Central New York Genealogical Society
Central New York Genealogical Society Image: Jacob B Smith

Friday, June 10, 2016

“Journal of the Board of Supervisors…”

by Rich Remling, former board member, CNYGS
Meeting minutes and reports that are found in Board of Supervisors journals can be helpful to genealogists. My own experience has been with the journals from Onondaga County, but I’m sure you can find other counties’ journals in courthouses and libraries throughout the state. Personally, I didn’t find the Onondaga County journals to be as helpful in my research as the Syracuse Common Council proceedings were, but county journals are definitely worth taking a look at. As my example I am using the Journal of the Board of Supervisors of Onondaga County from 1870. In particular I’ll look at three reports found towards the end of the journal.
The Report of the Onondaga County Orphan Asylum
This report for the year ending Nov 1, 1870 lists the orphans who were residents of the asylum under the care of L. C. Suydam, Matron. The asylum was located at the time on E. Fayette St near Crouse Ave. in Syracuse.
To show a sample entry, here are the orphans listed for the Town of Geddes.
Orphan                                   Received                  Discharged     Weeks             Days
Mary Fitzpatrick                    Jun 14, 1870              Jul 24, 1870        5                      5
Joanna Fitzpatrick                      do                                do                5                      5
Keron Fitzpatrick                        do                         Nov 1, 1870       20
Timothy Fitzpatrick                     do                                do               20
Searching the 1870 federal census for the orphan asylum one finds that Lydia C. Suydan, aged sixty-five, was the matron of the asylum. Eighty-six children were enumerated, among them our four Fitzpatrick orphans. I was unable to determine if any records from the Onondaga Orphan Asylum still exist. Its successor is the Elmcrest Children’s Center located at 960 Salt Springs Road Syracuse, NY 13224. 
By 1875 the four orphans were split up by sex. The 1875 NYS census enumerates the residents of the House of Providence, located outside the city limits in the Town of Geddes. Here we find the boys enumerated along with ninety-three other boys and elderly men.  The Daughters of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious order, staffed the facility. The 1875 NYS census also enumerates the St. Vincent’s female orphan asylum that was located on Madison St near Montgomery St. in Syracuse. Joanna and Mary are listed along with 73 other girls at this asylum. Records for both facilities are located at the CatholicCharities of Onondaga County offices at 1654 W. Onondaga St. in Syracuse. You must be a former resident or direct descendant to view the records.
Report of the Acting Superintendent of the Penitentiary
This report contains information about people who were incarcerated in the county jail that was located on Lodi Street in Syracuse. A total of 601 men and 80 women were incarcerated during the year ending Oct 31. There were 275 people arrested for intoxication, by far the leading offence. The most common sentence was 30 days or a $10 fine. A total of 217 people fell into this category. Only 25 inmates were serving more than six months. Most claimed to be natives of the United States. The rest came from 8 countries: Canada, 40; England, 30; France, 3; Germany, 20; Denmark, 3; Ireland, 170; Scotland, 12; and Nova Scotia, 1.
Adolphus Engle, Deputy Superintendent in Charge, reported that the biggest improvement to the prison property was the sinking of a well, 96 feet deep. Prior to this the convicts drank impure water, which in the previous summer had caused a great deal of sickness according to Engle. The inmates were kept busy performing a number of jobs including farming. On part of the property fruits and vegetables were cultivated. Although the summer was a dry one the farm harvest included 680 bushels of potatoes, 160 bushels of beets, 10 bushels of apples, 2 bushels of grapes, 60 bushels of carrots, 2 bushels of cucumbers, 10 bushels of squash, 3 bushels of parsnips, 2 bushels of beans, 10 bushels of tomatoes, 5 bushels of onions, 200 heads of cabbage and 3 tons of hay. Inmates also worked in the shoe shop and chair shop. The amount of income generated by the shoe shop was a substantial $7,498.19.
Here is the data listed for one particular inmate, Eliza Appleton: When Received, March 10, 1869; Offence, keeping a disorderly house; Fine, $250; How Disposed of, paid; Where Convicted, sessions; When Discharged, March 8, 1870. Eliza was quite well known to area residents. She appears in the 1850 federal census (6), enumerated with husband Thomas Davis and son Oscar. This union did not last long.  Thomas Davis would later become the chief of police in Syracuse. There are many newspaper articles about Eliza that give us a glimpse of her life.
Feb 13 1851 – “Eliza Appleton was arrested by officer Kenyon, charged with being a disorderly person, on complaint of Thomas Davis. An examination was held and defendant discharged.”
Jun 2, 1855 – “The alarm of fire which startled our people last night between eleven and twelve o’clock occasioned by a bright light on the north side of the Canal, between Salina and Willow streets. On hurrying thither we found the place in the utmost confusion and the flames making sad havoc with a nest of buildings fronting on Pearl street, and clustering on an alley running through from Pearl to Lock street. Some of these buildings were occupied by notorious characters whose names would be of little value to the public. Among them was the celebrated Eliza Appleton who has been the subject of so many fires before.”
Jun 4 1855 – “It is slanderously reported that eleven Police officers ran out of Miss Eliza Appleton’s house of entertainment when it caught fire on Friday night! Of course no one believes such an improbable story.”
Oct 1, 1858 – “George Blair pleaded guilty on charges of assault and battery on Eliza Appleton. Fined $15.”
Nov 10, 1860 – “Our city was last night the scene of two riotous demonstrations, made upon premises occupied by disreputable persons…The premises at which the riots occurred are…the house on Madison street, between Grape and Almond streets, kept by Eliza Appleton, one of the most notorious characters of the town…As near as we can learn at least one hundred young men and boys were engaged in these disturbances…They forced an entrance…completed the demolition of the furniture, windows and doors…The contents of the house… were a complete wreck…The occupants of the house fled on the approach of the rioters except Miss Appleton, who calmly stood her ground and saw the riot completed, and warned the parties engaged in it that she knew most of them and would bring upon them the full power of the law for their offences.”
Nov 20 1860 – “The police cleaned out a bawdy house kept by Eliza Appleton last Sunday night. This was one of bagnios visited and “gutted” by a virtuous mob a few nights ago.”
Mar 11, 1869 – “The People against Eliza Appleton…Indicted for keeping a disorderly house. Verdict of guilty. The Court sentenced the prisoner to the Onondaga County Penitentiary for one year, and pay a fine for $250, and to stand committed till paid.”
Jul 24, 1876 – “Eliza Appleton was arraigned on a warrant sworn out by Chief Davis, charging her with keeping a disorderly house, in violation of the city ordinances. She pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a fine of $100 or go on the hill for ninety days.”
Mar 16 1878 – “On complaint of Charles Moore, of Utica and Herkimer, Eliza Appleton of Syracuse, pays $100 for keeping a house of prostitution, and Nellie Comstock, $25, or both go to the penitentiary for three and two months respectively.”      
Mar 25, 1881 “Eliza Appleton paid her regular quarterly installment of $100 to the City of Syracuse yesterday for keeping a house of prostitution.”
Report of the Superintendent of the Poor
The Onondaga County Poor House was located in the Town of Onondaga. The LDS Church has filmed the actual poor house ledgers. According to the report of the superintendent, the poor house and the asylum for the insane received 563 people for the year ending Nov 9, 1870. The number of deaths listed was 32. The poor house included a farm which produced 12 tons of hay, 3 loads cornstalks, 30 bushels of winter apples, 35 bushels fall apples, 616 bushels of potatoes, 30 bushels of onions, 109 bushels of carrots, 267 bushels of beets, 1, 800 head of cabbage, 150 celery plants, 15 bushels of tomatoes, 1 barrel of pickles, 8 lbs. of hops, and 27 barrels of cider.
A typical entry in the superintendent’s journal lists Riley Copeland who was a resident for 242 days and his stay was chargeable to the town of Elbridge. He was also one of the residents who died there. Adding 242 days to Nov 10, 1869 gives us a death date sometime in July. The 1870 federal census lists Riley as an 11 year old “idiot” at the poor house. In the 1865NYS census he is listed as a four year old pauper at the poor house.
Coroner reports contain a gold mine of information if you are lucky enough to find them. You will find coroner reports in Jefferson County journals.  As an example here are some reports from the Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Jefferson for the year 1901.  
June 15, 1901. I was called to Adam’s Centre to investigate the death of an old man who was killed by being run over by train No. 59 going east, near the station, at about 3 a.m. I ordered the remains removed to the undertaking rooms of J. C. Heath. I found, upon viewing the remains, no means of identifying the body; requested J. C. Heath to have a photograph taken of the remains, for the purpose of identification, as the body was in such a mangled condition that it could not be preserved. I requested Dr. Fred Bailey, of Adams Centre, to act as coroner’s physician. We examined the body and found the head had been severed from the body, left leg cut off above the knee and right leg cut off just above the ankle, with the most of the ribs fractured. I learned that Herbert McIntyre, the night operator at Adam’s Centre, who discovered the body, found some money belonging to the deceased, scattered along the track where the accident occurred. He gave me six hundred fifty ($650) dollars in gold and two and 22/100 ($2.22) dollars in small change. I found upon returning to the city, Fred Weiler, of Constableville, who had read an account of the accident, could identify the body as that of Michael Bardell, his step-father, who resided in Lyons Falls, aged 67 years. I notified a brother of his at Cape Vincent who identified the remains. His relatives said that he left Lyons Falls a day or two before the accident, for Cape Vincent, to visit his brother, and that he stopped over in Watertown, as he was seen in the city Friday evening. For some unaccountable reason he presumably started to walk to Cape Vincent on the railroad track; mistaking his way at the junction, he walked toward Adams Centre where he was accidentally killed. I decided an inquest unnecessary and delivered the money over to the County Treasurer, which was found where he was killed.
July 19, 1901. Viewed the body of Ida May Blevens, age 4 years. She was drowned in a rain barrel half full of water, while trying to reach a tin that she had dropped. She had been out of her mother’s sight about twenty minutes when she found her in the barrel of water. They live just outside the village.
Nov 13, 1901. Had a child of premature birth brought to my office by a workman on the sewer on Sterling street. I investigated the case and found that while the workingmen were taking up the sewer on Sterling street the child floated through. It was an impossibility to tell anything about where it came from.
From this brief look we can see that Board of Supervisors journals have something to offer genealogists who wish to leave no stone unturned! 
©2016 Richard Remling

