San Francisco Genealogy
A Research Journey with Ron Filion

IN SEARCH OF. . . A.W. Barron.
December 2002

A.W. Barron, 1882The Photograph.

I was browsing in an excellent local bookstore (Argonaut Book Shop) one day and came across an interesting picture from yesteryear. It was of a handsome man with a bushy mustache in a tweed suit. So, who was this dapper young man? Would I be able to find his family and descendants? On the picture there were two clues:

(1) a slip of paper which appeared to be newspaper printed with "BARRON-STEWART-In this city, December 30, A. W. Barron to Nettie Stewart." is pasted on the bottom of the photograph; and,

(2) on the back of the photo was printed with "Elite Photographic Studio; 838 Market Street; Opposite Fourth; San Francisco, Cal.; Jones, Rulofson & Co., Prop'rs."

Although the photography studio would probably not be able to supply any information (as they seemingly disappeared in 1906), it suggests strongly that "In this city..." referred to San Francisco.

What does "A.W." represent, and is "Nettie" her formal name or a nickname?

Our first two stops would be the Internet and San Francisco Main Library's Magazine and Newspaper Center & History Center.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. - Sherlock Holmes.

Marriage Indexes.

As most San Francisco researchers know, birth and marriage records prior to 1905 were destroyed in the great 1906 disaster. So, we have to search other sources for this information. Although an attempt to re-record marriages was made, it is quite minimal. The only other place where marriage information is available is from the newspapers. Luckily, we have had a number of excellent ones in San Francisco over the years, including (but not limited to) the Alta, Bulletin, Call, Chronicle and Examiner.

There are currently three online marriage/newspaper indexes and collections:

On microfilm, microfiche, and books, there are other indexes which have marriage information: Some of these don't cover the years we need. San Francisco Genealogy - Marriage Notices didn't list any references to "A.W. Barron." But, he is listed in The San Francisco Call Database!
Barron, A.W. ... married in 1880 to Stewart, Nettie ... 1881M-204
This is our guy and gal! We could contact Mr. Faulkinbury (owner of the The San Francisco Call Database), request the actual date of the newspaper that this was listed, and pay a fee. However, since we already know when he was married, this narrows it down considerably for us. It was probably printed within a week of the event. (Note: Newspapers, in addition to marriage announcements, also have printed marriage license registration notices.)

I checked the Alta, Bulletin, Call, Chronicle and Examiner newspapers. Although the notices in the newspapers tend to be generally the same, there can be differences: more information or no information! See what I mean?

"BARRON-STEWART-In this city, December 30, A. W. Barron to Nettie Stewart." - Call and Alta

"BARRON-STEWART-In this city, December 30, by Rev. Robert Mackenzie, A. W. Barron of San Francisco, to Nettie Stewart of Los Angeles." - Examiner and Chronicle

"BARRON-STEWART-In this city, December 30, by Rev. Robert Mackenzie, A. W. Barron of San Francisco, to Nettie Stewart of Los Angeles, Cal. [No cards.]" - Bulletin

Barron-Stewart marriage notice in Call newspaper

The text and spacing of the notice from the Call is the only one that looks exactly like the one pasted on our photograph!

So, what next? Well, we need to see if we can decipher what "A.W." represents. Also, what church and religion did Rev. Mackenzie represent? Let's go to the city directories.

There is nothing like first-hand evidence. - Sherlock Holmes

City Directories.

The city directories (published by various companies such as Polk, Crocker and Langley) for San Francisco are available back to 1846 for most years. These are invaluable!  Not only do they often list where a person lived, relatives can be cross-referenced with the same address; the death of husband can be noted when widows are first listed; and, from about 1914, spouses were beginning to be listed along with their husbands.

Though some of the city directories are currently online, it is sometimes easier to search the actual books at the library (they are also available on microfilm). I started with 1880 and worked forward and backward,  listing all the male Barron's whose first name began with an "A" (and didn't have a middle initial different from "W"):

1875  none
1876-77  Barron, A., dwl 636 Commercial
1877-78  Barron, Arthur W., start Market St. RR, dwl 139 Fourth
1878-79  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, dwl 541 Fourth
1879-80  Barron, Abraham, tailor, 31 Pacific, r. 179 Perry
1879-80  Barron, Albert W., machinist, r. 931 Bryant
1879-80  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, r. 619 Third
1880-81  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, r. 619 Third
1881-82  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, r. 52 Zoe
1883  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, r. 507 Fourth
1884-85  Barron, Arthur W., assistant superintendent Market St. RR, Haight street office, r. Haight and Stanyon
1884-85  Barron, August, compositor, r. 1013 Stockton
1885-86  Barron, Arthur W., assistant superintendent Market St. RR, Haight street office, r. 1186 Haight
1885-86  Barron, August, compositor, r. 1013 Stockton
1886  Barron, Arthur W., assistant superintendent Market St. RR, Haight street office, r. 1186 Haight
1887  Barron, Arthur W., car dispatcher Market St. RR, r. cor. Park Road and Haight
1888  Barron, Arthur W., superintendent Market St. Cable Ry, junction Market and Valencia, r. 456 Seventeenth
1889  not available
1890  Barron, Albert, porter J. A. Lennon, r. Silver Star House
1890  Barron, Arthur W., superintendent Market St. RR, junction Market and Valencia, r. 631 1/2 Guerrero
1891  Barron, Arthur W., superintendent Market St. RR, junction Market and Valencia, r. 631 1/2 Guerrero
1892  Barron, Arthur W., superintendent Market St. RR, junction Market and Valencia, r. 631 1/2 Guerrero
1893  not available
1894  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent Market St. RR, junction Market and Valencia
1895  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, Telephone South 210, r. 822a Dolores
1896  Barron, Albert, master marine, r. 114 Jackson
1896  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. 822a Dolores
1897  Barron, Albert, master marine, r. 114 Jackson
1897  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. 822a Dolores
1898  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. 822a Dolores
1898  Barron, Albert, seaman, r. 114 Jackson
1900  Barron, Albert, seaman, r. 114 Jackson
1900  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. 822a Dolores
1900  Barron, August, expressman, r. 271A Clementina
1901  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. Alameda
1901  Barron, Alfred [sic], seaman, r. 114 Jackson
1902  Barron, Arthur W., division superintendent, Market Street Railway, office junction Market and Valencia, r. Alameda
1903  [Alameda]  Barron, Arthur W., supt SF, r. 1113 Chestnut
1904  [Alameda]  Barron, Arthur W., supt SF, r. 1113 Chestnut
1905  Barron, Arthur W., division supt U RR, Market and Valencia, r. 556 Waller
1905  Barron, Albert, 2d officer str Manchuria
1906  not available
1907  Barron, Arthur W., div supt U RR, r. 1339 Grove
1908-09  no A.W. Barron, Albert Barron, Nettie Barron, or anyone listed at 1339 Grove
1909-10  same as 1908
1911  Barron, Albert, r. 1836 Geary
Well! We may only hope that our A.W. Barron in the picture is Arthur W. Barron (who was working with the Market Street Railway). That would make our research much easier! But, the A.W. may also be Albert the mariner/seaman that is periodically mentioned. Or, he may not have been listed at all, and we are on a wild goose hunt. We must eventually connect a gentleman to Nettie Stewart.

