San Mateo County Genealogical Society
PO Box 5569
Redwood City, CA 94063-5569

telephone: 650.306.3423

Just an old photo


Diane Smelker, Library Manager


The SMCGS library collection is located at the Cañada College Library at Building 9, Third Floor, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd. Redwood City, CA 94061. It is located at the rear of the Library.

To avoid getting a parking ticket, be sure to purchase a $2.00 parking permit at the machines in Lot 1 or Lot 7. The permit is good for the entire day.



SMCGS Volunteers are available to assist patrons on:

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 1pm – 4pm
  • If you would like evening assistance with your genealogy research you can request an appointment by calling our library telephone at (650) 306-3423. Saturday hours are available by appointment.


The SMCGS Collection may be used during the Cañada Library open hours; however, the Library Staff is not available to provide genealogy research assistance. The SMCGS Collection does not circulate.

The Cañada Library hours vary depending on the time of year. They are posted on the Cañada College Library webpage.

Any special openings and closings of the SMCGS Collection will be indicated on the Home page.


  • Book and Periodical Collection Catalog: for a current list, see SMCGS Library Card Catalog
  • Tape/ Video Catalog: the SMCGS library has over 250 audio tapes of both local and national genealogical programs. Tapes may be checked out by members of the CD club or listened to in the library. Bring your small tape player and headphones, relax and enjoy the wonderful views from the library as you listen and learn. A few video tapes that are available for checkout round out the collection. For a current list, see Tape/Video Catalog (Google spreadsheet) | Tape/Video Catalog (PDF)
  • Periodical List: for a constantly-updated list, see Periodical List (Google spreadsheet)
  • Microform Catalog: the SMCGS library has a significant collection of microfiche. A microfiche reader is available in the library. Bring your digital camera to make copies from the screen or use a library order form (PDF) to order digital or print copies. For a current list, see Microform Catalog (Google spreadsheet) | Microform Catalog (PDF)

The Schellens Collection
Schellens, Richard comp.
Schellens Collection of California Materials 1852-1975
191 v.manuscript

Richard Schellens, one of the founding members of the Redwood City Archives Committee, was an accountant by trade and a historian by obsession. His love of the history of San Mateo County and San Francisco has left us with a collection of abstractions that have been organized into binders by the Redwood City Archives Committee. The originals of these volumes, which cover the whole county rather than just Redwood City, are housed in the Redwood City Main Library History Room.

Schellens gathered not only current day information, but he systematically went back through old directories, county histories, great registers, county record books and newspapers, extracting, abstracting, photocopying and indexing the lives of the residents of San Mateo County, San Francisco and beyond.

Three volumes of Redwood City real estate transactions include hand drawn maps and references to the deeds in the San Mateo County Official Record books. More than 50 books hold records of Redwood City residents sorted by the main surname of the record. Other volumes are sorted by township, with both current and no longer existent townships being covered.

While the Schellens Collection would seldom be considered an end source, being comprised of second hand materials, it is a wonderful finding aid for records of tens of thousands of San Mateo County and San Francisco residents, as well as residents of other California counties and the western states. The main limitation of this work was the lack of an index. With the help of many dedicated SMCGS members as well as members of other societies around the state, the entire 191 Volume collection has been indexed and you can find links to the indexes below.

It is important to note which index you find a name in if you are ordering copies or trying to find the item in the library.

The original volumes are housed in the Redwood City Public Library History Room.

SMCGS has copies of the entire collection housed with our library collection in the Cañada College Library. The San Mateo County collection can be found at 979.461 SCH and the San Francisco Collection can be found at 979.461.

Volumes covering the other counties of California can be found in a binder at the beginning of each county’s book collection, general volumes contained in the California Binders are also included in this index.

© 2007-2014 San Mateo County Genealogical Society