Thursday, January 28, 2016

Space Shuttle Challenger Anniversary

It was 30 years ago today that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded upon takeoff.  Amongst the astronauts onboard was Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire.

This is another one of those incidents to record in your family history. Where were you when it happened? What were you doing? What was your reaction?

I had completed my Associate’s Degree in Business Administration the prior May. I was thinking I didn’t want to continue with college then and was working in a Convenience Store in Auburn. My Dad and brother were the owners of the store and we were all there that day as their wholesale oil business operated out of the back office and Dad, although disability-retired, liked to hang out and talk with customers.

We knew the launch was that day, but didn’t have a television in the store and the radio was tuned to a music station, if it was on at all. Sometime shortly after the launch a customer came into the store and told us the shuttle had exploded on takeoff. As he was known as a practical joker, this was taken to be a sick joke and we laughed about it. Nothing was really thought about it, until a short while later I was hearing the same thing from other customers as I cashed them out.

Tuning the radio to a news station, we realized the truth of what had happened and continued listening to the newscast in horror. My Dad and brother, being older, probably knew of the dangers of space travel, but the first lunar landing was when I was a toddler. I had grown up thinking of it as not much more dangerous than traveling in a car or an airplane. This was about the first I had thought about space travel as how awesome and brave a challenge it actually was.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter in Upstate New York

 As things have been slow on the genealogy –front around here, I’m posting a writing that I did from a prompt I got from Amy Coffin in her The Big Genealogy Blog Book, which I have started using to try to record childhood memories and stories from farther back. Even if you don’t blog, it is great to use some of these prompts to get you thinking and record those memories for future generations. Who knows, you might even be able to create a book out of them!
We lived when I was growing up in the 1970s below where the Lake Effect storms from Lake Ontario usually hit, so our storms weren’t that bad. We’d get at least one blizzard each winter that dumped a foot or more of snow on the ground before it ended, but nothing like what the Tug Hill plateau an hour or so away got. Winter was cold and snowy, but to a kid it was just normal.

In front of the barn after a storm

I looked forward to sledding in the backyard and building snow forts. I had an active imagination and would drag the sled all over the place going on expeditions and building outposts and houses in “the wilderness” of our yard. For much of my childhood there were two other yards that I was free to play in, making quite a stretch of area for me. Next to our house was a building that contained my mother’s craft shop where she sold crafting supplies, just beyond that was a mobile home site where my brother lived. Therefore, these two backyards were free reign and used.

Mostly I was playing alone with my imagination, as I was an “almost-only” child as my parents termed it. At other times my brother had his sons there and I played with them- just 5 and 7 years younger than me, they are far closer in age to me than my brothers who were 17 and 21 already when I was born.

One activity from the other seasons that I missed was camping. I loved going camping and except for a few rare trips, the camper was in storage for the winter. In fourth, sixth and eighth grades, though, it came out was loaded up and we headed out on an extended campout. The first night would be in southern Virginia, the next night in the Carolinas or Georgia and by the third night we’d be in Florida where we remained for about three weeks. 

Camping about 1974 or 75

I can’t remember many changes in food during the winter months. There were the special days with special, more elaborate meals to be sure. Christmas dinner, Mom’s birthday, Dad’s birthday and then near spring, Easter. Otherwise, it was routine, we weren’t grilling out so there were less hot dogs and macaroni salad. I’m sure there was more hearty winter type food on the menu, roasts and stews, but nothing drastic enough to make a child notice. Mom never panicked over storms either. If we got snowed in, well, we would be snowed in. There was plenty of food in the cupboards and the freezer to last out any storm. About the only thing that might run short would be milk and there was always a box of powdered milk used more in baking, but could be brought out if necessary.

Dad's truck
We were country, but our road was a main north and south route from the village of Moravia, north along the lake to the city of Auburn. It would likely be one of the first in the area plowed out. Dad would have the drives cleared and if necessary, could swing south five miles to the village for added supplies easily with his four-wheel drive truck. He usually headed north to work in the morning, but on occasion he’d go just about a mile and turn around. The town of Moravia had plowed, but the town of Niles hadn’t yet, so when he got to the town line, he changed his route. Back he’d come, tooting as he went by to let Mom know the roads were exceptionally bad and also to expect school would be closing I imagine. Into Moravia, a quick right at the first four corners and he was on “the state road”, Route 38 north along the other side of the lake into Auburn. This took a little longer, but in those instances was the best choice.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Today I came across a short article from Yankee Magazine that talked about the Quonset huts that were developed during WWII. They’re a cylindrical metal building that you see around occasionally in industrial areas or even sometimes as homes. There’s one such a street away from where my mother lives.

