Central New York Genealogical Society
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Past Years' Meetings

2017 Meetings

January 28, 2017 Full Day Conference

Special DNA Program with Blaine Bettinger, author of the popular Genetic Genealogist blog. Free for CNYGS members. $15 for non-members.

9:30 - 10:30am - Begging for Spit

One of the biggest challenges facing genealogists is asking family members and non-genealogists to undergo DNA testing. Together we’ll examine novel and interactive ways to encourage participation by making these individuals stakeholders in DNA testing.

10:30 - 12pm - Using Autosomal DNA to Explore Your Ancestry

Although DNA testing companies provide their own analysis of test results, there are third-party tools that allow test-takers to learn even more about their genomic heritage, including admixture calculators and the identification of genetic cousins. Together we’ll explore some of these tools and learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

1:15 - 2:45pm - Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA

Although DNA testing companies provide their own analysis of test results, there are third-party tools that allow test-takers to learn even more about their genomic heritage, including admixture calculators and the identification of genetic cousins. Together we’ll explore some of these tools and learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

2:45 - 4pm - Genetic Genealogy Year in Review

New tools, techniques, and tricks for genetic genealogists are always being created and developed. This lecture examines the very latest developments in the field and helps you understand how these new tools can be incorporated into your research.

March 18, 2017 1:00 - 4:00pm

1:15 - 2:45pm - The Military Tract – Revolutionary War Bounty Land in Central New York presented by Skip Duett, author of the popular Upstate New York Roots blog.

New York State awarded Revolutionary War bounty land in the Military Tract in Central New York. Comprising 1,680,000 acres, it covered all of the present day counties of Onondaga, Cortland, Cayuga, and Seneca and parts of Oswego, Tompkins, Schuyler and Wayne counties. This military bounty land opened up Central New York to white settlement and left an enduring system of land designation that survives today. Your New York Revolutionary War soldier may be identified in Military Tract documents. Understanding NYS bounty lands can help you make sense of land transaction in the region regardless of when your ancestors lived there.

3:00 - 4:00pm - A brick wall roundtable discussion with Skip Duett, Janeen Bjork and CNYGS members will follow Mr. Duett’s presentation.

Breaking through Brick Walls, One Brick at a Time presented by Janeen Bjork

Janeen will give a quick lesson on OCR (optical character recognition), the technology that allows scanned newspapers to be indexed and searched online. You’ll learn how to get around the limitations of OCR to unearth hard-to-find items.

Janeen will share the methods she used to break through the brick walls for her toughest genealogy commission - multiple generations of O'Briens, starting in County Cork, Ireland and continuing to Monroe, Orleans and Onondaga counties.

About our presenters:

Skip Duett, professional genealogist and author (Mohawk Valley Ehles and Allied Families), serves on the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Family History Advisory Committee and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, New England Historic Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, and CNYGS. He is actively involved in the newly-formed CNYGS DNA Interest Group. Skip has been researching his own family in New York for over 20 years and has been accepting clients since 2013.

Janeen Bjork, raised in DeWitt, NY, has been mining online newspapers for family history and teaching others how to do the same for the last five years in Connecticut and New York. Ms. Bjork’s professional life includes 30 years as a television researcher, programmer and consultant. Her sister-in-law recruited her to genealogy, explaining, "You are going to do this for your niece and nephew." Bjork put her detective, analytic and presentation skills to work on a dynamic tree that included over 100 years of family photos and over 150 years of newspaper stories for her young audience. The professional researcher has found thousands of family stories and items online that range from the mundane to the sensational.

April 22, 2017 Full Day Conference

Pamela Vittorio, a professional genealogist, will present.

9:00 - 10:30am - Bust Walls or Break Ground: Tips & Techniques for Solving Genealogical Problems in the mid-1800s

In this presentation, we look at some sources in print and online that may help with 19th century brick walls, and some research strategies. Tips and techniques also include deciphering names, handwriting tips, and evaluating 19th-century photos. The presenter will be doing some “on the spot” searches for the audience.

10:30am - 12:00pm - Early Irish Immigrants to Canada & the U.S.: The Peter Robinson Settlers (1823 & 1825)

In the early 19th century, the Ottawa Valley in Canada became a center of “resettlement” for over 2,000 impoverished Irish families, mainly from County Cork, Ireland. Find out more on how and where to search for your Irish ancestors who may have come from Ireland to Canada, and perhaps later, to northern NY State.

12:00 - 1:15pm - Lunch: bring your own, or visit a local restaurant.

1:15 - 2:45pm - The U.S. Sanitary Records: Tracing Women's Roles During the Civil War

The U.S. Sanitary Commission Records contain many documents from the Women’s Central Association of Relief (WCAR)– often called, The Union’s ‘Other Army.’ Records from the WCAR and the Women’s Relief Association are housed at the NY Public Library and the Brooklyn Historical Society. These records contain diaries, donor lists, scrapbooks, subscription lists, and other documents vital to discovering more on women’s roles during the Civil War.

2:34 - 4:00pm - Was Your (Great) Grandma a Suffragette? Records for the Women's Rights Movement: 1848-1920

This workshop provides a brief background and strategies/tips on how to find records pertaining to women’s suffrage from the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as scrapbooks and membership lists, and repositories where these documents might be found.

About the presenter:

Pamela Vittorio is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Dept. of English Language Studies at the New School University in NYC but hails from central New York. She refined her methodologies and research skills in an interdisciplinary MA/Ph.D. program in Near Eastern Literature, Languages, and History at NYU. Current interest and specialty areas include U.S. and Canadian history/genealogy, the Civil War, Revolutionary War-Loyalists, Woman Suffrage, and North American Canals (Erie Canal). Currently, she is a member of the Board of Trustees and the editor of From the Boatyard newsletter at Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. Pamela received a certificate from Boston University's Genealogical Research Certificate program and is a member of APG, CNYGS, NEHG, NYG&BS, NGS, Ontario Genealogical Society, and several other genealogical and historical societies in the U.S. and Canada.

May 20, 2017 1:00 - 4:00pm

Dennis Hogan, family genealogist since 1977 will present.

1:00 - 2:30pm - Maximizing the Benefits of Family Search

Familysearch.org is a great resource for genealogists (and it's FREE). An overview of its features will be discussed. We will investigate the site's manys "nooks and crannies. Tips, tricks, and shortcuts will be presented to help you maximize the benefits from using FamilySearch.

2:45 - 4:00pm - Irish Genealogy

Researching your Irish Ancestors can be challenging, especially if you are not sure of where in Ireland your family resided. Before venturing into Irish records, it is important that you do a thorough search in US records (or whatever country they immigrated to). Develop a body of knowledge about the immigrant in the new country and their spouse, children, siblings, and parents. We will also discuss the current state of Irish records and how to approach them.

About our presenter:

Mr. Hogan is a full-time professional genealogist specializing in Irish and New York State genealogy. A family genealogist since 1977, Mr. Hogan began speaking on Irish genealogy in 2003. All eight of his great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland and settled in or near Ontario County, New York. Dennis grew up on a farm in Gorham, NY, near the former homes of his Irish immigrant great-grandparents. Mr. Hogan is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Irish American Cultural Institute and the Ontario County Genealogical Society. Currently, Dennis serves as the historian for the Town of Gorham, the Webmaster for the Town of Gorham Historical Society, and he is the VP and coordinator of the Rochester Genealogical Society’s Computer Interest Group.

Please Note: the location for this meeting will be the Northminister Presbyterian Church, 7444 Buckley Rd, North Syracuse, NY 13212.

