Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Upon Leaving The Cemetery

Oblong Meetinghouse built 1764

 Upon leaving the cemetery, don’t head directly for the highway. If your ancestors are buried there, then very likely they lived around here as well. Drive around slowly and look at the area. Sure, things have changed in 100 years, but things have also stayed the same. The terrain is likely the same. Some of the houses and public buildings will still be standing. Maybe you can even find your ancestor’s home! Family stories, old pictures or a search through the county land records can all lead you to where your ancestors lived.
While traveling one summer, I found an old church (actually a Quaker Meetinghouse) built in 1764. Although the congregation ceased in 1885, it is still standing and open to the public. I was the only person there as I quietly entered the building and looked around. Looking at this simple building I felt a great sense of welcoming as if the former members were there smiling and wanting to say hello to their visitor. It felt calming and serene much like the reputation of their form of worship.
Fascinating to me was not only that this building still exists, but also some of the records that are left from here. This is perhaps the most important part of discovering this meetinghouse. I found out that in June 1793, a couple by the name of Jane Hoag and Gilbert Titus were married there. Later this couple moved to central New York and became the parents of my g-g-g-grandfather!
When visiting the area, don’t forget to check out what research places there are in the area. Even if you can’t stop now, you can add them to your list for future investigation. I keep two lists on my computer in a file. The first one is a sort of address book with information on research places. Besides the address and phone numbers, I also list directions on how to get there, hours they are open, and specific resources that are available. If I know there are good, inexpensive places to stay or a place to eat nearby, I will list them as reminders to myself as well.
Akin Library at Quaker Hill
The other list is a sort of “To Do” list arranged by repository and then surname. It lists specific areas that I need to research, either by person or families. For example, some of the entries are a reminder to look for somebody’s date of birth; others are leads on where a family grouping may have lived. This I keep in an Excel spreadsheet. As I find information I need to research, I add it to the list. One of them is items that can be located using the Internet. When I have some spare time, I will pick an item and start working on it to see if I can solve the problem or at least get closer to the answer. The repository pages are especially handy when I get an unexpected chance to go there. I look to see what I have wanted to research, but maybe have forgotten about. I then have a head start on creating a research plan for there!
This is especially useful if you have somebody like my husband in your life or perhaps even yourself. He will suddenly decide that this weekend we should head to this certain area and do some research. This is great, except that I haven’t thought about my research in that particular area in awhile and when he decides it is usually Thursday or even Friday evening and I have little to no time to prepare! Luckily my spreadsheet notes give me a good start and I don’t waste the opportunity.

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