Genealogy. An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.
I get many requests for information about San Francisco genealogy, particularly given the problem of the 1906 earthquake and fire. Some records are available. Here are a list of sources:
Pre-1906 birth records were mostly lost in the fire. The exception are the period beginning 1 July 1905 through 31 March 1906. These are kept in the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California.
Though most death records were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, there are still many available. The periods are:
|Book 1||Nov 8 1865||Sept 30 1869|
|Book 2||Oct 1 1869||Apr 30 1873|
|Book 3¹||Apr 1 1882||June 30 1889|
|Book M||Aug 1 1894||June 30 1896|
|Book O||Jul 1 1898||Mar 16 1900|
|Book P||Mar 17 1900||Oct 22 1901|
|Book Q||Oct 23 1901||June 30 1903|
|Book R||Jul 1 1903||June 30 1904|
Where the Dead Went
San Francisco Cemeteries moved around quite a bit. Here's a list of what happened to various cemeteries:
|Dates of Operation/Fate|
|Mission Dolores Cemetery||1776-1901. Still at Mission Dolores|
|San Francisco National Cemetery||Closed in 1990. Still at the Presidio, Golden Gate National Recreation Area|
|North Beach Cemetery||Deposition Unknown|
|Telegraph Hill||Cemetery Deposition Unknown|
|Russian Hill Cemetery||Deposition Unknown|
|Calvary Cemetery||1860-1901. Remains moved to Holy Cross, Colma, 1942|
|Chinese Cemetery||Moved to Golden Gate Cemetery|
|Gibbath Olom Cemetery |
(Hills of Eternity)
|1861-1888. Moved to Colma, 1889|
|Golden Gate Cemetery||1868-1901. Turned into Lincoln Park Golf Course in 1906. Stones dumped at Ocean Beach.|
|Greek Cemetery||Deposition Unknown|
|Hebrew Cemetery||1850-1860. Deposition Unknown|
|Laurel Hill Cemetery |
(aka Lone Mountain Cemetery)
|1854-1901. Remains moved to Laurel Hill Mound, Cypress Lawn, Colma|
|Masonic Cemetery||1864-1901. Remains moved to Woodlawn Cemetery, Colma. Tombstones used as fill on approaches to Golden Gate Bridge.|
|Nevai Shalom Cemetery |
(Home of Peace)
|1860-1888. Moved to Colma in 1889.|
|Odd Fellows Cemetery||1865-1901. Remains moved to Greenlawn Cemetery, Colma. Tombstones used to construct Aquatic Park seawall|
|Yerba Buena Cemetery||1850-1860. Remains moved to Golden Gate Cemetery, 1870|
|Special Note: Sunset View Cemetery, Colma, was closed in 1951. This was the potter's field for San Francisco where indigents, amputations, used cadavers, and still-borns were buried. Records for Sunset View are kept at Olivet Memorial Park. The site is now covered by the Cypress Hills Golf Course. Markers have been removed.|
San Francisco Call Database
Another resource for those seeking information about pre-1906 ancestors can try the San Francisco Call database, developed and maintained by Jim W. Faulkinbury. The records for the period will eventually cover births, deaths, and marriages through June 1905, providing the San Francisco genealogist with ample information about these milestone events.
Currently, you can find information by date, surname, ethnic, religious, or national group.
Click here to visit the San Francisco Call Homepage
ALHN California History Mailing List
ALHNCalhist is for those who wish to discuss California history. For more information on the mailing list and the American Local History Network, visit the homepage.
NORCAL Mailing List
NORCAL is for those who are researching ancestors who lived in northern California between about 1840 and 1900. San Francisco research is a large part of its discussions.
To SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, receive posts in DIGEST mode, or turn mail off
temporarily when you go on vacation, send these messages to:
For more information on NORCAL, write to Yvonne Bowers
H-California Mailing List
H-California exists so that people involved in California Studies can communicate with each other more easily. We hope to sponsor reviews of new books dealing with California topics, develop an exchange of course syllabi dealing with California subjects, announce matters of interest for those interested in California studies, develop a website for California studies, and serve as a channel of communication for the California Studies Association. Subscription is open to all who are interested in California Studies.
To subscribe to H-California, send a message with no subject and only this text to email@example.com
sub [list name] [First Name] [Surname], [Institutional Affiliation]
The records from the Presidio are now under the care of the U.S. National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Park Service runs an Army Records Center which is open on Monday and Friday. The phone number is 415-561-5001.
There are two National Cemeteries in the Bay Area. San Francisco National Cemetery is located at the Presidio (415-561-2008). Golden Gate National Cemetery is located south of San Francisco (and Colma) in San Bruno (415-761-1646)
Other Online Resources
If you have a San Francisco genealogy-related page, let me know about it and I will gladly link it!
It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.