Central New York Genealogical Society
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Meetings of the Central New York Genealogical Society are held six times a year, and are open to all. Guests may attend the March, May, September and November meetings for a $5 donation. The April and October full day conference fee for non-members is $15. Annual membership dues are $30.

Instruction in some phase of genealogical research is usually the subject. Experienced genealogists share their specific area of expert knowledge. Workshops are sometimes held at which beginners may obtain help with their research.

Meetings are held at the Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church at 5299 Jamesville Road, DeWitt, New York, unless otherwise noted.

2018 Schedule of Events


March 24, 2018 1:00-3:30pm

Tools and Toys for the Traveling Genealogist, presented by Roger B. Williams

We all dream of taking our “Heritage Tour,” traveling to the sites where our ancestors trod the ground and made their homes. These trips can be enhanced with some advance planning along with the use of both high- and low-technology tools. Knowing what tools to take along with you (and how to use them) will make for a productive, less stressful, and more enjoyable research trip.

Roger makes use of a variety of tech tools while traveling and hopes that some of the “Tools and Toys” he discusses and shows today will help you to expand your family history knowledge, to accurately document your findings, and to have safe travels.

About our presenter

Roger B. Williams’ career as an attorney has spanned about forty-five years. Prior to serving in the NYS Attorney General's office, Roger was an attorney in private practice as well as in a corporate setting. In 2009, Roger retired from his position with the Attorney General’s office after serving for more than 25 years. Since then, Roger has been practicing in Family Court as an “Attorney for the Child” (formerly called a Law Guardian), helping children and their families sort out issues which come before that Court. During his legal career, Roger developed a fascination with office automation – computers, applications, and gadgets – tools which facilitated his work. Now, Roger enjoys putting these tools to work in his genealogical research. Roger has served several terms as a member of the CNYGS Board of Directors. He helped develop the group’s first website and assisted with the County Packet Indexing Project. Roger has presented programs to the Society’s monthly meetings on a variety of topics, often linking his legal knowledge with his interests in automation, computers, and family history.

April 21, 2018 All Day Conference, 9am-4pm

Presented by Michael L. Strauss

Genealogical Research in the Customs House Records

The U.S. Custom Service was created in 1789 with the responsibility for collecting duties on imports, registering vessels, and enforcing the law governing seamen and ships’ passengers. The eastern coastline was divided into districts, each jurisdiction keeping its own records. Many such records created by this department are useful to genealogists. These records date from the early years of the republic-and include records of Naturalization, Passengers Lists, Crew Lists, Seaman Projection Certificates, among other related records. Discover your family history in these great resources.

Work Skills of Old: Justice of the Peace Records

One of the more interesting old occupations was that of the Justice of the Peace. An important and worthy position, the JP was literally the keeper of the peace. Discover your ancestors in the records of the JP. Long overlooked by genealogists, these records are a wonderful source of genealogical information that will prove to be a treasure of information for any researcher.

Lunch: Bring your own and network with fellow attendees, or visit a local restaurant.

Semper Paratus: Genealogical Research in the U.S. Coast Guard

The Revenue Cutter Service, the oldest active seagoing service in the United States, can trace its origins to an act of Congress that became law on August 4, 1790. This act authorized the Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, to fit out cutters to be employed for protection of revenue. Originally called the Revenue Cutter Service (or Revenue Marines), they were first envisioned as a force of revenue tax collectors. Their ability to conduct many diverse missions, some simultaneously, during both peacetime and war became the hallmark of the service. Interestingly, one editor of the Army and Navy Journal in the November 26, 1864 issue not only recognized the value and potential of this unique organization, but also unknowingly predicted both the motto Semper Paratus and the future name of the Coast Guard intended for it in 1915 when this service officially became the U.S. Coast Guard. Discover your family members who may have served in this organization.

Free Trade and Sailors Rights: Genealogical Research in the War of 1812

The War of 1812, often called “The Forgotten War”, was our second domestic conflict with England. This lecture will begin with the causes that brought the United States into military conflict a second time with England. Records of genealogical importance, including Compiled Service Records, Pensions, Bounty Land and related material, will be examined to place your ancestors into the pages of history. Also included will be records that relate to the U.S. Navy, Marines, and the Privateers that harassed the British shipping. This lecture concludes with a practical exercise meant to critically examine all of the documents and resources discussed in the lecture.

About our presenter:

Michael L. Strauss, AG, is a professional genealogist and nationally recognized lecturer. He is a faculty member at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and is the Military Course Coordinator at the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research (IGHR). Michael is a monthly contributor to the segment Military Minutes on Genealogy Gems with Lisa Louise Cooke. Strauss has a BA in History and is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran. He is employed as a forensic investigator and a recognized court expert witness in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Click here to see a listing of our past meetings.

Board Meetings

CNYGS Board Meetings are open to the public; we invite your input and ideas. Of course, as an all-volunteer board, we may also encourage your participation.

Our board meetings are presently scheduled for the following dates, at the same location (see below) as our general meetings, from 10:00am to Noon.

  • March 24, 2018
  • May 2018
  • September 2018
  • November 2018

Location of our Meetings

Our program meetings are held at the Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church at 5299 Jamesville Road, DeWitt, New York, unless otherwise noted. We thank them greatly for sharing this wonderful facility with our members and guests.


from the south - take I-481 North to exit 2, Jamesville; turn left on Jamesville Rd; go 1.1 mi; church is on the left

from the north - take I-481 South from either the Thruway or I-690, or from the northern suburbs to exit 3W DeWitt. Merge onto E. Genesee St. (route 5) heading west. First light is Erie Blvd, next light is Jamesville Rd. Turn left on Jamesville Rd. and go about 3/4 mile. Church is on the right directly across from the Manlius Pebble Hill School.

Please park in the south parking lot.

Central New York Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 104, Colvin Station, Syracuse, New York 13205-0104
Contact us at: cnygs@yahoo.com

© 2017 Central New York Genealogical Society