Also, I checked to see if Rev. Robert Mackenzie, mentioned in the marriage notice, was listed. From the 1881 City Directory:

Mackenzie, Robert Rev., D.D., pastor Howard Presbyterian Church, r. 5 Essex Pl.
Howard Presbyterian Church, 1884Howard Presbyterian Church, Rev. Robert Mackenzie pastor, S s Mission, bet Third and Fourth
So, we can presume that A. W. and Nettie may have been Presbyterian and possibly married in that church.

Okay, what's next? Research often has surprising moments of discovery. I tend to find them in general indexes. So, why don't we let our fingers do some skipping.

One should always look for a possible alternative and provide against it. It is the first rule of criminal investigation. - Sherlock Holmes.

General Indexes.

As mentioned above, there are general indexes that may be invaluable.  We can peruse these to see if they contain any pertinent references or clues for A. or A.W. Barron.

In the CAIF, I found the following:
Barron, A.W. Obituary. Daggett's Scrap Book, vol.2--87.
Barron, Alexander. Death; sketch (d. Stockton, May 21, 1964, aged 53). California medicine, v.101, #1, July 1964, p.60.
Barron, Alexandre (physician and surgeon Stockton, Calif.) Sketch. c920.079 W6283, Who's who on the Pacific Coast, 1951.
Barron, Andrew. Beresford Park. Death. Ch 10,15,30  11;4.
Barron, Andrew, Embezzlement charge; Call 8 13 1907  13-1; 8 22 [1907] 3-3 (por); sentenced 10 2 [1907] 16-1.
The first entry for A.W. may be our guy! Unfortunately, it is only available at the California State Library in Sacramento. Alexander is from the wrong era. According to Who's who on the Pacific Coast, Alexandre was born on 12 September 1908. The article for Andrew states:
"Andrew Barron, 80, Dead at Beresford [1930]. Andrew S. Barron, 80, pioneer settler of San Mateo County . . ."
Well, his middle initial is "S," so that rules him out. So, nothing surprising. At the least, we've eliminated a few possibilities.

Our next step? Let's go wandering in the California Death Index. If our guy passed away after 1905, then we would be fortunate. If it was before then, well, that's a whole different story.

Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes.

California Death Index (CADI).

We are very fortunate to the have this index online for 1905 to 2000 (it was created by the State of California in 1906, and lists deaths from 1905 to present), and is also available on microfiche at many libraries. So, here is a list of possibilities with those in bold being the most likely based on the age.

1905-29 (name, age, spouse, date of death, county of death)
Barron, Alexander; 73; spouse: none; 9.16.15; 30
Barron, Alfred; 42; spouse: I.W.; 8.6.20; 21
Barron, Angel; 06; spouse:  none; 6.22.27?; 70
Barrow, Angelo; 33; spouse:  none; 9.7.28; 13
Barrow, Arthur W.; 55; spouse: none; 7.23.08; 70
Barrow, Aurelia; 15; spouse: none; 2.4.24; 70

Barron, Alfonso; 02; spouse: none; 1.15.30; 10
Barron, Alfonso; 26; spouse: none; 9.7.34; 36
Barron, Arthur; 78; spouse: none; 1.27.33; 54

From the birth dates (assuming he was born before 1870), how old they were when they died, and his initials, I was able to eliminate everyone. This is, of course, presuming he died in California!

It is quite possible that our A.W. Barron died between 1882 and 1905, or even in the 1906 Great Disaster. If he did, life would be a little more complicated (or in his case, death). So, here is what available and what we can check as of today: If he was a military veteran, he may have been buried at these local cemeteries: Other resources we could check include: But, we still have a couple of resources to check first outside of this library and off the internet.
There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you. - Sherlock Holmes.

Census Records.

So, we have exhausted many resources and have yet to find a specific connection for A.W. and Nettie. At this point, I decided to go to the census records. As many researchers know, this is the premier source for information. So, why didn't I go there first? Well, everything previously searched was either available on the internet or at the San Francisco Main Library (much of the U.S. Census information and records are starting to become available on-line, but for a fee; though there are some years which are free). Also, the 1890 census is not available. So, the first one we could check is the 1900. But, by 1900, they may had already been divorced, died, or even moved to another state. So, off we go to Sutro Library, the designated genealogical library for San Francisco!