Quonset Huts in Daviesville, Rhode Island

Named after the place in Rhode Island where they were first built, I always think of the Navy’s Construction Battalion, better known as the Seabees which formed during this time period, when I see one. This unit of the military was the only one that accepted “old men” at that time into their ranks. To quote Kenneth Wooster’s writings:

By August 1942, he also joined the service. Too old, at 46, to be accepted by any other branch, he joined the US Navy Seabees. He spent time in  (Port of Spain) Trinidad, Hawaii and the Philippines, arriving home a few days before the end of the war in the Pacific.”

The “he” that Kenneth is referring to is his father, my grandfather, Marion Wooster. Already a veteran of the First World War he was a carpenter and spent the war years building roads and I’m sure many of the Quonset huts in these places. At one point he was stationed at the Navy base in Rhode Island when my grandmother got to visit him.

Marion in November 1942 Skaneateles, NY
A few years ago while doing some genealogy research in Rhode Island I discovered that the base has a museum to the Seabees and was privileged to visit there. It isn’t much of a museum and was obviously struggling to keep open, but there was something special about walking around there and knowing that my grandfather had likely tread the exact same ground I was. 
Seabees Mascot

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

IGHR 2016 Registered!

It’s that time of year again. Registration for IGHR opened at 11:00 am today. It is the last time it will be on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Next year it will be at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Samford University
My husband and I will be going again this year. I’m registered for Course 9. Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents course and Rich is registered for Course 3. Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis. We are certainly looking forward to our trip in June! It will be a great week of fun and learning. I've heard that Course 3 was full about half an hour after it's registration opened!

I’ve got our trip mapped out already. Although it’s a day and half of hard driving both to and from, we’d rather do that than spend a day flying there. I have a hatred of flying and trying to negotiate large, crowded airports and Rich isn’t far behind in his dislike. First all the hassles of packing to get everything on a plane and then there is no direct flight to anywhere we’d want to go from Syracuse. It’s either a run from one end of the airport to another to barely catch the connecting flight or hours upon hours in sitting in uncomfortable seats. Yes, we are definitely driving. I take after my father in that miles on the highway are perfectly fine.

I’m glad that I’ve got everything mapped out and ready to go already. Over the weekend I called the hotels to make reservations. We’re not staying in the one on the way home that I had originally planned; they were already booked up when I called! I was very surprised as it is a few miles off the interstate in an area with not much around it. There must be a festival or something going on in that town- we found a different one at the next exit.

All the planning and logistics that go into a trip... I learned some of this from my parents when we traveled when I was a kid. However, it was very different for us back in the 70s and early 80s. Then, we planned our route, but didn’t ever worry, or really need to about overnight accommodations. A long day on the road like these would start coming to an end when my Dad would say from behind the wheel, “Kiddo, I’m getting tired, find me a campground.” I’d grab the camping book and start looking to see what campgrounds were available for a reasonable price at the next exit or two and then read out the information to my parents. We’d pull in and there would be no problem getting a site for the night. Soon Mom was preparing a supper in the camper and later we climbed into our own beds for the night. Now, from what I’ve heard, you’ve got to book a campsite weeks or even months in advance and they’re a lot more expensive accordingly. As we don’t own a camper or have one available to borrow, I have not looked into what this would involve today.

A Florida campsite February 1975
Instead, I have our maps ready-- we do it the old-fashioned way, no GPS. Make a reservation for a hotel along the way; pile everything into the car and go. A cooler for some snacks and stop to eat along the way. So, we’re ready and in June our car will be once again Alabama bound.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Satruday Challenge: Education Plans for 2016

Randy Seaver has a new Saturday Night Fun Challenge Out.

