San Mateo County, California Genealogy
Guide to San Mateo County, California ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Dates for major county records|
|For earlier dates, try...|
|Remember these collections|
|San Mateo County, California|
Location in the state of California
Location of California in the U.S.
|Founded||February 18, 1856|
|County Seat||Redwood City|
|Address|| Hall of Justice and Records|
400 County Center
Redwood City, California, 94063
|Named for: Saint Matthew|
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 Historical Facts
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Bible Records
- 4.2 Biography
- 4.3 Cemeteries
- 4.4 Census
- 4.5 Church History and Records
- 4.6 County Records
- 4.7 Court Records
- 4.8 Crime and Criminals
- 4.9 Directories
- 4.10 Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
- 4.11 Gazetteers
- 4.12 Genealogy
- 4.13 History
- 4.14 Land and Property
- 4.15 Maps
- 4.16 Migration
- 4.17 Military History and Records
- 4.18 Naturalization and Citizenship Records
- 4.19 Newspapers
- 4.20 Obituaries
- 4.21 Periodicals
- 4.22 Probate
- 4.23 Repositories
- 4.24 Schools
- 4.25 Societies
- 4.26 Taxation
- 4.27 Vital Records
- 4.28 Voting Registers
- 5 Websites
- 6 References
San Mateo County Courthouse
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94603
County Clerk Recorder has birth, marriage and death record from 1866,
divorce, court and land records from 1880 and probate from 1856
1868 - Land from Santa Cruz County
"Rotating Formation California County Boundary Maps" (1850-1925) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
- Atherton town 1923
- Belmont town 1926
- Broadmoor unincorporated
- Camp Fremont World War I Training Camp
- Colma town 1924
- Crystal Springs
- Daly City
- East Palo Alto City 1983/1987
- El Granada Unincorporated
- Fair Oaks (Menlo Park / Atherton)
- Foster City City 1971
- Hillsborough City 1910
- La Honda unincorporated
- Menlo Park 1874-1876/ 1923
- Millbrae City 1948
- Miramar (Half Moon Bay)
- Montara unicorporated
- Moss Beach - Fitzgerald Reserve
- Pacifica City 1957
- Pescadero Unincorporated
- Portola Valley Town 1964
- Princeton by the Sea
- Purissima abandoned
- Redwood City City 1868 - County seat
- Ravenswood (East Palo Alto)
- San Benito (Half Moon Bay / Spanishtown)
- San Bruno City 1914
- San Carlos City 1926
- San Gregorio
- San Mateo 1894
- Searsville Abandoned 1891 when Searsville Dam was built
- South San Francisco 1908
Populated Places (Official city and town websites)
- Daly City
- East Palo Alto
- Foster City
- Half Moon Bay
- Menlo Park
- Portola Valley
- Redwood City
- San Bruno
- San Carlos
- San Gregorio
- San Mateo
- South San Francisco
- San Mateo County Biographies (Genealogy Trails)
- Index to San Mateo County Biographies (USGenWeb Archives)
- Schellens Collection of Historical Materials - Names
- Schellens Collection of Historical Materials - Businesses
The following web sites may have additional information on San Mateo County cemeteries.
- Interment.net California cemetery records by County.
For tips on accessing San Mateo County, California Genealogy census records online, see: California Census.
- 1860 - San Mateo Township - Partial (Genealogy Trails)
Church History and Records
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about California denominations, view the California Church Records wiki page.
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- Redwood City
- San Mateo
Roman Catholic - Archdiocese of San Francisco
- Archives 320 Middlefield Road Menlo Park, CA 94063 email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone: (650) 328-6502
- San Mateo County Parishes
- History of Diocese on Wikipedia
Crime and Criminals
- 1881 - Directory of the Grape Growers and Wine Makers of California (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1898 - List of Subscribers of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Co. (USGenWeb Archives)
Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups
Local histories are available for San Mateo County, California Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section California Local Histories.
Land and Property
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See California Land and Property for additional information about early California land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.
The Spanish and Mexican Governments distributed the bulk of San Mateo County lands to those who had served the government or military. Most of the Rancho owners also had residences around Mission Dolores in the current San Francisco.
California, San Mateo County Records, 1856-1991 are free to browse at FamilySearch Historical Records. For a description of the records, see the wiki article titled, California, San Mateo County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Current Records and microfilms of old deeds are available in the County Recorder's Office in Redwood City. Start by searching for the current address at one of the available computers. You will find the current owner and also links to maps related to the property including original rancho maps and maps showing the first subdivision of the land. There are more maps available in the record repository, some show the early landowners in various areas throughout the county.
- Index to San Luis Obispo County Land Records (USGenWeb Archives)
MapsCounty of San Mateo - Mappery
Military History and Records
- 1883 - San Mateo County – List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883 (Genealogy Trails)
- 1886 - San Mateo County Civil War Veterans Roster, Fred. Steele Post No. 70, G. A. R. 1886 (USGenWeb Archives)
World War II
- Index to San Mateo County World War II Army Enlistments (USGenWeb Archives)
- San Mateo County Wworld War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel (Genealogy Trails)
Naturalization and Citizenship Records
All naturalization records produced by San Mateo County Courts are held by the San Mateo County Recorders Office. This appears to be a complete set of all the Declarations of Intention to become a citizen and Petitions for the entire time the local courts handled naturalizations. The last record is from the year 1983. The earliest records are in an envelope file, and many records have Declarations attached which were filed elsewhere.