September 16, 2017 1:00 - 4:00pm

Author David Kendall will give a presentation on his book “When Descendants Become Ancestors: The Flip Side of Genealogy”. Afterward, there will be break-out workshops to allow attendees to start writing some of their own family legacy.

“From the moment of birth, each of us begins a journey that must ultimately conclude with our entrance into ancestry. Perhaps you remember a time when an older acquaintance wanted to share with you some stories about the good old days, but you couldn’t be bothered. Most of us have had regrets like these, as will our descendants—unless we seek to record and preserve some stories for their use. Whether our stories are short and simple or long and complex matters not, but these stories will become part of their heritage and can certainly influence their lives…,”.
(Excerpt from “Growing up in the 1000 Islands highlighted in local author’s book”, By Pamela McDowell, Staff Writer, Thousand Island Sun newspaper, October 15, 2014.)

About our presenter:
Dave Kendall’s roots are in Grindstone Island and Clayton. A 1955 graduate of Clayton Central, he returned to teach at the same school following four years at Cornell University. After a short stint in the military, he received a Master’s degree from St. Lawrence University and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. He then taught for 30 years in the graduate school at SUNY Brockport, retiring in 1998 and returning to the Thousand Islands. His recently published book, When Descendants Become Ancestors: The Flip Side of Genealogy, contains a synopsis and several short stories about his life experiences, and implores everyone to preserve their stories, citing the significance of each individual in teaching future generations.

October 20 -21, 2017 Full Day Conference

Jane E. Wilcox, professional genealogist and presentor of the popular podcast The Forget-Me-Not Hour, will be presenting this full day conference.

Jane will offer half hour consultations at Panara Bread in Fayetteville on Friday, October 20. For details and registration please visit eventbrite.

Saturday, Oct 21, 9:00 - 10:30am - Up the North River: An Overview of Pre-1800 Hudson Valley Ethnic Groups and Religions
The Hudson (North) River valley was an ethnic and religious melting pot long before the late nineteenth century immigrant influx. Find out who was in New York in the beginning. You will be surprised!

10:30am - 12:00pm - A Tale of Woe: An Eighteenth Century Woman's Story Using Original and Authored Sources
Margaret Wilcockson’s story has been published inaccurately and incompletely. This case study demonstrates how historical context, the law, and published research errors impact a story. See how a 1714 Connecticut unwed mother’s life unfolds with original and authored sources. Women’s rights under the law are featured.

12:00 - 1:15pm Lunch: bring your own, or visit a local restaurant.

1:15 - 2:45pm - Looking for Your New York Tenant Farmer: Little-used Resources
Documents for New York manors and their tenants have survived. Learn how and where to look for your tenant ancestors in these and other records, such as court and tax records. See examples for using the records in your research.

2:45 - 4:00pm - A Tour of New York State Genealogical Research Repositories: The Best - Part 1
Explore the unique research resources and collections that are held by libraries, county archives, town historians, and historical and genealogical societies in New York State (not including Long Island, NYC and Albany). Among those featured are the Folklife Center at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, Warren County; the Genesee County History Department in Batavia; the Rhinebeck Town Historian at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County; the Western New York Genealogical Society at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library in Buffalo; and the Onondaga County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Department in Syracuse. You’ll learn research ideas for any repository as well.

About our presenter:
Jane Wilcox, professional genealogist, author and historian, began researching her own family at a very young age. She has been doing genealogy professionally for more than a decade. Jane is a contributing editor of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record and member of the NY State Archives Advisory Committee. Jane holds a master’s degree in journalism and undergraduate degree in American history and English literature. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and many others. About

November 18, 2017 1:00 - 4:00pm

Laine Gilmore, professional genealogical researcher and writer, presents

1:00 - 2:30pm The Power of Land Records in Genealogical Research.

The main goal in understanding land records is to put your ancestor in a certain place and time. But sometimes, land records can be a wealth of information to determine who other family members were, or using the concept of “cluster genealogy”, to find out who the neighbors were. Land records can often name family members and their relationships and could possibly tear down that brick wall you’ve had for so long. This lecture will present an overview of different types of land transactions, such as state land states, federal land states, homestead records, bounty land records and others. We will discuss where to find each type of record and what “genealogical gems” can be found in those records. We will also discuss techniques for plotting your land of interest, finding historical maps and learning about online and computer tools to help you analyze and locate land.

2:30 - 4:00pm There’s a Society for That!!!???

We join societies for many reasons: documenting an ancestor who is not yet in the system, showing our patriotism, volunteer opportunities, and certifying our lineage.

In this lecture, you will learn about different types of societies, the ways in which to document your ancestors, and how to evaluate your evidence to be sure it is acceptable to the registrar.

About the presenter:
Laine Gilmore, owner of Laine Gilmore Genealogical Research Services in Central New York, received her certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in 2010. Laine has certificates from the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Advanced Land Research, Finding and Documenting African American Families, Problem Solving with Church Records, and Mastering Genealogical Documentation. In addition to local genealogical societies, her memberships include the National Genealogical Society, New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists. Laine works with clients both locally and nationally, is editor of “Hills and Hollows” (Erieville - Nelson Heritage Society publication) and has done client research for the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Newberry Press as well as Genealogist.com. She specializes in both archival and internet family history research, lineage society applications, project management and educational workshops and methodology applications for written family histories. Laine is also co-historian for the Town of Nelson, Madison County.



Author Michael Keene delves into the “age of orphan asylums” in mid-nineteenth century New York in this lecture taken from his new book “Abandoned: The Untold Story of Orphan Asylums.” Abandoned presents eye-opening, true-to-life tales of the Five Points area of New York City and the desperation of a million Irish immigrants who hoped to find better conditions in New York after leaving behind the famine they experienced in their homeland in 1848. Unfortunately, after arriving in Lower Manhattan, they found squalor, gang violence and disease.

Within a few years, the area was home to 30,000 orphaned and homeless children, who roamed New York City and resorted to petty crime, begging, and selling newspapers for a nickel a piece. Most slept in alleyways, cellar and sewers, ultimately joining violent gangs — like the Bowery Boys — for protection.

As a result of this crisis, the Age of Orphan Asylums began, culminating in one of the most improbable and audacious episodes in American history. Known as the Orphan Train Movement, everyday heroes endeavored to rescue and liberate these children who were lost to the streets or in the hands of uncaring institutions.

A Lineage Roundtable Discussion will follow Mr. Keene’s lecture. Guests will be David Morton, Robert Gang, Mary Raye Casper, and Walley Francis, representing several local lineage societies including the Daughter of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution, The Society of the Cincinnatti, the General Society of the War of 1812, the Military Society of the War of 1812, the Mayflower Society, Sons and Daughters of Pilgrims, Bench and Bar, Order of Americans of Armorial Ancestry, Hereditary Society of Teachers, Founders of Hartford, Saints and Sinners, St. Margaret’s, Justicars, Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, Dutch Colonial Society, Antebellum Planters, The Winthrop Society, Pilgrim Hopkins Heritage Society, the Roger Williams Family Association, Colonial Governors and the Descendants of Cape Cod and the Islands.

Can you count a pilgrim, war hero or monarch among your kin? You may qualify to join a lineage society. If you caught the genealogy bug because you thought you descended from a Revolutionary War patriot or a Mayflower passenger, you're not alone. Thousands of Americans attempt to trace their lineage back to war veterans and founding fathers. But if you can prove direct descent from the right ancestor, a lineage society might want you as a member.