So, first, we converted BARRON to the soundex code, B650, and pulled the 1900 U.S. Census Soundex microfilm. Fortunately, it is sorted alphabetically and we just have to search the A's! Again, eliminating anyone with middle initials different from "W," our first hit is: Barron, Alexander, born Dec 1842, married to Margaret W. Okay, not our guy. Then, comes the Eureka! moment every genealogist lives for:

1900 Census Soundex Card for Arthur W. BarronBarron, Arthur W.; born Feb 1853, Michigan; address 1113 Chestnut, Alameda.
wife: Barron, Nettie; born Oct 1855, Wisconsin
son: Barron, Edwin S.; born Oct 1885, California
Finally! A connection between an A.W. and Nettie. But, we can't rest on our laurels yet. There was always a possibility that another couple may fit the information. So, I went through the rest of the A's and nobody else matched. I then went to the actual record and found the additional information:

They were married for 19 years (4 June 1900 minus 30 December 1880), so that matches. Nettie was the mother of two (2) children, with one (1) living. The birthplaces of their mothers and fathers are listed, along with Arthur's occupation: R. R. Supt., and a few other tidbits of information. It also mentions that they were renting their home (they were over across the bay in Alameda on Chestnut street. Why? That was a long commute!).

When I got home, I realized I could also check the 1880 Census  to see if A.W. was listed in San Francisco before he married Nettie. With the index for the 1880 census online at the FamilySearch website, I did a search for Arthur Barron. Only one appeared for California. The following entry and information appeared:

Name: Arthur W. BARRON, birth year: 1854, age: 26, Occupation: Asst. Supt. St. Car Line, Marital Status: S, Race: W, Head of Household: Frank E. FLINT, Relation: Other, Father's birthplace: NY, Mother's birthplace: NY.
I contacted Dorothy Bellmer, someone who I had helped in the past with funeral notices, to take a look at what was transcribed on the FamilySearch CD for the 1880 census. Here is what was listed:
Frank E. FLINT  Self  M  M  W  57  MA; Occ: Supt. Street Car Line  Fa: MA  Mo: MA
Althea L. FLINT Wife  F  M  W  38  MA; Occ: Keeping House  Fa: MA  Mo: MA
Frank P. FLINT  Son  M  S  W  17  MA;  Occ: Paper Dealer  Fa: MA  Mo: MA
Motley H. FLINT  Son  M  S  W  15  MA;  Occ: Clerk In Store  Fa: MA  Mo: MA
Arthur W. BARRON  Other  M  S  W  26  MI;  Occ: Asst. Supt. St. Car Line  Fa: NY  Mo: NY
Jane C. PARKER  Other  F  S  W  18  CA;  Occ: Servant  Fa: VT  Mo: NY
I am a big believer in having copies of the original documents (you never know if a transcriber might have made a mistake or whether any information is missing). So, I pulled the microfilm at the San Francisco Main Library (I used the National Archives Film number to determine which one to use, as they don't use the Family History Center (FHC) numbering). The information was generally the same as above. The only significant information missing was that the street names were also included in the original. In this case, that was "Third."

So, in this census, we find out that A.W.'s parents are from New York. Also, A.W. is listed as a boarder in Frank Flint's house (Flint was listed at 619 Third in the 1879-80 City Directory). Mr. Flint was listed as a Superintendent-Street Car line, while A.W. was an Assistant Supertindent-Street Car Line. I think we can presume that Flint was A.W.'s supervisor. Was A.W. "in like Flint"?

The faculty of deduction is certainly contagious. - Sherlock Holmes.

Looking for dead people...

Potentially, one of the more important pieces of genealogical information would be an obituary or death notice. What's the difference? A death notice was basically a funeral notice and often included information on surviving relatives. Obituaries were practically miniature biographies. Today, these have generally merged.

According to the CADI above, there appears to be a perfect entry as the age for Arthur W. (died 7.23.08) matches. Unfortunately, it states that he died in Los Angeles County and that he had no spouse (maybe she died before him?). But, since he lived and worked in San Francisco, there is a possibility his passing was mentioned in the local newspapers. So, by manually searching the individual newspapers for about a week from the date of death, I did not find any notices. But, serendipitously, his passing was mentioned in an article (with a picture)!

A.W. Barron, Who Is Dead at Monrovia (California)"Pioneer Street-Railway Man Dies

"Division Superintendent Began as Driver on Old Horse Car Line.

"A.W. Barron, a division superintendent for the United Railroads and a pioneer street-railroad man, died Friday at Monrovia, after a short illness. Barron started as a driver when but 20 years of age, on the Market-street and Hayes Valley horse-car lines running on Market street, and continued in the street transportation business for thirty-four years until June 1st, when he was retired on a pension.

"When the Market-street horse lines were changed to a cable system Barron was made general superintendent, and was later given charge of the Powell and Howard street cable lines when these roads were consolidated with the Market Street Railway Company.

"When the United Railroads acquired the street railways Barron was continued as division superintendent of the Market street cable lines. After the fire he was transferred to the McAllister-street electric division.

"Barron was 54 years of age at the time of his death. He leaves a son, residing in this city. He was a member of Mission Lodge of Masons and his funeral will be conducted by the fraternity."

So, it appears that his son (Edwin S.?) was residing in San Francisco. Also, he was to be buried by the Freemasons; but, was that to be in San Francisco or Monrovia?

Fortunately, the San Francisco Main Library also has the Los Angeles Daily Times on microfilm. I found the following death/funeral notice:

Funeral Notice for A.W. Barron, Los Angeles Daily Times

"BARRON. In Monrovia, at his residence on Mayflower avenue, July 23, 1908, Arthur W. Barron, father of Edwin S. Barron, and son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Stewart of Los Angeles, aged 55 years, a native of Niles, Mich.  Funeral services in Monrovia, Saturday, July 25, at 3 o'clock.  Interment, Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles. San Francisco papers please copy."
So, why didn't the San Francisco newspapers copy? Anyway, now we know where he was buried! But, again, Nettie was not mentioned, even though her parents seem to have been.

