Monday, October 31, 2016

Saturday Challenge: Name That Book

From Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings: Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  Look at this image:

What is a funny and/or serious Title for this book, if it is a genealogy book (yours, or someone else's)?

Here are my crazy answers to go along with a crazy book:

a)  Funny:  Websites That Contain The word “ward” but not the surname “Ward”

b)  Funny but accurate:  Ward Families of North America

c)  Serious:  Ward and Wooster Lines from 1600 to the Present

and one last one for my brother who is obsessed with cows:

A Catalog of North American Cows

Friday, October 28, 2016

Alling Coverlet Museum

Alling Coverlet Museum

Address: 122 William St, Palmyra, NY 14522
Phone: (315) 597-6981

There is an admission fee- but what a bargain:
Adults.............................$3.00 individual museum  or  $7.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
Children (11 to 17).........$2.00 individual museum  or  $5.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
Seniors (70 and older)...$2.00 individual museum  or  $5.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
*The TRAIL TICKET includes admission to all Museums for one low price!
Save over 35% on Adult admission to all Historic Palmyra Museums!
(I will be talking about the other museums included in future columns).

Hours: 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Tuesday to Saturday. Closed July 4

Located on a side street in the village of Palmyra, this museum looks like there isn’t much there from the outside, but once inside, you’ll realize that the first impression is totally wrong! This museum is housed in a 1901 newspaper printing office.  Coverlets were once a big industry in the Palmyra area and the museum has the largest collection of American hand woven coverlets in the entire United States.

“What exactly is a coverlet?” you may be asking. It is a type of woven bedspread that is usually paired with decorative pillows on the bed. All of the ones in this collection were woven between 1820 and 1880. This is the age before commercial manufacturing when all were made by hand on a large loom. Although we often think of women on pioneer farms weaving cloth, men actually usually made these in small cottage businesses.

The museum houses many items related to the weaving trade including looms, spinning wheels, and other tools of the trade. There are punch cards that were used with some of the later looms to form the patterns. If you’re old enough to remember the punch cards that were used to program early computers, these are the forerunners of those cards.

What makes it special: There are many, many coverlets on display at any given time. However, there are so many that it takes them 6 years to rotate through the entire collection!

The gift shop also has many great items to look through. There are books that tell more about the weaving industry and its history as well as recipe books and many of the usual historical type souvenirs available for purchase. Although this museum is not genealogical in nature, it has a lot of information on the background of an early industry that was done by many people. If you had an ancestor that was involved in the weaving trade, especially of coverlets, there is a wealth of information here to help you fill in details about what that ancestor’s life was like!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

RootsTech Names Another Keynote Speaker

RootsTech is busy lining up speakers for their annual conference and have announced another of their Keynote speakers. Buddy Valastro, aka The Cake Boss will be the Keynote speaker on Saturday February 11th. My question is will he be handing out free samples?! That would certainly be a yummy presentation!

Here is the official press release:

The Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Will Keynote, Judge at RootsTech 2017
SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 27 October 2016)--RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, is pleased to welcome the popular Italian-American celebrity chef, Buddy Valastro, also known as the hit TLC series, Cake Boss™ as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 11, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Valastro will also judge a local cake decorating contest hosted by RootsTech.
The amicable Valastro is a Hoboken, New Jersey, resident and owner of Carlo’s Bakery. He has endeared himself to millions of people as the animated, passionate chef on the TLC series, The Cake Boss. His staff’s creative expertise in designing over-the-top cakes for locals and celebrities is only half the allure. The show’s long-running success can also be attributed to the fun, dynamic interactions and involvement of 3–4 generations of Valastro’s Italian-American family who help run the thriving family business.
“Family is the most important part of my life,” says Valastro. “You have to embrace and be proud of where you come from. I can't wait to share my story of how my past, present, and future have shaped who I am with the audience.”
During his RootsTech 2017 keynote address, the Cake Boss will share the story of how his strong family ties, roots, and traditions have shaped his life and business success, which include 12 bakeries, additional TLC series (The Next Great Baker and Buddy’s Bakery Rescue), and several books, to name a few.
Running bakeries is almost genetic in Buddy’s family. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both bakers in Sicily, Italy. His father, Buddy Valastro Sr., ran his own bakery for many years in New Jersey. When Buddy Valastro Jr. was 11 years old, he began working side by side with his father at Carlo’s Bakery.
Buddy Sr. died when his son was 17, leaving a very large hole in the teenager’s life. However, his tutelage had provided Buddy with “cast-iron business sense” and imbued in him a work ethic and a wealth of knowledge. He stepped up and took over his father’s role as proprietor and baker in Carlo’s bakery.
Buddy learned much without his father’s presence in the business but struggled making sfogliatelle dough, which is used in making Italian shell-shaped filled pastries called lobster tails, one of the bakery’s specialties. Buddy recalls the night his father came to him in a dream and told him, “I am here for one reason, to show you how to make lobster tails.” The next day, for the first time, Buddy successfully created the seemingly impossible dough and the very popular lobster tails were back. From then on, he says, he knew he could do anything he put his mind to and found comfort knowing that his father was looking after him.
After a few years, Buddy Jr. decided to take cake decorating to a new level with designer cakes. He created, among other spectacular cakes, a NASCAR racecar cake weighing over 10,000 pounds. In 2004, he was invited to participate in the Food Network Challenge where he took top prize in the fourth battle. He was urged to try a show for himself so he pitched a show featuring himself with his family. TLC executives were impressed enough to shoot a pilot episode in the shop which was a hit with audiences, and Cake Boss was born. The show is now in its eighth season.
Buddy’s extended family is indispensable both to the show and in running what has now become a chain of bakeries in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and some Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The business has diversified and expanded, but the legacy that began three generations ago in Sicily lives on. Buddy willingly holds to the traditions of his father’s bakery.
“Life lessons my parents have taught me define who I am today. I never forget where I've come from and try to pass that down to my children today,” says Valastro.
In addition to keynoting at RootsTech 2017, Valastro will help judge the first-ever RootsTech cake decorating competition.
There will be four different categories to compete in—wedding, birthday, holiday, and graduation—and there will be three finalists and one grand prize winner selected in each category. Cakes will be on display Saturday during RootsTech and Family Discovery Day where thousands of people will view and have a chance to vote for “People’s Choice” winners in each category. Official rules and entry information for the contest will be available soon at

This news release can be found here

See also Five Ingredients That Make Up the Cake Boss

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Family Search is Annoucing New Records for This Week

 Just a quick post about some new records that are available while I'm busy on some other projects. Here is what Family Search announced today:


New Historic Records: Week of October 24, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Free, searchable census records from Ghana, The Czech Republic, and New Jersey this week at New historic records were also added from Sweden, Netherlands, Russia, and the United states, including almost 2 million indexed land allotment records for five Native American tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) in Oklahoma. See and share the detailed list of this week's new additions online at
# # #
About FamilySearch and Its Historic Records Collections
Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world's historic genealogical records online at
FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Saturday Challenge- Foreshadowing of Genealogy

1)    When you reflect back as a child, do you now see things that you did then, that show your interest in knowing extended family and/or your future interest in genealogy?

As a young child, I was almost constantly surrounded by older people. Both relatives and those who were simply friends of my parents. Unlike many of my peers, my parents were already in their 40’s when I was born. Mom belonged to various crafting groups that consisted of women of various ages. Most were contemporaries of her or older. This environment taught me at an early age to communicate with my elders.  I heard many stories about “olden times” that might be considered history.  I enjoyed hearing these stories and what they had done as children as well as the general time period that they grew up in.

Through no real effort of my own, other than enjoying hearing them talk about such things, I learned a great deal about life in the early 1900s. This laid a foundation for my later interests in history and genealogy.

As I grew older and learned how to read, I developed a love of reading. I would quickly devour books and then look for more or reread the ones I had already read. What were my favorites? I had many, but there is a similarity that runs through them all. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder about pioneer times. Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery and her other books, all set in Canada during the late 1800s and very early 1900s. Louisa May Alcott books written in Massachusetts shortly after the Civil War: Little Women, Little Men, Eight Cousins, Rose In Bloom...  These and many others all had an historical aspect about them and I loved them. In my imagination I went back in time and lived in these stories and made up more adventures about the characters.