For many researchers, belonging to a lineage society is an honor in itself. Membership has plenty more privileges, though. For example, it connects you with family historians who have similar research interests, and lets you access the organization's library and other resources. To qualify for most lineage societies, you'll need to trace your direct line back to an ancestor who meets a specific criterion for membership. Depending on the society, that measure might be serving in the Revolutionary War, signing the Declaration of Independence, fighting for the Confederacy, serving with Washington at Valley Forge or running a hostelry before July 4, 1776.

After Michael Keene’s lecture and the Lineage Roundtable discussion concludes attendees will have sufficient time to break out and speak to the lecturers individually.

April 16, 2016 Full Day Conference

Lisa Alzo, a professional genealogist who lectures nationally and resides in Ithaca, NY, will speak on the following topics:

9:00 – 10:30am “Packrat or Genealogist? Effective Methods for Organizing Your Family History Research.” Are you drowning in a sea of papers, documents, old photographs and other research materials? This talk will cover how to organize family history documents, photographs, etc. for quick retrieval. Traditional methods and computer technology will be featured along with ways for distributing/sharing this information with others.

10:30 – 12:00 “Writing Your Family History Step-by-Step.” As genealogists we often focus on facts and uncover so much information that our research produces nothing but boring lists. In searching for the “facts” it is easy to overlook how historical events influenced our ancestors’ lives. This workshop covers how to bring your family tree to life by placing your own family stories in an historical context, how to organize your material and divide your writing tasks into small manageable pieces, and effective ways to illustrate where your family fits in with local, national and world history. As time permits, participants will have time to work on a selection of writing exercises.

1:15 - 2:15pm “The Write Stuff: Using Nonfiction Writing Techniques to Write a Better Family History.” As genealogists we often focus on facts and uncover so much information that our research produces nothing but boring lists. But do you really know what happened between the dashes of your ancestors’ lives? How can you share that information in a compelling and interesting way? This session will discuss how to using nonfiction writing techniques to produce a “can’t put down” family history that will keep the pages turning for generations.

2:30 – 3:30 PM- “Family History Writing Made Easier: Cloud-Based Tools Every Genealogist Can Use.” Telling your family’s story is now so much easier thanks to a number of cloud-based notetaking and writing tools and apps you can access from home, your netbook or iPad, and even your smartphone. Learn about the latest tech tools and writing apps for bringing your family’s story to life!

May 14, 2016 1:00-3:30pm

Sue Lorraine, a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies from Utica, will present a lecture explaining symbols and epitaphs found on gravestones, and her experience giving cemetery tours for different historical groups. It all began in 1999 as part of being a church secretary when family researchers would come to the church asking where relatives were buried. After her slideshow, we will use what we learned by looking at pictures of your own family’s gravestones. Bring prints or digital images on a flashdrive. Also if you have a unique gravestone you may forward a photo before hand to slorraine1@roadrunner.com and she might incorporate it into her slideshow!

September 15-17, 2016 New York State Family History Conference

Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Liverpool, New York
Sponsored by CNYGS and New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.
This year, the conference will run concurrently with the Association for Public Historians of New York State's yearly conference. Registrants of either conference can attend lectures and outings from both conferences!
For more information, please visit the Conference website.

October 15, 2016 Full Day Conference

9:15 – 12:00 – Roger B. Williams will speak on "Locating Records within the Courthouse" using the various findings provided by the Surrogate Court and County Clerk's Offices, along with an expansion of the types of records found at each location.

1:15 – 3:30 pm - Author and Historian, Dick Williams will discuss skills and techniques for family research. His 30-page booklet covering his discussion will be provided. He will explain how to use Google, censuses, timelines, creating a map, vital statistics, websites, newspapers and local sources. He will also cover: sharing our research, software, social media blogs and preserving records using pictures, documents, cameras and scanning wands.

In the second hour, Dick will give a lecture and PowerPoint presentation on his book, Along the Oriskany and Big Creeks. This book describes the valley of the Oriskany from the Town of Stockbridge in Madison County south and then north through Solsvlle, Oriskany Falls, Deansboro, Clinton, Clark Mills, Pecksville, and Oriskany to the Mohawk River. It is the story of the land, farms, the economy, the geography, the history, and the people.

Field Trip: October 18, 2016 10am - 4pm

A Day at the Archives

Spend a day with fellow CNYGS members exploring at the Montgomery County Department of History & Archives at the Old County Courthouse, Fonda, NY.

10:00am - Orientation Tour: A staff member will lead the group on a tour of the library and answer questions. The remainder of the day is yours to explore. The library is open until 4:00pm.

Make the most of your day at the archives by doing a little advance planning. Consult the library catalog and archival collection in advance of your trip to plan on what to look at during your visit.

Search the Library Holdings. Do a keyword search on the Montgomery County website and click on "search catalog" at the left side of the page. The catalog includes the holdings for the library.

Search the Archival Collection. The "Search Archives" box will allow you to do a keyword search of the archival collection (this is only a finding aid). If anything of interest is found in the archiveal collection, it can be requested for retrieval prior to your arrival. There may not be someone available to retrieve the items on the day of our visit.

E-mail your name, phone number and preferred e-mail address to Susan Proch. Put Montgomery Co. Trip in the subject line. Please register before October 4.

Transportation: on your own

Old Courthouse
9 Park Street
Fonda, NY 12068-1500

November 19, 2016 1:00-3:00pm

Cheryl Pula, author, will speak on the Eighth Air Force. She has written eight books on the subject which should entice WWII enthusiasts.

About Cheryl Pula:

A native of New York Mills, New York, Cheryl Pula is a retired Reference Librarian. She is a Regents graduate of New York Mills Jr.-Sr. High School, with a concentrate in science and mathematics. Cheryl attended Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, where she received an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts, then went to SUNY Oswego, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the Russian Language with a minor in German. She was on the Dean’s List at both schools. After substitute teaching in the New York Mills Union Free School District for five years for both foreign language and special education classes, she went back to school and received a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she is a lifetime member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association. Her first library position was as the supervisor of the Lending Department at the Mid-York Library System in Utica, where she performed all the reference work for the system’s 43 member libraries. After almost ten years, she became the Head of the Adult Services Department at the Utica Public Library in Utica, then in 1987, the Reference Librarian at Dunham Public Library in Whitesboro. In 1988, she was awarded the New York Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award. She served on the Board of Trustees of the New York Mills Public Library. Cheryl also teaches for the Mohawk Valley Institute for Learning in Retirement at SUNYIT in Marcy, New York, teaching a variety of historical subjects to retirees who are interested continuing their education.

Cheryl was a founding member of the New York Mills Historical Society, and served as its first president in the late 1970’s. She is currently the village historian of New York Mills and President of The History Club, which she founded in Whitesboro in 1995. She is the club’s newsletter editor. She is also the founder, current secretary and newsletter editor of the General Daniel Butterfield Civil War Round Table in Whitesboro. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary of the Arthur Moran Post #66 in Camden, New York, as well as an honorary member of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association of Memphis, Tennessee. She is known around the central New York area for presenting a number of historical lectures (89 to be exact!) on topics from the Great Sphinx to the first moon landing in July 1969. Cheryl was elected “Historian of the Year” by the Oneida County Historian’s Association in 2006.

