Papers Concerning Appeals from Justice Courts and Change of Venue to San Mateo County Superior Court 1882-1930 

Lis Pendens Index  ABOUT SEARCH  

Notifications filed with the County that a lawsuit had been filed involving property within the county1850s through the early 1900s.

Index to Abstracts of Judgement   ABOUT    SEARCH  

judgments from Township courts in San Mateo County and a variety of courts in other counties. It does not include Judgments made by the Superior Court of San Mateo County.

Jury Lists 1908-1932   ABOUT  SEARCH   

Sheriff's Office Booking Registers   ABOUT  SEARCH   

An index to Vol 7-12 and 14-16 with over 60,000 entries. 


Land and Maps

Early Land Records  ABOUT   SEARCH  

Index to Early Patent Registers, Mortgage Registers and Deeds

Sheriff's Sales, Executions and Attachments 1856-1929  ABOUT  SEARCH

An index to Certificates located in file drawers in the San Mateo County Record Repository 

Sales by the County Tax Collector 1857-1894  ABOUT  SEARCH

Homestead Index   ABOUT     SEARCH  

Index to volumes 1-4 San Mateo County Homesteads 1860 - 1913 

Unrecorded Maps  ABOUT   

An index to 54 volumes of subdivision maps.  Names were added to the maps by the county Assessors Office in the first few decades of the 20th century. The SMC Public Works Department Surveying Department has photographed the maps which are available on their website.

    Index to Names on San Mateo County Maps   ABOUT

    An ongoing index to the names on various county maps

    Water Appropriation Applications  ABOUT  SEARCH 

    Applications for the rights to previously unappropriated state water  

    Lease Index 1856-1921  ABOUT  SEARCH  

    An Index to recorded leases 1856-1921 

    Tidelands Surveys 1868-1878  PDF  

    A copy of the Tideland Survey book omitting blank pages.


    Naturalization and Electoral Records

    Many San Mateo County Naturalization Records have been digitized by FamilySearch.  Use the indexes here to find the key to these records.  ABOUT

    Naturalizations Prior to 25 Sep 1906   PDF

    Index to the Naturalization Records of San Mateo County. Includes Declaration of Intention to Become a Citizen, Petitions and Certificates. These records are available unindexed on FamilySearch.

    Naturalization 1907-1925  PDF

    Index to the Naturalization Records of San Mateo County. Includes Declaration of Intention to Become a Citizen, Petitions and Certificates. These records are available unindexed on FamilySearch.

    Naturalization 1926-1945  PDF

    Index to the Naturalization Records of San Mateo County. Includes Declaration of Intention to Become a Citizen, Petitions and Certificates. These records are available unindexed on FamilySearch.

    Naturalization 1946+  PDF

    Index to the Naturalization Records of San Mateo County. Includes Declaration of Intention to Become a Citizen, Petitions and Certificates. These records are available unindexed on FamilySearch.

    Camp Fremont Naturalization Records  PDF

    Those non-citizens who served in the US Forces during WWI were able to become naturalized before they were discharged. This is an index to the 13 volumes of Petitions of those who were discharged from Camp Fremont (Menlo Park) in 1918 and 1919. No Declaration of Intention was required.  

    Naturalized Voters     SEARCH 

    In order to vote, it was necessary to provide information on naturalization if you were foreign born. The county created a card file of those who had done so, the information included might provide not only a place of naturalization, but also a date, the name of the person who was naturalized (in the case of a wife or child), a marriage date and the voting district the person was living in at the time they provided the information.  This file is a transcription of an index card file circa 1930. All the information from the original cards has been transcribed into the database.


     Other Government Records

    Board of Supervisors Minutes  ABOUT  SEARCH  IMAGES

    Images to Board of Supervisor Minute Books 1857-1940.  Index is an ongoing project.

    Miscellaneous Recordings  ABOUT  SEARCH

    Miscellaneous Registers   ABOUT  SEARCH 

    An index to volumes 1-7 of San Mateo County Miscellaneous Registers 

    Sole Traders   ABOUT  SEARCH 

    Index to the Register of Separate Property of Married and Sole Traders (1856-1913) 

    Index to Mechanic's Liens  ABOUT    SEARCH   

    index  to Mechanics Liens Volumes 1-7

    Official/Surety Bonds   ABOUT    SEARCH   

    Elections  ABOUT

    Professional Registers  ABOUT     SEARCH  

    An index to Registers of Physicians, Surgeons & Optometrists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Pharmacists, Dentists and Dental Hygenists 

    Cancelled Architects who had practiced in San Mateo County  ABOUT  SEARCH

    Brands   Brand Book 1     Brand Book 2    SEARCH 

    Two PDF files showing brands and an index of brands originally filed in other counties 1876 to 1921. 


    Institutional Records

    San Mateo County Poor Farm   ABOUT

    • Inmate List  SEARCH  A  listing of those who were admitted to the SMC Poor Farm /Hospital and those buried there.  
    • County Poor Farm Employees  SEARCH   compiled from Census records and Treasurer's Book located at SMCHA.
    • County Poor Farm Reports 1903-1905   PDF clippings  attached to the Day book 1897-1929 
    • Sources for County Poor Farm Records   PDF
    • Index to County Poor Farm Contracts 1912-1917  PDF  
    • County Poor Farm Income & Expense Reports 1916-1920  PDF

    Record of Orphans, Half-Orphans, etc.   ABOUT   SEARCH   

    A List of Children supported by the County between 1910-1915

    List of Indigents     ABOUT    SEARCH  

    Supported by San Mateo County between January 1904 and January 1915.  



