1906 Disaster Casualties
SAN MATEO COUNTY
"A Research Journey with Ron Filion: In Search of A.W. Barron"
- It all began with an old photograph of an unknown man that he found in a local antique bookstore. Ron found himself wondering, "Who was this man? Where did he come from? Who and where were his family?" Follow Ron through a fascinating trip among various records, resources and repositories as he sets out to learn all that he can about the mysterious man in the photograph, A.W. Barron. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced genealogical researcher, you're bound to pick up some new research ideas and techniques as you read through this interesting article.
- Planning a research trip to San Francisco? Don't miss this informative and helpful online guide!
"Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research" by Nancy Peterson
- Looking into Nancy Peterson’s "Raking the Ashes” can be a very effective starting point for beginning your San Francisco research. This very useful book has received excellent reviews. To see reviews or learn how to order a copy, go to www.calgensoc.org and click on Publications.
"A Useful Guide to Researching San Francisco Ancestry" by Kathleen Beals
- A good publication regarding San Francisco research, also available through the California Genealogical Society.
NORCAL Genealogy Index
- A very helpful guide, which not only lists Northern California indexes and sources, but gives helpful instructions on how to use them and lists the various locations where they can be found.
This is a miscellaneous and informal collection of research tips, helpful hints, and "secrets" shared by other researchers who have worked with specific San Francisco records. By sharing their experiences and knowledge here, they've enabled all of us to pick up some useful "tricks" to finding and working with San Francisco records.
Bear in mind that these people do not all profess to be "experts"! These generous volunteers are merely sharing their observations, which may be different than your own experience.
If you have different information than what is given on this page, by all means, please share with us! If you have any hints or tips to share regarding San Francisco records that you feel might help others, please let us know so that they can be included here.
This could help us all avoid needless time, expense, and frustration when searching for our San Francisco ancestors!
"Thank you!" to all the volunteers who have submitted information for this page!
Ron Filion (submitted Nov 2002) notes:
In the History Center of the San Francisco Main Library is a card index of the 1906 Disaster Casualities. This is either a copy or possibly the original notes used for Gladys Hansen's publication. I noticed there were some differences as to who was added and who wasn't. Also, I noticed on the some of the cards there is much more information than the newspaper references. In one case there was also a quote from a relative's letter as to how her ancestor actually passed away. In another case I saw some information quoted from the death certificate.
Shelby (submitted ~Aug 2000) tells us:
"The book, 'Who Perished--a list of persons who died as a result of the great earthquake and fire in San Francisco on April 18, 1906', compiled by Gladys Hansen, can be ordered for you to view through your local Family History Center. The film number is #1421964."
Maggee Smith (submitted ~Aug 2000) adds:
"This is also available thru your local Family History Center as microfiche # 6048077."
Charles H. Crookston (submitted ~Aug 2000) adds these ideas, that many of us may not have considered:
"Be aware that the book by Gladys Hansen ("Who Perished...) is not a
complete record of the number of people who lost there lives in '06 to
the Earthquake or fire (she herself will agree to this statement). There
were many, many more deaths than she had found and could record at the
time of publication. Gladys's research continued well after the publication
of the book, and in fact continues up to the present. In contrast to the
300+- that was the "Official Accounting" according to the newspapers, there
were, instead, thousands who lost their lives. She and her group have gone
block by block in the destroyed areas of the city of 1906 and documented
the numbers and names of the people who were supposedly living in the buildings
in those blocks, then did research on each name they found to determine
if they survived. Some of the names have taken them all over the country
and to other countries. There is also the fact that many thousands of
people/families left (abandoned) San Francisco for safe and tranquil environs.
If you are having trouble finding someone who was supposed to be in San
Fransicso during the earthquake and fire, try researching a five mile area
around the city. Or, if you know from whence the family originally came,
try that location. A very small minority of the populus of San Francisco
at the time (and this continues today) were/are native San Franciscans."