She is an author, having written on Irish immigrants to the Utica area in a book entitled Ethnic Utica, published in 1994 by Utica College. With her brother, she is coauthor and co-editor of a book on the Civil War regiments from Oneida County, which was published by the Eugene Nassar Ethnic Studies Department of Utica College in November 2010 entitled, With Courage and Honor: Oneida County’s Role in the Civil War. She is a co-author, co-editor and served as proofreader for The Polish-American Encyclopedia, published by McFarlane Publishers in January 2011. It was voted one of the Top Ten reference books for that year by the American Library Association. For her work on the Encyclopedia, she received the Polish-American Historical Society’s Civic Achievement Award. She is author of a series of books about Eighth Air Force bomber crews in World War II England. The first, titled The Children’s Crusade was published in October 2011by Whitehall Publishing. The seventh book in the series, Above and Beyond, was published in July 2014. The eighth and final volume, titled Some Gave All, is scheduled for publication in April 2015. Cheryl has also published four books in a series called It’s a Mystery, covering unsolved historical mysteries. Volume 1 is subtitled Getting Away With Murder, Volume 2 Puzzles of World War II; Volume 3 Strange Beasts and Beings and Volume 4 Where Did They Go? She is currently working on more volumes for the series.

She has traveled extensively all over the United States, having visited 45 of the 50 states, as well as trips abroad to Canada, the Bahamas, England, Finland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia.

Cheryl is the daughter of the late Winifred and Stanley Pula of New York Mills, and sister of Dr. James Pula, a professor at Purdue University North Central in Indiana, himself a well-known local author and lecturer. Her mother was the confidential secretary to the principal of New York Mills High School for almost thirty years, and her father was a foreman for Oneida Ltd. Silversmiths in Sherrill, New York. She is the granddaughter of Amos and Lillian Platt Smith, and Jan and Katrzyna Tuman Pula. Her grandfather Amos Smith, was a popular streetcar conductor and operator of the last street car to make the run between Utica and Oriskany. Her grand uncle, Michael Tuman, was the president and organizer of the first worker’s union in the textile mills in New York Mills.

Cheryl is a recent “lady of leisure,” having retired from her position at the Dunham Library in July of this year. She now works part-time at the New York Mills Public Library.



“From Muscles to Motors on the Farm: Henry Ford and the Great American Tractor Wars, 1910-1930” with Dr. Milton C. Sernett

This free event is made possible through the Speakers in the Humanities program with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Fordson, first mass-produced in 1918, gave farmers an affordable source of mechanical power. Henry Ford's entry into the tractor business sparked a conflict in the farm machinery industry that had long-term consequences for American life on and off the farm. The transition from horse power to tractor power, from muscles to motors, took place during an era of rapid social change in American life. Farm families were trying to adjust to new marvels everywhere - airplanes, automobiles, and electricity on the farm, telephones, radio, consolidated rural schools, indoor plumbing, rural free delivery, better roads, and refrigeration.

The lecture uses rare images from the archives of the great tractor manufacturers and depictions of the seasons of agricultural work before the factory farm replaced the family farm. These visual cues will encourage the sharing and preservation of memories of farm life among all members of your community.

Dr. Milton C. Sernett, Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and History, Syracuse University, taught at Syracuse University for over thirty years. He has published seventeen books and numerous articles and essays, many of them dealing with American abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and African American history. His current book project is a history of the "the great tractor wars" of the 1920s and the influence of Henry Ford on American farm life.

April Full Day Conference

Dennis Hogan is a professional genealogist who specializes in New York State and Ireland and has been lecturing since 2003. All eight of his great grandparents emigrated from Ireland and settled in or near Ontario County. Mr. Hogan is Vice President/Coordinator of the Rochester Computer Interest Group. He also volunteers in the research room of the Ontario County Historical Society.

  • 9:00 – 12:00am – “Google Maps & Google Earth”
    Understanding the “lay of the land” will help us to decide where to search for records and will provide other clues. These google tools can help us research our ancestors and document their lives. They provide impressive ways to document and share our research findings. Using historic map overlays and plotting homesteads will be included.
  • 1:15 - 2:15pm – “Survey of Brick Wall Techniques”
    We all have brick walls. One “insignificant” piece of information may have sent us on a wild goose chase. Have we really tried everything to solve the problem? Eleven techniques recommended by experts will be presented.
  • 2:30 – 3:30pm - “Quick and Easy Cousin Bait”
    We hope that someday we will be contacted by a distant cousin who has a treasure trove of family info. If we don’t put ourselves in a position to be found, that cousin will likely never be able to contact us. In today’s social media world we have many options, however they can be time consuming. A quick and easy approach to using blogs and online trees will be discussed. Experiences with 10 free hosts for online trees will be covered.

* April's full day conference will be offered at a discounted $10 rate for non-members. We hope you attend and consider becoming a member!


“Hunting for Ancestors in Central New York” Sheila Tucker was Cayuga County Historian from 2004-2011 and has been the town of Fleming historian for nearly 40 years. She’s worked with hundreds of people seeking information on their ancestors, their house or their town. One of her most important projects was a survey of Cayuga County involvement in the Underground Railroad. That effort landed several local buildings on a national registry. She is the author of The Township of Fleming, Cayuga County, New York, 1823-1973. Sheila has presented exhibits on Cayuga County inventors and did a Civil War presentation.

September 17-19, 2015 New York State Family History Conference

Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Liverpool, New York
Sponsored by CNYGS and New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.
For more information, please visit the Conference website.

October Full Day Conference

Pamela Vittorio is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Dept of English Language Studies/Parsons School of Design at the New School University, in NYC. She refined her historical methodologies skills in an interdisciplinary MA/Ph.D. program in Languages, Literature, and History of the Near East at NYU. Pamela is an author of several English language learning texts and a frequent presenter at international conferences in the fields of language teaching and corpus linguistics. She has done extensive research on the Erie Canal over the past decade on a wide variety of topics and frequently conducts workshops and programs on Erie Canal social and cultural history, language, women's studies, the Civil War, and genealogy throughout the year. Currently, she is the editor of CLCBM's From the Boatyard newsletter and a CLCBM Board of Trustee member. She will obtain a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University in spring 2015. She will be speaking on the following topics:

  • 9:00 - 12:00am - “They traveled by Packet Boat: Finding Your Erie Canal Ancestors”. Finding 19th and early 20th century ancestors who worked or traveled on the Erie Canal.
  • 1:15 - 2:15pm - “Locking Through: Finding Your Canal Town Ancestors” explores various ways to search for/track canal ancestors and their possible routes/locations, both online and in archives.
  • 2:30 - 3:30pm - “More Than a Picture: Reconstructing Your Ancestors Lives through Newspapers & Primary Sources".

October 19, 2015 A Trip to the New York State Archives

CNYGS invites members to join them at the New York State Archives and New York State Library for a day of research. Transportation and parking are on your own, but please contact Susan Proch if you plan to attend. New York State Archives orientation starts at 10am, and the Research Library orientation starts at 11am.


Moya Dumville from Westlake Conservators.com will be discussing paper conservation.



"Writing for Publication" by Patti Haggerty.

CNYGS member, educator, and NEHGS Council member, Patti Haggerty has recently had articles published in American Ancestors, the magazine of NEHGS. Patti will describe her research topics, writing process, and publishing efforts.

"Silences in Irish Culture and History" by Kathleen Sullivan

Associate Professor of English, Director of the Irish Literature Program, LeMoyne College. Family research often presents puzzles. This lecture will look at silences in Irish culture and its impact on immigration stories and family history.

April Full Day Conference

"A Focus on the Civil War" by Joyce Cook, Dennis Conners and Suzanne Greenhagen.