1)   Some of my genealogy education was outlined in my previously posted goals for the year.
New York State Family History Conference
Professional Management Conference

These would be the big ones as far as formal education goes for the coming year. There will be local society meetings that I attend and perhaps some seminars on genealogy or history in the area as I find them. Podcasts and webinars will definitely be included in there. I often listen to the free Legacy webinars, the Genealogy Guys podcasts and others as they come out. I have recordings form conferences in the past that I haven’t listened to yet, and others that I’ll pull out and listen to again.

More informal learning includes reading the many genealogy magazines that we are subscribed to, reading websites and articles that I come across, some of my favorite blogs and books about genealogy. Talking with friends who are interested in genealogy also bring about new ideas and areas to pursue. A visit to a new repository also finds me discovering and learning new things. There are many opportunities and I’m sure I’m missing some, but these are the ones that stand out.

2) It’s hard to say how much time I invest in Genealogy Education. On any given week it might be 10-20% of my time. During a conference or an institute, it is probably near 80%. However, even when I’m not consciously learning, I’m picking up tidbits here and there that might be helpful in the future. The casual conversations, the tidbit in passing on social media, the stray article in a magazine that is totally unrelated to genealogy- but has something in it that triggers a thought. Are these things time invested in education? It is hard to really define, but I imagine they are.

Why do I do it? First off it is an investment in myself. I believe that we all should be involved in lifetime learning. Whether it’s a formal class or informal learning from reading or experiencing things around us, we should all be learning from our experiences in life. After all, if you’re not learning, you’re not really existing. It’s not necessarily the formal lesson, it could be experimenting with a new recipe and finding out you don’t really like it, or that you’ve been missing out on a great taste for years. Any time we acquire new knowledge, we’re learning and investing in a better self, perhaps happier, or healthier or whatever category may apply.

Secondly, the more I learn, especially in the realms of genealogy, the better I am able to help potential customers, readers of my blog, or others in the genealogy community. Knowledge learned can be knowledge shared and knowledge applied.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Yates County

Yates County Genealogical Society and History Center
107 Chapel St, Penn Yan, NY 14527

The first time I visited Penn Yan that I can remember is also the first time that I visited the History Center. It seems strange, having grown up in the midst of the Finger Lakes that I had never been there before, but I could not recall being there before that spring day when my husband and I drove down to a New York State Council of Genealogy Organizations (NYSCOGO) meeting. Rich had not been there before either, but by the time we had driven down between the lakes and were pulling into the village, he was exclaiming not only how beautiful it is, but his desire to retire to the area.

The Finger Lakes region really is that beautiful. The area surrounding Penn Yan is even more picturesque then some of the other areas because of a group that ha settled there during the last thirty or forty years. Families of Mennonites, a religious group known for their plainness and adherence to older ways, have bought many farms in this area. They are restoring these farms and maintaining them in such a way that you could almost imagine yourself back in the 1800s. Adding to the illusion is the fact that they don’t drive automobiles, but rather, rely on horse and buggy for most of their transportation.

This is actually from Lancaster, Pennsylvania but typical of what you might see in Yates

The History Center consists of different parts. Besides the research rooms, there is also a carriage museum and a Victorian home. The research center has extensive cemetery records for Yates county as well as deeds (1792 - 1949), mortgages (1862 - 1915), diaries, almanacs, certificates, personal correspondence, etc., newspapers on microfilm and other items pertaining to Yates County history.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Non-members are charged a $5.00 per hour fee for use of the Catharine Spencer Research Center; Student use is without a fee; photocopying is additional.

Because I was there for the meeting, I did not have time to properly explore this repository. Although I don’t have any personal research in the area, I look forward to getting back there and doing a thorough job of seeing what is in all of these records. Also, the next time I get there, I need to remember my camera to capture the unique beauty of the area.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Montgomery County Archives

**This is not actually a new post, it was hiding off on a page of its own from last year when I thought I would make a separate page just about repositories. I'm erasing that page, so moved it over into the posts.

Montgomery County Department of History and Archives
Old Courthouse, 9 Park St
Fonda, NY 12068-1500
(518) 853-8186

The Archives is located in the historic courthouse on Park Street near the downtown area of Fonda. It is a short distance from the NYS thruway exit in Fultonville, just across the Mohawk River from Fonda. I had mentioned to my husband the history of this courthouse, having been built after the county seat of Montgomery was moved from Johnstown to Fonda in 1836. In 1892 a new courthouse was built as this one was found to be too convenient to the railroad and trials had to be paused as trains passed by as people could not be heard. As we approached the repository, he jokingly asked me where the train was. I was hoping for a serendipitous timing of a train traveling east or west across New York, but was not that lucky. Had the timing been right, we would have pulled into the far end of the parking lot while a train was rushing by at the other end. The still active tracks are indeed just a few hundred feet in front of the courthouse itself and while researching you can hear and almost feel the trains going by on their journeys.

