S.F. Mortuary Records Rise From the Dead

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Family Search Indexing LogoIn a cooperative effort with, the San Francisco Public Library, the Genealogical Society of Utah and FamilySearch Indexing, the California Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the start of the San Francisco Mortuary Records Indexing Project. The project is the culmination of two years’ work by the entities involved, to bring the digital images of thousands of mortuary records, stored by the Halsted Gray Mortuary in San Francisco, to researchers all over the world. The records are a significant genealogical find because of the richness of their detail and the miraculous way they survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

The records include the complete holdings of the first mortuary in San Francisco, undertakers N. Gray & Co., from the day it opened – July 1, 1850. In all, the project includes the surviving records, up to 1920, of several mortuaries that merged with either Halsted or Gray, over the years. The records include notations from financial ledgers, cemetery records, removal records and headstone notations. Many have obituary clippings.

Rose Pierson of Family Search Indexing has been working diligently to ready the project for volunteers. The CGS project is now listed on the Current Projects page (scroll down to the bottom and look for the CGS logo.)

The Project Home Page gives three digital examples of how the records look and has a link to project-specific indexing instructions. Please take advantage of the training tutorials located under the “Help” tab.

I’ll have more to say about the project in the coming days and I will report on my own indexing experience. (I did some beta testing and I guarantee you will be thrilled with the kind of information you will find.) I encourage everyone to use the comments section at the bottom of this post to let us know about your experience in the project.

Report On the First 24 Hours – July 22, 2008

Update – Friday, August 1, 2008

Update – February 11, 2011. Watch the YouTube video about our project!



  1. Craig Manson  July 21, 2008

    Am I ever excited about this! I’ll certainly be doing some indexing here and I’ll encourage others as well.

  2. Kathryn Doyle  July 22, 2008

    So glad that you will be involved in the effort. Your GeneaBlogie blog posts on indexing have been so informative. I hope you will blog about your experience with this record set to spread the word.