Okay, so, let's review what we have discovered so far.

We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations. - Sherlock Holmes.

Mother, Sons and Brothers.

Nettie Barron: According to the CADI, newspaper article and funeral notice, there was no spouse mentioned for A.W. Did she pass away or were they divorced? Unfortunately, there are no divorce records before 1906. Although I have transcribed divorce notices from the San Francisco newspapers (1856-1862, 1882-85, 1889), they aren't within the 1900 to 1908 timeframe we need. There is also no Nettie Barron listed in the 1905-29 CADI. So, she may have passed away between 1900 and 1905. I could do a search through the San Francisco Record of Deaths for that time period. But first, let's follow her husband's trail and see if we can find a date. She may have been buried with her husband in the Rosedale Cemetery.

Edwin S. Barron: I checked The San Francisco Call Database and found the following item:

Barron, son of A.W. ... born in 1884 ... 1884B-128
But, according to the 1900 Census, he was born in October 1885. Maybe this is the other child mentioned in the 1900 census (who must have died before then)? So, I checked various newspapers for a birth notice in October 1885, without any luck. But, I did find the one in the Call newspaper in October 1884:

"BARRON-In this city, October 4, to the wife of A.W. Barron, a son."
How coincidental that there was a birth in the same month of October! (By the way, this may be the only evidence of one of the children's birth in San Francisco.) So, who was the other child? According to The San Francisco Call Database, there may be a couple of possibilities:
Barron, Joseph ... died in 1884 ... age -- ... 1884D-198
Barron, Louis ... died in 1885 ... age -- ... 1885D-195
Unfortunately, the Record of Deaths only has an index of Coroner reports for the years 1882 to 1889. But, it is possible that one these boys came to his attention. There was only one Barron listed:
May 4; Barron, James F., age: 4; single; nativity: California; Cause of death: Injuries/Fall; Last Place of Residence: 630 Broadway St.; Remarks: infant.
Well, after cross-checking the city directories, death notices, and a short newspaper article, this boy appears to be the son of John Baron, 630 Broadway. In fact, the boy's name seems to have been Joseph Philip Baron!

So, if I want more information on the Barron's listed above, I will have to check every issue of a newspaper for 1884 and 1885, or pay a fee for the records.

A.W.'s newspaper article about his death mentioned that Edwin S. was possibly residing in San Francisco in 1908. I checked the city directories. Unfortunately, there was no Edwin Barron's living in here at the time. In later years, a few Edwin Barron's do appear, but never an "Edwin S." So, was Edwin living in Monrovia during 1908? With a quick call to the Monrovia Public Library, we get the following information:

1908  Barron, A.W., Div Supt URR, r. 173 N. Mayflower
1908  Barron, E. S., telegraph operator, r. 173 N. Mayflower
I also searched the CADI and only one entry appears for an Edwin S.:
BARRON, Edwin S., Fresno, spouse E, died 29 March 1921
So, if this is our guy, how did he end up in Fresno and who was his wife? More importantly, did he have any children!?

Since Fresno is not very close, I will have to find a volunteer from there. Fortunately, there are a number of volunteer lists on the internet. Each list has a number of generous people who will do searches through many different resources.

Barron Brothers?

A great way to find family members is to cross-reference city directories for addresses. For example, in the 1877-78 City Directory I found the following:

1877-78  Barron, Arthur W., start Market St. RR, dwl 139 Fourth
1877-78  Barron, F.T., pantryman Lick House
1877-78  Barron, James, dwl 139 Fourth
1877-78  Barron, Melville V., cigar dealer, dwl 139 Fourth
1877-78  Barron, William, dwl 139 Fourth

1878-79  Barron, Arthur W., assistant supt Fifth St. Branch Market St. RR, dwl 541 Fourth
1878-79  Barron, Frederick T., telegraph operator, dwl 541 Fourth
1878-79  Barron, Melville, driver Omnibus R.R., dwl 256 Tehama

Frederick, James, Melville, and William may be brothers, fathers, or cousins. Unfortunately, there are a couple of other James & William Barron's in the city at the same time, so it would be difficult to follow them throughout the years. Frederick and Melville didn't appear in the years after 1878-79.
Any truth is better than indefinite doubt. - Sherlock Holmes.


Let's go back to the suspect, er, Arthur W. Barron. If we can determine who is buried (if anyone) with him, then we might also find his wife and son! There is a partial transcription of gravestones for Rosedale Cemetery at the Los Angeles CAGW site. Although there are plenty of Barron's, there were none of ours (that we know of yet!). So, since I don't live near Los Angeles, I have called upon a wonderful volunteer, Suzanne Henderson, from the RAOGK list. She had graciously agreed to go over to Rosedale Cemetery and photograph A.W.'s tombstone.

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. - Sherlock Holmes.

Barron-Stewart-Hall tombstone in Rosedale Cemetery, L.A.Pictures from Rosedale Cemetery!