Montgomery Archives are open Monday through Friday, closing each day at 4:00. Most of the year they open at 8:30 a.m. with the exception of the summer months of July and August when they open at 9:00 a.m.

You can bring your laptop and camera to the archives as well as any other research material you need. Either pens or pencils may be used. Photocopiers are self-serve, although they’ll be glad to assist you with them if you need to. Copies are currently 25 cents each with larger paper or photo paper being more expensive. There is no fee for researching, but there is a donation jar, which I am sure they greatly appreciate your contributing to!  Remember, they need money to operate and our government is not always over generous with historical enterprises. There are also publications about Montgomery County available that you can purchase.

You may be reading this and saying to yourself: “This all sounds great, but I don’t have any ancestors from Montgomery County, so why would I bother going there?” First you might be mistaken, and second, it might not matter anyway! Let’s first consider what Montgomery County is. This county was originally formed as Tryon County out of Albany County in 1772 and changed its name to Montgomery in 1784. Later a few counties formed off of Montgomery into their own counties as settlers moved across the state- a few being 34. So whether it was one of those western counties that have their early records as part of Montgomery or a settler moving through what was very much a gateway county, many New York State settlers had dealings of some sort with this county. Far more than people initially realize.

With that thought in mind, you shouldn’t be surprised to find out about some of their holdings. They are, of course, strong with their own county. There are also many family genealogies, both published books and vertical files. Some of these families may have called Montgomery home at some point, but others just passed through here. There are over 500 historical and genealogical files, thousands of original county records and countless genealogical treasures housed here. Palatine immigrants, Mohawk Valley Loyalists and county and local histories are all on the shelves waiting for you to explore. There are even church records and such for counties that were never part of Montgomery. For example, I looked at compilations of church records for Columbia and Dutchess counties while researching here. I dare say nearly every county is likely to have at least something in this repository.

While searching through the vertical files, I spotted a folder on one of my family lines: DuColon. Our immigrant ancestor, Dr. Claudius DuColon lived in or near Kinderhook in Columbia County. Some of his descendants were in places such as German Flats, once Montgomery, but now Herkimer County and one branch, mine, traveled on to Oswego County. Inside that folder was a paper written by a gentleman in Ontario about our ancestors looking into their history and Dr. DuColon’s mysterious origins in France. This paper, written almost 30 years ago is probably in very few repositories and serves as a guide to many of the people in this line. That alone made my trip to Montgomery county worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blizzard of '66

Snow. It is late January and we haven’t had much snow in Upstate New York yet. A very unusual year and it is making me nervous. The warmer temperatures have been great; even if it means certain harmful elements for the garden have been able to live longer and we have less precipitation meaning that next year’s garden might not do very well. However, as the old saying goes, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I’m sure we’re going to get snow and when it comes, we’re going to pay for all this good weather we’ve been having.

Comparisons have been made to the winter of 1965-66 when the weather had a similar pattern throughout the late fall and early winter. We’re coming up soon on the anniversary of what has been known locally (and throughout most of the northeast) for the last 50 years as “The Blizzard of 66.” For three days from January 29- 31 snow fell and fell and continued to fall. Although the storm tapered off, some more snow fell the following day adding to the totals. The record for this storm was recorded in Oswego, New York, about an hour north of here at 102 inches—that’s 8 ½ feet of snow! It started out as a nor’easter along the Atlantic coast and then was joined by lake effect snow off of Lake Ontario.[1]

What do I actually remember about this storm? Nothing really. I was just a baby, but I’ve heard many a story about that particular storm. Which brings me to something that I’ve neglected to do enough of in my genealogy, but everybody should do as they are able to. Record the family stories. Get them recorded digitally, on paper, however you can before the previous generations are gone and the stories are forgotten.

