New Publication for San Francisco Research

Great-Great Grandpa Found at the Golf Course
Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research
Research Tools for Finding Facts When Official Records Have Disappeared

Oakland, CA –  15 June 2006 – Raking the Ashes, a research book of interest to anyone doing California and San Francisco genealogy, has just been released and is available from the California Genealogical Society for $19.95.
Author Nancy Simons Peterson painstakingly pursued the trail of clues in available records to search for great-great grandpa and subsequently conducted a comprehensive survey of San Francisco’s extant sources and records lost.

  • Raking the Ashes 
  • Specifies which records were lost in 1906, which survived, and where to find them.
  • Suggests strategies for dealing with record losses wherever they occur.
  • Features clear evaluations of sources.
  • Shows how to overcome genealogical stumbling blocks and avoid common pitfalls.
  • Costs less than the price of an hour of professional research assistance.

Peterson is a woman of curiosity and determination, and she has not let the difficulties encountered in finding records of her early San Francisco ancestors sidetrack her. She finds ways around the stymied researcher’s so-called “brick walls” since she has been forced to deal with the huge gaps in city and county records dating back to San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire in order to trace her mother’s ancestry. Following a trail of clues in the public record, for example, it became clear that her earliest California forebear, a pioneer arriving in the city in 1847, now rests with other early settlers under putting greens and fairways at Lincoln Park Municipal Golf Course.
When great-great grandpa died in 1849, he was buried in the old North Beach Cemetery. His body was moved later by family members to Yerba Buena Cemetery and eventually relocated to Golden Gate Cemetery, which once lay adjoining the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Some time later a few of the remains in Golden Gate Cemetery were removed, headstones dumped into nearby waters, and the grounds converted to a golf course ­leaving thousands of bodies lying there under the turf, unmarked and unhonored. Almost no records remain to identify the bodies of these earliest pioneers. It is not an unusual story in San Francisco history.
About California Genealogical Society
Founded in February 1898 in San Francisco, the society is presently located in Oakland. The society is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization encouraging research in history generally and focusing on family history. It maintains a library, gathers and maintains vital records and disseminates information through publications, meetings, seminars, workshops and its web site <>

One thought on “New Publication for San Francisco Research

  1. This is an interesting article. I’ve been searching for my gt. gfather John William Bloom for 25 years in California. He left West Virginia and his separated family about 1881-1885 and said he found gold. He sent a Pinkerton man to get his daughter (my gmother) but her mother hid her in the cellar for 3 days until he went away. “Bill” Bloom/Blum/Blume may have died by 1898 as his wife Alice remarried and said she was a widow. I’ll check with the genealogy Society, thanks.

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