I had an understanding of relatives as well. Although many of them I didn’t see very often, I knew who my family was and how they were related to each other. Uncles were brothers of either my Dad or Mom. They had no sisters, but I understood that my Aunts were the wives of my Uncles and if Dad or Mom had a sister, she would have been an Aunt as well. I had an understanding of how generations worked. When talking about my mother, she was “Mommy”, but if I was referring to her to one of my nieces or nephews, it automatically became “Grandma” until at least a time when they were old enough to understand that their Grandma was my Mom. Even now, I often slip into that version despite the fact we are all adults.

All of this started when I was a toddler and elementary school years. So, when I was in high school and had an assignment to do a family tree, of course, my interest just grew and I quickly became fascinated with learning more and more about the family that came before me. All of those interests and tendencies were a part of the future interest in genealogy, family, and local history that I didn’t know existed until I was introduced to them as a teenager.

In fact, most things I did as a child could have a connection to genealogy. The crafts I enjoyed doing- and still do- are similar to what our ancestors did. My love of camping and travel are related as well. I learned geography and differences in regions first-hand during the travel I did as a child.

Not too long ago my husband and I were talking about how people used to cook in times past. He asked me if I could imagine cooking over an open fire. Imagine? I have grilled meat over coals, toasted marshmallows and made food with “pie irons”, a device that cooks sandwiches and pies over a campfire. I’ve even made pizzas with English muffins and such in a cast iron frying pan over a fire while camping. Not food our ancestors would have had as part of their regular diet, but similar to some of the ways they might have cooked and definitely gives me a taste some of the challenges they would have faced in getting a meal on the table.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Palmyra Meeting

Today was the semi-annual NYSCOGO (New York State Council ofGenealogical Organizations) meeting in Palmyra, New York.  Eleven people gathered for a meeting and to tour Historic Palmyra, Inc.  Historic Palmyra is a group of historic buildings and museums in downtown Palmyra with a rich history of the area. I will be writing more about these places in the days to come, but for now here are a few tidbits of information that were heard at the meeting that will be of interest to people researching here and the surrounding areas:

The Seneca County Historical Society in the Waterloo Library no longer has information and historic records of the area. This is now housed  at the Memorial Day Museum in the village.

The Wayne County Historian’s Office has database for everyone who has ever been mentioned in the county. It is called the Surname Database and is located on the left hand side of their database. <>

All thirteen Wayne County libraries have access to and many are starting to have genealogy clubs in these libraries. They are part of the Pioneer Library System that covers much of the Finger Lakes area.

Palmyra library has a good local history collection as does Newark and Geneva libraries. I haven't had a chance to visit any of these libraries, but they are on my list of places to get to!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Collins Family

When I was in Indiana a few weeks ago, I did some research on a family. The family of Barton and Annahritte Collins. They are no relation to me, however I found their story interesting. They were the first settlers of the town of Jamestown in Steuben County, Indiana. The same county that Dennis Wooster, the brother of my great-great grandfather, had settled in many years later. Did they know each other? Anna certainly knew the Wooster’s, but Barton had died before they settled there.

These two families were near neighbors to each other. As often happens in rural communities, one of their grandsons did not go far when it was time to choose a bride. Their grandson, Stillman Collins married the oldest daughter of Dennis, Frances Wooster. And thus, the two families had a connection and is where my interest began.

While at the library in Angola, the county seat, I found some new information on the family. In amongst this was a picture of their home in Jamestown.

I looked at this picture and then I looked at it again. It looked familiar. I had seen this house before.

Earlier that morning, my husband and I had been driving around the Jamestown area. We visited the cemetery where the Wooster family is buried. Just down the road is a farm that I knew Stillman and Frances lived on. I knew it was the same farm his parents had lived at and was part of the property that his grandfather had originally filed for when he became the first settler. By comparing old property maps with contemporary maps, I had found where this farm was and had taken pictures of an older farmhouse on the property. I felt for sure, but had no proof, that this was the house that Stillman and Frances lived in and her parents had visited from time to time.

