Library Information

Sara Hayden, Library Manager

Library Drop-In at Atherton Library   On hold during construction


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 $3.00 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 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 may not be checking this telephone for messages, so it is preferable to send an email message to
  • 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 that the Cañada College Library is closed during the coronavirus pandemic, so you should check the San Mateo County Community College District library information page for information about coronavirus pandemic closures.

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



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


Other Collections

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


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.   See Databases for links to the indexes.