Ron Filion (submitted Nov 2002) notes:
"The SF Health Department now has all their books nicely filed in an organized and clean storage room. But, there are very limited appointments available, so call them very far ahead of time if you want to go in there. I also noticed that Book "O" did NOT have death dates for the individuals, only page numbers (to a non-existent book)."
Ken Tessendorff (submitted ~Aug 2000) shares his experience:
"...when I was just starting my research of some San Francisco ancestors, I contacted the History Room at the San Francisco Library and asked about any surviving records for SF. They sent me a list of their holdings along with a list of the original record books still being held by the San Francisco Health Department... I called the Health Department. They verified that they had the original record books and told me that I could see them by appointment. I made an appointment... I was led into the office, if you want to call it that. It looked more like a store room for old broken office furniture. Since these are some of the only original record books that survived the 1906 fire, I expected them to be stored in a velvet lined, temperature controlled vault and did not expect to be able to touch them. To my surprise, Mr. So and So led me to an old metal cabinet in the corner of the room... when he opened the doors, all I could see was dozens of rolls of toilet tissue, packages of paper towels and boxes of personal items that are usually found in women's rest rooms. We proceded to unload all of these items and finally got down to a point where several old record books appeared. Sure enough, these were the original old books that survived the fire.
"...Book "O" is ONLY an index. It is also not available on microfilm
at the CA FHCs. Believe me; I know, I searched, I scratched my old bald
head. It didn't help. My great-grandmother is listed in Book "O" and it
tells nothing other than the date which I already knew and a page number
in a book that no longer exists.
"The Oakland FHC has early San Francisco death record books on film. In the back of the books are the details about the deceased, including name, age, location of death, cause of death, undertaker and cemetery."
Christine Smith (submitted ~ Apr 2004)
"Concerning the microfilms of the Record of Deaths (Nov 1865-June 1904) at the Oakland FHC. I was out there last night and ask to see these films. The librarian on duty did not know which films I meant...another librarian checked a source called Athena? and sure enough, found what I was looking for. They are microfilm #s 975830-975835 and are located in the cabinets along the back wall with the other microfilm held on site. Unfortunately there is a gap between one roll for years 1865 - 1873 and the next for April 1882 - June 30, 1889, during which my person must have died."
Charles H. Crookston (submitted ~Aug 2000) shares this information:
"On top of the low shelves in the History Center are the old San Francisco
Block Books from the S.F. Recorders Office. Most of them, with the exception
of the 1868 book, have the surname of the property owner within the property
area. The dates they cover are from early 1868 to 1909. There is a small
manual on the shelves on which the books are displayed that explains how
to use them. The Block Books are also on 5 reels of microfilm, so that
if one finds something interesting, they can photocopy it from the film,
as they do not allow the books to be photocopied. Since the Earthquake
and Fire destroyed all the Recorders Office Records Books, the Block Books
are sometimes the only way to prove that a party indeed owned property
in S.F. They are an excellent ways also of getting a visual feel for where
one's ancestors lived in San Francisco. If one finds an ancestor in a city
directory, Great Register, census, or property records, you can get a block
map photocopy of the address from these books. This often gives good further
leads to other relations that lived next door or near by."
Ron Filion (submitted Sep 2005) adds:
They have the complete public death index from 1905-1995 on microfilm and microfiche.
Pamela Storm (submitted ~Aug 2000) learned these little "secrets":
The California Death Index (CADI) is located in two places at the San
Francisco Public Library's Main Branch. If it's not crowded, first try
using the copy at the Newspaper Center on the fifth floor (ask for it at
the information desk). The Newspaper Center's edition covers 1940 through
1995, and they'll usually let you use the entire box of microfiche, as
long as no one else is asking to use it at the same time. If the Newspaper
Center is too crowded, you'll have to go up to the sixth floor and use
the edition in the History Center. Their edition only covers 1940 through
1987. Because of the general value of most rare items in the History Center,
they understandably need to be much more cautious about the care of their
collection of records. Most times, you'll need to fill out a "request slip"
with your name and address, along with a short list of the individual microfiche
cards you want to see, and you'll need to leave a piece of identification
with them until you return the microfiche. I've noticed, however, that
frequent visitors whose good reputation has become "known" to the staff
will find that their cooperation and unsolicited helpfulness knows few
bounds. The librarians in the History Center are among the best I've
had the pleasure of working with.
