Mary Lewis Collection
Mary L. Lewis was an accomplished genealogist who specialized in early San Bernardino residents. She collected data from a wide variety of sources: birth, death, and marriage certificates; divorce records; early censuses; directories, and a host of others. She also corresponded extensively. Mary had a Mormon background, but she did research on everybody. She made a sheet for each family head, and after listing whatever she found on that person, she added information on the spouse and any children. Sometimes she would have a single piece of data, and sometime she would fill the page with her findings. She also listed her sources of information.
Mary worked on the project late into life, and by the time she finished, she had amassed records on perhaps 35,000 families. The records went into three-inch ring binders, and there are a total of 87 ring binders, each with 400-plus pages. There is only one set of originals, which is housed in the Arda M. Haenszel California Room at the Feldheym Library. The Mormons microfilmed the set, but it was felt our own backup copy should be made (an overhead water pipe burst a couple of years ago at the Feldheym, just a few feet from the collection, but no harm was done to Mary’s records.)
The Historical and Pioneer Society undertook to scan the entire collection, and the task was daunting. Gerry and Linda Brassfield came in once (sometimes twice) a week for months, and scanned each page. With our magical little ScanSnap, they were able to have each page scanned for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) readability. This is a very useful tool, because you can search the entire database for names other than the family head listed at the top of the page, and even search for place names. A PDF file for each page was thus made, but the machine did not title them automatically, and each of the 35,000 pages has to be titled by hand. Sue Payne and Richard Thompson were responsible for that arduous project. Joe Fondy has undertaken the task of posting the names on the web page, which will serve as an index.
You might notice that some names have rather obvious misspellings. Sorry about that, but that might mean that they are indexed with a misspelled name. So, we have left those as they are, and will try to match them to the correct spelling and note the misspelling on the index. That way, the files can be located on our computer, since locating them with the correct spelling might not be possible.
At this point, the index is complete, and people from all over the world can find a relative and make inquiries.
If you need information on any of the people listed, please contact SBHPS via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the California Room at the San Bernardino Feldheym Public Library.
Our volunteers at the City of San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society enjoy helping folks find out more about our city and the people who participated in in its' early history.
For more information about any relatives you find in the Mary Lewis Files, you may also contact
- Lyn Killian, Librarian and Genealogical Inquiries, (909) 709-1895
You may wish to consider making a monetary donation, or becoming a member of the City of San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society. Perhaps you might also consider donating some San Bernardino-related items or working as a volunteer on one of our many projects.