More Help for Historic Researchers

I thrive on research. I never know what insights I might gain as I wander from book to book and document to document. But sometimes I don't want to wander. I just want an answer, and I don't want distractions: I want it now.

Government records housed at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum.

Enter the computer. . . . → Read More: More Help for Historic Researchers

Where Have All the Records Gone?

Let's say you want to find out how wide the right-of-way is for a road somewhere in San Joaquin County that was created in 1890. What historical sources would you consult? You're right if you said "the county supervisor's records." Where would you go to view them? You get bonus points if you said "the San . . . → Read More: Where Have All the Records Gone?

Genealogy Made Easier

Some of the most tenacious people I know are genealogists. I have the honor of working with genealogists all the time here at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum. Piecing together tiny bits of biographical data from hundreds of different sources can be rewarding. However, I also know from personal experience that it takes lots of . . . → Read More: Genealogy Made Easier

Naked Babies in the Mail

Understanding the past can be hard. Sometimes, we accidentally make it even harder with mistakes that send us sailing off the charts.

Last week, I came across an interesting postcard in the Museum's collections. It dates from the early years of the twentieth century and features a baby posing innocently without a stitch of clothing. Here's the . . . → Read More: Naked Babies in the Mail

Sacramento Archives Crawl 2013

In celebration of National Archives Month, archives and special collections libraries from throughout the Sacramento region will showcase their rarely seen holdings for the public in the Third Annual "Passion for Preservation: Sacramento Archives Crawl." The event occurs on Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Sacramento. Historic treasures from more than twenty . . . → Read More: Sacramento Archives Crawl 2013

Some San Joaquin County “Firsts”

As an anthropologist, I'm not accustomed to thinking in terms of "firsts." But I was asked by the members of the staff at Madden Library at California State University, Fresno, to compile a list for San Joaquin County as part of an exhibition on "firsts" in the greater San Joaquin Valley.

Bidwell-Bartleson party member Charles M. . . . → Read More: Some San Joaquin County “Firsts”

History All Around

Sometimes it's easy to forget that history surrounds us. Look closely, though, and you can see it in structures, bridges, roadways, rivers, and other objects. Each has a story to tell, sometimes reaching back hundreds or thousands of years.

Inside Stockton’s Fox California Theatre, 1932.

San Joaquin County is no exception. Many people don't know that the . . . → Read More: History All Around

Celebrity Names in San Joaquin County

Have you ever wanted to meet your doppelgänger, the person who supposedly looks just like you? I'm not convinced I have one, though a number of friends once told me that some guy in college looked just like me—from behind. How about meeting someone who shares your first and last names? That seems more likely, though . . . → Read More: Celebrity Names in San Joaquin County

On the Edge

Who says history is boring? Lots of people. All too often, conventional wisdom sees history as a disjointed smattering of names, dates, and battles. Often it has tended to equate the study of history with the accomplishments of males. What often gets overlooked, however, is an expanded definition that includes not only stories of men, but . . . → Read More: On the Edge

Harriet Chalmers Adams, Explorer

I have a soft spot for explorers. My interest dates back to childhood, when I poured over old black-and-white issues of National Geographic while visiting my grandparents in Berkeley. It wasn't hard for me to close my eyes, slip on an imaginary pith helmet, and see myself hacking my way through virgin forests to dig up . . . → Read More: Harriet Chalmers Adams, Explorer