Now What? Making Substitutions
9/1/2007
How do I find records destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake?

Q. San Francisco's post-1906 court records, including divorces, were indexed, but many of the original documents were destroyed. Is there a way to get the information they contained?

A. Destroyed records - whether ruined by fire, flood, earthquake or carelessness - are the bane of genealogists' existence. Those researching in pre-earthquake San Francisco should see the California Genealogical Society's <www.calgensoc.org> splendid publication Raking the Ashes by Nancy S. Peterson. Peterson addresses pre-earthquake divorce records and lists newspapers that published names of the parties and grounds for divorce. She also describes how to locate other records that survived.