    1907 School Funding Petition  PDF     Drawer 31 in the SMC record repository.

    Trustee Petition For More Funds 1920   PDF   Drawer 31 in the SMC record repository. 

    Historical and Biographical

    Index to San Mateo County Histories   ABOUT  SEARCH

    The Student Monograph Collection at the SMCHA Archives  ABOUT   SEARCH  Index by Craig Siulinski 

    SMCGS Clipping File   ABOUT  

    A collection of articles about San Mateo County residents

    The Richard Schellens Collection of Historical Materials    ABOUT

    • California                     
    •  San Mateo County      
    • San Francisco                
      • Name Index  SEARCH                                  
      • Hotels     PDF  
      • Saloons   PDF 
      • Ships       PDF
    • Other CA Counties   All counties except San Mateo and San Francisco
    • The Other States  Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington     
    • References     SEARCH


      Nara Pacific Region - SF

      The indexes in this section were created by Martha Wallace.  Contact Nara Pacific Region - SF which is located in San Bruno for an appointment to view the records 

      Admiralty Case Files 1855-1863    PDF  

      NARA Record Group 21 - Cases on appeal from the Northern and Southern Districts of California. Cases involve ships with too many passengers, abandoned contracts, damaged goods, cargo not paid for, workers not paid, mistreatment of passengers, and Panama & NIcaragua crossings.

      Equity Case Files 1855-1863     PDF  

      Cases involve land claims, land sales, mining claims, mortgages, lands in San Mateo, San Francisco (many water lots), Santa Clara, and Alameda counties and others in Northern California, patent infringement (telegraph, crushing quartz to get gold, gold digger fork, self-rising flour, mould grooving machine, boxes for axles & gudgeons, rice hullers), cutting down trees, ferries in San Francisco Bay, people like John Charles Fremont, Maria Bernal de Bereyesa, Wm T Sherman, James Phelan, Samuel F B Morse as plaintiffs and defendants. RG 21 - Arranged in 3 groupings: Private cases (boxes 1-12 - cases 1-116), Southern District case 2 (Farnham v. Russell)(box 13) and U.S. cases (box 14 cases 1-4).

      Private Common Law Cases 1855-1863    PDF  

      Arranged numerically by case file number. The parties in cases in this series are private individuals, corporations, and municipal governments. The United States is not a party in any case. Cases involve ejectment (wrongful occupation of lands, squatters), patent fraud, import impoundment, promissory notes, water lots in San Francisco, unpaid taxes and unpaid moneys, lands in Oakland (Kellersburger map), San Mateo (Rancho de las Pulgas), Santa Clara (Guadalupe Mines), John C Fremont, Pacific Mail Steamship Company, trips across the Isthmus of Panama, Gustave Touchard, and more. These cases are very local and tell great stories of California in its early statehood. - Record Group 21, Records of District Court of the United States - U.S. Circuit Court for Districts of California

      Criminal Case Files 1863-1917  PDF  

      An index to more than 2000 case files, in 63 boxes and two docket books. Criminal cases heard in Federal Court include tax cases, civil rights cases, admiralty cases and other violations of federal laws. 

      Index to Fair Employment Practices Committee Cases   PDF   

      In 1941, President Roosevelt ordered that all industry essential to the war effort be non-discriminatory in all hiring practices without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin. Workers who felt that discrimination had occurred could file a formal complaint with the FEPC (Fair Employment Practices Committee, 1941-1945) and the situation would be investigated and changes made where appropriate and possible. The records for northern California, Portland, and Seattle produced in the San Francisco office of the FEPC, Region 12, contain letters, complaint forms, and more, and are stored in RG 228 at the National Archives, Pacific Region, San Francisco, California (located in San Bruno). • A complete indexing of these files is in the attached PDF • Contact NARA in San Bruno to set up an appointment to see the files. 



      Inventory of County Records  SEARCH

      An inventory of original San Mateo County records, listing repository, online copies and online indexes.  This is a work in progress, contributions are welcome.

      Inventory of the County Archives of California #42 San Mateo County   PDF   

      Historical Records Survey: Division of Women's and Professional Projects, Works Progress Administration. San Francisco California, The Historical Records Survey, June 1938. A scanned copy showing location of records throughout San Mateo County in 1938.

      Identification of the Historical Records of the State of California     PDF  

      March Fong Eu, Secretary of State; California State Archives 1981 

      Bibliography of San Mateo County Publications  SEARCH

      A Bibliography of published materials on San Mateo County genealogy, history and biography.  This is a work in progress, contributions are welcome.


      Publications by SMCGS Members

      Sunset View Cemetery: Cemetery for the Paupers and Indigent of San Francisco     PDF  
      (c) 2015 Russell R Brabec  


      San Mateo County Genealogical Society

           SMCGS is a 501(c)(3) organization

      PO Box 230
      San Mateo, CA 94401-0230


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