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

“Proceedings of the Common Council…”

by Rich Remling, former board member, CNYGS
If you are doing any urban research in the 19th century and early 20th century you’ll want to lay your hands on these books. They are a goldmine of information about city residents and the neighborhoods in which they lived. In my city, Syracuse, you can find them in a number of areas. Besides city hall they are in the Onondaga County Public Library downtown, the law library on the fifth floor of the County Court House and the Syracuse University College of Law Library. There are even a few online at familysearch. To give an idea of the information these books contain I looked through the 1888 volume, Proceedings Of The Common Council And Reports of the City Officers Of The City Of Syracuse, N.Y., For The Fiscal Year 1888. The references below come from this book.
You will find information about lawsuits that were filed against the city. At the Common Council meeting of Jul 2, 1888 the following communication was entered into the Council minutes. “From Mrs. Sarah O. Wright presenting claim for damages in the sum of $1000 for injuries alleged to have been caused by a defective sidewalk near the corner of Montgomery and Taylor streets.” This was forwarded on to the City Attorney for review. Some cases are dismissed, others are settled and some go to trial. Judgments can then be appealed. Cases like Mrs. Wright’s were not uncommon in the 19th century. There were many streets that had wooden plank sidewalks and over time would wear out.
Other claims against the city were found. Take for instance a claim from Richard Reynolds “for damages for alleged injuries sus¬tained by him, by reason of the hook and ladder truck running into his carriage upon the 9th day of June, 1888.” This was also referred to the City Attorney.
There is a ton of information about public works projects. The late 19th century was a time of extraordinary growth as surrounding areas were annexed into the city. Surveys and maps were completed that opened new streets and extended existing ones. The streets eventually were graded, and sewers put in. The sewers were made of cement, brick or tile, and the larger trunk sewers were 60 inches or more in diameter. The roads were either paved with sandstone or cobblestone or were macadamized using small stones that were bound together by a stone dust and water mixture. Contractors were hired to do street sprinkling starting in the spring and ending on October 31st to help keep down the dust. Sidewalk grades were established and plank sidewalks were installed. In order to request a plank sidewalk a certain number of property owners had to sign a petition that was then presented to the Common Council. The city even furnished and attached house numbers on the residences. Numbered houses started appearing in the Syracuse city directories in the 1880s.
Sometimes city residents had to make a request to the city to get a permit to erect something. For instance, Nelson E. Case requested through his alderman permission to “erect and maintain a watering trough in front of his premises No. 231 South Salina street.” This was subsequently referred to the Highway Committee and was favorably passed at the Common Council meeting on Sept 24, 1888.
You can also learn a lot about the city from reading these books. For instance, I knew that cities employed weighers of hay, but I had never heard of vinegar inspectors! Apparently cities paid people to inspect the quality of vinegar. Monthly reports were duly submitted to the Common Council. A big money maker for the city was the issuance of licenses. A total of $36,444.15 was generated from licenses issued to 33 hotels, 46 druggists, 100 storekeepers and 568 ale and beer establishments. Also voter registration and polling occurred in places that might seem foreign to us today. In 1888 depending on what ward and section you resided in, you might have voted in someone’s barn, store, barber shop, office, house or even at the sexton’s office of the Rose Hill Cemetery!
The annual report by the Board of Police Commissioners for 1888 summarized the activities of the police force. A total of 4407 arrests were made; 865 prisoners were taken to the penitentiary; 70 prisoners were arrested on telegrams from other cities; 570 lodgers received shelter; 316 business places were found open during the night time and protection given until the owners could be notified; 374 electric lights were reported as not burning; 129 houses were watched while their owners were enjoying their summer vacations; 94 children were picked up in the streets and brought to their homes; and 42 stray horses were taken to the barn for their protection and care.
The minutes also contained invites accorded to the Mayor and the Common Council to various events. At the Dec 3, 1888 meeting, the Root Relief Corps proffered an invitation to attend their bivouac at the Armory. At the Feb 4, 1889 meeting, the Mayor and Common Council were invited by the School Board to attend graduation exercises at the Wieting Opera House for the first school class of 1889.
You will also find street name changes in these minutes. At the December 17, 1888 meeting, a motion was adopted “That the name of Chestnut Street be and the same is hereby changed to that of Crouse Avenue.” Other name changes over the years were Grape Street to Townsend Street, Foot Street to James Street, Orange Street to McBride Street and Mulberry Street to State Street. Streets were also renumbered as additional side streets were added to the map. Houses were relocated as well. This was especially common in the 1860s and 1870s in Syracuse.
From this cursory look we can see that Common Council proceedings are a must resource for genealogists and house historians!
©2016 Richard Remling

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Oh Clarissa, What Will We Do Without You?

by Nancy Maliwesky
Clarissa Stallknecht was already a fixture on the Central New York Genealogical Society board when I signed on in 2012. As President and Hospitality Committee Chair, she not only voted for my crazy idea to start a biennial New York State based family history conference in Syracuse, but she volunteered to be on the planning committee. She put together the Conference’s first budget, attended weekly meetings, kept me organized and focused, helped me navigate the event planning with the venue staff and handled all the registration materials and the fine details that often slip through the cracks. She then took on a larger role with the 2015 and 2016 Conferences, coordinating our vendors and exhibitors.
She did this while working full-time, volunteering for the Brewerton Fire Department, acting as treasurer for the New York State Council of Genealogical Organizations, acting as Historian for the Fort Brewerton Historical Society, pursuing her own genealogical research, being a hands-on mom and grandmother and caring for an elderly neighbor.
Clarissa lived her life. She put her money where her mouth was, and supported the many organizations and people that she cared about. She never let anything stop her from doing what she felt needed to be done. She had health issues, but she didn’t talk about them. She just kept on going.
She didn’t seek out accolades; in fact, I think she preferred working out of the spotlight. She gave her friends her time, her advice, her thoughtful concern and her great sense of humor. She would tell me when she thought I was biting off more than I could chew, and she was usually right. I always knew she had my back.
If I have learned anything from knowing Clarissa, it is to live your life. Live your life. Do what you can, do what you think you can’t. Surprise yourself and never settle. Move forward with no regrets. Live your life.
I will miss you, my friend, and I look forward to catching up one day. I know you will have some great stories to tell me. Until then, come down to Dover, it’s warmer here and the birdfeeders are full. I’ll be keeping an eye out for you.
So fly, on your impossible wings
Be true to who you are in everything
Don’t settle for what doesn’t seem right
And raise your fists to this beautiful fight
I see you, big as a bird’s heart
I see you, brave as the day’s start
I see you, true as the North Star
I see you, beautiful as you are
I see you, I see you, I see you.
©2016 Nancy Maliwesky
Nancy Maliwesky, past Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association for ten years. Recently retired, and now living with her husband in Dover, Delaware, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tree Stump Monuments

