First Families of San Mateo County Project
San Mateo County Genealogical Society announces a new project, First
Families of San Mateo County. The goal of this endeavor is to
identify and honor our direct line ancestors who settled the county and
to give recognition to their descendants.
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
Much has been written
of the large land owners, 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-1800; in 1860 it was 3,214 and by 1870
had doubled to 6,635.
There will be two
categories of early pioneers:
Everyone is welcome
to participate in the First Families Project. You can contribute
by attending meetings, doing research, assisting at workshops, or doing
your own family history.
|Ancestors who settled
|Ancestors who settled
between 1880 and 1905.
We will track the
project and provide information, applications for submittal of family documentation,
updates, and event schedules here on our website. Click here for the First Families index.
You can read about the application process below.
FIRST FAMILIES PROJECT APPLICATION PROCESS
HOW TO SUBMIT
AN APPLICATION (application)
of early settlers of San Mateo County may submit an application for inclusion
in the First Families Project. Applicants must prove that
their ancestor(s) lived within the boundaries of San Mateo County on or
before December 31, 1900, AND that they are the direct descendant of said
person(s). Proof must be sufficient to differentiate between any
two persons of the same name residing in the county at the same time.
An applicant does
not have to be a resident of San Mateo County to participate in the project.
There will be two categories of early pioneers:
The completed application
must be accompanied by a Family Group Sheet and copies or digital images
on CD of legal documents and other records that provide proof of
direct descent. (See Rules of Evidence.) Each generation in
the direct lineage must have accompanying proof. All documents
must have a notation as to their source (exact reference).
|Ancestors who settled
|Ancestors who settled
between 1880 and 1905.
and eligibility will be determined at the discretion of the First Families
Committee. The application and proofs become the property of the
San Mateo County Genealogical Society. If accepted, a First Families
Certificate will be issued and either presented to the applicant at a Society
meeting or forwarded to the applicant by regular mail. If the application
is not accepted, notification will be sent to the applicant regarding the
reason and the additional proof or missing information may be submitted
at no extra charge.
RULES OF EVIDENCE
Applicants must present
documented proof of each step of descent from the qualifying ancestor.
Primary sources are preferred, but secondary sources will be accepted.
1. Primary or collateral
evidence. is considered usually to be excellent proof.
|Vital, Court &
|Maps & Deeds
|Wills, Probate &
|Church & Cemetery
2. Secondary evidence
such as census records, newspaper clippings, old letters, Bible or other
family records, contemporary to the facts reported, is considered almost
as authentic (as #1 above). However, copies of old letters, family
records, etc. can be accepted as proof only for facts the writer of the
record or letter would logically know of his own first-hand knowledge,
and they cannot be accepted as proof if they were hearsay from other generations
or from other sources. Early county history and biographic compilation
may be accepted as collateral or supporting evidence along with primary
and secondary evidence.
3. Land transactions
(deeds, warrants, grants, etc.) can only be accepted as evidence of settlement
in San Mateo County if the record, or subsequent record, actually states
that the individual was “of San Mateo County” prior to December 31, 1900.
4. Not accepted as
proof are the following: circumstantial evidence or hearsay, oral
or written or published family traditions, printed or manuscript genealogies,
genealogical compilations, lineage papers from patriotic or hereditary
5. If a document
merely implies a fact, this is not considered proof. Examples are
the expressions, “heirs” and “Heirs-at-law,” used in some probate records.
These indicate different relationships in different states, and are not
necessarily proof of the direct descent. They could refer to nieces,
nephews, cousins, and adopted children.
6. Female ancestors
must be referred to and proved by their maiden names, rather than those
of their spouses.
7. Additional applications
of more than one pioneer ancestor do not require duplicate information
or proof. Submit an ancestor chart to show the connecting lineage.
Also reference should be made to the prior application papers and the SMCGS
Applicants are encouraged
to submit more than one source for any step in the proof process.
Do not use a highlighter
or marker on your documents. This creates problems if they are microfilmed
be provided for each date listed, even if only an approximation.
If you are unsure of the date, do not include it. All documents must
include a full source citation. Complete information on citing sources
can be found at our library.
Sources from printed
material, as well as courthouse and other government documents, must provide
the Title, Date of Publication, Author, Volume, and Page Number of the
book/document/newspaper/periodical. Include a copy, photograph, or
other facsimile copy of the pertinent pages. Typed, hand printed
or hand written copies of documents must be certified as “True Copies”
to be considered acceptable as proof.
No information from
the internet or any County Heritage Book or LDS records will be accepted
without accompanying documentation. Family Group Sheets submitted
without documentation of the information on the sheet will not be accepted.
If Bible records
are used, a photocopy of the title page with date of publication should
be included, if possible. Photocopies of Census Records should cite
the year county/township name, and page number for the ancestor.
or digital images on CD of your sources of proof. Do Not Send
On the reverse side
of each document put the generation number, the source citation for that
document, SMCGS – First Families, your name, address, phone number and
email. This will help ensure that the papers in your file remain
together. This step is not necessary if you submit your data on a
PROOF OF DESCENT
If you wish to submit
and application and someone has already proven part of your ancestral
line, for the common ancestor refer to SMCGS No.___and Generation Number_____
and then prove the rest of your descent.
The maiden name of
maternal ancestors would have to be proven to be included. However,
to honor the women who bore more than their share of toil and privations,
proof that she was “of the area” may be based on proving a child was born
there. A father is not proved as being in the area just because a
child was born there.
A Family Group
Sheet (FGS) is a snapshot of a particular family in a particular generation,
often in a particular location. A Family Group Sheet is the most basic
report in genealogy. Extended into the past, group sheets provide the information
for a Pedigree Chart; extended into the present, they provide a Descendant
Report. As the most basic building block for family research, most computer
genealogy programs produce them. Genealogists are glad to get them in the
mail or find them on-line.
IN THE SMCGS LIBRARY
submitted with an application becomes the property of the San Mateo County
Genealogical Society for inclusion in their library. All lineage
charts and family group sheets will be available to the public. The
Society plans to compile a Heritage Book of First Families and Early Settlers.
Information will be available on the Society’s website and at the library
use of researchers.
No private information
will be place in the file and no information on living persons will be
available to the public.
The applicant should
indicate his/her preference regarding the sharing of his/her contact information
with other researchers of the ancestor.
Please include your application forms, photocopies documents and/or digital images on CD, and a $25 check payable
to the San Mateo County Genealogical Society.