San Mateo County Genealogical Society

Discovering Our Family History Together

SMCGS Library Information

Current Status

The library has reopened as of August 18th. Hours are Mon-Thurs 10AM-4PM

The phone is not monitored right now.  Questions may be referred to  

The District Public Safety Department will not be requiring parking permits for the fall 2021 semester for employees or students, so parking is free. 

Library information

Sara Hayden, 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. 

PARKING: To avoid getting a parking ticket, be sure to purchase a $3.00 parking permit at the machines in Lot 1 or Lot 7. The permit is good for the entire day.  (But during the fall 2021 semester, parking is free and plentiful.)

ASSISTANCE from SMCGS VOLUNTEERS: SMCGS volunteers are available to assist patrons with genealogical research:

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1pm – 4pm when the Cañada College Library is open; check the Cañada College Library calendar for normal holiday closures and the San Mateo County Community College District library information page for information about coronavirus pandemic closures.
  • For evening or Saturday assistance, request an appointment by calling our library telephone at (650) 306-3423 and leaving a message. During the coronavirus pandemic closure, we will not be checking this telephone for messages, so it is preferable to send an email message to the Library Manager.
  • The Cañada College Library Staff is not available to provide genealogical research assistance.

LIBRARY HOURS: The SMCGS Collection may be accessed during Cañada College Library open hours – check hours first. Please note the hours have changed.  See above.

SMCGS LIBRARY COLLECTION DOES NOT CIRCULATE:  SMCGS library books must be used in the library.

Location of the SMCGS library collection

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. 

Cañada College campus map

The Library is located in Building 9.

Path from parking lot to Library

The Library is located in Building 9. The closest access is from Parking Lot 1.

Public transportation

Cañada College is served by two SamTrans routes - Bus 274 and Bus 278. Both routes connect to the Caltrain Station.

For detailed route information, please visit the #274 Route Map and #278 Route Map

Call 1-800-660-4BUS for schedules and routes as not all buses run every day or check online for current route and schedule information.

Some of our content



  • Book and Periodical Collection Catalog: for a current list, see the SMCGS Library Online Catalog.


Other Collections

  • County Records and Indexes
  • Newspaper Collections
  • Cemetery / Mortuary
  • Directories and Yearbooks
  • Major County Histories


The Shellens Collection

The Schellens Collection of California Materials 1852-1975 

Compiled by Richard Schellens

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 abstracts that have been organized into binders by the Redwood City Archives Committee. 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.

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. 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.

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 fifty 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 a primary 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. You can find links to the indexes in the Databases section of this website.

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.   See Databases for links to the indexes.

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

San Mateo County Genealogical Society

     SMCGS is a 501(c)(3) organization

PO Box 5569
Redwood City, CA 94063-5569


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