by Rich Remling, former board member CNYGS
I think my favorite types of grave markers are “tree stump” stones. For one thing they are rather rare. You don’t see a lot of them around. But what really gets me is how striking they are. They really are beautiful pieces of art. These stones were popular from the 1880s to the early 1900s. Here are two examples from Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse. The photo below on the left is of Minnie Beard’s monument. The inscription “Francis & Duffy Syracuse” is found near the bottom of the stone, although it does not show up in this photo. Daniel J. Francis & Hugh A. Duffy were the proprietors of The Syracuse Marble and Granite Works located at 17, 19 and 21 W. Onondaga St. The business was founded in 1865 and as of 1885 it had between 15 and 20 employees. There was no carver’s name inscribed on the second stone to the right, that of Edward Augustus Putnam.
If you drive down Rt 5 in Elbridge heading west you’ll pass the Elbridge Rural Cemetery on your left. Not too far from the entrance to the cemetery is probably the largest example of tree stump artistry that you’ll find in Onondaga County. It commemorates the Millious family. The carver’s name and location, “F. O. Cross, Chicago Ill” can be seen on the bottom of the photo on the right. He was born and raised in the southern tier of NYS and moved to Chicago where he started carving stones. By 1890 he had moved to Indiana.
The above monument was commissioned by Elizabeth Ann Dibble, daughter of William S. and Eliza Millious. Other family members inscribed on front side of the monument include two siblings of Elizabeth Ann (Olive and William Simeon) and their grandmother Prudence Millious, wife of Jacob Millious. I can just imagine the feelings that Elizabeth Ann must have experienced as she waited in the cemetery for the arrival of the limestone marker. It would have been crated and shipped either by rail from Chicago or by water via the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. Then at some point it was loaded onto a wagon and taken the remaining miles to the cemetery where Elizabeth Ann was waiting. As the workers broke open the crate and hoisted the monument onto its base, what an impressive sight it must have been. That is until Elizabeth Ann started reading the writing on the stone and realized that her grandmother’s death date was wrong! If you look closely at the dates you’ll see Elizabeth Ann’s father William S. was born on Dec 16, 1802, yet his mother Prudence died May 22, 1883 at the age of eighty-five years making her four years old at the time of her son’s birth in 1802. Searching for Prudence in Findagrave reveals a second entry for her. One entry is from Elbridge Rural and the other is from Redman Ground cemetery. The Redman Ground photo for Prudence has her death date of May 22, 1853 aged 85. Since the shape of the numerals “8” and “5” are very similar it is quite possible that the carver misread the handwriting on the order form and carved 1883 instead of 1853. Whether or not Prudence’s remains are in Redman Ground and the marker in Elbridge Rural is a cenotaph, or her remains were taken from Redman and reinterred in Elbridge Rural, I do not know.
The Town of Elbridge should be commended for the work they have undertaken at this cemetery. An impressive roadside marker dedication ceremony was held on Aug 10, 2013 to dedicate the new blue and gold marker for the cemetery. Over twenty-one revolutionary war veterans are buried there. I attended this event with a number of DAR and SAR folks. Elbridge Boy Scout Troop 52 started the ceremony by marching to the cemetery flagpole and lowering the present day fifty star flag and raising a thirteen star flag. After the pledge of allegiance was recited, town historian Jack Horner welcomed everyone and thanked all for coming. Syracuse SAR chapter president Bob Gang gave a speech and read a roll call of the veterans buried there. Representatives from several local DAR chapters also spoke. Town supervisor Ken Bush gave a speech for the dedication of the roadside historical marker. Among the hundred or so spectators a number of them were direct descendants of the veterans. Also present were two American Legion posts whose members fired a salute. The Jordan Historical Society had charge of refreshments.
Over the past few years, efforts have been made to refurbish some of the larger stones in the cemetery. As can be seen by the photo below, these monuments have been lifted, cleaned and new bases installed. Wouldn’t it be nice if all cemeteries were given the attention that this one has received!
©2016 Richard Remling

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Absalom Talbot – A Free Black Man

by Rich Remling, former board member CNYGS
Miscellaneous records are court records that are under utilized by genealogists. Tree Talks has been abstracting court records for years, but these records have mainly been probate and guardianship records. The LDS has digitized deeds and probate records in New York State but have not done much with miscellaneous court records. Sometimes you can find things in these miscellaneous records that may be found in no other place.
In the basement archives of the Onondaga County Courthouse, I had been leafing through the earliest Miscellaneous Records book “Onondaga County Miscellaneous Records A-B-C-D. “ On page 189 of Volume D, I found the following record that was recorded by D. Mosely, clerk on Apr 25, 1821:
Whereas Absalom Talbot of the Town of Salina in the County of Onondaga a black man has appeared before me and whereas proof has been exhibited before me that the said Absalom Talbot is a free man according to the laws of this State by oath of Charles Fields. Now therefore I Nehemiah H. Earll one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in this the County of Onondaga do certify that I am of the opinion that the said Absalom Talbot is free according to the laws of this State and further that the age of the said Absalom is of the age of twenty six years the description of whose person is as follows about six feet one ¼ inches and was born free in the Town of Bridgewater in Massachusetts. N. H. Earll Judge of Onon Com Pleas
The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY) has researched Absalom and his family. The Absalom and Magdalena Talbot house on Abbey Road in the Town of Onondaga is on PACNY’s Freedom Trail website[1].  The research states that Absalom was born about 1800 in Massachusetts. This information probably was obtained from later census records. Thanks to the Miscellaneous Records we now have a more accurate birth date and origin for Absalom. 
Spelling variations for the name Talbot include Tolbot, Talbit, Talburt, Talbut, Talbert, Tarbit, Tarbot, Turbuit, Tarbet and Terbert. 
The January 2013 article “Sampson Dunbar and His Family” in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Volume 167, page 61) gives Absalom’s parents as Jacob and Susanna (Dunbar) Talbot. Jacob’s parents were Tobey and Dinah (Goold) Tarbit.
Tobey’s emancipation was decided in a Plymouth County Court of Common Pleas case in October 1779 (vol. 15, pages 219 – 220). In the case Toby Tarbut, plaintiff, alleged that Jesse Howard, defendant, took 2 cows, 1 hog and 25 bushels of parsnips from him. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was his proper servant for life and that on Jan 2, 1771 he and Elijah Snell bought the plaintiff from David Jones and that on Apr 16, 1771 Snell released his claim of Toby Tarbut to the plaintiff for twenty pounds. After deliberations the jury found that Toby Tarbut was indeed a freeman and could recover costs against Jesse Howard.
Shortly after this court case, the Massachusetts state constitution was written. It is the oldest functioning written constitution in the world. John Adams was the principal author. Article 1 of the Declaration of Rights declared “all men are born free and equal.”[2] After this constitution was finalized, several court cases in the early 1780s concluded that slavery was inconsistent with the new constitution. This led to slavery’s end in Massachusetts in 1783. In New York State, slavery gradually ended, beginning with a state law in 1799 and ending in 1827 with the freeing of all the remaining slaves in the state.[3]

