Rob Melton was born in Berkeley, Calif., grew up in the Bay Area, and is a great-grandson of John Edgar McElrath and Elsie Ann Alden, and James Alexander Smilie and Isabella Lawrence McDonald. He was editor of several weekly newspapers in Sonoma County and graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, where he met his future wife. They have three children. He was a reporter for an Oregon daily newspaper before teaching high school journalism in Oregon for 31 years. Since retiring from teaching, he has been researching and writing about his family's history in the Oakland area. 


I'm a newspaper guy, and one of my favorite resources for California newspapers is the California Digital Newspaper Collection. This collection contains 61,412 issues comprising 545,955 pages and 6,364,529 articles. 

Pages I'm following at the moment:





Robert Smilie



I'd like to see more stories about the pioneering women of Oakland, and more biographies about the women of Oakland. A partial starting point in the past is in the Ladies Relief Society wikipage


Welcome!! -greenkozi

Welcome! Thanks for the updated info. Looking forward to learning more. -Gene

Welcome! Not sure if you've seen this yet, but if you click "Recent Changes" under the logo, you can see the kinds of things that people are working on around the wiki. - mk30


I'm hoping I can use your picture of Solomon Alden for the Legendary Locals of Oakland book. But I'll need a higher resolution scan, and of course your permission. You can email me at gene at - Gene

Yes, no problem. I emailed you a digital copy of my photograph as well as written permission to use it. Let me know if you need anything else. - Rob

Thank you!! - Gene