San Mateo County Genealogical Society

Discovering Our Family History Together

First Families of San Mateo County

The following list of biographies of San Mateo County Families includes those from the First Families Project as well as biographies submitted by others including late member Russ Brabec’s Early Northern County Settlers, member Barry Hinman’s family histories, as well as blog posts and other assorted articles on early settlers.  The Rancho entries include links to Wikipedia articles as well as blog posts.  If there is no link in the entry, the biographical information will be found in the SMCGS Library First Families section.  Submitters to the First Family Project are included in italics in the entry.

(F) Founding Families, (E) Early Families, (C) Century Families, (R) Rancho, (B) Brabec Collection, (H) Hinman Collection, (P) Assorted Blog Posts.   

The First Families Project 

The San Mateo County Genealogical Society invites you to be a part of our First Families of San Mateo County Project. The goal of this endeavor is to identify and honor the pioneers who settled the county. 

We wish to focus on those pioneer settlers who cleared the land, drained the swamps, ran the stagecoaches, built the dams, roads and houses, planted and harvested the crops, and sold the meat, potatoes, clothing, soap and other necessities their neighbors needed. Who were these unknown and unrecognized folks?

Much has been written of the large landowners, developers, railroad barons, bankers, and mansion builders. Little has been gathered on the families who settled, worked hard, married their neighbors, sent their children to school, and built strong communities along the Peninsula.

The research and work necessary to discover these pioneers and their descendants is intended to foster and encourage curiosity in the people who contributed in any way - great or small - to establishing the county, and in its customs, culture, genealogy and history.

The population of San Mateo County was low in the mid-1800s; in 1860 it was 3,214 and by 1870 had doubled to 6,635.

There are three categories within the project: Founding Families (Ancestors who settled before 1879) Early Settlers (Ancestors who settled between 1880 and 1905) and Century Families (Ancestors who settled between 1906 and 100 years ago) 

Everyone is welcome to participate.  You can contribute by doing research, sharing stories and pictures, or doing your own family history.  We will track the project and provide mentors and information. 

Application and Submission Information

Christ Home 1878

Meyer Gravesite Union Cemetery


San Mateo County Genealogical Society

     SMCGS is a 501(c)(3) organization

PO Box 230
San Mateo, CA 94401-0230


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