Death certificate 696, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Aug. 1, 1904. Reel #9.
The San Francisco History Center has two large paper archival collections of death records, already fairly well-known, well-used, and featured on our blog: the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Records, 1902-1956 (bulk 1906-1956) document deaths due to accident, suicide, or other "unnatural" causes. Halsted N. Gray – Carew & English Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 (bulk 1850-1921) document the deaths, funeral arrangements, and sometimes burials handled by a handful of local mortuaries that were later absorbed into what is now Halsted N. Gray-Carew & English Funeral Directors.
There are two smaller collections of death records on microfilm that seem to be lesser-known by the general public, but they can be just as useful.
|Death register, San Francisco Department of Public Health. Book "M," Aug. 1, 1894-June 30, 1896. Reel #3.|
To help you search these records, Barbara Ross Close and Vernon Deubler have alphabetized and abstracted them in San Francisco Deaths, 1865-1905: Abstracts from Surviving Civil Records, published by the California Genealogical Society and available in the San Francisco History Center's reading room.
The second collection is a set of undertaker's registers and datebooks from the firm of J.C. O'Connor, 1882-1919. This sample page shows the names of the deceased, along with their places of burial and itemized list of funeral and burial accoutrements.
|J.C. O'Connor undertaker's register, Nov. 9, 1882-Feb. 16, 1896. Reel #1.|
If you'd like to use these collections in person, or if you'd like to explore additional materials on people who have passed, please visit the San Francisco History Center in person during our open hours. For Medical Examiner's and funeral home records, please contact us 24 hours in advance so that we can pull the right books for you from off-site storage.
The blog team wishes our readers a safe, sound, and memorable Day of the Dead.
All images courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.