There are a couple stories I’ve heard from this storm about people even younger than me. Among the rural community where we lived, the most vivid stories that were told and retold seemed to be about babies that couldn’t wait for the storm to subside and be cleared out before they were born. I won’t mention the family names, as they are not related to me, and I’m not sure how much the stories had been embellished by the time I heard them, especially the first one- so I leave it to the families to record their versions to be as close to the truth as possible.

The first one involved a family in the rural area of the Finger Lakes region. They lived on a fairly main road that ran north and south along one of the lakes. During the height of the storm Mom went into labor and the contractions were not very far apart. The road in front of their house was effectively closed with all the snow coming down and the winds drifting across it. A call into “Fire Control” as the central emergency dispatch was called, yielded the fact that they couldn’t get an ambulance through the storm to the family. The best they could do was to get one on the larger state road about 5 miles away. Soon though, lights were flashing outside the house, the amber lights of a town plow truck. The driver told Dad that he couldn’t keep the road open behind him for an ambulance or pick-up or anything, but if they could get Mom up in the cab, he could get them out to the state road and the waiting ambulance. They made it to the hospital before the baby was born, but that child had the distinction of almost being born in the cab of a snowplow during the peak of the storm.

Another family lived in a small city, only about three blocks or so from the hospital. Should be no problem getting to the hospital. However, the city streets were totally unplowed and their car wouldn’t budge out of the driveway anyway. The drifts were too high for Mom to manage in her condition. Dad found a quick solution. He grabbed an older sibling’s sled, placed Mom on it and pulled her down the hill to the hospital.

What stories might your families have to tell about major snowstorms? Perhaps your own or a sibling’s entrance into the world were as dramatic as these tales I’ve heard. Take the time while snowed in this winter to write them down, interview older members of the family about stories they remember. You might not get all the details, and somebody else might remember the events that happened differently than you do, but get them down anyway. Each person has their own unique perspective on an event and remembers different little details, so get a variety of the same event if possible. It can be fun as well as preserving some memories for those that follow us!

[1] Not the most scholarly source, but for weather facts, I think it’s adequate.

Traveling New York

Here's something that you might not think of as genealogy related, but it is.
Thanks to Pullen Truck Centers for this tidbit:
How To Read Mile Markers

Those funky green mile makers that you see along the highways and byways of New York State are very useful! My Dad taught me as a child that the top number corresponded to the route number we were on and I've often looked for them when I got off on a side road and didn't know where I was. Usually the "main" road in a rural area is a state highway with that number on it.

In searching for our ancestors homes and cemeteries we often get mixed up and twisted around. Now we know when we see these signs what route we're on. Looking at the distance from the county line, if you're at all familiar with the area you're in can be real helpful too! If you know you're near the border that is east to you and there's many miles to the line- you know that you're headed west!

Let's hope you don't get lost where you don't have a gps system to help you out, or it is out of range or something else malfunctioning, but these tidbits can help you out if you do!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

SLIG Jealousy

Salt Lake from hotel in 2013
So the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is occurring this coming week. If you’re like me and are friends on Facebook of people that are attending, you’ve been seeing lots of posts about people flying out to Salt Lake and meeting with friends in the Family History Library (FHL) or going out to eat with them various places around Salt Lake. I’ve been to Salt Lake a couple times and can even picture where the various places are and what they look like. However, I’ve only ever had the chance to attend SLIG once, so how am I feeling reading these posts? Jealous.

For myself and the others that are feeling this way, we need to put things into perspective. We’ll have another chance to get there at some point. In the meantime, let’s remember a few disadvantages of SLIG:

·      It’s cold there in January!
·      The flights can be turbulent in winter
·      One word: “Inversion” (for those that don’t know this word, it’s like smog on steroids)
·      Snow
·      Places are a bit crowded
Parking lot didn't look crowded that morning!
Have I convinced you yet? Well, in the meantime, I’m going to think of the advantages of staying right here at home:

·      Less travel means more time to research
·      More and more items are going online
·      There are plenty of people in Salt Lake one could ask for a quick look-up
·      It’s cheaper to pay those people than to fly out myself for those one or two items!
·      One can always rent the films one needs to the local Family History Center
Just a few of those films...can I reach into the picture?
But, but, it seems like everybody is there… all those films in the FHL… all that good food… all that fun… great classes…. Okay, so I’ve not wholly convinced myself yet, but I’ll keep on working on it. In the meantime, let’s get back to seeing what great finds each of us can come up with as we sit here and mourn we can’t travel to every genealogy event…

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Setting Goals and New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions. What is it about resolutions that many people feel that they and those around them have to make one or several as the old year turns to the new? I have never seriously made one and by the statistics of how many people give up on them before the end of January (or is it the end of the first week or New Year’s Day even?), I don’t think many of us are very serious.