Ken Tessendorff (submitted ~Aug 2000) shares this tip:
"...check Cemetery Record Rolls # 1, 2 & 3. You may also find some
of your ancestors listed there, as I did. In the Oddfellows Cemetery
Association Register of Removals, Roll #3, I found the names of three
of my great-grandparents with their dates of burial and dates of removal.
This register contains an estimated 12,000-15,000 names. The names are
alphabetical only by the first letter of each surname, so it can be time
consuming to find a name, but worth the effort. I noticed that many of
the entries had hand-written numbers next to them but did not have the
name of the cemetery that the remains were removed to. It appears that
the dates following the names are dates of burial. There are other numbers
and dates as well, but there does not seem to be any explanation for these
items. Handwritten entries such as "Presidio", "Greenlawn", "Private",
etc. appear to be the names of the cemeteries that the remains were removed
to. With a little more leg work last weekend, I was subsequently able to
trace them down at cemeteries in Colma where they had be "reburied" in
the 1930s. Two of them had been placed in the grave of their daughter,
so I was also able to get her married name and date of birth and death
for her and her husband."
"One of the most frustrating searches in San Francisco can be for the
burial place of a missing ancestor. In the case of the Odd Fellows Cemetary
this has been made a little easier by the fact that the [many of the] original
ledgers for the Odd Fellows Cemetary are at Greenlawn Memorial Park in
Colma, CA. A list of the removals was compliled by the D.A.R. and is available
through the LDS Family History Centers among other places. However, this
list contains only the name of the deceased, the original burial location
at I.O.O.F. and to which cemetary they were removed. Most of the removals
were to Greenlawn Memorial Park. The original ledgers from I.O.O.F. contain
the name, date of death, cause of death, the attending physician's name,
the names of the parents (in some cases), the address of the deceased at
the time of death, and, written in the last column above the original grave
location, the destination of the deceased after removal. The people at
Greenlawn were extremely helpful while I was looking for "some long lost
ones", helping me to search the records and how to read the index. They
will assist you over the phone as their time permits. The only part of
the I.O.O.F. Cemetary to remain in San Francisco is now called the San
Francisco Memorial Columbarium, now owned by the Neptune Society. Getting
help out there is almost nil on the weekends, but I'm hoping that once
they have finished their re-organization that this condition will improve.
They say that weekdays are the best time to get help over the phone or
Pamela Storm (submitted ~Aug 2000) found:
My first attempt at using thses records was unsuccessful, but if your
ancestor is listed, it can be a really good source of information. Most
entries gave quite a bit of information, such as date and place of death,
place of burial, spouse's name, place of birth, and an itemized list of
the funeral and burial expenses. These mortuary records are an LDS film,
so if you look for them in the LDS catalog, be sure to look under "San
Francisco COUNTY, California", instead of just "San Francisco" or "San
Francisco, CA". The records are first, roughly chronological by year, then
roughly alphabetical by 1st letter of surname. Apparently, many pages were
torn out and the person who did the filming couldn't determine where they
went, so in a note at the beginning of the film, he mentioned that the
pages are not all in order. There are "indexes" at the beginning of each
letter of the alphabet (within each year), but a quick spot-check showed
they were not all complete. I also noticed that even where the pages are
in sequence, there were "F's" at the end of the "G's", for example. What
it boils down to is: it may take you some time to look through the films
to make sure you haven't missed your ancestor, because so many of the pages
are out of sequence, but if you find your ancestor, it should provide a
lot of information. Perhaps one day, someone will create a comprehensive
index, but until then, it's not always easy to find a particular entry.