The house has, of course, been resided and remodeled. There is now a modern addition on the back of it as well. But it is definitely Stillman’s grandparents house and so, must be the house that they lived in! In fact the article that accompanied the early picture, mentions that the south room of the house was always referred to as Grandmother’s room, further indicating that this would have been Stillman’s parents home when his grandmother was elderly. George Collins was the oldest son of Barton and Anna and inherited the farm where Stillman grew up and took over from him.

Although certainly not a great breakthrough in research, by researching the collateral family I found the answer to my question. I knew I had stood in the driveway of my distant cousin’s home. I need to do further research as I have a feeling that if the owners had been home that morning, I would have met some more cousins. Distant, of course, but still, related to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

FamilySearch and RootsTech Keynote Speaker

FamilySearch and RootsTech sent out this announcement this morning. RootsTech is the largest genealogy conference in the United States-- I don't know, but maybe even in the world. It started out as purely a conference for programmers and other such technology deep people to meet with genealogists to know what they were looking for in software programs, databases and the like. It has since grown to be an all encompassing genealogy conference. While it is too big and crowded for an introvert who can't stand crowds like myself, it is a great conference for those that thrive on such large groups. Also, there are usually a few sessions shown either live or at a later date on the Internet. A great combination to include everyone- even those who would want to attend, but can't afford to!

Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton Will Keynote RootsTech 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (October 19, 2016)FamilySearch International is pleased to announce that LaVar Burton will be the Friday keynote speaker at RootsTech 2017 on February 10, 2017. Burton is known by millions for his legendary starring role as Kunta Kinte in 1977 in the globally acclaimed and award-winning ABC mini series, Roots, as chief engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, and as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series, Reading Rainbow. Burton was also the co-executive producer of the re-envisioned production of Roots that aired in June of this year on the A&E Networks.
Reading Rainbow was one of the longest running children’s television shows in TV history (1983-2009) and one of the most acclaimed, earning more than 200 awards including 26 Emmys and a Peabody. "There's a whole new generation of kids that need to develop a relationship with the written word, especially, I believe, in this ultra-technological age. I'm in this for the mission. This is what I do," said Burton.
He is excited about the opportunity to keynote at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, his Reading Rainbow foundation, and also stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him.
"The story of Roots traces a family's journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I'll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience."
Burton’s acting career began as a college student at the University of Southern California with his first-ever audition—winning the role of Kunta Kinte in ABC’s wildly popular 1977 TV mini-series, Roots. Thus, at age 19, he found his picture on the cover of Time magazine. Soaring to stardom was only the beginning for Burton. He followed it with many roles—most notably in Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
An advocate for children’s literacy, Burton’s Reading Rainbow provides an outlet for innovative uses of storytelling. Reading Rainbow uses technology and media to inspire today’s children to love reading, and is currently the number one educational app on iTunes. The digital service includes more than 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, and 200 newly-produced video field trips with new content added weekly.
RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and will be simulcasted around the world with many sessions recorded for later viewing. RootsTech offers a line-up of world-class speakers, thrilling entertainment and engaging classes and activities with a bigger-than-ever expo hall. There will be something for everyone regardless of age or experience. Registration for RootsTech is currently open at reduced rates at Rootstech 2017 is sponsored by FamilySearch,, and
Find the news release online at

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saturday Challenge- The Helpers

1)    Was there a relative that was a big help in giving you family information?  Who and how was he/she helpful?

I told last week about my Dad helping me on that first assignment in high school by taking me to the cemetery and pointing out various family plots.

After completing the assignment, I wanted to continue and learn more about the family. Nobody around me was really that interested in it. My Mom did take me to a couple used bookstores looking for books to tell me about genealogy. She also drove me a few places and helped me connect with a couple cousins that share information, but her heart wasn’t in it.

