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San Mateo County, California

San Mateo County

San Mateo County was founded on April 19, 1856 from the southern portion of San Francisco County . This county bears the Spanish name for Saint Matthew. As a place name, St. Matthew appears as early as 1776, and the arroyo, the point and the settlement at the unofficial San Mateo Mission are all so designated on the early maps. Until about 1850, the name appeared as San Matheo. .

The San Mateo County Seat is located in Redwood City also, the county government website is

Areas bordering to San Mateo County are San Francisco County (north), Alameda County (east), Santa Clara County (southeast), Santa Cruz County (south) .

Cities and towns located in San Mateo County include Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside .

Other Communities in San Mateo County include Kings Mountain, La Honda, Ladera, Loma Mar, Los Trancos Woods, Middleton Tract, Pescadero, Princeton-by-the-Sea, San Gregorio, Sky Londa. CDPs ( census-designated place) include Broadmoor, El Granada, Emerald Lake Hills, Highlands-Baywood Park, Montara, Moss Beach, North Fair Oaks, West Menlo Park.

Since its creation San Mateo County boundries have changed to include these:

  1. Most of San Mateo County is territory which was in San Francisco County from 1850 to 1856 when it was moved to San Mateo County.
  2. Territory of significant size was in Santa Cruz from 1850 until 1868 when it was added to San Mateo County.

San Mateo County vital records can be found at the California Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in California for current fees and application process.

You can search online for San Mateo County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for California Birth Certificate, Marriage or Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

San Mateo County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

San Mateo Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1860, 1870 and 1880. San Mateo Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1860, 1870 and 1880. San Mateo Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

San Mateo County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of San Mateo County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

San Mateo County Courthouse and Government Records

SanMateo County Courthouse

Researchers often overlook the advantages of San Mateo County court, probate, and land files as a useful resource of genealogical details. Hidden away in California courthouses and archives everywhere tend to be the dreams and frustrations of the many California inhabitants.

The possibilities are great that your potential forefathers have left a detailed document of at least a number of facets of their lives in the San Mateo County court records. Even if your ancestors is not mentioned in a Court case, contemplate all of the other methods that could have lead to her or him showing up in court records.

Courthouse History - The fourth and grandest of San Mateo's courthouses was built on the site of the second and third, which were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. It was here in Redwood City in 1931 that the colorful jurist George H. Buck decided the Flood Estate case, a battle over the estate of a wealthy financier and philanthropist that gained national attention. The Roman Renaissance building was turned over to the San Mateo County Historical Association in 1997 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some counties encompass land settled in the eighteenth century; their records pre-date county formation. Land transactions and vital records recorded in the county are at the county recorder's office. The county clerk general has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be in either place, depending on how filed.

The following facts indicates whatever marriage, birth, death, land, wills, and court records will be in San Mateo County. The years indicated below are considered the first widely known records for this county. Land from Santa Cruz County was added in 1868.

Remember to get in touch with the clerk's dept to verify hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics prior to visiting or seeking information because of in some cases changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The data files are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. A good number of employees will assist persons in obtaining the materials, but it's up to the person to do the research.
  • San Mateo County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
  • San Mateo County Recorder-Clerk is s responsible for examination and recording of all documents presented for recording that deal with establishing ownership of land in the County or as required by statute; administers the real property transfer tax law and maintains a permanent record and indexes of all documents for public viewing plus providing certified copies requested by the public; recording of all lawful documents such as deeds, deeds of trust, judgments, liens, affidavits, Uniform Commercial Code Financial Statements, etc; and the filing of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
    • Address: 555 County Center, 1st Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063-1665
    • Phone: (650) 363-4500
    • Birth / Death Records: 1865
    • Marriage Records: 1853
    • Land Records: 1856
  • San Mateo County Clerk of Superior Court has probate books and files from the county's superior court, civil court records, and naturalizations. Divorces may be here or in the Recorders Office, depending on how it was filed.
    • Probate Records: 1856 
    • Court Records: 1871 
  • San Mateo County County Treasurer / Tax Collector
  • Local Registrar of Births and Deaths, 225 West 37th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403; Office (650) 573-2395

San Mateo County Links

The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to San Mateo County. A majority of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a payment. This is basically a listing which has been gathered or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site above another. Feel free to suggest your own preferred San Mateo County genealogy or family history associated sites.

San Mateo Co. CA Books, Newspapers & Publications

San Mateo Co. CA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

San Mateo Co. CA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

San Mateo Co. CA Census Records

San Mateo Co. CA Cemeteries & Graveyards

San Mateo Co. CA Church & Bible Records

San Mateo Co. CA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

San Mateo Co. CA General and History Websites

San Mateo Co. CA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

San Mateo Co. CA Military Records

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