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ten Neat Things To Do

by Rich Remling, former board member CNYGS
  1. Read genealogy blogs. I’m always amazed at those genealogists who are able to consistently put posts out on the blogosphere that are well thought out, interesting and enjoyable to read. I thought that Dick Hillenbrand’s blog was the best blog source on genealogy in upstate New York. He was always spot on with his posts and I always got a chuckle out of them. I’ll never forget his post about getting lost in the woods. Another blogger, Judy Russell, is really on another planet. If you haven’t checked out the Legal Genealogist’s blog yet, please do so! She posts virtually every day, and she responds to most every comment people leave for her. And she properly cites her sources. She is amazing. I also like Taneya Koonce’s blog. She is a young librarian who got bit by the genealogy bug about a decade ago. Her blog is heavy on software and technology. Her specialty is African American genealogy. Although I personally don’t do any of that ethnic research, I always find myself getting motivated by the energy and enthusiasm she writes with. And I love seeing a young person really into genealogy!
  1. Learn to be more computer literate. Like most genealogists I did not take computer classes in high school. The first time I ever had exposure to the computer was when as a physics major in my junior year of college I took a course titled “Microcomputer Interfacing in the Physics Laboratory.” Well many of us have a mental block when it comes to computers. Fortunately I married well, and so whenever I find myself in a bind I call out “Nancy, can you help me?” and nine times out of ten she picks me up, dusts me off and gets me back in action. One time I actually brought the laptop upstairs to the bedroom in search of much needed tech support after she had gone to sleep. Fortunately for me she is a fellow genealogist so she understands this obsession we have. CNYGS has a GIG (Genealogy Interest Group) that meets about nine times a year on Monday nights at the Salina Library in Mattydale. Often their meetings focus on computers and technology. Now that I have Monday evenings free due to a change in my schedule I plan to attend as many as I can so my wife can get her much needed rest.
  1. Visit the local repositories. You know, we have so many repositories in CNY that few people even bother to explore. I think it would be neat to take one repository a month and pick a family from the 1850 census in that locality and try researching that family. That’s probably the best way to “kick the tires” so to speak of a repository we’ve never been to before. Good way to give it a dry run. Some places will allow you free reign to explore their collection. Others run a tight ship and you will not find any open stacks. Many people who staff these places are very knowledgeable. One such person is Joan Leib at the Chenango County Historical Society. She was incredible when we visited this past year. On the other hand sometimes you’ll find a volunteer who may have good intentions of helping but may end up not being all that helpful. And I have been in town historical societies where the records are just thrown together in a closet and have no organization whatsoever. So you’ll find repositories to be a mixed bag, but always interesting!
  1. Need to lose weight? Become a find-a-grave contributor! There are over 130 million memorials on this well known website . Folks who live far away from their cemetery of interest can submit a photo request for a gravestone. Then you can volunteer to go out to the cemetery, hunt the grave down and take a picture. Upload the image to the website and you’ll usually get a nice thank you email from the person who submitted the photo request. If the cemetery has an office you may be able to get the grave location from them to save you some time. What a great way to perform a genealogy random act of kindness!
  1. Study genealogy journals. If you are like me, you may subscribe to one or more genealogy journals. What I find is that I don’t read them cover-to-cover. I don’t dissect them. I just kind of browse through them. But if we want to be the best researchers we can be, we are really doing ourselves a disservice if this is the approach we take. I’ve decided that from now on, in each issue I’ll pretend that the journal case studies are dealing with my family. You better believe I would be paying much closer attention if this were the case. You might find a source cited that you didn’t know existed. Tom Jones in the October-December 2015 issue of NGS Magazine (NGS Magazine; Volume 41 Number 4; pg 47; Getting the Most from Case Studies in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly) discusses how to get more out of journals.
  1. Get organized. OK, I’ve scanned all my genealogy documents and photos and have them in family folders on my computer. This project took about a year. There are several thousand photos and documents that are now on my computer. I copied them into folders on my laptop following some of Lisa Louise Cooke’s organization ideas. But I still need to do a better job with my file naming conventions. If I have a scan of a newspaper clipping, I’d like the file name to have a subject and a source reference. I still have to think about how best to do this.
  1. Take a genealogy vacation. Need vacation ideas? Well how about taking a vacation each year at a city that is hosting a major conference? Nancy and I have done this since the National Genealogical Society conference held in Raleigh in 2009. We typically take a few extra days for sight seeing and research in addition to attending the conferences. We really like going to the New England Regional Genealogical Conferences. During the last one that was held in Providence, we did some research in Hartford, Connecticut as a side trip. There are a number of conferences and institutes that we have yet to attend including GRIP and the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference. Fort Wayne is another great place to visit that is within a day’s drive of CNY. We drove out there on a Thursday, spent Friday and Saturday researching at the Allen County Public Library and drove back on a Sunday. Other ideas for trips are the genealogy cruises being offered. For those of you wishing to attend a conference closer to home, please consider the 2016 New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse.
  1. Spend time reading dissertations. Each year universities in our country award thousands of PhD degrees. History dissertations are the product of years of study on a particular topic. Why not take advantage of this scholarship? Bird Library at Syracuse University has dissertations on their shelves. They also have access to dissertations from colleges throughout the country on their computer databases. Suzanne Etherington presented at the CNYGS 50th Anniversary conference in 2011. Her thesis from Syracuse University, Less Hell and More Corn: Agriculture in Jefferson County, New York 1850 – 1910 (1993), would be an excellent read for anyone with an ancestor from Jefferson County. There are many dissertations that would be helpful for genealogists.
  1. Patronize your local history/genealogy department in the nearest public library. I must admit my attendance has dropped off over the past years. I’ve always enjoyed browsing the stacks in the lh/g department at the Onondaga County Public Library. In it’s future configuration on the 3rd floor much of the collection will be in closed stacks and staff will have to be sent to retrieve your books for you.
  1. Reinvigorate the CNYGS Blog! The reason I posted this blog was that I felt that the CNYGS blog was a good way for members to interact with each other and share thoughts. I was saddened to see that it has become somewhat dormant. I hope that my post will encourage CNYGS folks to give it a try. As you can see by this post, you don’t have to have a great deal of writing talent to post a blog. So in an effort to solicit more posts, I’m going to take a page out of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I call out Chris Wilcox, CNYGS president, and challenge him to post the next blog. So Chris if you are reading this, I hope you will accept my challenge!
©2016 Richard Remling

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Serendipity of Genealogy

by Barbara Leiger Granato
I recently received a request to do some research for a man residing in California. He was looking for more information on the Stafford family who had lived in Augusta, Oneida County, New York back in the late 1700s.
After doing a little preliminary research from my home computer, I visited the Oneida County Archives, and found many land records from the early days of Oneida County – which was founded in 1798. That shed a little more information on the family, but what I had learned from basic surfing on the Internet is that John Stafford, “a Revolutionist of 1776,” was buried in the “Stafford Cemetery” in Augusta.
I also learned that the “Stafford Cemetery” was an old, abandoned one. And although I found a notation of the road it was on, there was no street address or directions available to find it.
I decided to take my chances, and hopped in my car in search of the little cemetery. I drove through the small village of Oriskany Falls, until I found a sign pointing me in the direction of Augusta. Soon, I discovered I was on Augusta Road and had no clue where I was, until I saw a road sign, “Scharman Road.” WOW! I had found the road where the cemetery was located.
Now, although this was a 55 mph country road, I slowly crept up the big hill, looking first on one side of the road and then on the other. It was not until I got to the top of this hill that I glanced to my right and saw the most beautiful sign set back a distance from the road – “Stafford Cemetery.” And behind the sign, there was a small American flag posted in the ground.
SUCCESS! I parked my car on the shoulder of the road and bounded across the open landscape to the cemetery. It was nestled between two country homes, set quite far apart from each other. When I reached the cemetery, there were only four stones, and three of them were totally worn and illegible. However, the stone that had the American flag next to it was partially legible, and sure enough – it was the stone of John Stafford, “Revolutionist of 1776!” As I looked around the little cemetery, I could see evidence of small trees and brush that had been cleared from the area. Behind the cemetery there was more brush that had not been cleared, but then a farmer’s field was beyond that. I wondered about the souls who were buried there, and began to imagine what life must have been like when they were living.
After taking several photos of the tombstones and the area where they were located, I drove back to the village of Oriskany Falls where the Limestone Ridge Historical Society is located. The society was closed, but after stopping at the Town Hall, the clerk there gave me the name and telephone number of the President of the Historical Society. Yes, small towns most often are friendly like that – and oftentimes will bend over backwards to be of assistance.
The president met me at the Historical Society and let me in to do some research. Although I was not able to find any additional information on the family, I relayed my story about the cemetery that I had just found.
The president looked at me in amazement. It seems that the Limestone Ridge Historical Society awards a scholarship each year to a graduating high school senior. Last year, the decision was based on the essay of the recipient, rather than grade point average. The boy who received this award was a Boy Scout, and the project he worked on to achieve his Eagle Scout badge was to clear an abandoned cemetery and place signage on it. Not only that, but he identified the tombstone of a Revolutionary War soldier, and planted a flag next to his grave.
Yes – this was indeed the Stafford Cemetery! Had it not been for the patriotic act of this boy scout, this cemetery would have been immersed in overgrown brush and trees, and I would have never found it.
Sometimes – especially when searching for genealogical information – I truly believe that things happen for a reason. Sometimes we are meant to find stories and symbols from the past.
Although I do not believe that this little cemetery had any personal relevance to the boy scout who cleaned it up and marked it, what a positive difference he made by doing so. He helped to memorialize a man who helped to make the United States a country!
©2016 Barbara Leiger Granato
After retiring from her job as a secretary at Mohawk Valley Community College, Barbara Granato had more time to pursue her love of genealogy. She is a member of the Oneida Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, currently serving as the chapter Registrar and Vice-Chair of NYS Lineage Research for DAR. In addition to teaching Beginning Genealogy classes, she is a Board member of the Central New York Genealogical Society, as well as a Board Member for the Oneida County Historical Society. She also is a member of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and serves as a tour docent to the mansions on Rutger Street in Utica, and writes murder mysteries which are performed at one of the historic mansions once a year. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Practicing What You Preach: Podcasts, Social Media and Genetic Genealogy


by Nancy Maliwesky

I wrote a blogpost about podcasts a while back, and I have to admit, while initially obsessed with them, I've fallen off the habit lately. Yesterday morning, though, I checked my favorite genealogy podcasts again and found one by Jane Wilcox on the Forget-Me-Not Hour that caught my attention. This was an interview with Michelle Tucker Chubenko, and organizer of a Ukrainian Genealogy Facebook group Nashi Predky (Our Ancestors). My husband, Jerry, is Ukrainian and I've been trying to piece together his family, but have not been having much luck.

Just in case one of Jerry's relatives is reading this post, Jerry's grandparents were Cyril and Antoinette Kogut Maliwiacki and Theodor "Frank" and Helen Micho Hnotko. Both families came from Galicia and settled in Syracuse, New York in the early 20th century. Having done most of my family research long distance, it's been quite a treat to actually live in the same neighborhood that the people I am researching lived in, and I have found a lot of information about Jerry's grandparents in Onondaga County, but have found it very difficult to get any solid leads back to the old country.