The problem with quick resolutions like this is that they aren’t very well thought out and people soon loose interest or realize what they set before them is too hard to do. What I think is far better, and have done myself for many years with more or less success is to set goals. It’s not just a matter of what you call things; I look at goals as completely different.

To me a goal is something that can be set at any time and any place. It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve. It probably shouldn’t be done at a party, unless it is the initial part of the goal, as it really should take some thought and effort to set it, not just a quick statement. I worked in an academic area for many years, so to me September is the time of a new start, and I often think of goals then. Others start with the new year or a change of season or for whatever reason makes them think about the future.

These are the goals that I mentioned in a prior post for 2016:

v Continue organizing my stuff. Kenneth helped me identify some pictures today that I hadn’t been sure of.
v Get copies of stuff digitized and organized to send out to the cousins
v Get at least one line solidified enough to write a booklet about them so that I can publish it and get it in various repositories
v Return to IGHR again this year and take the Law Libraries and Government Documents course
v Attend Syracuse’s New York State Family History Conference
v Attend Professional Management Conference at Fort Wayne, Indiana

Here is the difference that I see from these and resolutions. I want to accomplish these this year- that is a resolution, but only the start of the goals. How am I going to accomplish them? When am I going to accomplish them? And how will I know?

Taking the first one, I am putting time on my “To-Do” list each week to work on this project. Much of it is the new to me genealogy stuff I’ve gotten from my uncle, but some is my mess that I’ve accumulated over time. By working each week or sometimes each day a little chunk at a time, I slowly see improvement in this. My plan is to have his stuff in an understandable order by the end of this month- later if we find there is more I don’t have yet. I’ll know when it is done when I don’t see piles surrounding me in the dining room, but rather storage boxes neatly labeled and put away!

The next two goals follow a similar pattern; in fact the second one is dependent on the first. The last three are, of course, specific events. These I accomplish by putting dates, such as when I need to register, and when they occur on the calendar. Each week I put some money aside for expenses. When are these accomplished? Well, parts are accomplished at various times, but of course, when and how I know is answered at the conference itself.

Here is some of the beauty of these goals. Not only can I start them at any time- but I finish them whenever it is logical to as well. It is not necessarily a year-long enterprise, but rather for a duration as long or short as I need it to be. Periodically, I’ll look at my various goals, both genealogy and personal and see if I’m on track to accomplishing them or if they need changing. Sometimes another goal is added or one is subtracted from the list. This makes it more flexible and also more likely that I will get to where I need to go! And now I can make a check against one goal for today as this post is written!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New York State Probate on Ancestry

Oh wow! Just found out in the latest edition of NYG&B magazine The New York Researcher that the New York Wills and Probate Records 1659-1999 database is now on Ancestry! You might feel it’s not a big deal as they’ve been on Family Search for quite awhile.

All you do is go to the database on Family Search, select the county, find the book for the correct time period and then page through looking for you person in the index at the front of the book. Then you try to locate the page the probate is on. You can go page by page or jump ahead and try to narrow down to the page you’re looking for as the digital file numbers don’t correspond with the actual pages. Sometimes it’s one for one, but they started numbering in a different place. Sometimes two pages were filmed so that they appear in the file as one. It’s always an adventure getting to that correct page.

But! But on Ancestry you can not only do this, but you can also put the person’s name in the search box and get a listing of where they appear. Don’t know the county they might have had probate in? No problem, it gives you a list of every county they appear. Well, yes, if you’re looking for something like “John Smith” that still might be a problem, but you get the idea.

Looking at a “random” county—Cayuga— the one where I was born and a number of my relatives have lived in for years, not all the records are to 1999. Cayuga County has wills up to the year 1952 and guardianship records to 1905. I’m sure it varies from county to county what is available, but is similar to what has been on Family Search, if not exactly the same, only indexed.