Bill Roddy (submitted ~Aug 2000) explains:
"If you live in San Francisco, you are in the City and County of San
Francisco. The boundaries are the same, not like San Diego County and Los
Angeles County, both of which are made up of many cities. Prior to 1856
San Francisco County extended to Santa Clara County and SF was the county
seat. It had a City Council and Supervisors for the County. In 1856 the
Southern part of San Francisco County was split off to form San Mateo County
and SF became the City & County of San Francisco. I have always believed
it put a strain on the Mayor. He has County functions under his jurisdiction
as well as City. The Board of Supervisors is also the City Council."
Ron Filion (submitted November 2002) adds:
I went down to the San Francisco Superior Court and asked about probate records and here is what they said. Divorce records are available in the San Francisco Superior Court's case files. If you are visiting the Superior Court, they are located in the "Public Viewing Room", Room 103a. Your first step is to determine the case file number. You can search for them for 1987 to present on their computer, and on microfilm/microfiche before that. Once you have the case number, you can request the case file. If the case file is in the office there is no retrieval charge (they only have a limited amount of space in their office; so if it is an older file, say five years or so, it is most likely archived.).
If you are mailing in a request (they don't accept requests by phone, fax, or email) there is a charge if you do not know the case number. This is a charge for doing a search for the case number for one year. If you don't know the exact year, there are additional charges. Please note that each case file varies in the number of pages it contains. Each one has a Register of Action (varies in number of pages) , i.e. a general index of filings, which lists what filings are contained in the case. Each closed case also has a Final Decree (which also varies in the number of pages). The clerk recommended that you send monies and loose postage (stamps not attached to the envelope) with exact details of what you desire (if you are outside the U.S., request that the postage be taken out of the money you sent). They will copy up to 300 pages; anything more than that they recommend you have a professional service copy it for you. If you send in "loose" postage, they will return what they don't use.
[Please note that these rates and services may change in the future and that you should contact the Court to verify any costs before you submit a request.]
Anonymous (submitted November 2002) adds:
"DIVORCES. San Francisco Superior Court CIVIL cases from 1906
thru about 1949 were all destroyed prior to 20 years ago. The only things
remaining are a microfilm of the register of action,
the interlocutory [time-delayed decisions] and the final judgements
as found in judgement books which have to be ordered from storage [archive].
All the divorce papers for that period are gone. Normally the judgements
are fairly brief and do not contain personal info such as marriage
date and place. Names of minor children are listed as well as their ages."
Sherry Mirkovic (submitted ~Aug 2000) discovered this helpful resource:
"For anyone with an ancestor in a labor union, I found that the Labor
Archives and Research Center of San Francisco State University is a good
place to send for SF Union records. I wrote to them last summer about my
Grandpa Jansen's records. It took several weeks, but they sent me a whole
packet of info. There was not much genealogical data in it , mostly records
of pension funds paid out. But his original application for admittance
to the Typographical Union was there, which included his next of kin and
current address, and info on mortuary benefits. I had most of this info
already, but it might really help some people find birth/death dates and
Ron Filion notes:
There are a few resources that can help you research your home and land's
history, including Sanborn Maps, Water Tap Records, Block Books, etc.
We have links to some online research guides and resources.
Some of these resources, are online at sfgenealogy; for example, the
1900 Sanborn Maps. We also have a good collection of links to other
online resources for historic maps, etc.
John Flora (submitted ~Aug 2000) tells us:
They charge $12 (non-refundable) to do the search, but you can do the search yourself at no charge. Certified copies are $12. In addition, they accept cash, pre-printed California checks (w/name and address, no PO boxes), and money orders. You can also order them over the phone with a credit card. [Please note that the fee has risen. Please check the Vital Records Info for current prices or call the agency directly.]
Ron Filion (submitted November 2002) adds:
Searching yourself is pretty easy (if you don't mind bad handwriting).
The indexes are available on microfilm for the earlier years and in books
for later years. The Recorder's office also has at least ten machines (most
are pretty good) which never seem busy when I am there. They usually have
someone at an information desk just as you enter the large "office."