Joyce Cook, Tree Talks editor, will present her research on Elmina Spencer, an Oswego resident, who was a valuable nurse and held a prominent position with the Sanitation Commission during the Civil War.

Dennis Conners, Curator, Onondaga Historical Association. This lecture describes extensive Civil War correspondence between a Syracuse Abolitionist and a Confederate soldier.

Suzanne Greenhagen, Historian, Town of Eaton and Village of Morrisville, Member of Civil War Roundtable, Technical Services Librarian at SUNY Morrisville. A popular presenter, Sue will describe her search for a Civil War soldier.


"History of the Catholic Church in America and Research Opportunities" by Joseph Titti

Religion has always played an important role in American history. The Catholic Church was the first church to make its presence known in the Americas. Thirty years ago Joe began to research his family and has turned his hobby into a profession that includes teaching at Broome Community College Continuing Education and Broome-Tioga BOCES. His emphasis started with families in the Southern Tier which led him to work with the Catholic Church. He is a member of the Society of Parish Historians of the Syracuse, NY Catholic Diocese.


"Resources for Genealogists at the Onondaga County Public Library" by Holly Sammons.

As Head Librarian in the Local History/Genealogy Department at OCPL, Holly will describe the facilities and extensive resources that are available in this superb local collection.

October Full Day Conference

"Military History and Genealogy: The French and Indian War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War" by David Lambert, Chief Genealogist, New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Historian, genealogist and author, David Lambert's expertise includes New England and Atlantic Canadian research, military records, Native American and African American genealogical records. New York State played an important role in the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 as well as providing vast resources in life and treasure to the Civil War. David Lambert's lectures will focus on the three wars, and provide sources for researching military records.


"Genealogy of a House" by Dr. Paul Stewart, Professor at SUNY Oswego, and Steven C. Phillips, businessman, antique collector, and community volunteer.

When Steve Phillips and Paul Stewart purchased a dilapidated fraternity house they turned to the Oswego County Historical Society for information on its history. They discovered that it was part of the holdings of an important and colorful Oswego family. This fascinating story presentation may inspire you to research the history of your home. The work of the Oswego Renaissance Association will also be covered.



"Digitizing and Organizing Photographs" by Kent Stuetz, NY Archives.

Photographic materials in all their diverse variety are among the most difficult to manage and make accessible. With the dawn of new digital technologies, we are now able to share our historical photographs with a wider audience and save wear and tear on the originals. Digitizing your photographic collections opens the door to creative and interesting applications never before dreamed possible. Consider the blossoming world of blogging, websites, e-publications, social media, and so forth, as the natural venue to share your visual historic treasures. And this is only the beginning my friends! (Did you ever see anyone with a paper photograph on Star Trek?)

April Full Day Conference

Randi Koenig, Legacy Genealogy Services

Randi Koenig will speak on a number of topics for the day. She is a wealth of knowledge, specializing in Adoption, Baptists, Catholics, Hispanic, Jewish, Land Records, Heir Searcher, Naturalization, Irish American, German American, Italian American, and Court Records. Randi works with the professional genealogical services firm with over 15 years of hands-on experience. They search locally in the NY Municipal archives, Bergen and Hudson County, NJ repositories, as well as worldwide. They have completed projects that include, but are not limited to, Ireland, St. Lucia, Poland, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Mexico.


CANCELED due to the New York State Family History Conference.

CNYGS/NYG&B 2013 Biennial Conference

Sept. 20-21, 2013 The New York State Family History Conference. The Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society have organized and are jointly producing the first ever statewide genealogical conference in New York State, to be held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Liverpool, NY.

October Full Day Conference

"Fulton History.com" by Dennis A. Hogan

Website. Fulton History is a “must see ”for anyone interested in New York State genealogy. The life work of Thomas M. Tryniski, this unique, rare, and idiosyncratic website contains the digital images of more than 20 million newspaper articles, postcards, and obituaries. In this informative presentation, professional genealogist Dennis A. Hogan willl discuss the design and use of the site. Through real world examples, he will show you how to get the most out of the website’s online resources.

“Resources for Genealogists at the Cornell University Library”

Bob Kibbee and Virginia Cole will talk about the many resources for genealogists at the Cornell University Library, electronic, archival, published and microfilmed. Although they will take a look at some surprising resources hidden in popular databases such as Ancestry and HeritageQuest, the focus will be on those resources that are unique to Cornell or unlikely to be available anywhere but a large research library.


"Conducting Research in Germanic Countries & Deciphering their Records" by Kent Stuetz, New York State Archives.

"Kent possesses a Master’s Degree from Penn State University in American Studies with an emphasis in local and family history, and has worked as a professional Archivist for the past twenty three years at the Pennsylvania State and New York State archives. "Understanding the records of German-speaking countries presents a sizable challenge when first exposed. Alphabetic nuances, specialized vocabulary, translation, and “foreign” handwriting scripts can all contribute to a very frustrating experience. For example, Germanic church records often combined an interesting blend of Latin and German languages with many individualized adaptations made by local priests. This presentation provides a broad introduction to reading and comprehending records, particularly ecclesiastical records, in German. All the tips and tricks you need to begin this wonderful journey will be explored. Additional helpful resources will be identified to assist you with further instruction in this effort. We will also explore some of the key factors to consider when planning a research trip to Europe."



“Googling for Genealogy” with Dennis Hogan.

Mr. Hogan is a professional genealogist who specializes in New York State and Ireland. Come enhance your research abilities by learning to Google your genealogy research.

April Full Day Conference

Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS.

“Finding Unfindable Ancestors”

“Solving the Mystery of the Disappearing Ancestor”

“Correlating Sources, Information, and Evidence to Resolve Genealogical Problems”


Paul Lear, historic site manager for Fort Ontario, will talk about the History of Fort Ontario and the Battle of Oswego, May 5-7, 1814. Fort Ontario was built in 1755 and later destroyed during the War of 1812. This landmark has been rebuilt by various armies over the years. During WWI it housed the largest post hospital in the United States.


Blaine Bettinger, author of the Genetic Genealogist blog, will explain DNA in laymen’s terms. He will lecture on: “Using DNA to Explore Your Genealogy” and “How Autosomal DNA is Changing Genealogy”

October Full Day Conference

James M. Beidler writes “Roots & Branches,” an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy that is the only syndicated feature on that topic in Pennsylvania. He is a German research expert and a Pennsylvania resident, and both will be the topics of his lectures. Includes additional Friday night lecture "Germany and Pennsylvania".


"A Lawyer's Guide to Courthouse Research" by Roger B. Williams, a Syracuse attorney. Part 1, part 2, part 3.

Roger has been practicing law for more than 40 years, and has used his knowledge of courthouse records to support his genealogical research. With concrete examples, you will learn what records may have meaning for your research, and how to approach the well-indexed and accessible record-systems, to gain the most benefit from your on-site research. This will be an insider's tour of the County Clerk's Office, and the Surrogate's Court records, showing you how to use the indexing-systems to learn of your ancestors' real estate holdings and transactions, as well as their decedent-estate fillings, guardianships, and the like.

Roger is a former CNYGS Board Member and helped start our Website many years ago.



"Irish Seminar" with Jack Burke.

Mr. Burke will be discussing a 5-step program to locate a place of origin in Ireland using the records on this side of the ocean.

April Full Day Conference

Meldon Wolfgang III, author, lecturer and founder of Jonathan Sheppard Books returns to CNYGS. He has been an active and avid genealogists and family historian since 1961. Jonathan Sheppard Books – will be available.