However, one person in my family was interested and encouraged me to continue. My oldest brother, Jim, lived near Washington, DC. I would write letters asking him questions and he would give me what information he had about older members of the family. Soon I was sending back information that I had found and comparing notes with him. That interest and encouragement went a long ways towards starting me down the path to genealogy as a lifetime interest. Thank you Jim! (I know you’re reading this).

A few years later I “met” the other person that has been really helpful. A quarrel when I was a child had caused my Mom and her brother not to speak for a few years. While in college I ran into him and we got reacquainted. This was also, when the two siblings finally spoke and made up again. Kenneth also has an interest in genealogy and a passion for tracing our family. Together we have worked on the maternal side of my lines.

Kenneth & Jim 1952
Through the years I have done more and more work on these trees. I have done more research and gotten farther back than probably either of them ever imagined we could find. In the beginning they were both teaching me how to research and where to look for information. As I got more involved, I joined societies and continued reading and studying genealogy. In recent years I have been fortunate to be able to attend many different conferences and institutes as well as webinars to learn even more. Now, I am the one that is more skilled at it. However, we all enjoy sharing stuff between each other. It is thanks to the help and encouragement of these two people, as well as many others along the way that I got started on this hobby, career, obsession.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Central New York Genealogical Society- October Meeting

The Central New York Genealogical Society (CNYGS) will hold their October meeting next Saturday. It is a full day conference with two different speakers. Details about the meeting are below from the Publicity Chair and details about the location information can be found on their website at the bottom of the "Meetings" page.


October 15, 2016 – Full-Day Conference

We are pleased to announce that we have two local speakers for our October Full-Day Conference. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a few announcements, and will end about 3:30 p.m.

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

12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m. Lunch will be available on-site for a small donation, or you can bring your own lunch or visit a local restaurant. Coffee, tea and donut holes will be available in the morning. Soup, a meat tray, rolls, and veggies will be available for lunch. Bottled water and soda will also be available.

1:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Author and Historian, Dick Williams will discuss skills and techniques for family research. His 30-page booklet covering his discussion will be provided.

During the first hour, Dick will explain how to use Google, censuses, timelines, creating a map, vital statistics, websites, newspapers and local sources. He will also cover sharing our research, software, social media blogs, and preserving records using pictures, documents, cameras, and scanning wands.

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The trigger That Started It All

From Randy Seaver’s GeneaMusings: Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What was the "trigger," that started you actively researching your family history and genealogy?

So, I’m way behind on these challenges, but I will do at least a few as I catch up with things around here after traveling.

Growing up I was always around older people. Most of my relatives that I knew, were not children, but of my parents’ generation or older. Being the youngest child in the family by a number of years, this meant that I often heard stories of “the old days.” However, this did not trigger an interest in family history or doing genealogy.

In tenth grade we had a time period when our English class combined somewhat with our Social Studies class. We were reading literature that had to do with the local area and delving into the history of the Finger Lakes region of New York State. One of the Social Studies teachers came to our English class and did a presentation on family history. We had an assignment to trace our families back, hopefully to the great-grandparent level and identify what nationality they were.

Working on this project, I asked my Dad when his parents were born. He didn’t know. He never kept track of such things, and they were long dead anyway. Well, one thing Dad did enjoy was going for a ride in the countryside. Thinking quickly, I asked: “Dad, aren’t their birthdates on their tombstones?” Just like that we were off for a ride around the lake and to the rural cemetery where they are buried. As I was copying information down, he wandered up the row and pointed out his grandparents and mentioned that his great-grandparents were buried over by the fence. If I had to pinpoint a time when I was hooked on genealogy, I would say it was that afternoon.

One day when I was in my mid-30s, I was researching. I was at the Cayuga Owasco Lakes Historical Society in Moravia trying to find newspaper and other such articles to fill in some of the more social information about these grandparents I had never met. A man was there working on pulling some original documents to be used in his classroom. I looked at him again and realized—it was the Social Studies teacher that had presented to my class over 15 years ago. I made myself known to him and showed him what I was working on including the database on my laptop. I jokingly said to him: “It’s a little late, but here is my assignment you gave us.” He groaned and laughed. “What did I start?”