Monthly Programs

​Vice President Programs - Sarah Coston

Society meetings are held monthly. The meetings are generally held on the 4th Saturday morning of the month.  Meetings begin at 10:30am. Please come 30 minutes before the start of the business meeting for a half-hour of coffee and friendship. A short business meeting will be held to be followed by a program on subjects of interest to all levels of genealogists.

The meetings are held at Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, CA 94403. (See map below)  For more information, contact us.

Click here to see what programs we have had in the past.


The next meetings are:

October Meeting

Using Maps in Genalogical Research
Speaker: Melinda Kashuba
Saturday, October 28, 10:30am - 12:00 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

This lecture is an introduction to the wide variety of maps and the ways they are used by genealogists. Featured will be an interactive exercise of how to read and interpret one type of urban mapping: Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. Genealogists and historians are no longer simply the consumers of maps but the makers of maps to illustrate the data we collect.

Maps point genealogists to places we can seek records by showing the locations of schools, churches, cemeteries, migration routes, and many other cultural features. Maps also spur our imaginations to think of what life may have been like through their imaging of historic places.

Melinda Kashuba holds a PhD in Geography from UCLA and is the author of Walking with Your Ancestors: a Genealogist’s Guide to Using Maps and Geography. Melinda’s specialties include 19th century and contemporary genealogical records in California including map and land records. She teaches geography part-time at Shasta College and is the 2016 recipient of the Gerald C. Hayward Award for Excellence in Community College Teaching given by the California Community College Foundation. She is the owner and principal researcher of Kashuba Research Services, an historical and genealogical research company.

November Meeting

Member's Round Table Discussions
Saturday, November 18, 10:30am - 12:00 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

The SMCGS Round Table meeting is an opportunity for genealogists to come together to share with others what research or projects they have done on a particular topic. Everyone is encouraged to share as well as ask questions. Attendees can “hop” from table to table in order to participate in more than one Round Table. 
The Round Table topics for the Nov 18 meeting are DNA, Finding Females, Photo Organization, Writing Family Stories, and SMC First Families.
You are invited to bring resources or other items to share for any of the Round Table topics. We are looking for a few people to help lead the Round Table sections. If you are interested, please contact VP Programs Sarah Coston at

December Meeting - No meeting in December

January 2018 Meeting

The Slave Narrative that Freed Me: How I found William Grimes
Speaker: Regina Mason
Saturday, January 27, 2018   10:30am - 12:00 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

In 5th grade, Regina Mason was told that her grandfather was a former slave. For years she felt that she did not have a family history worth sharing, but she finally dove head first into exploring her family history through genealogy, and, after a few years of searching, she discovered her third great grandfather who had written the precedent-setting memoir, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, which he published himself in 1825.

By recovering the lives of relatives deemed marginal and insignificant through genealogical research, Regina gave voice and honor to her ancestors and by extension fortified herself and helped make her whole.

Regina’s talk will address her journey to find her ancestors and reclaim her heritage, and the importance of William Grimes’s memoir.

Regina Mason is an international speaker, author, executive producer and storyteller. She has spent 15 years researching the life and times of her third great grandfather, pioneering fugitive slave autobiographer William Grimes. Her essays have appeared in The Race Card Project, various blogs, and The Root. She, along with literary critic and expert, William L. Andrews, is co-editor of the authoritative 2008 Oxford University Press edition of Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave. She has spoken to or appeared at many organizations including Yale University, UC Berkeley, Mansfield College, NPR, C-Span’s Book TV, KQED, and others. She currently serves as Executive Producer of the award-wining feature documentary film Gina’s Journey: The Search for William Grimes.


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