“If You Think You’ve Looked Everywhere, It’s Time to Think Again: Uncommon Research Tools That Can Lead to Uncommonly Good Results”

“To The Honorable Board of Supervisors…”

Identifying and Using the Obscure and Uncommon Records of Local (City, Town, and County) Governments.

“So You Think You Know All About City Directories? A Guide to Deconstructing A City Directory & Extracting Every Bit of Information From It’s Pages”


“Meet Me At The Mausoleum – Conversations in Oakwood Cemetery” by Darothy DeAngelo and Sue Greenhagen.

They will portray various residents of the cemetery – not everyone is famous but they will have a story.

“Setting Things Right: the Conservation of Gravestones” by C.R. Jones.

C.R. Jones is a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies and conservator emeritus of the NYS Historical Association.


Stephen Clarke, member of NEHGS and Rochester Genealogy Society will lecture on: “Black Sheep in the Family Barnyard” and “The Three Uncles: Biographical; Sketches of Fred Grieb, Mike O’Brien and Paul Grieb”.

October Full Day Conference

CNYGS' 50th Anniversary Banquet and Conference

Program Speakers and Biographies * Copies of Barry Ewell's presentations are no longer available. Link to Barry’s Blog on Genealogy.


"Research Sources Available in Chenango County, NY", by Patricia E. Evans, Chenango County Historian



“The Fox Sisters: 19th Century Spiritualists” skit by Darothy DeAngelo and Sue Greenhagen.

“What Can Town Historians Tell Us?” expert panel of town historians will discuss what information is available followed by questions and answers.

“Two Irish Case Studies with Two Different Immigration Patterns” by Shawn Doyle.


Jean F. Nudd, Archivist at National Archives and Records Administration Northeast Region - Pittsfield.
  • "Military Records at the National Archives"
  • "Navigating the Bureaucracy – Using Federal Websites"
  • "Using Pre-1850 Census to Find Family Relationships"


"Brief Talk on Revolutionary War" by Bob Gang in full uniform.

"Crossing the Ocean"; "Reading Foreign Civil Records When You're Not Fluent in the Language" and "Research in Broome County, N.Y." by Joseph Titti. Mr. Titti excels in Italian genealogy; the first two lectures will have an Italian emphasis.


Lisa Alzo, author and lecturer:
  • "365 Ways to Discover Your Family History"
  • "20th Century Desperate Housewives"

October Full Day Conference

Scott Andrew Bartley, genealogical researcher with over 20 years of experience specializing in Colonial US, New England and Eastern Canada:


"What's New in the Genealogy Technology World", by Al Fasoldt, Post Standard columnist. (Includes handout: Internet Genealogy - What's Good! What's Not!... and What Are We Going To Do About It? by Bettie Cummings Cook, CG.)



"How to Prepare for your NEHGS Trip" by Harlow Dunton.

"Finding My Roots in the Mohawk Valley" by Mack Duett, author of The Mohawk Valley Ehles and Allied Families". Mack will talk about writing the genealogy.


Dr. Marian Henry, Historian/Genealogist, Rochester Genealogical Society:
  • "Helpful Finding Aids for Genealogy in NY State"
  • "Hannah, Wife of Edward Gove - Evaluating Conflicting Sources"
  • "Plat Mapping Workshop"
    Participants will take the description of a deed and make a plot on a piece of graph paper.


"Update on Ancestry.com's Partnership with the NYS Archives and New LDS Resources" by Kent Stuetz, NYS Region 5 Advisor Officer. (Handout: Requesting NYSL Materials Electronically through Excelsior.)

"Using DNA to Explore your Ancestry", by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., The Genetic Genealogist.


"Research in Wayne County, NY" by Peter Evans, Wayne County Historian.

October Full Day Conference

"Outside the Box", Meldon Wolfgang III, founder of Jonathan Sheppard Books, genealogist for 40 years, specializing in immigrant and ethnic group research in the urban Northeast:
  • "Birds of a Feather: Cluster Studies and Record Linkage for Genealogists"
  • "Uncommon Research Tools Equal Uncommonly Good Results"
  • "Beyond the Basics - Techniques for Newspaper Research
Jonathan Sheppard Book Exhibit - books and maps available for sale.


"French Canadian Research" by Julie Dowd, Northern NY American Canadian Genealogical Society.



“The Joys, Surprises, and Cautions in Telling Your Life Story” by Eileen Kent of Utica, a member of the Association of Personal Historians. She has a business called STORIES of a LIFETIME and she will lecture on preserving family stories. As a prelude to her talk, an expert panel will be discussing Irish research.


“Genealogical Resources at Rundel Library” and “German Research” by Larry Naukam, head of the Local History and Genealogy Division of the Rochester Public Library.

“Genealogical Resources at Cornell University” and “Using Maps in Genealogy” by Bob Kibbee, Map and Geospatial Information Librarian, and Virginia Cole, PhD, Olin Library reference librarian. Cornell has numerous genealogical materials and a large collection of 280,000 paper maps, several thousand atlases and many files of digital maps. Cornell Library Resources for Genealogical Research.


“Brick Wall Battering Rams” by Dick Hillenbrand, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Dick will speak about some new ideas and resources to solve genealogical problems. Members will be encouraged to submit their brick wall problems.


“Genealogical Resources at the JCHS” and “Battleship in the Wilderness” by Tim Abel, PhD, the Director of the Jefferson County Historical Society and an archaeologist who has conducted dozens of excavation projects in northern New York. “Plate Glass Negatives” by a representative of the Lyme Heritage Center, will lecture on a treasure trove of civil war era negatives from a photographer’s shop in Clayton.

October Full Day Conference

Stephen Morse, Ph.D, guest speaker.

Stephen Morse is an amateur genealogist who has been researching his Russian-Jewish origins. Several years ago he developed some web-based searching aids which, much to his surprise, have attracted attention worldwide. He has received both the Outstanding Contribution Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, and the first ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists.

In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering from New York University. He has held research positions at Bell Labs, IBM Watson Research, GE Corporate R&D, and Compagnie Internationale pour l'Informatique in France. He has been involved in development at Intel Corp, Alsys Inc, and Netscape. He has taught at CCNY, Pratt Institute, UC Berkeley, SUNY Albany, Stanford University, and San Francisco State. He has authored numerous technical papers, written four textbooks, and holds four patents. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (the granddaddy of today's pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution 25 years ago.
  • "One-Step Webpages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools"

    The One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database. Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census. Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes over 100 web-based tools divided into 13 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay. This presentation will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

  • "What Color Ellis Island Search Form should I use?"

    In April 2001 the Ellis Island ship manifests and passenger records went on-line. A few weeks later the One-Step Ellis Island website was created to make this resource easier to use. Since that time the One-Step site has been greatly expanded to include new search capabilities and an array of color-coded search forms.
    This talk will describe the evolution of the website from both a historical and a practical perspective, and provide a beacon for navigating through this color maze.

  • "Playing Hide and Seek in the US Census"

    Even before the 1930 Census was unlocked on April Fool's Day 2002, researchers began wondering how they were going to locate people's records. The lack of indexes presented a real challenge. Several solutions to this problem have since evolved. The One-Step Census website presents a street aid for finding records. A similar aid exists on the NARA website. Commercial websites have developed extensive indexes which are available for a fee. The One-Step website has since been expanded to include 1910, 1920, and 1940 as well. This presentation describes and contrasts these various solutions of searching in these census years.