I tried doing a search on a couple people noted within the wills and cannot bring them up in the search. I was using rather broad search interpretation of the names and the writing was fairly clear on the ones I tested, so I believe they weren’t indexed.

Even if it is only the testate that is indexed and the person in need of guardianship, this will be a great help in finding those that we don’t know what county they were in! Hopefully these databases will continue to improve with more wills in them and more names involved being indexed. But even if they don’t get any better this is a wonderful improvement and makes for much easier access! I can’t wait to dive a little more into them. I want to find them all and I'm getting one step closer to doing so!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saturday Challenge- 2015 Achievements

This week’s Genea-Musings challenge is found here:  
Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) -- Best Find of 2015, and Research Challenge for 2016: 1) What was your best research achievement in 2015? Tell us - show us a document, or tell us a story, or display a photograph. Brag a bit! You've earned it! 2) We all have elusive ancestors. What research problem do you want to work on in 2016? Tell us where you want to research and what you hope to find.

I’m not really sure what my biggest achievement has been in the last year.

v I’ve gotten some of my files more organized
v I received much paperwork from my uncle that still needs to be organized
v Most of my citations in my database are now properly formatted
v I’ve eliminated some “sources” that were not very good, like so-and-so emailed about this information

Probably, though, the biggest as far as break throughs happened in December of 2014 and continued into 2015. I took a second look at a line that dead-ended something like this:

Mary Ann Fay. Born on 11 November 1840 in Antwerp, Jefferson Co, New York. Mary Ann died in Wilna, Jefferson Co, New York, on 24 July 1906; she was 65. Buried in Hillside Cem, Antwerp, Jefferson Co, New York.

On 10 August 1862 when Mary Ann was 21, she married Joseph D Ingalls in Antwerp, Jefferson Co, New York.

2 Ezekiel Edson Fay. Born on 23 September 1802 in Fitzwilliam Depot, Cheshire Co, New Hampshire. Ezekiel Edson died in Leroy, Bremer Co, Iowa, on 17 January 1888; he was 85. Buried in Mentor Cem, Fredericka, Bremer Co, Iowa.

Ezekiel Edson married Sophia [surname unknown]. Born about 1814 in possibly Antwerp, Jefferson Co, New York.

(I haven’t included the citations here to keep things easier to read, but have them if anyone is interested in this family). 

Mary Ann Fay Ingalls

In the past little over a year, I’ve found out some things about these people. Sophia is the daughter of Zolpher Holden and his wife Jerusha Harrison. But, but, Sophia was NOT the mother of Mary Ann! There is a grave kind of hidden in the old part of Hillside Cemetery in Antwerp for Louise Wood Fay—Ezekiel’s first wife and the mother of most of his children including Mary Ann. He had married Sophia after Louise died and then moved out to Iowa taking the children with them, but Mary Ann came back to Jefferson County when she got older and remained here.

The Fay family also has some more history than what I knew about. I can trace that line back to Southborough and then to Sudbury, Massachusetts. Some of this still needs documentation, but I have the outline of where this family came from. I have also enjoyed looking at some of the branches that are not directly related to me.

There’s a baby that’s named Ethan Allen Fay who was born in 1779, a couple years after the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga. I wonder where he got his name? His father Dr. Jonas Fay named him after a friend of his, after all, he was at the battle and his father, little Ethan Allen’s grandfather, was Samuel Fay who owned the Catamount Tavern where the Green Mountain Boys met! I can’t really claim them as Samuel was a half cousin, eight times removed to me, but it is fun to look through some of these lines and wonder if my ancestors were aware of their distant cousins and what they were doing.

On to the second part of the question, where do I want to research and what do I want to work on this year? Hmm. How long do you have? I could go on for hours with all the things I want to do in the next year. So long, that they obviously won’t all get done or even started during 2016.

v Continue organizing my stuff. Kenneth helped me identify some pictures today that I hadn’t been sure of.
v Get copies of stuff digitized and organized to send out to the cousins
v Get at least one line solidified enough to write a booklet about them so that I can publish it and get it in various repositories
v Return to IGHR again this year and take the Law Libraries and Government Documents course
v Attend Syracuse’s New York State Family History Conference
v Attend Professional Management Conference at Fort Wayne, Indiana

Can I accomplish all these in 2016? I don’t know, but I’m certainly going to attempt to!