One of the best finds so far with the San Francisco Property Information Maps website is finding the houses that Patrick Dolan, my 4th great uncle, owned and lived in. Or, maybe I should say house…more on that later.
Patrick Dolan lived at 809 Guerrero from at least 1880 to 1900. When he died in 1905, he was living at 825 Guerrero. From his refiled probate records, I find that he had renters living at 821 and 823 Guerrero. Rent was collected from the tenants by the administratix, Mary (Kelly) Meincke, who was Patrick’s niece, well into 1907.
From the database, I learned that this is 809 Guerrero…
and this is 821-823 Guerrero. There’s no 825 anymore.
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The report at the property website has a historical survey for 821/823 Guerrero. It lists that Pat Dolan was the original owner, though it gives a year of 1871. I’m not sure if he owned it that early. Property records would tell the story, if they are available. This is San Francisco though, so I may strike out on finding them.
The survey makes note of the unusual double door entrance to this building. Keep that in mind as you see what I found next.
I decided to pay the Chronicling America website a visit to see if I could find any real estate transactions for these addresses in the newspaper. Maybe I’d find a land deal around 1901 showing Patrick buying the second building.
I didn’t find a land deal but I found something that may put everything together. The headline read “Triple Murder and Suicide: The Dreadful Tragedy in Guerrero Street Home”. Insane Woman’s Deed. Mrs. Deuss Asphyxiates Herself and Her Three Babies.” This awful tragedy happened at 809 1/2 Guerrero, the building that Patrick Dolan owned and lived in at least until 1900 according to the census.
That building is the same building listed in Patrick Dolan’s probate records and is listed in the historical report at the San Francisco Property Information Maps website as 821/823 Guerrero Street! The double door entrance is unmistakable.
So, what can I surmise from this? A) The reporter was in a rush or a bit tipsy and drew the wrong building. B) What was once 809 Guerrero in 1896 became 821-823 and possibly 825 Guerrero by 1905. It would make sense that after such a tragedy the owner might have wanted to change the address so lurkers didn’t hang around or potential renters weren’t scared off at the history of the place.
With the lack of property records for San Francisco prior to the earthquake, I am not sure if I will be able to sort this out. I might be able to find Sanborn Fire Maps for the era to see if 809 disappears for awhile after 1900. It might help to go through the newspaper for later dates to see if there is a correction to the building drawing or if it is repeated.
Even if 821, etc. was not once 809, this drawing is important to me. It shows that the house that Patrick Dolan owned when he died survived the 1906 earthquake. And, that house is still standing today!
Boy, I sure am glad that I accidentally found that property website. I’ve already learned several things I might not have ever known about the properties my family owned at the turn of the century. And, Patrick Dolan is the gift that keeps on giving. His probate file helped me locate relatives on the East Coast, the reburials he paid for in the 1880s helped me identify several Kelly family members, and now he lives me a photograph of the house he once owned. Now all I need is a photograph of Patrick himself. Would that be asking too much of the Genealogy Gods?
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com