  • "Deep Linking and Deeper Linking: How I get the most out of existing Search Applications"

    Deep linking provides a means of optimizing the information extracted from existing third-party websites in general, and from search applications in particular. Various means of deep linking are introduced such as URL editing, using search forms, and placing a man in the middle. These are the very techniques that are used by many of the tools on the One-Step website. Then the tables are turned and methods of blocking others from deep linking to your website are described. The legalities of deep linking are also discussed. The purpose is not to make you an expert at improving other people's websites. Rather it is to expose you to the techniques that were used on the One-Step website and give you a better appreciation for what is there and how to use it. As such, no knowledge of webpage programming is required. However, if you have such knowledge you will be able to apply the ideas presented here yourself.


“Discovering Your House History” by Rick Porter of Finger Lakes House Histories. He will speak on researching house histories. As a preliminary offering there will be an expert panel discussion on heritage societies and how to join them.



Ken Stuetz, Regional Advisory Officer with the New York State Archives, will discuss oft-forgotten sources that can be found in local municipalities. His second talk should be very helpful to those planning research trips:

April Full Day Conference

Marian Henry, Historian/Genealogist for the Rochester Genealogical Society:


Lisa Alzo, M.F.A., author of Three Slovak Women and Finding Your Slovak Ancestors and numerous magazine articles, will share her experience in genealogical research in Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic:
  • "Crossing the Pond: Techniquest for Finding Your Elusive Eastern European Ancestors"
  • "Identifying Immigrant Cluster Communities"


"Cryptic Clues in the Boneyard" Video by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack offers tips on cemetery research, grave photography, and tombstone rubbings.

Archivist Jean Nudd from the NARA Office in Pittsfield, MA, will share her knowledge of the holdings in NARA:
  • "Using Military Records at the National Archives"
  • "Using Pre-1850 Census to Locate Familial Relationships"

October Full Day Conference

Dick Eastman, well known online for his website "Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter", will be presenting four lectures.

Dick Eastman kept his first genealogy database on 80-column punch cards.

For some 30+ years, Dick Eastman has been honing his vision of the future to improve our picture of the past. A high school writing assignment started him asking questions about family, and tuned his ear to the stories of Eastman, Dow, Deabay and Theriault elders at family reunions.

Along with this growing curiosity about his roots, an early interest in ham radio awakened his penchant for all things electronic, and he was ready for computers almost before they were ready for him. This odd combination of interests came together, and by the early 1970’s, Dick was already using a mainframe computer to enter his family data on punch cards.

It was only natural for him to play with PCs and Macintosh computers when the information age invaded households across the continent. He immediately saw new and better and faster ways of researching his family. This was too good to keep to himself, so it’s no surprise that the internet became his playground, where he would exhort others to bring their ancestors into this digitized world.

In the mid-1980s, Dick actually went knocking on the door of a rising online star called CompuServe to propose a genealogy forum: a move by which he built a community of family historians over the next 14 years. He preached the benefits of technology to an even wider audience of genealogists, including national and international genealogical organizations, and of course, GENTECH, an organization that helped him to spread his message.

For the past 11-plus years, Dick has pursued his mission through an online periodical he writes every day, simply called “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” He loves to share technology “finds” that can help both new and seasoned genealogists.
  • "The Latest Technology for Genealogists"

    This presentation will feature a look at today’s technology. The topic is subject to change as new products and services are announced. Mr. Eastman will discuss devices and software to make genealogy easier: handheld computers, GPS receivers, shirt-pocket sized scanners and more.

    Listing of products mentioned in presentation.

  • "Genealogy Searches on Google"

    Extracting the most genealogy information possible from everyone’s favorite search engine. This presentation will cover two primary topics: (1) how to search for genealogy information on Google in ways that most people never thought of and (2) how to view thousands of full-length genealogy books at no charge.

  • "Where is Genealogy Software Headed?"

    This is a bit of a crystal ball exercise. Dick Eastman claims that most of our latest genealogy programs are very old-fashioned. Many have not changed significantly in 20 years and yet there is hope on the horizon. Mr. Eastman will show demos of the latest trends in web-based genealogy software.

  • "Photographing Old or Delicate Documents and Photographs"

    Use your computer BEFORE you snap the picture! This presentation will discuss lighting, photo stands, macro lenses and even software to be used before the shutter is pressed. There will also be a brief discussion of software used to enhance photographs after the picture is taken. The presentation will focus on digital cameras and “digital darkroom” techniques.


Jim Meyer of Meyer Bookbinding Co. in Auburn will be giving a presentation on "Rebinding and Restoring Old Family Bibles and Historical Books". He will also be on hand to offer free estimates of how much it would cost to restore your family bible so be sure to bring yours to the meeting!

Members will discuss favorite publications. A Librarian from OCPL will discuss recent acquisitions in the Local History Department.



"Irish Genealogy" - Anne Ruggeri, genealogy chairperson of the Irish American Cultural Institute, 1:00 PM will help you find your Irish ancestors.


"Who's Your Most Interesting Ancestor?" - During this sharing session CNYGS members and 10:00 AM guests should be prepared to make a short (3 minute limit, please) presentation about their favorite/most interesting or most illustrious ancestor. Why is he/she interesting and how did you find out?

"Writing About Your Ancestors" will be easier after you view the NEHGS video Genealogical Writing Style Guidelines and Practical Advice by Henry Hoff. You’ll be ready to turn your 3 minute presentation into a full page in your family history!


"Oneida County Resources" - Mary Anne Buteux, a volunteer at the Oneida County Historical 1:00 PM Society who also does private family research, will tell us what’s available on line and where to go to find vital records, naturalization papers, land records, probate records, and historical information.


"Using Census Records" - The first Federal census was taken in 1790 and many have been taken 1:00-4:00 PM since then. Today these records have the potential to reveal much about your family's history. During this workshop you will learn how to search them and use the indexes to them. You will also learn how to use the New York State Census. Presentation by Wayne Wright, NYSHA.

October Full Day Conference

Curt B. Witcher, Manager, Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library, will present:
  • "Mining the Mother Lode: Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Purposes"
  • "Effective Use of the ACPL Historical Genealogy Department"
  • Using Military Records for Genealogical Research"
  • "Using Church Records in Your Genealogical Research"


"What's New in the Genealogy Department of the OCPL" - Librarian Holly Sammons will bring us 1:00 PM up to date on the genealogical resources available at and through the Onondaga County Public Library, including HeritageQuest and the Syracuse Newspapers Archives.



"Genealogical Research in Madison County" - Sue Greenhagen, Town of Eaton Historian and Technical Services Librarian at SUNY Morrisville; Roberta Kincaid, Certified Genealogical Record Specialist (CGRS); and Harold Witter, Family Genealogist and author of Witter Genealogy, will present research resources and ideas. Please join us as we kick off our new season at the new site!

April Full Day Conference

"Tips and Tricks for Finding Your Female Ancestors - Patti Haggerty, CNYGS Board Member, using David Dearborn's video, Finding A Wife's Maiden Name (NEHGS - New England Historic and Genealogical Society). The discussion includes her personal experiences in breaking down brickwalls of five different Abigails.

"Researching the 'Net - My Faborite Website" - Open Forum -- Each of us has a favorite family- history research Website. Bring yours along with its web- address (URL), and share how it is useful, and any of its drawbacks. A list will be collected and distributed to the membership.


"Using Digital Cameras to Film Historical Documents" - Kent Stuetz, Regional Advisory Officer with the New York State Archives, will discuss and show how to film historical documents using a digital camera, including different types of cameras, settings, filming techniques, and secret tips.


