Monday, August 14, 2017

Repository: Seymour Library

Name:  Seymour Library History Discovery Center
Address: 176 Genesee St, Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 252-2571

Located on the main street in Auburn, there are some parking spaces on the street in front of the library. However, if you turn on Fort Street just past the library and then Bostwick Avenue, you will find yourself a parking lot behind the library with free parking for patrons. If you do park in the back, do walk to the front of the building, however. The landscaping and architecture of the building is fabulous and well worth taking the time to look at. This small library is part of the Finger Lakes Library System and is partly the original Case Memorial Library building and partly a newer addition. Tucked away in a corner of the basement is what interests genealogists and local history buffs the most. The History Discovery Center seems small when you first walk in there, but you’ll discover that there are many items stored away here that are of interest and use.

Hours: The History Discovery Center is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 am to 4 pm; Wednesday, 11 am to 8 pm, and the First and third Saturday of each month, 1 pm to 4 pm.
The library itself is open more hours, but this is when you can get into the treasure of the room.

The librarian makes all the photocopies at a cost of 10¢ each or 25¢ in color. However, if you have a camera, you can use that to make any copies that you would like. Many items are stored in the back area of the department that is restricted to staff only, but they are very willing to retrieve anything you need. When requesting a microfilm, I have had them even set it up on the machine for me without requesting additional assistance.

I enjoy going through some of the older newspapers of the area and finding tidbits about family members and their associates. Anybody with passing knowledge of the American Civil War has certainly heard of some of the people in materials around this center. One of the most famous slaves of the era was Harriet Tubman who not only escaped, but also returned numerous times to the south to lead others to freedom. Many, many documents about her life are found here. Her home is just south of the city, past the home of one of her friends, Secretary of State William H. Seward. Seward, who served under Lincoln, had his home on South Street where many of the wealthy people lived in that time period.
only Sunday afternoon will you find it this empty!
Not only can you find information on these people and others here, but once you leave the parking lot, continue a short block on Fort Street, and you can enter the cemetery where they are interred.

There are books about the Quaker settlements in southern Cayuga County, and many more histories of the county and small towns of this area as well as on the famous of the area.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Saturday Challenge: Current Bucket List

Randy Seaver’s GeneaMusing last week was, for me, an ongoing question. Here is my answer that I finally got around to writing:

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to: Knowing that a "Bucket List" is a wish list of things to do before death: 1) What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items - more if you want!

Can I answer, anywhere and everywhere?!

I have many projects I want to work on and as I work on each, I discover more places that I want to explore and see if they have the information to solve this particular puzzle. Some of the places are new to me, but others I have been to once or multiple times before.

Last week I explored two different library’s local history departments. Both places I had been to before to work on other things.

First I visited Seymour Library in Auburn. On the day I visited I was working on two projects. The first was looking for some more information about a barn that burned in 1963. My brother, David, now owns the property and I was looking to determine when the fire was and what caused it. We had been surmising that it might have been a lightning strike as there are many lightning rods on the current barn. However, I found in an article that it was a fault in electrical fencing that started it. Also, one of the neighbors had thought it was in the 70s rather than fall of 1963 that I discovered.

The second project was research on the blog post I made last week of The Case of Lead Poisoning. I haven’t found any new information. But I did discover that the notation was not on the actual cemetery listing, but rather on cards in the local historian’s office that were used to create that list. Another place to visit!

In the near future, I would like to check out some locations in Cortland County. There I’d like to check probate records and see if there is any more information on the family in the historical society’s holdings. If what I suspect is true, I can trace my Ingalls family back at least one more generation, possibly more and find that they were in Cortland before Jefferson County. This is after doing some research last week at Flower Library in Watertown on the family.

I could easily create a list of many repositories near me that I would like to visit. Some are for the first time, while others are repeats. I have many ancestors as well as interesting collateral lines that lived and died in this area. With every visit, I tend to find a new tidbit or two about their lives that I hadn’t found before.

My husband and I also postponed two research trips this summer. These will be made soon. We want to go to Westchester County in downstate NY to research some of his family. Along with that, we may sneak in a little research in the Hudson Valley or western Connecticut where we both have families. Also, we’d like to get back to the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What would I research there? They have some information on New York State areas. However, the areas that are goldmines for me are books and records on many different mid-west areas covering multiple states. Obviously, I need to do an overall research plan of priority areas and questions to work on there!

My husband jokes that I have ancestors, either direct or collateral, in every county of New York State. I’m not sure, but there may be a county or two missing off that list. However, if you put me in any repository in this area with my computer database, I probably can find somebody to research and so will happily sit there searching! Of course, that is not mentioning the cemeteries, or people, or…

Monday, July 31, 2017

Saturday Challenge: The Case of Lead Poisoning

Randy Seaver's GeneaMusing's Saturday Challenge from last week:

1) The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months. 2) Please answer the question - "What was the biggest surprise you found about an ancestor?"

John Tobias Gravestone

Perhaps the biggest surprise I encountered was when I discovered that an ancestor had apparently caused a case of lead poisoning as it might be delicately put. Less delicately, he committed murder followed by suicide.

One day early in my research, I was trying to find information about a fourth great-grandfather, John Tobias (1764-1830) and his wife, Polly (Gaffin) Tobias (1773-1830). He died the 16th of August and she the 17th and both are buried in a small abandoned cemetery in the town of Springport, Cayuga County, New York.