The envelope please! Along with photographs of Nettie and Arthur Barron's tombstones, Ms. Henderson included a "Lot Record"! Here is what information was included:

Owner: John M. Stewart
Grave: 3SW, 7.26.1966, MOORE, William
Grave: 2SW, 8.29.1907, BARRON, Nettie Stewart
Grave: 1SW, 7.25.1908, BARRON, Arthur Walter
Grave: 3NE, 1.30.1913, STEWART, Melissa Augusta
Grave: 3SE, 1.4.1913,  STEWART, John M.
Grave: 2SE, 6.9.1965,  HALL, Bertha
Grave: 1SE, 12.5.1947, HALL, Hubbard K.
SO, now we have learned a few more pieces of information: primarily, Nettie's general date of death and A.W.'s middle name. But, we have a couple new questions: who is William Moore and the Hall's? (For Hall family info, take a look at "More of the story..." at the end.) Also, a question we will probably never answer, why didn't Nettie appear in the CADI!? No Barron (or Baron) died on that date, nor was Nettie listed under Stewart. A very strange affair indeed. Sometimes, if there was a coroner's inquest, there wasn't a death certificate. Was this the case?
Arthur W. Barron tombstone, Rosedale Cemetery, L.A.
Nettie Stewart Barron tombstone, Rosedale Cemetery, L.A.

Since we have Nettie's burial date, her death date shouldn't be too far beforehand. Assuming that she probably died in Monrovia, I searched the Los Angeles Daily Times and found an obit for her:

Funeral Notice for Nettie Stewart Barron, Los Angeles Daily Times

"BARRON. At Monrovia, Cal., August 27, Nettie Stewart Barron, aged 51 years, beloved wife of A. W. Barron of San Francisco, mother of Edwin S. Barron, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Stewart, and sister of Mrs. C. H. Hall of Los Angeles. Funeral Services from NO. 512 West Thirtieth street on Thursday, August 29, 3 p.m. Interment, Rosedale Cemetery."
So, the Hall's were probably children of Nettie's sister.
We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination. - Sherlock Holmes.

News from Fresno!

An excellent volunteer, Carolee Hanson, from the RAOGK found this information about Edwin S. Barron's death from the public records at the Fresno County Assessor-Recorder's Office:

"He was married to Estelle.  His date of birth was 4 Oct. 1888, date of death 29 Mar 1921.  Age at death was 32 yrs 5 mos and 25 days.  His father was Arthur W.  Barron who was born in Michigan and his mother Nettie Stewart and her place of birth was Wisconsin.  Edwin died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.  The burial site was Mt. View [Cemetery], service conducted by Lisle & Ross.  Date of Burial was 31 Mar. 1921."
This is definitely our guy, and he died at such a young age. But, why is his birthdate listed as 1888? According to the 1900 census, it was 1885. Maybe this was a typo ("8" for a "5") that proliferated? Or, maybe he just wanted to be younger. You may also note that the actual day, October 4, matches the birth notice we found. . .but, for 1884!

Estelle, Edwin's spouse, doesn't appear in the CADI. She is either still alive (and well over 100 years old), moved out of California, remarried!?, or may just not be listed (remember Nettie, A.W.'s wife?). If we knew Estelle's maiden name, we could do a search of the California Birth Index (CABI) and possibly find children. So, how would we find her maiden name? If they had been married in San Francisco, I would just search through the marriage indexes at the Assessor-Recorder's office. But, they were probably married in Monrovia, Los Angeles County. According to the Los Angeles Register-Record/County Clerk, they have marriage records back to 1856, but will only search for a fee. We could also try to find a volunteer.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a death notice in the local newspaper for him. If there was a coroner's report, it may have listed family members under witnesses; and, of course, a will or probate record may have also listed family.

I also checked the Fresno city directories around 1921 (at Sutro Library) to see what else we may learn about Edwin:

1915  not listed
1916  not listed
1917  Barron, Edwin S, colr [collector] Gearhart Oil Burner Co.
1918  Barron, Edwin S, r. 2417 Tyler
1919  Barron, Edw, clk, r 1256 J
1920  Barron, Edw, clk, Fresno Plumbing Supp Co., h 726 Lincoln
1921  Barron, Edw, lab, h 726 Lincoln
1922  not listed
So, it appears that he probably didn't move to Fresno until 1917.
If a herd of buffaloes had passed along, there could not be a greater mess. - Sherlock Holmes

Miscellaneous records.

Sanborn Insurance Map, 1886, combined sectionsIf you've managed to read this far, you've learned alot about Arthur Walter (A.W.) Barron, his family and his life. Hopefully, you learned about a new resource you didn't know about. But, as you may imagine, there are still a few resources that we haven't discussed yet. Here are some of them:

It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles. - Sherlock Holmes

Field Trip.

Sometimes a research project just grips you and makes you want to help it along. So, I decided Fresno was just a day trip away. . .

My first stop was the cemetery were Edwin S. Barron was buried: Mountain View Cemetery. When they had him listed under "Edward," I knew that wasn't a good sign (Estelle Barron wasn't listed either). They had no exact plot number, just a general area (St. James - Improved). So, I searched the whole area without any success. So, I'm thinking to myself, what a poor guy...can't even get his name right, no wife and no tombstone.

My second stop was the Hall of Records. I wanted to see if an autopsy was noted on Edwin's death certificate. It wasn't. So, it was probably likely there wasn't a coroner's report. It was also mentioned on the certificate that he was in a physician's care for 2½ months! from 11 January through 29 March, most likely at the County Hospital where he died.

My third stop was the Fresno County Library's California History and Genealogy Room. After going through one newspaper without success, I tried the Fresno Herald. Then I had another one of those Eureka! moments, but this one came with a surprise.

"Barron Funeral Services To Be Held Tomorrow. Funeral services for Edwin S. Barron, who died yesterday morning, will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock from Lisle & Rose chapel, interment in Mountain View cemetery. Barron had lived in Fresno for several years before his death was in the employment of the Fresno Plumbing Supply Company. He leaves a nine-year-old daughter and an aunt, Mrs. C. H. Hall, in Los Angeles. The deceased was 37 years old and a native of California."
He had a daughter! But, where was the wife? She's not mentioned here (just like his mother in his father's obit).