"Plant Your Tree On the Web" - Mary D. Taffet will discuss the steps involved in publishing your genealogical data on the Web, including choices of website hosts, consideration of privacy issues, and use of various programs to prepare and upload your data. Mary received a 2001 GENTECH Scholarship for her project, Automatic Tagging of Genealogical Data to Enhance Web-based Retrieval.

October Full Day Conference

"Finding and Using New York City Records" - Leslie Corn, MA, FGBS, and Roger Joslyn, CG, FASG, nationally-known genealogists will be our presenters.


"Genealogical Research Using Invention Patent Records" - Pamela Lipe Revercomb will discuss the government documents and original patent record books, not available electronically, that she used to learn about patents that her ancestors had invented.

Mary D. Taffet will discuss how more recent patent records can be searched using the Internet.



"Making the Best Use of the Onondaga Historical Association Research Center and Archives" by Michael Martin, Associate Archivist of the OHA.

"History of Syracuse Cemeteries" by Dennis Connors, Curator of History, OHA.


Ruth Quigley Weller, Research Director of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS), presents:
  • "Genealogical Research using Rhode Island Records"
  • "Genealogical Research using Massachusetts Records"


"Share Your Family Trees and Treasures" - CNYGS Members - This program is to be presented by all members of our society in the Gymnasium. Bring something to share, such as a genealogy or family history, or family artifacts (i.e., tools, quilts, clothing and Family Bibles. Come and see how others have organized and preserved family histories and heirlooms.


"Using Death Records in Your Research" - Barbara Dix, retired Oswego County Historian, will include many records surrounding a death to help with your family research: civil, newspaper, cemetery, sextant, funeral home, stones, internet, and taking pictures of an preserving the stones.

October Full Day Conference

"Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors, On and Off the Internet" - Darothy DeAngelo, authority on the Civil War, and Sue Greenhagen, Reference Librarian, Morrisville College, will show us how to find our Civil War ancestors using traditional methods and Internet resources.

"Lineage Organizations and How to Join Them" - A panel of lineage society members will discuss the societies and how to join them:
  • DAR - Leola Crane Sutton
  • SAR - John Downing
  • Civil War Organizations - Darothy DeAngelo
  • Mayflower Society - Marion Chester and Sharon Matyas.


"Why Did They Come Here? How Our Ancestors May Have Ended Up In New York" -by Robert Arnold III, Records Services, New York State Archives.

This talk will examine some of the political, economic, and social contexts in which our ancestors lived, and thus compelled them from their ancestral homelands to New York State, thereby helping us to develop a fuller sense of our family history.



"Preservation of Photographs" - by Gary Albright, Conservator, George Eastman Museum House, Rochester, NY.

An introduction to photographic history, proper storage and care, indirect information about dating old photos, with time for questions.

April Full Day Conference

Elissa Scalise Powell, CGRS, has been doing genealogical research since 1985, and helps others find their ancestral roots through community college classes in beginning genealogy and computers.She will present the following lectures:
  • "Pennsylvania Migration Trails"

    Considering the trails and reasons why your migrating ancestors left Pennsylvania will give you some clues as to where to search for their origins there.

  • "When there is no Will there still is a Way"

    Probate records and the analysis of what one might find in them. We will explore the Russell Index System that is prevalent in Pennsylvania.


"Genealogy Databases for the PC" - Norm Young has instructed several beginning genealogy courses, has demonstrated- genealogy databases and is president of the St. Lawrence Valley Genealogy Society.


"Digging Up the Dead with a GPS" - Learning to use a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver and mapping software for your genealogy research. A GPS receiver can help you find your way to a cemetery, mark the exact location of an abandoned cemetery or even a specific grave site.

Gary Jones and Anton Ninno -- Gary is a librarian with the Local History / Genealogy Dept of the OCPL. Anton is a staff trainer at OCM- BOCES, helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms and student projects.


"New York State Historical Library at Cooperstown, NY Resources" - Wayne Wright, Associate Director Discover the many genealogical resources in this regional library.

November Full Day Conference

Lisa A. Alzo, Ithaca, NY, teacher of genealogy courses at BOCES and genealogical lecturer, presents:
  • "Packrat or Genealogist? Effective Methods for Organizing your History Research"

    Explore both traditional methods and computer technology to organize family history documents, photographs, and other important papers and data for quick retrieval, as well as tips for distributing- and sharing this information with others.

  • "Beyond the Family Tree: How to Write A Compelling Family History

    It is easy to overlook the stories of how our ancestors lives were influenced by local and world events and conditions. This workshop will show how to liven up your family history by placing your ancestors in the larger context and will demonstrate how to produce interesting copy using such items as vital records, documents, photographs and more.



"Technology and Genealogy: Selecting and usingDigital Cameras, Scanners & CD-Recorders ("burners")" by Al Fasoldt, Technology Writer Syracuse Post Standard and Newhouse News Service, Point & Click host, and "Random Access" radio show host.


"Preparing for A Successful Research Trip". Panelists: Harlow Dunton, Roberta Kincaid CGRS, Roger Williams.


"The Ease of Doing French-Canadian Names" and

"Name Changes and Variations in French-Canadian Names" by Roger Lawrence, American-Canadian Genealogical Society, Manchester, NH.


"Reading Early American Handrwiting", videotape, produced by 123-Genealogy.


"Post Revolution Settlement of Central NY: Military Tracts and Other Land Tracts that Attracted People - How Central New Yorkers Got There", by James Darlington, Adjunct Professor of Geography and History at SUNY Cortland.

Broad patterns that brought people from certain regions to settle in Central NY, and the makeup of our local countryside.


"A Lawyer's Guide to Finding Genealogical Records - Courthouse Resources", by Roger B. Williams, Esq., Syracuse.

Roger has been practicing law for over 30 years and exploring genealogy for the the past 10 years or so. In this presentation, he will share the ways in which his legal experience has helped him find family records and supported his research. You will have an insider's tour of the typical county courthouse, and know where to look and what to ask for when you visit your ancestor's locations. Finally, you will understand the record-keeping and indexing systems in use locally, which apply with minor variations across the U.S.



"Church Archives - A Resource for Genealogists", by Peter Christoph, Archivist for Lutheran Church Upstate N.Y. Synod, Rev. Charles Marks, United Methodist Church Commission for History and Archives, and Joan Green, Asst. Archivist, Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.


"Lighting the Fire, and Getting Started in Genealogy" by Clancy Hopkins, Editor of the Informer (Newsletter of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society).


"Flatlands and Rock Farmers: Research in Vermont and Pathways to New York" by Alice Eicholtz, PhD, CG, Director of Lifelong Learning, Norwich University.


"Show and Tell". CNYGS Members share their genealogical discoveries and surprises of the past year. One of the best ways to learn research methods is from other genealogists and family historians who have had successes in breaking down a research-barrier, creatively.

October: CNYGS 40th Anniversary Celebration

"Mining for Genealogical Gems". Speakers include Diane Snyder Ptak, Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer, Judge John Austin and others.


"Using Genealogical Journals to Research Your Family Tree" by Joyce Cook, Librarian, Fulton Public Library.



"When the Sources Are Wrong". How to spot and overcome the obstacle of errors in primary and secondary sources.

"Tracing Origins of Your Early 18th Century Palatine Emigrants" and

"What's New in Palatine Genealogy". A step-by-step plan for pinpointing and fully tracing your ancestors' European roots, presented by Henry Z. Jones, Jr., FASG.

For program downloads, please visit our archived site.

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

© 2015 Central New York Genealogical Society