My husband took the Ancestry.com autosomal DNA test a while back, and although he has many connections, I have not been able to figure out how he is related to all of these new cousins, and it's been somewhat frustrating as it seems the majority of people he's matching don't have family trees online. I check his and my DNA matches about every week or so, and was surprised, recently, to find that he had a match identified as a second cousin! That's pretty darn closely related, but still, the names weren't really matching up, so I contacted the administrator of the test and waited to hear back. I also decided to ask Jerry's cousin and aunt to take the autosomal DNA test, hoping that this would help us to identify which side of Jerry's family this second cousin match was on. I was excited to learn, from Blaine Bettinger's blog "The Genetic Genealogist", that Ancestry had added a new feature to their autosomal DNA results called Shared Matches. I checked Jerry's second cousin match and this tool identified two other matches that also connect to his second cousin.

I've also blogged about using social media as a genealogy tool. I've seen great success with surname groups on Facebook, but hadn't really used this much for my own research. After learning about Nashi Predky, though, I thought I'd give it a try. I asked to join and was promptly given access, I then started reading the posts and decided to add my own, concentrating on Jerry's paternal line. I posted the information I had and noted that I was currently living in Syracuse, but would be moving to Delaware in November.

Shortly after I added the post, a very nice member responded back, welcoming me to Delaware and telling me about the genealogical societies and Ukrainian community in Delaware. Another kind member added additional information about where we can find Ukrainian stores close to where we are living. I have to say, people from Delaware are some of the nicest people I've ever met! I can't wait to move!

As my conversation on the Nashi Predky Facebook page continued, the craziest thing happened. It turns out that the person who initially welcomed me to Delaware is the same person who is matching Jerry as a second cousin on Ancestry.com.

What are the chances? My jaw is still hanging open. I can't wait to meet Jerry's new cousin when we move to Dover in the fall. I am sure that together we will figure out this connection, and I am thrilled that my mother-in-law, who is moving with us, will have a kind and welcoming Ukrainian community to welcome her to her new home.

And because we really are all connected, don't miss your opportunity to see Jane Wilcox and Blaine Bettinger at the upcoming 2015 New York State Family History Conference held Sept 17-19 in Syracuse. I'll be there, at the NYSFHC booth, and would love to meet you!

©2015 Nancy Maliwesky

Nancy Maliwesky, past Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Upcoming Genealogy Technology Interest Group Lectures in August


compiled by Paul Fleischmann

"Researching my Civil War Ancestors" by Thomas J. Ebert.

August 10, 2015, 6 - 7:45pm at the Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale,NY.

"The talk I gave in Oswego a few years ago and have duplicated elsewhere is entitled "Researching my Civil War Ancestors". The talk will be particularly relevant since those attending with Civil War ancestors will likely have ancestors from Central New York. It will discuss some of the twists and turns one will encounter in their research and the many sources that will be useful on the internet.

"In the course of my research, I discovered 12 Civil War ancestors on my mother's side. Many of them are buried in Oswego cemeteries, but at least one is buried in Cold Harbor as an unknown, another buried somewhere in Virginia, and another one disappeared in Texas after the Civil War.

"I am sure that your audience will find the talk both informative and entertaining.

"As for background: I am a fourth generation native Oswegonian with graduate degrees in History (European actually but am pretty good in American and Civil War history also) and Library Science. I was a major collaborator (but not coauthor) with Dr. Allen Carden on his book Freedom's Delay : America's Struggle for Emancipation 1776-1865 published last July by the University of Tennessee Press. I am working on a coauthored book with Dr. Carden: a biography of John George Nicolay, Lincoln's private secretary."

"CNYGS Tree Talks and Civil War Research" by Joyce Cook, Tree Talks Editor and Civil War Researcher.

August 24, 2015, 6 - 7:45pm at the Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale, NY.

Joyce Cook has been editor of Tree Talks for ten years, leading a group of volunteers and contributors in producing one of the New York States pre-eminent genealogy research resources. She is also a dedicated researcher of Civil War history, notably in 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.

Tree Talks is the Central New York Genealogical Society's 64-page quarterly publication. Within Tree Talks are articles by noted genealogists, abstracts of records of genealogical significance and reviews of publications. An every name Index is currently published annually, containing surnames from March, June and September issues. Printed copies of individual publications and searchable DVDs are available for sale on the Central New York Genealogical Society website. We also offer County Packets for sale, which contain county specific research from our Tree Talks journals.

The Central New York Genealogical Society began Tree Talks in 1961 to present abstracts of records from the post-Revolution era, to about 1860, of historical and genealogical interest from five central New York counties. By 1964, when New York State chartered the Society as a nonprofit educational corporation, coverage had expanded to forty-six of the state's sixty-two counties. Presently, forty-nine upstate New York counties are covered.

Material printed in Tree Talks is largely contributed by CNYGS members. Genealogical and historical records printed include those from Surrogate Courts and County Clerks' Offices, plus abstracts of church, cemetery and newspaper vital records. Members have supplied many Bible records and day-books of doctors, ministers and store-keepers. Tree Talks also contains book reviews of new genealogical publications.

An early census, or other significant record, with index, has been published as one issue of Tree Talks since 1974. The record transcribed is chosen because: it is the earliest unpublished census of that county; the county was on a migratory route, or was a parent county; names can be supplied by member-researchers for the initials used in the original enumeration; and finally, because of the research interests of the volunteer subscribers.


Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


NYSFHC Featured Speaker: D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

“Crossing the Pond: Finding Those Elusive English Origins”

This Saturday luncheon talk is sure to be a sell out with such a fabulous speaker.

Josh Taylor is a professional genealogist and current president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. A co-host of the popular PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow, Joshua has also been seen on Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC and TLC) and at family history events across the globe.

Josh will be giving four lectures during the FGS Focus on Societies Day and three general lectures at the New York State Family History Conference. Sign up today!

Sue Miller is the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's Director of Education and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been working on her family's genealogy for more than twenty years.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


by Sue Miller

NYSFHC Featured Speaker: Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS

“The Records of Institutions and Local Governments in New York State”

Local-level records are filled with information of genealogical value: town court records, supervisor’s minutes, overseers of the poor, police and fire departments, and much more.

Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, of Monroe, New York, is an editor, author, lecturer and professional genealogist. She is currently the editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Karen is a member of the NYG&B Education Committee and has served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Karen will be giving two lectures at the New York State Family History Conference. Sign up today!

Sue Miller is the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's Director of Education and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been working on her family's genealogy for more than twenty years.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


by Sue Miller

NYSFHC Featured Speaker: D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

“Bridging the Gap: Finding Ancestors in the United States between 1780 and 1830”

Have you lost an ancestor between 1780 and 1830? Come learn key records and strategies for finding your lost ancestors during this time period, including resources found in archives, the DAR, and other locations.

Josh Taylor is a professional genealogist and current president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. A co-host of the popular PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow, Joshua has also been seen on Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC and TLC) and at family history events across the globe.

Josh will be giving four lectures during the FGS Focus on Societies Day, one lecture and a luncheon talk at the New York State Family History Conference. Sign up today!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


by Sue Miller

NYSFHC Featured Speaker: Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG, FGBS

“Research Strategies for Upstate New York”

Learn some of the best strategies and techniques for researching in Upstate New York from an acknowledged New York expert. Henry will review five key strategies and discuss critical tactics for researching in this region.

Henry B. Hoff is editor of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and former trustee editor of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. His genealogical interests include New York and the West Indies.

Henry will be giving two lectures at the New York State Family History Conference, both sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Sign up today!

Sue Miller is the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's Director of Education and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been working on her family's genealogy for more than twenty years.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


by Sue Miller

NYSFHC Featured Speaker: Dr. Thomas. W. Jones, CG, FASG, FUGS, FNGS

“Will Your Family History Have Lasting Value?”

Most genealogists want to prepare family histories that future generations will cherish. Not all succeed. Many genealogies contain only “harvested” information, which our descendants will be able obtain themselves (perhaps more easily than we can today). Some of that information likely is wrong. We begin to create worthwhile and accurate family histories by collecting and sharing family stories and DNA test results—information that might soon disappear. Our research progresses from that starting point toward the goal of a printed, computerized, or online family history. If we pay attention to four factors—biography, accuracy, documentation, and explanation—our history will be irreplaceable.

Tom will be giving three lectures at the New York State Family History Conference. Sign up today!

Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, has edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002. He is author of Mastering Genealogical Proof, a popular textbook on genealogical assessment and reasoning. Tom also is a trustee and a past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Tom works full time as a genealogical researcher, writer, editor, and educator. He coordinates courses at the British Institute, Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Samford University’s Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research; and he teaches in Boston University’s Genealogical Certificate Program.