Kathie Mauzey (submitted ~Aug 2000) has used these records and reports how she found them and their value in her research:
"This is the description from the FHC catalog:
(starts with film #1403292 - CA, San Fran, San Fran - court record)"I have looked at these San Francisco Superior Court records (referred to as "McInerney Actions") after the 1906 earthquake and found that these records can sometimes have a lot of genealogical value. There is an index to the records (about 4 rolls of microfilm). The index lists a case number, and then the case numbers are on many rolls of microfilm. The records I have searched showed how the land was received by the plaintiff. In one case, the land was purchased by the husband. He had died before the 'quake, and the records gave his date of death and named his children."
"McInerney Actions: court action to establish ownership of land-real estate 1906-1984, with index to plaintiffs 1906-1984."
[FHC has mistakenly labeled these as "McInerney." It is actually
"McEnerney." You can also read more about these on the San Francisco Public
to Research Your San Francisco Building" page.-RF, Nov
Charles H. Crookston (submitted ~Aug 2000) tells us of these newspapers on microfilm which might be of interest to those searching for Jewish families:
The "Jewish Progress" Jan 15, 1897 to Nov 18, 1898
The "Jewish Times & Observer" Jan 15, 1892 to Feb 17, 1911
Charles H. Crookston (submitted ~Aug 2000) suggests that this Catholic newspaper for San Francisco might be helpful to those searching for Catholic families. There are three rolls of microfilm:
Reel 1--Dec 14, 1861 to Jan 5, 1878
Reel 2--Jan 12, 1878 to Oct 8, 1884
Reel 3--Oct 15, 1884 to Dec 26, 1888
Charles also notes that this resource may also be found at the Catholic
Archives in Menlo Park, which has the "Monitor" on film from 1861
to 1866 and in original hard copy from 1867 to 1984.
Su Jacobsen (submitted ~Aug 2000) tells us:
The Oakland FHC has this index in their "guarded section" behind the
Ron Filion (submitted November 2002) tells us:
There is a list of Orphans, Half-Orphans, etc. on State Aid (Public
Welfare Department) during 1903-1910 on microfilm. Among the information
that is included per individual: parent's names; parent's birth, marriage
and death information; when parents came to California/United States; and
any estate that belonged to the child.
Ron Filion (submitted Dec 2011) tells us:
"You can now determine some case numbers from online images in the FamilySearch collection."
Stephan Ehat (submitted Dec 2011) tells us:
"Although the Web page of the Public Viewing Room does not mention it -- and though the local rules of court of the San Francisco Superior Court likewise do not mention it -- researchers are no longer allowed to photograph old probate records. This was a change that was made in July of 2011.
"In late 2010, I sent money accompanying a written request for photocopies of various probate records. I followed up with a phone call to answer any questions and the worker lamented how difficult the task would be (unfolding the pages and putting them on the platen of a photocopy machine was promising to be very time consuming). I offered to go and photograph the documents myself and he said that would be fine. When I went to the Research Room (Public Viewing Room) in January 2011, I took digital photographs of all of the pages of the probate records for six different individuals who died between 1912 and 1935, as expressly allowed by the official who brought the records to me.
"In September of 2011, I returned to take photographs of various other probate records I had, by pre-arrangement and pre-payment, asked to be pulled for that same purpose. Once the records were brought to me, I began to take photographs. But a worker came up to me and told me that a new rule now disallows photographing the old records. She pointed to a notice hanging on the wall and said it was a new rule adopted in July 2011.
"So, when you go to the Public Viewing Room now, be prepared to spend a lot more time to take notes (using either a tape recorder or paper and pencil)."
Ron Filion (submitted Dec 2008) tells us:
Some history of the early probate courts:
"After the probate court of San Francisco came into existence in 1863...Hon. Maurice C. Blake became the first probate judge, acting as such from January 1, 1864, to December 31, 1867. Hon. Selden S. Wright suceeded him, holding the office until December 31, 1871. From January 1, 1872, until December 31, 1879, Hon. Milton H. Myrick presided over the court.
"When the superior court was created by the constitution of 1879, the Hon. John F. Finn was the first judge to preside in department nine, the probate department. This he did from January 1, 1880, to September 1, 1883, when he exchanged departments with the Hon. James V. Coffey (then presiding in department three), and the latter has presided continuously in department nine to the present time . Judge Coffey has therefore presided over the probate department of the superior court in San Francisco for over a quarter of a century..."