The San Mateo County Genealogical Society has indexed these volumes through 1945.
SMC Naturalization Indexes
There are references to early naturalizations in the Court Docket books which are located in the San Mateo County Historical Society Archives. All names found in these volumes are also found in the Records office records.
The Naturalizations for Camp Fremont are contained in volumes dated May 1917 to March 1918. The special military naturalization required no Declaration of Intention, therefore the complete record will be contained in one volume. Naturalized soldiers were from all over the United States. Originals are located in the SMC Recorder's Office offsite storage facility. SMCGS has also indexed those volumes.
Camp Fremont Naturalization Index
Naturalizations filed by San Mateo County in the California Northern District court are located at the National Archives in San Bruno.
SMCGS also transcribed a card file of naturalized voters, which is also located in the Recorders Office.
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as San Mateo County, California Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- San Mateo County Obituaries (Genealogy Trails)
- San Mateo County Obituaries (USGenWeb Archives)
- 1980's to 2015 - Obituary Index, "Died in San Mateo Co., CA" in FamilySearch, Genealogy Bank and Ancestry.com (CAGenWeb Project)
- The SMCGS Obituary Collection - This collection currently includes over 57,000 indexed and scanned obituaries as well as a large collection of obituaries that are indexed elsewhere, see below. Copies of Obituaries in this index can be obtained from the San Mateo County Genealogical Society
- San Mateo County, California Obituary and Death Notice Collection Free from GenealogyBuff.com. Obits and death notices from Various Funeral Homes in the San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, Foster City, Hillsborough and Pacifica areas.
See Death Records
The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.
Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for California - San Mateo - Probate records.
Unfortunately, FamilySearch has no probate files for San Mateo County. Some early probate ledgers are available in the San Mateo County Historical Association Archives, the rest are available from the Superior Court not the County Recorder.
Online Probate Records
- 1782 – 1999 California Wills and Probate Records 1782-1999 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1833 – 1991 California Probate Estate Files 1833-1991 at FamilySearch — images
Archives, Libraries and Museums
Family History Centers
Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
- Introduction to LDS Family History Centers
- Menlo Park Family History Center
- San Francisco California Family History Center (San Bruno)
- San Francisco California West Family History Center (Pacifica)
Sequoia High School - Redwood City - 1st High School in County
Belmont Historical Society
1225 Ralston Avenue
Belmont, CA 94002-1902
Burlingame Historical Society
PO Box 144
Burlingame CA 94011
Millbrae Historical Society
P.O. Box 511
420 Poplar Avenue
Millbrae, CA 94030
San Mateo County Genealogical Society
PO Box 5569
Redwood City, CA 94063-5569
San Mateo County Historical Association
777 Hamilton Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
San Francisco Genealogy
San Mateo County
South San Francisco Historical Society, Inc
Spanishtown Historical Society
505 Johnston Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
California tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page California Taxation.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records. The State office has records since July 1905. For earlier records, contact the County Recorder.
You can get informational copies of birth and death certificates from the San Mateo County Clerk. Print and complete an Application for Certified Copy of Vital Record. As with other California counties, requests for an Official Certified Copy of either birth or death records must be notarized. Requests for an Informational Certified Copy do not need to be notarized.
- 1812 - 1988 - California Births and Christenings, 1812-1988 at FamilySearch — index
- 1905 - 1995 - California Birth Index, 1905-1995 at FamilySearch — index
- San Mateo County Birth Index to 1965
- San Mateo Vital Record notice
- 1850 - 1945 - California Marriages, 1850-1945 at FamilySearch — index
- 1850 - 1952 - California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1853 - 1948 - San Mateo County Marriage Index
- 1854 - 1885 - Western States Marriage Index.
- 1960 - 1985 - California Marriage Index, 1960-1985 at FamilySearch — index and images
- CSGS Research Guide - San Mateo County Birth and Marriage Records
- 1880 - 1920's - San Mateo County Death Records 1880-1920s (James Crowe's Book)
- 1905 - 1939 - California Death Index, 1905-1939 at FamilySearch — index
- 1940 - 1997 - California Death Index, 1940-1997 at FamilySearch — index
- San Mateo County Coroner's Record Index
- Finding Aid to Coroner's Records on Family Search
- San Mateo County Genealogical Society
- San Mateo County, CA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy (Familytree101)
- San Mateo County CAGenWeb
- USGenWeb Archives
- FamilySearch Catalog
- San Mateo County, California Genealogy Trails
- San Mateo County CA Genealogy (LDS Genealogy)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), San Mateo County, California. Page 87At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Genealogy Trails History Group, “San Mateo County, California Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/cal/smateo/ 05/08/2017.
- Wikipedia contributors, " San Mateo County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, http://genealogytrails.com/cal/smateo/ 05/08/2017.