Sue Miller is the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's Director of Education and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been working on her family's genealogy for more than twenty years.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Showcasing the 2015 New York State Family History Conference


by Susan Miller

NYSFHC Featured Speaker: Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL

“No Person Shall ... Gallop Horses In the Streets” – Using Court Records to tell the Story of our Ancestors’ Lives

Early court records give color and meaning to the lives and times of our ancestors. County courts often functioned as both judiciary and legislature, and appeals courts published fact-filled opinions. While the records often establish relationships to help build a family tree, they offer so much richness and depth to help tell a family's story.

Award-winning blogger Judy G. Russell (http://www.legalgenealogist.com) is a genealogist with a law degree who writes and lectures on topics ranging from court records to DNA. She is a Trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer.

Judy will be giving three lectures and a dinner talk at the New York State Family History Conference. Sign up today!

Sue Miller is the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's Director of Education and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been working on her family's genealogy for more than twenty years.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

We Are All Connected: Genealogy as a Way of Life


by Nancy Maliwesky

Today I am in awe of the symmetry and beauty of the Universe. If you asked me what religion I am, I would probably say “Genealogist”! Let me share with you this stranger-than-fiction true genealogy story and share some tips on the wonder of doing family research.

Several years ago, in my position as Director of the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association, I visited the small town of Pembroke, Maine. My boss, Bill Pomeroy, had purchased a set of prescription books off e-Bay that were part of Dr. Thomas W. Pomroy’s medical practice. Dr. Pomroy was the self proclaimed “Clairvoyant Herbalist”, who practiced in New York City but maintained a summer home in Pembroke, where he grew up. His practice revolved around touching a patient, going into a trance and reciting an herbal remedy to resolve the patient’s complaint or ailment. The more I researched Dr. Pomroy, the more fascinated I became by his story, and I lobbied to have a Pomeroy Anvil Monument erected in his honor in his home town of Pembroke. This was quite a departure from our existing monuments, as Thomas descended from Richard Pomeroy, who settled on the Isles of Shoals, Maine, and was not directly related to Bill’s emigrant ancestor, Eltweed Pomeroy. Bill loved Thomas’ story as much as I did and agreed that we should try to make this monument a reality. I contacted Gail Menzel at the Pembroke Historical Society and we started to work out the details.

My husband Jerry and I drove to Pembroke, Maine from Syracuse, New York, to meet with Gail and others in the town, and to scope out possible locations for the Monument. We both fell in love with the town and its kind inhabitants. For an urban girl like me (born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island) this small town embodied all that was good about rural life. The slower pace, the connection that the residents had to each other and the land, the unspoiled landscape, the cedar and pine scented air and the ocean, oh, the ocean, how I had missed the ocean.

While there, Jerry and I visited the Reversing Falls on Mahar’s Point. (We purchased a map to the falls out of a box nailed to a utility pole, placing the “honor system” payment of a quarter in the box, and extracting the map.) While at Mahar’s Point I couldn’t help but notice a small cemetery, and being a genealogist, I had to explore and photograph it.

When we got back to Syracuse I continued my research on this Pomroy/Pomeroy family and found an interesting connection. Thomas was the son of David Madison Pomeroy and Hannah McCollar (or McCullough). David and Hannah also had a son named Benjamin L. Pomeroy. In looking for Pomeroys in Washington County, Maine, I was surprised to find an older Benjamin L. Pomeroy living in Charlotte, Washington County, according to the 1830 U.S. Federal Census and in Dover, Piscataquis County, Maine according to the 1840 U.S. Federal Census. I also found a marriage record for Benjamin L. Pomeroy and Lucretia H. Morgan in the book "Marriages in Dennysville 1787-1830", which states that the couple were married 22 Jun 1827. (Pembroke was set off from Dennsyville in 1832). Lucretia was born 24 Feb 1808 in Dexter, Piscataquis County to Theophilus B. Morgan and Sarah Call. Benjamin, Lucretia and their children were found in Bangor, Penobscot County in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, where Benjamin’s profession was listed as physician. I also found an article in the Bangor Whig and Courier, dated 24 Jun 1853, entitled “State v. Benj. L. Pomroy – Selling Intoxicating Liquors ”. The notice reads: “Knowles for Dft. The verdict was against evidence, I shall move for a new trial. Court. I find the 26th Rule of the Court requires all such motions to be filed within two days after the verdict. Peters. The Court will recollect cases where the practice has been different. Knowles. The practice has been otherwise – The Court will not, at this late day enforce an old rule, particularly when it is against law. If they d I shall except. Court. I see the result will be the same – delay. I shall entertain the motion this time, but it must not be considered a precedent for future practice. Knowles. Dr. Pomroy was convicted without sufficient evidence. I shall not have Dr. Pomroy go to jail on this thing, and prosecutions of those offences against the Doctor must be put a stop to when he is not guilty.” An additional search on Dr. Pomroy unearthed an advertisement for Hunter’s Pulmonary Balsam in the Jamesville Gazette (Jamesville, Wisconsin) published 13 Mar 1851 penned by Benjamin L. Pomroy. Benjamin and family would later move to Providence, Rhode Island, where he and his children were very successful.

Short story long, the Thomas W. Pomroy Pomeroy Anvil Monument was dedicated on the 4th of July, 2010 and is located on the property of the Cobscook Post Number 59 American Legion Hall on Front Street in Pembroke. Jerry and I, Bill and his wife Sandra, and their niece Laura were in attendance. We had a wonderful time watching the parade, participating in the dedication ceremony, touring the town and visiting with the townspeople.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when a dear friend and I were spending time together and we started to look into her genealogy on her dad’s side. She told me that her father was born in Calais, Maine. A preliminary search did indeed find a large Mahar family (sound familiar? Hint: Mahar’s Point.) in Washington County. A few days later, as I did additional research, I found the Mahars and their kin in Pembroke and Dennysville and Charlotte at the same time that the Pomeroys lived in those places…

We found my friend’s grandfather, Harry Vinal Mahar, (born 4 Jan 1878 in Charlotte, Washington County, Maine) and his wife Eva Bell Daggett (born 6 Oct 1885 in Robbinston, Washington County) living in Calais according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. Based on additional research, we were able to determine that Eva Belle’s parents were Leonard Hillman Daggett (1834-1921) and Susan Ellen Morgan (1859-1924). Additional research identified Susan Ellen Morgan as the daughter of Isaac C. Morgan and Margaret H. Smith.

A search of Isaac C. Morgan found him and his presumed family living in Charlotte, Washington County, Maine according to the 1830 U.S. Federal Census. I always like to look at the image of the original record to see who lived near the person I am researching, as I can often find additional relatives that way. Didn’t my jaw drop when I found that Benjamin L. Pomroy was enumerated one line above Isaac C. Morgan! What?!? Now I had to wonder, was the Morgan family related to the Pomeroy family?

And the clouds parted and the sun shone and all was strangely right with the world when additional research into the Morgan family identified Isaac C. Morgan’s sister, Lucretia Morgan as the wife of Benjamin L. Pomeroy.

This kind of “coincidence” has occurred way too many times in my research for me to pass it off as mere coincidence, and it makes me wonder what kind of energy we transmit when we do genealogical research that allows us to find these connections. Are our ancestors calling and guiding us? Is the DNA coursing through our beings helping us to find these connections? Are we truly looking through our ancestors’ eyes? And why do I have such an affinity for these blasted Pomeroys and the places where they lived? Where does my family fit in? Whose family am I channeling anyway?

So, how does this help you, especially when you’ve hit a roadblock in your research? Such platitudes as “All the answers are there, just waiting for you to find them” aren’t really helpful, are they? My suggestion, from years of researching, is to widen your search from your specific ancestor. Get to know their in-laws, neighbors, and the community they lived in. Become an expert in the history of the area in which your ancestor lived. Read about place names, read the newspapers and court records, do some extra digging when records for your direct relatives thin out – take some time to look at that neighbor. Who knows, they could be your ancestor’s wife’s relatives!

©2015 Nancy Maliwesky

Nancy Maliwesky, one time Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Society for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.


Friday, June 26, 2015

The Telephone Call from Neiffer


by Barbara Leiger Granato

Note: This blog is a continuation of my earlier one entitled “Excuse Me, Can You Tell Me Where Neiffer Is?” If you are confused, please re-read that blog and that will explain it all.

It was one of those beautiful sunny summer days in 1992 in Whitesboro, New York. Anyone who resides in this area and who works the typical Monday-Friday daytime job can truly appreciate how rare those sunny summer days on a weekend can be! To heck with the housework – my husband and I opted to lounge on our deck, bask in the sun, and play a few games of Backgammon while the children were playing with friends.

1992 was a time when we didn’t have cell phones; we didn’t have computers. We still pretty much relied on the good old U.S. Postal Service to send and receive letters, and we had to deal with long-distance telephone calls and pay for each one we made.