Source: Reports of Decisions in Probate by James V. Coffey, Judge of the Superior Court, in and for the City of San Francisco, State of California, Volume One, San Francisco: Bancroft-Whitney Company, 1908, pages v, vi.
Ron Filion (submitted November 2002) adds:
I went down to the San Francisco Superior Court and asked about probate records and here is what they said. Probate records are available in the San Francisco Superior Court's case files. If you are visiting the Superior Court, they are located in the "Public Viewing Room", Room 103a. Your first step is to determine the case file number. You can search for them for 1987 to present on their computer, and on microfilm/microfiche before that. Once you have the case number, you can request the case file. If the case file is in the office there is no retrieval charge (they only have a limited amount of space in their office; so if it is an older file, say five years or so, it is most likely archived.). If it is archived, there is a retrieval charge and it may be retrieved within three (3) business days.
If you are mailing in a request (they don't accept requests by phone, fax, or email) there is a minimum charge if you do not know the case number. This is a charge for doing a search for the case number for one year. If you don't know the exact year, there are additional charges. Please note that each case file varies in the number of pages it contains. Each one has a Register of Action (varies in number of pages) , i.e. a general index of filings, which lists what filings are contained in the case. Each closed case also has a Final Decree filing (which also varies in the number of pages). The clerk recommended that you send monies and loose postage (stamps not attached to the envelope) with exact details of what you desire (if you are outside the U.S., request that the postage be taken out of the money you sent). They will copy up to 300 pages; anything more than that they recommend you have a professional service copy it for you. If you send in "loose" postage, they will return what they don't use.
Example: You want to search the probate case for your grandfather in 1940. Fortunately, you have an exact date. Thus, you MIGHT want to request copies of the first couple pages of the Register of Action, the first couple pages of any Will, and the first couple pages of the Final Decree. So, you MIGHT send a letter with a U.S. Priority Mail stamp (so you don't have to guess how many stamps you need), large envelope, and a money order for all the fees.
Please note that these rates and services may change in the future and that you should contact the Court to verify any costs before you submit a request.
Anonymous (submitted November 2002) adds:
"RE: WILLS. ...Wills are confusing. First there are wills found in the
actual probate files as part of the case. There are also filed wills which
are kept by the probate court but are not part of a probate. The stipulation
is that the will must be filed after the death of an individual. These
are indexed in books kept by the probate court. Current books are readily
available at the counter for the probate clerk. Filings are chronological
under the letter of the last name. Usually the books cover 3 or 4 years.
At some point these are converted to microfilm and become difficult to
Ron Filion (submitted Sep 2005) notes:
The San Francisco Public Library History Center has put together a list of links and resources for researching your San Francisco property. There is also a good outline written by Jean Kortum in 1992. There is a list of these and more links here:
James R. Smith (submitted ~Aug 2000) wrote:
"Parking is GREAT! Use the Civic Center Parking Garage. The court, Health dept., Library and Recorder are all within a block or two radius. Take 101 North on Van Ness to McAllister. Right on McAllister, cross Polk and the [public] garage is a downramp on your right going under Civic Center Plaza. ..."
Catherine Connolly (submitted ~Aug 2000) shares this observation:
When she visited the Main Library, she was told by somone at the information
desk, "We don't have any genealogical materials. They were all sent to
Sutro Library". Don't walk away when you hear this statement! The Main
Library's collection of compiled genealogies and county histories was,
indeed, sent to Sutro a number of years ago. However, quite a number
of materials of great interest to genealogists can be found at the Main
Library! Hint: Don't ask your questions at the main information
desk on the first floor lobby. You'll find that the librarians who work
a specific department will be very knowledgable and helpful about "their
Kirsten Crosson (submitted ~Aug 2000) discovered this:
"I spoke to Pupil Services [for the San Francisco Unified School District], and they told me they have enrollment records on microfiche for students born after 1911 (only), who attended public schools. The person there was very pleasant, but indicated they would not be able to handle phone or e-mail requests. However, she DID say that researchers could come in person to 1950 Mission Street [see update below]. You would need to know birth year and surname, and obviously, you'll need to know what schools the child attended. You must be a relative and have consent of the student (if living), or proof of death if deceased. I don't think they will give out recent records--I was asking about EARLY records. What you may find will vary, depending on how thorough and efficient the secretary at the particular school was, but the records could well contain parents' names, addresses, emergency contacts and their relationship to the child. Also, my mom is an elementary school principal, and she suggested also checking with the particular school, as they may have yearbooks, photos, etc. (if the administrator chose to keep them)."