My last stop was the Fresno Municipal and Superior Court Archives. I thought if there was a record as to what happened to Miss Barron (an adoption maybe?), it might exist here. Unfortunately, she didn't appear in the Archive's index for 1921; and, all adoptions are sealed. So, the locations of the mother and daughter are a mystery.

Genealogy is a neverending story, but this article must now come to an end.

There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps. - Sherlock Holmes


I hope you enjoyed our little journey. My goal was to access only free sources and the generosity of other volunteers. As for A.W. Barron's photograph, I may never find how it came back to San Francisco. But, maybe it was a gift to a friend or relative and had never left?

Ron Filion,
San Francisco, December 2002.

[28 February 2003. A.W. Barron's photograph was personally returned to his great-granddaughter. - RF]

[12 February 2006. Updates: minor edits, various link additions and corrections.]

At present I am, as you know, fairly busy, but I propose to devote my declining years to the composition of a textbook which shall focus the whole art of detection into one volume. - Sherlock Holmes.

Return to San Francisco Genealogy

MORE OF THE STORY... Going Backwards.

When looking into A.W. Barron's life, we have pretty much concentrated going forward in time from when he arrived in San Francisco. But, what about his past?

Niles, Michigan, circa 1868Fortunately, the Library of Michigan [abolished in 2009, now maintained by Michigan Department of Education] has the 1870 U.S. Federal Census index and images online! We already know that he came from Niles, Michigan. After a quick lookup for the county name (Berrien County), a search and download of a census page, we have:

Barron, Arthur; 19; Male; White; Railroad Baggage man; Place of birth: Michigan
---------, Melville; 16; Male; White; Clerk in Store; Place of birth: Michigan
---------, Frederick; 14; Male; White; Place of birth: Michigan; Attended school within the year.
The Barron's were living with Mr. M. D. Gragg, a railroad freight agent, his wife and four children. So, it also appears that A.W. had experience with the railroad before coming out west. But, where were his parents? There didn't appear to be anyone else in the vicinity who would have been them.

Well, off we go back to Sutro Library to see if we can find them in the 1860 census. Unfortunately, they don't have a census index for that year for Michigan! We could do a mind-numbing search through the actual census and hope we find them. But, why? I found a superb volunteer, Vicky Greig, from the Berrien County, Michigan GenWeb site. I was only expecting a page number, but she found much more:

Barron, Walter S.; 34; Male; White; Produce Dealer; Place of birth: New York
---------, Margaret J; 25; Female; White; Place of birth: New York
---------, Arthur W.; 7; Male; White; Place of birth: Michigan
---------, Melvile V? ; 5; Male; White; Place of birth: Michigan
---------, Fredrick J.; 3; Male; White; Place of birth: Michigan
So, now we have the names of Arthur's parents. But, we still don't know what happened to them. Ms. Greig searched a few different indexes and came to an interesting conclusion:
"...I have an index for the probate records for minors in Berrien Co. ...[The children's]  names are listed, their parents...and the guardian who is caring for them...the year this took place and the file number:
Barron, Arthur W. / Gragg, Margaret J. / Gragg, Margaret J. / 1870 / 1233
Barron, Fred T.  / Gragg, Margaret J. / Gragg, Margaret J. / 1870 / 1233
Barron, Melville V. /  Gragg, Margaret J./ Gragg, Margaret J.  / 1870 / 1233
I also found these marriage records in the Berrien Co. Index:
Barron, Walter S. - Westervelt, Margaret J. 6/10/1852
Gragg, Mortimer D. - Barron, Judson  9/8/1869 (368)
I really believe that Margret was Margret Judson Westervelt. Walter must have died [or divorced], and Margret and Mortimer D., who's wife also must have died [or divorced], married Margret and cared for her children.

I believe Margret J. married Mortimer D. Gragg (listed as M.D. Gragg in [the] 1870 census) and the children then lived with them, based on the 1870 census... I also think it is possible that Judson shown is Margret who's middle name started with  J..."

Ms. Greig also found Walter S. Barron listed in the Registered Voters list in October 1864, but his death doesn't appear in the Michigan Death Index which started after 1867. So, we may presume that he died between 1864 and 1867.

To conclude, it appears that Arthur's father died when Arthur was between 10 to 12 years old. His mother remarried in 1869 to Mortimer Gragg, who was a Chief Clerk with the Michigan Central Railroad. So, Arthur went to work with his stepfather in the railroad business and eventually made a career out of it. Anyone want to figure out why he came to San Francisco?

In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically.  - Sherlock Holmes.

Church Records.

So, I was browsing through the San Francisco Public Library History Center's book collection again. This is a good thing to do occasionally, even if you believe you know about every book there. I found a great book, "The Presbyterian Church in California, 1847-1927." Although it doesn't mention the Barron family, it does have some references to Rev. Mackenzie, the gentleman who married them. Unfortunately, there were no photographs of him.

As I was looking for more books on the Presbyterian Church, I found a gem that I had forgotten: "A Guide to Church Vital Statistics Records in California," dated 1942. As part of a California State Work Projects Administration project, a guide was put together listing the locations of church records for each church in the San Francisco and Alameda area! Well, we know that the Howard Presbyterian Church is gone, so how would this help? According to the guide, a book, "Baptisms 1850-1892, Vol. 1" was located at the First Church of San Anselmo. What was it doing up there (in Marin county)?  I telephoned the church in San Anselmo. They were not aware of the book. So, was it an error in the guide or maybe it's just hidden in a bookcase somewhere?

Register of Church Members.
Now, you probably thought this story was done. Well, I did. The next day I was fixing a link for FHC's "California Research Guide." As I scrolled down the page, I noticed that the San Francisco Theological Seminary Library was listed as a Presbyterian repository. Nobody mentioned this place. So, I looked up the phone number and gave them call. Did they have the volume I wanted? Of course! Isn't serendipity beautiful?