The ringing of the telephone interrupted our Backgammon game, and my husband Joe went in the house to answer the phone. And then, he called out to me – “Hey Barbie (he’s the only one I allow to call me that name), there’s a man on the phone who wants to speak to you. He said his name is Fred Neiffer.”

WHAT???? I made it to the telephone in record time. When I returned from our trip to find Neiffer, Pennsylvania, I wrote letters to all of the Neiffer families whose names I had found in the telephone book in that area. But – I never included my telephone number; I had only included an SASE (for those who may not remember that term – a “self-addressed-stamped-envelope”). I was hoping to get a reply from at least one of the Neiffer families.

I picked up the phone and nervously said, “Hello?” Was this person calling to yell at me for sending him a letter? And I never even gave him my telephone number! He had to call directory assistance to look it up. Yup – that’s another thing we could do back in the early 1990’s.

“Is this Barbara Granato?” the man asked.

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

“Barbara, this is Fred Neiffer. I just received a letter from you regarding information for your great-grandmother, Sarah Neiffer.”

“Um…I hope you don’t mind me sending you that letter,” I replied. “I really don’t know very much about her, and I was wondering if you might have some information.”

Not only did Fred have information – but the next thing I knew, we were talking like old friends. Well, after all, we were related! Fred told me that Sarah was the oldest of 11 children. Fred was a descendant of one of Sarah’s siblings. It seems that Fred was quite the family historian, and I hit the jackpot! He was able to tell me the names of Sarah’s parents, and even more information about the family. Before our telephone call ended, I got my calendar, and the next thing I knew, we were invited back down to the Neiffer area to meet the Neiffer family in person!

I not only received a telephone call from Fred, but I also received one from George Neiffer shortly after that! And so, just two weeks later, we returned to the area of Neiffer and met both families.

I have the George Neiffer family to thank for making copies of family photographs for me, which I placed in a beautiful collage. Among their family possessions of honor is a 50th Anniversary of the Civil War banner which had belonged to my great-grandmother Sarah’s father – Augustus Neiffer. I learned about the Civil War stories for Augustus – but that’s a whole other blog to be written.

I have the Fred Neiffer family to thank for inviting us to share a fabulous dinner with them, and then for a spectacular car ride through Neiffer territory and surrounding areas – and then learning exactly how far back some of our family went in that area (but again – that’s another blog to be written).

There was just one thing that was still unanswered, though. Is, or was, there ever a town called Neiffer? And what happened to it???

Well, the story about that is that my great grandmother Sarah Neiffer’s father was Augustus Neiffer. He had a brother named Samuel Neiffer. They lived in a very rural area. While Augustus was a carpenter and was well-known for making wooden pumps in the area, his brother Samuel owned a General Store on the four corners in a very rural area on Neiffer Road. That general store also served as a post office. When the U.S. Postal Service began to use zip codes, the Town of Neiffer was given the zip code of 19468. Today, the General Store is no longer there, but as far as I know, the zip code still remains.

I learned so much information about that branch (and other branches of those branches) from this trip. I remained in touch with the Neiffer family for several years, and one year attended a Neiffer family reunion. Although the years have gone by and we have lost touch with each other, I have many fond memories of that trip. I look at the photos that were given to me that I carefully placed into the framed collage, and it brings a smile to myself. One of those photos is priceless. It is a picture of my 2nd great-grandfather Augustus (the Civil War soldier) petting a cow. But this wasn’t just any cow – this was Rosie the cow! Yes – the Neiffer family even knew the name of the cow in the photograph!

And to think this wealth of information all began with a letter and a phone call!

Lessons Learned –

  • Sometimes a good old-fashioned letter can lead to new family discoveries.
  • Sometimes it is good to remember that people who are alive can give you more information than the ones we find in the cemeteries.
  • Write down questions that you are trying to answer; sometimes the people you meet have information and family artifacts that have been passed down through the generations…information that could never be found elsewhere.


©2015 Barbara Leiger Granato

After retiring from her job as a secretary at Mohawk Valley Community College, Barbara Granato had more time to pursue her love of genealogy. She is a member of the Oneida Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, currently serving as the chapter Registrar and Vice-Chair of NYS Lineage Research for DAR. In addition to teaching Beginning Genealogy classes, she is a Board member of the Central New York Genealogical Society, as well as a Board Member for the Oneida County Historical Society. She also is a member of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and serves as a tour docent to the mansions on Rutger Street in Utica, and writes murder mysteries which are performed at one of the historic mansions once a year. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Who Are Your Genealogy Facebook Friends?


by Nancy Maliwesky

I like to spend a few minutes in the morning reading, drinking coffee, and checking my e-mail and Facebook page. I got to thinking about all the ways we now have to communicate that our grandparents and their grandparents couldn't even imagine. What with the internet, social networking, cable television and satellite radio, the world has truly become a smaller place, and as I scroll down the shared posts and videos on my Facebook page the enormity of this global impact astounds me. It is not unusual anymore to see a video with over 1.5 million views. Can you imagine sending out a post looking for family information that has the potential of reaching 1.5 million people?

I follow a number of genealogical society and professional genealogists' Facebook pages. I have also started a few genealogy groups and pages on Facebook. It is always nice to see genealogy posts scattered throughout my morning read and I love the ones that get my mind working in ways I hadn't previously considered. Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, just posted a chart where he is tracking his DNA matches and their minimum, medium, average and maximum shared DNA by relationship (cousin, sibling, grandparent, first cousin and the requisite "removed"s). When I first looked at it, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, but upon second viewing, and reading the comments, it started to make more sense, and may be an idea I should think about exploring. Thanks Blaine!

I've also been very impressed by the activity on the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association's group page. Oftentimes, when you start a group, you feel like you're the only person posting on it, and you wonder how successful it is. This group has really taken off, and the shared knowledge of the many participants makes for exciting dialog and a treasure trove of information. It's exciting to see what lines people are working on, what genealogy vacations they are planning and having a place to share photos of relatives and shared ancestral locations is quite compelling. It really gives me a sense of community, and I'm not even a Pomeroy (OK, I stand corrected, but it's through marriage only!)

So, how do you grow your genealogy friend and family base? Well, starting with like-minded family members is probably the easiest way. Next, you might like the page of a genealogical society you belong to or that is in an area you are researching. Many times people post genealogical finds on these pages, including family bibles, photographs, their own research or links to their blogs. If you have been to a conference and were impressed by the speakers there, you might want to look them up to see if they have a page on Facebook. Many businesses and entrepreneurs use Facebook as a marketing tool and will post interesting information on their pages which will be added to your newsfeed if you "like" their page. You may also wish to see if the surname(s) you are researching has a Facebook group. If one exists, ask to join it, if one doesn't, consider creating a group. All you need are a few appropriate pictures to give the page interest, and the ability to post frequently about topics that would be of interest to your target audience.

Well, my coffee is getting cold, and I've got a New York State Family History Conference call in a few hours, so I guess I'll wrap up my latest rant. Enjoy your day and give a thought to increasing your genealogy presence on Facebook! I hope to "see" you in my Facebook newsfeed tomorrow morning!

©2015 Nancy Maliwesky

Nancy Maliwesky, one time Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Society for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Where is Neiffer?


by Barbara Leiger Granato

My previous two blogs on this site were about discovering the true story of my 2nd great-grandfather, Sylvester Spare. During our trip to the area northeast of Pennsylvania in 1992, I not only discovered the story of Sylvester’s life and demise, but I also discovered a little more about another branch of my family from that area.

My mother’s father was named Amos Milton Spare. His father was John Spare, and John was married to a woman named Sarah Neiffer. Nobody in my family seemed to know too much about Sarah’s family history, but my mother and her sisters did tell me a lot of stories about her. She and John had a farm in a tiny town named Royersford, Pennsylvania, and together they had four children – my grandfather Amos being the third child born to them.

Sarah was remembered as being a very strict, stern woman who loved to instill fear into others. Quite by contrast, she also was a mid-wife and delivered several of the babies in that small town. She had to do something to raise money; her husband John had a silo fall on him when the children were young, and he had to be institutionalized after that for the rest of his life.

But this blog is not supposed to be about John – it is supposed to be about Sarah. Nobody in my mother’s family seemed to agree on the spelling of her maiden name. Everyone knew how to pronounce it, but was it “Knifer?” Or was it “Nifer?” Or was it “Neiffer?”

When I was studying a map (yes – in 1992 they did not have GPS systems!), I focused in on an enlarged detailed image of the area in which the Spare family lived. And then, I did a double-take! I suddenly knew how to spell Sarah’s maiden name. There was a little dot on the map that said “Neiffer.” OH MY GOSH!!!! Well, Sarah’s family must have been important if there was a town named after her family! Upon closer examination of the map, there was not only a “dot” named Neiffer, but there was also a “Neiffer Road!”

And so, after we had learned all we did about Sarah’s father-in-law, Sylvester, we decided to pursue learning more about Sarah Neiffer. My 10 & 12 year-old children were suddenly interested again. It was almost like exploring a map to find buried treasure (no pun intended!).

