Tuesday, November 3, 2009

San Francisco Funeral Home Records

The LDS FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site recently added the San Francisco (CA) Funeral Home Records, 1831-1935. The description of the records says:

"This project was indexed in partnership with the California Genealogical Society and Library. Name index and images of funeral home records from the Halsted N. Gray - Carew & English Mortuary Collection, located at the San Francisco Public Library. Images for all years in collection can be browsed, but name index currently covers only years 1896-1931. Collection includes a number of different funeral homes acquired over time by the Halsted N. Gray - Carew & English Mortuary company, most from the San Francisco area, but also including some from Burlingame, Stockton, and Sacramento. The collection includes funeral register books, burial registers, account books, case books, etc. Indexes appear at the beginning of some volumes."

My wife, Linda, is from San Francisco, and has several San Francisco families dating back before 1900 - with surnames McKnew, Schaffner, Paul and Whittle.

I tried to find funeral home records for these surnames, and the only one from her direct line was this one for Dora Schaffner, widow of Frederick Schaffner, who died 11 April 1904:

The information in this record can be very helpful for genealogy researchers. The information written on the record included:

* For the Funeral of: _Dora Schaffner_
* To be charged to: _Estate_ _112 Scott St._
* Date of Funeral: _April 13th 04_
* Place of Death: _112 Scott St._
* Date of Death: _April 11th 04_
* Occupation of the Deceased: _Housewife_
* Cause of Death: _Fatty Degeneration of the heart_
* Place of Birth: _Germany_
* Date of Birth: _Sept 20th 1838
* Married
* Religion: _Prot_
* Aged: _65_ Years _6_ Months _20_ Days
* Funeral Services at: _112 Scott St_
* Clergyman: _Rev. Crocuke_
* Certifying Physician: _Dr. Weiss_
* His Office: _Union Sq._
* Interment: _I.O.O.F._
* Who Conducted Funeral: _Fred_

* Price of Casket = $175.00
* Embalming Body = $15.00
* Singer - Knich Quart =. $30.00
* 10 Folding Chairs
* 6 Lifters, @$2.50 = $15.00
* Number of Carriages: 6 @ $4.00 = $24.00
* Hearse = $10.00
* Death Notices in Newspapers = $6.00
* Outlay for Lot - Opening Niche for Ashes = $6.50
* Cremation Fee = $25.00
* Rev. Krocuke = $10.00
* Total footing of Bill = $316.50
* May 31st 1904 By Cash in Full = $296.50

Other lines on the form, which were not filled in, included:

* Position as Member in Family
* Name of Father
* His birthplace
* Name of Mother
* Her Birthplace
* Lot or Grave No.
* Section No.

From this record, I was able to add Dora's birth date, death date, residence address, and burial location to my genealogy database. Unfortunately, the record did not include her parents names.

Note also that there is a brief newspaper obituary pasted to the bottom of the funeral home record.

Check out the funeral expenses. An interesting list that provides some idea of what things cost in San Francisco in 1904.


Mel said...

I've always been a big fan of researching funeral home records. Often you learn more about the person than the cemetery records.

I can't want until more records get indexed in this collection. I found out that my Gr Grandfather, Thomas A. Jones, had a brother by finding the Funeral Home record at familysearch.org.

David said...

Thanks for writing about this; I just found a handful of records. One in particular is most helpful.

Unknown said...

Records are often in image formats scanned Pdf, jpeg, tiff diffciult to search by text.
one way to search text of scanned images is click http://www.onlinedocumentconversion.com/ upload, convert to rtf or text formats & then search text in MS Word. 24x7, Paypal, few cents per page is worth it.

Caution! Avoid Free sites or sites with no after sales support e.g.

Kathryn Doyle said...

So glad you found some information but I'm distressed to realize that you have never searched the Names Index database on the California Genealogical Society website. If you had you would have already known about the IOOF records for Dora and Frederick. We have records for the four surnames you mentioned. We need to get you up here to Oakland for a day of digging!

Anonymous said...

Do you know if the records include United Undertakers Parlor in San Francisco?