California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 .
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Collection Time Period

This collection includes records for the years 1835-1931.

Record Description

Some records are handwritten on blank paper. Others are written on pre-printed forms, depending on the type of record. Most are arranged chronologically and include a variety of notes and comments.

Record Content

California San Francisco Sacramento Stockton and Burlingame Funeral Home Records.jpg

Key genealogical facts found in most of these records are:

  • name of the deceased
  • age at death
  • place of death
  • cause of death

How to Use the Records

Indexes are arranged alphabetically by surname, grouped by type of record. Some indexes will index the names of the deceased, others will index the persons making the funeral and financial arrangements, and others will index both. Some indexes refer to only the name and page number. Others may also include death and/or burial dates, the age at time of death, birth place, residence, cause of death, grave site, cemetery name, and the persons making funeral and financial arrangements. Some page numbers were incorrectly transcribed when the indexes were created and such records are usually found within a page or two of the page given. The earlier index is more complete than the later index and indexes are often incomplete. Sometimes there are separate indexes for person with given names only and Chinese and Japanese burials.

Funeral record books were written on pre-printed forms and were arranged chronologically. Most give the name of the deceased, his age, birth place, death date, burial date, cause of death, burial site, doctor’s or coroner’s name, the person(s) making the funeral/financial arrangements, place of residence, relationship to the deceased, place and time of funeral, clergy’s name and itemized funeral arrangements. Some funeral records also include the physician’s certificate of death, the deceased person’s occupation, religion, marital status, race, parents’ names, and their birth places. Some also include an obituary.

Day books are daily handwritten account books organized chronologically. Information included varies greatly. Day books contain the name of the person making the arrangements, place of residence, the name of the deceased and may contain cause and date of death, age, place of nativity, burial place, doctor or coroner’s name and financial data. Some include obituaries.

Burial books are lists kept chronologically containing the burial date, the name of the deceased, age at death, birthplace, cause of death, burial site, and the undertaker.
Registers of deaths were kept chronologically, listing the name of the deceased, age, birthplace, death date, sex, where interred, plot description, cause of death, physician or entity making the death certificate, place of death, and remarks

Record History

This set is a collection of various records maintained by several San Francisco funeral homes, including N. Gray and Co., (records of the Burlingame and San Francisco branches), Halsted and Co. Undertakers, H.F. Suhr & Co., Godeau Funeral Service, (branches in San Francisco and Stockton), George H. Clark Funeral Home (Sacramento), Clark & Booth Funeral Directors (Sacramento), Kremple & Halsted-Undertakers, W.P. Peterson & Co., and H.W. Gantner (Gantner Bros.) Several different types of records were created.

Why This Collection Was Created?

Records were created by funeral homes to record financial transactions and keep a record of their business activities.

Record Reliability

Information pertaining to death is probably fairly reliable, including cause and date of death, place of residence, and name of attending physician. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.

Related Web Sites

San Francisco Cemeteries

Related Wiki Articles

California Cemeteries

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Sources of Information for This Collection:

"California, San Francisco Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931," database, FamilySearch, 2009. Digital copies of originals from various funeral homes housed at the San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco History and Archive Center.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of citations

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet(www.familysearch,org: September 29, 2006). Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base adn Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
  • Mexico, Districto Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from Familysearch Internet (www.familysearch,org: April 22, 2010), Bapistm of Adolfo Femandex Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apostol, Cauhimalpa, Districto Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023