We drove down the “main” road until we saw a street sign that said “Neiffer Road.” “Take a left,” I told my husband, and then I told him to stop so I could get out of the car and take a picture of the road sign. After that we drove up the road until we reached the end, and we were in town called “Obelisk.” Somehow, we missed the little dot on the map that said there was a town named “Neiffer.”

But, at the end of that road when we got into Obelisk, there was a church on the right-hand corner with a large cemetery next to it. And right there, very visible to passersby on the road, stood some very large tombstones with NEIFFER on them. I took photos and tried to make notes about the writing on the tombstones, but it was difficult because they were written in German.

We not only found several tombstones with the name of Neiffer on them, but we also found Sarah (Neiffer) Spare buried next to her husband, John Spare. Thankfully, their tombstones were written in English. After making note of exactly where their graves were located and photographing them, we returned to the car. We drove back down Neiffer Road again, but this time we were a bit more cautious. We came to a small intersection, but there really wasn’t anything of significance there. We were so confused.

There just HAD to be a town somewhere. After discovering Neiffer on the map, I also learned that Neiffer even had its own zip code – 19468! We had apparently gone right through that zip-coded area without realizing it!

It was such a hot, humid day that we decided to return to the hotel so that the kids could go swimming in the pool. I had to contemplate this puzzle a bit more to find out if my great grandmother Sarah was connected somehow to the 19468 area and Neiffer Road. It was 1992 – we did not have the Internet.

So, I did the next best thing – I consulted the telephone directory in the hotel room. I looked for the name “Neiffer” and sure enough, there were about eight families listed with that name. I wrote down every name, address, and phone number, and when we returned home, I wrote a letter to every single one of them, explaining who I was and that my great-grandmother was Sarah Neiffer. Did they know anything about this woman? I also included a self-addressed stamped envelope in each letter that I mailed.

And then my wait for a response began….

To be continued…..

Lessons Learned:

  • Never discount the value of a good old-fashioned map.
  • Don't assume that tombstones in this country are written in English.
  • Phone books can be very good resources.


©2015 Barbara Leiger Granato

After retiring from her job as a secretary at Mohawk Valley Community College, Barbara Granato had more time to pursue her love of genealogy. She is a member of the Oneida Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, currently serving as the chapter Registrar and Vice-Chair of NYS Lineage Research for DAR. In addition to teaching Beginning Genealogy classes, she is a Board member of the Central New York Genealogical Society, as well as a Board Member for the Oneida County Historical Society. She also is a member of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and serves as a tour docent to the mansions on Rutger Street in Utica, and writes murder mysteries which are performed at one of the historic mansions once a year. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Early Bird Gets the Discount


by Nancy Maliwesky

It looks like we may finally be able to trade in our census forms and family trees for gardening gloves and rakes. At least I am hoping that the snow has ended for the season. If you live in Central New York, I bet you are hoping for the same! As I can’t even mention the word “winter” anymore without visibly shuddering, I have decided to rename it “genealogy season”. And although some of us Vitamin D deprived hearty souls have turned our thoughts from “How many times did great, great Uncle Joe marry?” to “How do I get this Bishop’s Weed out of my garden?” it’s important to take a moment and get a little genealogy housekeeping done before we head outside.

Have you registered for the 2015 New York State Family History Conference yet? It will be held September 17-19 at the Liverpool Holiday Inn, right off the New York State Thruway. This year we are proud to say that we have been chosen by the Federation of Genealogical Societies as an FGS Regional Conference. Thursday’s programming will be geared towards society management and Friday and Saturday’s programming will include New York State research and general genealogy lectures and will also include a DNA tract.

Our world-class speakers include D. Joshua Taylor, Curt Witcher, Judy Russell, Thomas W. Jones, Dick Eastman, Henry B. Hoff, Blaine Bettinger, David E. Rencher, James D. Folts, Ed Donakey, Eric G. Grundset, Jim Ison, Matt Knutzen, Jen Baldwin, Laura Murphy DeGrazia, Karen Mauer Jones, Terry Koch-Bostic and Jane E. Wilcox.

We will have a Society Fair on Thursday night and our Vendor and Exhibitor Hall will be open throughout the conference.

This is a great opportunity for the Central New York community to experience a first-rate genealogy conference in the CNY area. Discounts are available to members of the Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Early bird rates are in effect through the end of May, so take off those gardening gloves and register now!

Click here for a link to the NYSFHC website.

©2015 Nancy Maliwesky

Nancy Maliwesky, Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Society for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Learning the Truth


by Barbara Leiger Granato

NOTE: This is a continuation of my previous post entitled "We Must Be Famous!" In this blog entry, I learn the truth about our family "hero" - Sylvester Spare.

We had traveled from Whitesboro, New York to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to try to learn more about the life of my second great-grandfather, Sylvester Spare. It was the summer of 1992, and I thought this would be a great learning opportunity for our family. My husband Joe was a schoolteacher and our two children were 12 and 10. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania is full of history – and just to think that our family was a part of that history was pretty darned exciting to me.

We had found Sylvester’s grave at Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania, and from that we learned that he was born on June 10, 1828 and died on February 14, 1867. Wow… Valentine’s Day! How strange. Maybe there was a story behind that???

Today was the day we would learn the truth.

We proudly walked into the Historical Society of Montgomery County in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and were immediately greeted by a very knowledgeable staff member. When she asked how she could be of assistance, I proudly told her about the family story of Sylvester. I knew his birth date and I knew his death date and I knew where he was buried.

“I want to find out more about my second great-grandfather,” I told the staff member. “My family told me that he supposedly was a bodyguard for Abraham Lincoln. I’m also thinking that he may have been in the Civil War.”

The kind woman brought us into a room full of books with the names of Civil War soldiers from the area. Ta-da! We searched, and we searched some more…but Sylvester was not among those listed. Not only that, we couldn’t find any substantiation that Sylvester ever had anything to do with Abraham Lincoln!

Hmmmm…. Well, maybe if we found his obituary we could learn more about him. So, the staff member took us to a microfilm machine and brought us the microfilm for the time period during which he died. But…there was no obituary listed for him around the time period of February 14, 1867.

I was beginning to get frustrated and my family was bored to tears. The staff member told me she wanted to look one more place, and then she would be back.

When she returned, there was a big smile on her face. “I think I found something that may be of interest to you,” she said. She handed me an Inquest that was done on the 20th day of April 1867. I could not believe the words I was reading:

“An Inquisition indented and taken at Perkiomen Bridge in the county of Montgomery, on the 20th day of April A.D. 1867 before J.C. Beyer, Esq., Coroner of the county aforesaid, upon the view of the body of Sylvester Spare then and there lying dead, upon the oaths and affirmations of Jackson Bevan, John J. Dettra, W. H. Gumbes, Henry Snider, Isaac Weaver, Jehu Munshower…

“Six good and lawful men of the county aforesaid being sworn and affirmed, and charged to inquire on the part of the Commonwealth, when, where, how, and after what manner the said Sylvester Spare came to his death, do say, upon their oaths and affirmations aforesaid, that the said Sylvester Spare came to his death by…

“drowning by accidentally falling from a boat while engaged in setting his traps while under the influence of liquor received at the Hotel of Davis Longnecker.”

Oh my… this was definitely not the truth I was seeking. This is the man who was our family hero??? Seriously??? But all of a sudden, the scandal of a family member who met his demise because he was intoxicated made this somehow pretty interesting.

The staff member then took us to a big map of the Perkiomen River and actually showed us the path that Sylvester’s body had traveled before it was found two months after that fateful Valentine’s Day. Wow.

But there was one more surprise in store for us as we got up to leave. “The hotel where Sylvester had his last drink and fell from his boat is still standing today and is located just down the road in Collegeville. It is now called The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel and it has recently reopened.”

My family just stood there and looked at each other. We were all thinking the same thing. And a few minutes later, there we were, sitting at The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, enjoying our beverages as we made a toast to Sylvester.

Lessons learned –

  • Visit Historical Societies in the area where your ancestors lived.
  • Learn to use microfilm machines.
  • Don’t give up if you cannot find an obituary.
  • Try to find maps of the area during the time period your ancestors lived there.
  • Don’t believe everything your family members tell you about your ancestors.


©2015 Barbara Leiger Granato

After retiring from her job as a secretary at Mohawk Valley Community College, Barbara Granato had more time to pursue her love of genealogy. She is a member of the Oneida Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, currently serving as the chapter Registrar and Vice-Chair of NYS Lineage Research for DAR. In addition to teaching Beginning Genealogy classes, she is a Board member of the Central New York Genealogical Society, as well as a Board Member for the Oneida County Historical Society. She also is a member of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and serves as a tour docent to the mansions on Rutger Street in Utica, and writes murder mysteries which are performed at one of the historic mansions once a year. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.