They had a number of books for the Howard Presbyterian Church, including their first records (they were founded on 28 August 1850). The two books that I was interested in were the Membership Roll 1850-1896 and Records of Sessions 1865-1883. The first book had sections for a "Register of Church Members," "Alphabetical Register," "Dimissions," "Infant Baptisms," "Marriages," and "Deaths." There was nothing listed in the marriage and death sections. The librarian mentioned that the Reverends sometimes kept their own books which they took with them when they left.

Unfortunately, none of the Barron children were listed under the baptisms, and there was nothing listed under marriages and deaths. A.W. Barron was not listed anywhere. However, Nettie and her parents were listed in "Dismissions." It is my understanding that this is the church that they either transferred from or to. In this case, it would appear that the "Cong. ch. Los Angeles" is the one they came from.

1871, Oct 7, J. M. Stewart, [record] 711, [to whom dismissed] Cong. ch. Los Angeles
1871, Oct 7, Mrs. M. A. Stewart, [record] 706, [to whom dismissed] Cong. ch. Los Angeles
1871, Oct 7, Miss Nettie Stewart, [record] 715, [to whom dismissed] Cong. ch. Los Angeles
So, cross-referencing to the "Register of Church Members,"
706, Mrs. Melissa A. Stewart, Baptised, [Remarks:] Dismissed Oct. 7, 1871
711, John M. Stewart, [not baptised], [Remarks:] Dismissed Oct. 7, 1871
715, Miss Nettie Stewart, Baptised, [Remarks:] s.s. Dismissed Oct. 7, 1871
In the "Alphabetical Register" in the B section and cross-referenced with the"Register of Church Members," I found the following:
[record] 1268, 1882  Aug 6, Mrs. Nettie Barron, nee Stewart, page of record - 531, Received by: Cert.
So, I looked this up in the Records of Sessions,
"Session met August 6th 1882 before morning service...The following persons were examined and unanimously received into membership in the church. On conferrion of faith...Mrs. Nettie Barron nee Stewart[,] Los Angeles M E Ch...."
So, Nettie didn't become a "full" member of the church until almost two years after she was married there and probably had attended since she was a child from 1871.

Although we didn't find any answers for their children, we did find other tidbits of information!

What do the public, the great unobservant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of analysis and deduction!  - Sherlock Holmes.

The Hall Family.

You may recall that in the Rosedale Cemetery plot where A.W. and Nettie Barron were buried, there were two Hall's:

Grave: 2SE, 6.9.1965,  HALL, Bertha
Grave: 1SE, 12.5.1947, HALL, Hubbard K.
As part of determining the name of Edwin Barron's aunt, Mrs. C.H. Hall, I thought she may be connected to these two. I found their funeral notices in the L.A. Times and discovered that they were brother and sister. Unfortunately, there was no mention of any "C.H." So, how were the Stewart's connected to the Hall's? Through a daughter possibly? I went through the CADI and searched for any Hall's with a father named Stewart. From five candidates, only one was born in California (in Los Angeles) and her name was Grace Stewart Hall. I found her funeral notice and she was indeed the sister-in-law of Bertha and Hubbard Hall.

As an afterthought, and what I probably should have done in the first place was check the U.S. Census! I had John M. and Melissa A. Stewart's names. So, I did a search through the 1880 census and, viola!, there was Grace:

John M. STEWART     Self  M Male   W 52 NH  Nurseryman     MA  NH
Melissa A. STEWART  Wife  M Female W 43 NY  Keeping House  NY  CAN
Grace STEWART       Dau   S Female W  9 CA  At School      NH  NY
The census placed them back in Los Angeles. So, now we know that the Stewart's had moved back to L.A., while Nettie Stewart Barron was still in San Francisco.

Ron Filion,
San Francisco, December 2002.

It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this, I have endeavoured in my case to do. - Sherlock Holmes


Thanks to the following individuals: Julia Christy, Pamela Storm, Suzanne Henderson, Carolee Hanson, Vicky Greig, Dorothy Bellmer, Reverend Larry James, Jim Faulkinbury, James Gillespie,  Justina Cook, Jerrie Hofius, and, of course, A. W.  Barron and family!

Also, thanks to the following institutions: San Francisco Public Library, Sutro Library, San Francisco Theological Seminary Library, Monrovia Public Library, Library of Michigan, Niles Community Library,  Fresno County Library, and the Fresno Municipal & Superior Court Archives.

Rosedale Cemetery (2002)  photographs used by permission of Suzanne Henderson.
Howard Presbyterian Church (1884) photograph used by permission of the San Francisco Public Library History Center.