The cemetery is referred to in records as Great Gully Cemetery or Tobias Cemetery. It is in fact, either next door to or on the property of the house they owned and raised their family in. I haven’t found out yet whether John got this as Revolutionary Bounty land or if, more likely, he bought it from the recipient shortly after the lands were awarded. He was awarded some land as the heir of a deceased soldier, but that was probably a few miles away.

Although the property had long since been sold out of the family, in the last generations a family bought the property as part of their farm. At the time, they didn't realize that they could trace their ancestry back to these owners, the first ones to build a house on it. Accompanying these cousins, I have explored this cemetery and found the depression where the cellar of the house had once stood.
The remains of the homestead

Yet, the surprising part of the story occurred before I knew where they lived or were buried.

It was when first researching these ancestors that I discovered the reasons behind their deaths. I was reading an abstract of the cemetery records that had been done by women in the local Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter in the mid-1960s. I knew that John and Polly had lived near Union Springs in the town of Springport. I was scanning those cemetery listings in particular in an attempt to find them. There, I found a listing for the Tobias Cemetery, and their names listed. [G4]

Excited, at first at finding their burial, I didn’t notice the remark. Then when I read it I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read and reread the entry. Written in ink along side the entry was a notation: “John shot Polly and then turned the gun on himself. Polly outlived him by one day.” My ancestor was a murderer!

This discovery occurred about thirty years ago. Since then I have, as I mentioned, explored the cemetery and found their markers. The dates confirm that Polly died a day after John. I have searched the newspapers that are still in existence around the date of this incident. But cannot find confirmation of what had happened. I do find advertisements in the settlement of John’s estate and his probate filed by the county. Did this case of “lead poisoning” by gun actually occur and why? It is still a mystery to us.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

FamilySearch Free Classes-- Both Live and Through Your Computer

Here are the FamilySearch classes that they offer for FREE at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City during August. There is quite a collection of varied courses that are sure to intrique everybody with at least something they'd like to learn more about. For many of us it is difficult if not impossible to get there to attend these classes. I know I would like to, but can't fly out there in the near future! However, there is something there for people like us as well- many of the classes are recorded. You can view them at a later date by going to the link provided below to find them. Plus! Look at all of the ones marked "webinar". That's all of them this month! These you can watch through your computer live as they happen. Be sure to check some of these out:

*All of the links on their news release should work, but if any are broken, just go to and do a search on the title of the link.

Free Family History Library Classes and Webinars for August 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (25 July 2017), The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free family history classes and webinars for August 2017. Participants can attend in person or online. Many of the August classes teach how to research records in Great Britain, China, and Prussian Poland, to understand DNA, and to use documents and photos to preserve memories. Some classes are also in Spanish. See the full schedule below. Mark your calendars for events you want to join so you don't forget. Find and share this announcement online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.
Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars. Webinar attendees need to click the link next to the class title at the scheduled date and time to attend the class online. Those attending in person simply go to the room noted. Invite your family and friends. All class times are in mountain standard time (MST).
Most sessions are recorded and can be viewed at a later date at Family History Library classes and webinars.
Wed 2 Aug,11:00 AM
Ask Your United States Research Question (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Sat, 5 Aug,1:00 PM
Los libros de la vida (Beginner)
Webinar | B1 Lab
Mon, 7 Aug,10:00 AM
Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Tue, 8 Aug,11:00 AM
Starting Family Tree: Navigating, Adding a Person, Standardizing Views, and Printing (Intermediate)
Webinar | MF Lab
Tue, 8 Aug,1:00 PM
British Case Study (Beginner)
Webinar | B2 Lab
Tue, 8 Aug,3:00 PM
Genetic Genealogy: An Introduction to DNA (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Thur, 10 Aug, 3:00 PM
DNA: I’ve Tested; Now What? (Intermediate)
Webinar | MF Lab
Mon, 14 Aug, 10:00 AM
Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Tue, 15 Aug,11:00 AM
Starting Family Tree: Preserving Memories Using Photos and Documents (Intermediate)
Webinar | MF Lab
Thur, 17 Aug, 1:00 PM
Tracing Ancestry in English Census Records (Beginner)
Webinar | B2 Lab
Sat, 19 Aug,1:00 PM
La tecnología de Ancestry (para miembros SUD) (Intermediate)
Webinar | B1 Lab
Mon, 21 Aug, 10:00 AM
Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner)
Webinar | 2N Lab
Mon, 21 Aug, 1:00 PM
Researching in Prussian Poland (Beginner)
Webinar | B1 Lab
Tue, 22 Aug,10:00 AM
FamilySearch Wiki (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Tue, 22 Aug,1:00 PM
Kissing Cousins or Not? Understanding British Generations, Kith, Kin, and Relationships (Intermediate)
Webinar | B2 Lab
Tue, 22 Aug,3:00 PM
Finding Records of Chinese Americans (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Thur, 24 Aug, 10:00 AM
Using Metasuche or Metasearch on (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Thur, 24 Aug, 1:00 PM
Genealogical Treasures at (Intermediate)
Webinar | B2 Lab
Thur, 24 Aug, 3:00 PM
Organizing Your Family History Research (Beginner)
Webinar | 2N Lab
Mon, 28 Aug, 10:00 AM
Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Tue, 29 Aug,10:00 AM
Family Tree: Research Help and Searching the Records (Beginner)
Webinar | MF Lab
Thur, 31 Aug, 1:00 PM
Your British/Irish Research Questions Answered (Beginner)
Webinar | B2 Lab
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