Peggy Dods (submitted
16 Jan 2003) adds this:
"The school records for students born after 1911 have been moved [in 2002]. They are now at McAteer High School [555 Portola, now called School of the Arts High School), behind the building, in Room 380. Phone (415) 695 5504; in charge: Pearl Allen.
Ron Filion (submitted ~Aug 2000) offers this interesting and helpful information on SF maps:
"If you are researching old street and survey maps, there are are 'Dedication
Maps' which show street name changes and closures, and 'Street Widening
Maps. They have a bound collection of maps that date back to the 1800s.
They are a little large to handle, so I would suggest going to the 'County
Recorder's Office'. They have a general index, and the maps are separated
into hanging folders. There are also a lot of plot maps from the early
1900s that may give you information. If you want a copy, go to the 'Real
Estate Desk' with the number of the map; the price is currently $5 for
an actual size."
Thank you to Sandy (submitted ~Aug 2000), a visitor to these pages, who shares this:
"These records are not widely known as a good resource to verify names and addresses, as well as find out about street name changes. These records show the date that water service was first started at a particular property, and gives the name of the person who would be paying the water bill (ususally the homeowner)."
One of the helpful librarians in the History Center told Pamela Storm (submitted ~Aug 2000):
"Most of the Water Tap records are indexed by Street name, but there are exceptions. One time when the record keeper seemed to run out of room on a page, he listed a Dolores Street address under the letter 'Q'!".
Here is their list of Water Tap Records on microfilm:
Reel #1: Vol. 1, Abbey St. to Custer St.
Reel #2: Vol. 2, Daisy St. to Fulton St.
Reel #3: Vol. 3, Galvez St. to Kramer Pl.
Reel #4: Vol. 4, Lafayette Pl. to Oxford St.
Reel #5: Vol. 5, "P" St. to Ryan St.
Reel #6: Vol. 6, Sabin Pl. to Twenty-third Av.
Reel #7: Vol. 6x, Alameda St. to Wallace St. (con't. from other volumes)
Reel #8: Vol. 7, Ulloa St. to Zoe St.
Reel #9: Vol. 7x, Streets A-Z (incomplete) 1916-1926
Reel #10 Vol. 8, Streets A-Z (incomplete) 1923-1936
Ron Filion (submitted Apr 2006) notes that:
This office has given their records from 1906 to 1950 to the San Francisco Public Library-History Center.
Ron Filion (submitted Dec 2002) found that:
According to their brochure, they "investigate about two-thirds of all deaths in San Francisco," including anyone who died and "did not have a physician...had not seen the physician for a long period of time, the death was possibly due to accident, suicide, homicide or an unknown cause or the person died alone." Their records date back to 1906.
There are two parts of a case: (1) Coroner's Register: two large pages, includes all of the biographical information, a history of the case, and witnesses (who often include family members!); and, (2) Necropsy Report: a multiple page report with autopsy details. On a case that I examined, the witnesses included a son, daughter, brother, ex-wife, most of their addresses and some phone numbers!
If you are local, you can request to see the case report. Just give them a day to pull it from the archive. If you are out-of-town, you can request a copy of it via the phone. Give them the name and date-of-death. They will give you an amount that you will have to send in before they copy it for you. (In Dec 2002, it was 10 cents per page for non-certified copies.)
see also SF Bay Medical Examiner