1906 Deaths (card index). San Francisco Main Library History Center.
A Guide to Church Vital Statistics Records in California, The Northern California Historical Records Survey Project, California State Work Projects Administration, 1942, page 12.
California Birth Index 1905-1995, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
California Death Index 1905-2000, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
California Marriage Index 1949-1985, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
California Information File 1846 to 1985 (CAIF), California State Library, Sacramento, California.
Daily Alta California, "Married," San Francisco, California,  1 January 1881, page 4.
Death Index 1869-1929, Berrien County Historical Association, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Marriage Index 1831-1929, Berrien County Historical Association, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Evening Bulletin,  "Married," San Francisco, 31 December 1880, page 3.
Fresno City Book #11, page 453, Fresno County Assessor-Recorder's Office, Fresno, California.
Fresno City Directories, various years and editors.
Fresno Herald, "Barron Funeral Services To Be Held Tomorrow." Fresno, California, 30 March 1921, page 9.
Great Register of the City and County of San Francisco, Tenth Ward, 1 August 1876.
Great Register of the City and County of San Francisco, Tenth Ward, 1 August 1877, pages 5 and 6.
Howard Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, Membership Roll 1850-1896.
Howard Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, Records of Sessions 1865-1883.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Deaths," Los Angeles, California, 29 August 1907, page 16.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Deaths," Los Angeles, California, 24 July 1908, page 16.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Deaths," Los Angeles, California, 20 March 1942, page I-16.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Obituary," Los Angeles, California, 3 December 1947, page I-15.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Deaths," Los Angeles, California, 4 Deceember 1948, page I-17.
Los Angeles Daily Times, "Deaths," Los Angeles, California, 6 June 1965, page C-7.
Lot Record, Section 6 Lot 130 Portion S. 13' 4", Rosedale Cemetery, November 2002.
"Minors and Mentals" Estate Files 1834-1906, Berrien County Probate Court, Niles, Michigan.
Monrovia City Directory 1908-09, Edward S. Parker, Monrovia.
Mountain View Cemetery, Fresno, Burial Index Record for "Barron, Edward," 10 December 2002.
Personal Conversation with Irene, First Church of San Anselmo, San Anselmo, (415) 456-3713. 26 November 2002.
Personal Conversation with reference librarian, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, (626) 256-8274. 26 November 2002.
Personal Conversation with Reverend Larry James, New Liberation Presbyterian Church, San Francisco. 15 November 2002.
Record of Deaths, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, 1882-1889, page 17.
Registered Voters, Niles, Michigan, 16 October 1864.
San Francisco Chronicle, "Married," San Francisco,  California,  4 January 1881, page 4.
San Francisco Chronicle, "Died From a Fall," San Francisco,  California,  5 May 1886, page 8.
San Francisco Chronicle,  "Andrew Barron, 80, Dead at Beresford,"San Francisco, California,  15 October 1930, page 11.
San Francisco City Directories, various years and various editors.
San Francisco Examiner, "Pioneer Street-Railway Man Dies," San Francisco,  California, 26 July 1908, page 46.
Sanborn Insurance Maps, Sanborn Map & Publishing Co., San Francisco, California, Vol 2., 1886.
The Call [newspaper] Index: 1894-1903, available at the San Francisco Public Library.
The Daily Examiner, "Hotel Arrivals," San Francisco, California,  17 December 1880, page 4.
The Daily Examiner, "Hotel Arrivals," San Francisco,  California, 21 December 1880, page 1.
The Daily Examiner, "Married," San Francisco,  California, 1 January 1881, page 4.
The Daily Examiner, "Deaths [Baron],"San Francisco,  California,  5 May 1886, page 4.
The General Newspaper Index 1904-49, available at the San Francisco Public Library.
The Morning Call, "Married," San Francisco,  California,  1 January 1881, page 4.
The Morning Call, "Born," San Francisco,  California, 14 October 1884, page 8.
The Presbyterian Church in California 1849-1927, Edward Wicher, copyright Frederick A. Hitchcock, The Grafton Press: New York, 1927.
The San Francisco Chronicle Index: 1950-1980, available at the San Francisco Public Library.
United States Census, 1860 (2 June), First Ward of Niles, Berrien County, Michigan, pages 10 and 17.
United States Census, 1870 (20 June  ), First Ward of Niles, Berrien County, Michigan, page 12.
United States Census, 1880 (transcription on CD), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Intellectual Reserve Inc.
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United States Census, 1900, Soundex. California, B650.
United States Census, 1900 (4 June). Alameda Township, Alameda County, California, vol. 1, E.D. 317, Sheet 5, Lines 50, 51 and 52.
Who's who on the Pacific Coast, The A.N. Marquis Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1951, page 47.

Ancestry - Search San Francisco, California Directories, 1889-91. November 2002.

Berrien County Genealogical Society, Benton Harbor, Michigan. November 2002.

Berrien County Historical Association, Niles, Michigan. November 2002.

Berrien County MI-USGenWeb, Brenda Sears. November 2002

California Death Records. November 2002.

California Research Guide. Intellectual Reserve Inc.. November 2002.

California State Vital Records. Vitalsearch Company Worldwide, Inc. November 2002.

California USGenWeb Project Page. November 2002.

County of Los Angeles; Register-Record/County Clerk. December 2002.

FamilySearch Internet. The Church of Latter Day Saints. November 2002.

Fresno County Assessor-Recorder's Office. November 2002.

Fresno County Library-California History and Genealogy Room. December 2002.

Genealogical Death Indexing System 1867-1884. Michigan Department of Community Health. November 2002.

Golden Gate National Cemetery-San Bruno, California. November 2002.

Library of Michigan 1870 Census. November 2002.

Los Angeles Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles Genweb Project. Ray Ensing. November 2002.

MEDLINE Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Pulmonary Tuberculosis. November 2002.

Niles, Berrien County, Michigan [Bird's-eye view map]. Drawn & published by A. Ruger. Chicago, Chicago Lithographing Co. [1868?] Available from U. S. Library of Congress, American Memory. December 2002.

Niles Community Library. December 2002.

Pre-1905 CADI. Donna Bradley, et. al. November 2002.

Presbyterian Historical Society. Philadelpha.
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Presbytery of San Francisco. November 2002.

Quotations from Sherlock Holmes - The Whole Art of Detection. Les Moskowi. November 2002.

San Francisco Assessor-Record. November 2002.

San Francisco Genealogy. Pamela Storm. November  2002.

San Francisco National Cemetery - San Francisco County [Presidio]. November 2002.

San Francisco Theological Seminary Library. November 2002.
<>, San Francisco Chronicle. November 2002.

Superior Court of California, San Francisco. November 2002

The San Francisco Call Database (1869, and 1875 to 1895). Jim W. Faulkinbury. November 2002.

W.D.M. Howard did The City proud. Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett. November 2002.

Who Perished; A list of Persons Who Died as a Result of the Great Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco on April 18, 1906. Gladys Hansen. November 2002.

USGS National Mapping Information

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