Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday- Dewitt Memory Gardens

Some pictures from this summer that I forgot to post...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Saturday Night Challenge- Thanksgiving Memory

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

1) We just celebrated Thanksgiving in the USA, and many of us have celebrated it every year for decades.  For this SNGF, please share a favorite Thanksgiving memory - it can be sentimental, humorous, reflective, etc.

A favorite Thanksgiving memory of mine is one that occurred in February. Yes, February.

It started one fall when I was sick with many autoimmune problems. I was on a strict diet during that time due to complications. How strict you might ask? Well, I could eat anything I wanted to in moderation—as long as it was liquid. Yes, a liquids only diet.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite, if not my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to that turkey dinner with all the trimmings. These are some of my favorite foods and I don’t get to eat them very often. So, you can imagine how I felt about missing out on Thanksgiving dinner.

Even though Mom was never a fan of turkey, she understood how I felt. Her and I hatched a plan. We bought a turkey breast as usual along with cranberries. These went into the freezer and there they stayed.

In February after I had been able to have surgery to correct the complications and was recovered enough to eat a large meal, we defrosted that turkey. On a Thursday evening in early February, Mom, my brother, my sister-in-law and I gathered and had my Thanksgiving Dinner that I had missed at the traditional time. As I think back on that difficult season, I have memories of that evening and how my family were willing to help out to make things better for me, not only that night, but throughout my struggles with chronic disease.   

Friday, November 25, 2016


Some views of our table yesterday.

 A traditional Thanksgiving meal even if it was just for two of us this year. This is the first year that I've hosted Thanksgiving dinner in my own home. Usually, I would prepare it ahead of time and take it to Mom's house to finish cooking and put on her table. However, it is not the first year that this table has held the dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Originally, this table sat in my parents' kitchen at the old farmhouse. On a few holidays when there was just a small number of us, we would gather around this table to eat rather than in the more formal dining room.
Did I say originally? Not quite. Mom brought this table home after her father died. He had bought the table at an auction many years before and refinished it to put in their dining room. Their family had used it for many, many years. A number of holiday meals, including Thanksgiving were held around that table when it was part of the Wooster family. In fact, Mom had told me stories about some little children hiding under the tablecloths of this table and sitting on the legs that fan out from the middle. While sitting there, they could listen in secret to the adult conversations in the dining room. Who were these children? While there probably were multiple ones over the years, the ones that Mom talked about were one or more of her brothers and herself!

This table has been in our family for close to a hundred years at this point as it probably was sometime in the 1920s that Grandpa, Marion Wooster, bought the table at auction. However, it was used then, and we have no idea of how old it actually is or the history before it came to him. Probably a lot more holiday dinners, especially since, if I had the room, there are more leaves I could put in the table and expand it even more for a larger crowd to easily gather around it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  * With thanks to Charles Schultz for the picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CNYGS Special DNA Program Announced

The Latest Records Added to Family Search

 Here are the latest records that were added to FamilySearch this week. There aren't any for the central New York or New England areas, but that might be good as it gives me more time to prepare Thanksgiving dinner! Hopefully these are of interest to some of you-- happy hunting!


New Historic Records on FamilySearch: Week of November 21, 2016

Maybe one of your ancestors is in one of the newly published 1916 Denmark census records, civil registrations from Hungary, Sweden church records, Ohio death, South Carolina birth, or Wyoming obituary records. Search these free records and more at by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.
Indexed Records
Digital Images
Denmark Census 1916
New indexed records and images collection
Hungary Civil Registration 1895-1980
Added indexed records to an existing collection
Sweden Västerbotten Church Records 1619-1896; index 1688-1860
Added indexed records to an existing collection
South Carolina Delayed Birth Certificates 1766-1900
New browsable image collection.
Ohio County Death Records 1840-2001
Added images to an existing collection
Wyoming Star Valley Independent Obituaries 1901-2015
Added indexed records and images to an existing collection
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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Saturday Challenge- Thanksgiving Edition

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

1) This is a fun meme co-hosted by 
McGuffy's Reader and 15 and Meowing (thanks to Suzanne McClendon on the P.S. Annie blog for the links).

2)  Fill in the blanks for these four statements:

1. One Thanksgiving tradition I have is __________________________.
2. Black Friday ______________________________________________.
3. The best part about Thanksgiving Day is _______________________.
4. One Thanksgiving, _________________________________________.

Here's mine:

1. One Thanksgiving tradition I have is a dinner at noontime with turkey, stuffing (or dressing whichever you like to call it), cranberry sauce, potatoes- either mashed or sweet potato casserole, a vegetable and a special salad.

The salad came from a Pillsbury Cook-off cookbook in the early 70’s and was originally called “Lime Party Salad.” I have the book from Mom’s collection. We’ve modified it over the years and it is now often called “The Pink Salad.” Instead of lime Jell-O that the original called for, I usually make it with cherry or raspberry Jell-O. Mixed with marshmallows, cream cheese, pineapple and Cool Whip, it isn’t the healthiest of food, but has appeared on my family’s holiday tables for almost every holiday since it was first made by Mom way back when the cookbook was new.

2. Black Friday is a day that I stay away from stores, especially the mall. I hate crowds and I am not particularly fond of shopping. It marks the day that I try to stay away from retail establishments as much as possible from then until after Christmas. Instead, I usually stay home and relax, catch up on reading, genealogy or a craft project—or all of the above!

3. The best part about Thanksgiving Day is the meal. This menu is one of my favorite meals of all time, so of course I love sitting down to eating it!

4. One Thanksgiving, when I was a teenager, my Mom wasn’t feeling too well. She had recently had surgery on either a foot or a hand, I forget what exactly. The surgery was either the week before, or maybe even early that week. Whenever it was, she was definitely still in recovery from that. It was a quiet Thanksgiving with just my parents and I, but she was determined to make our usual meal. When everything was simmering away on the stove and didn’t need much attending for a while, I promised to keep an eye on things and not let anything burn. I was a good assistant, but still not skilled in cooking on my own yet. She went in the living room and lay down on the couch to rest. When I went to wake her, she started to get up quick in a panic because she had been sleeping and it was time dinner should be ready. I told her to relax, I needed her to do just one thing- come sit down with Dad and I and eat. I had managed to finish preparing the meal on my own with help from Dad getting things and carrying the food to the table for me. It was then that Mom started trusting my cooking skills a bit more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

FamilySearch Updates to Records

Every week FamilySearch publishes many new databases. Here is this weeks update:
New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of November 7, 2016: Birth, death, census, civil, and church records from South Africa, Peru, Netherlands, Russia, Philippines, and the United States were published on

Monday, November 14, 2016

Phelps General Store & Home

Address: 140 Market Street, 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!
Hours: May 1st to Oct. 31st 10:30am to 4:30pm, Tuesday through Saturday. And Tuesday – Thursday Nov. 1st – April 30th, 11am- 4 pm.

It was a tavern, a bakery, a general store and a boarding house over time since it was first built in 1826. William and Julius Phelps were the proprietors over the years.

This building once housed a general store, which served the needs of the Erie Canal. It was built right along the canal and existed there for many years. Boats would tie up alongside the building to come in and shop or, depending on the era, perhaps have what we now refer to as “an adult beverage” or two. From 1905 onward, Julius Phelps a general store for the village of Palmyra and it was the place for many of a housewife to buy her essentials during the Great Depression. The war years of the Second World War ended the building’s life as a general store. Today the store still exists with merchandise piled on the shelves much like you would find in any such store in the late 1930s. Where did they get the merchandise to create this museum? Right there!
Julius Phelps decided in 1940 that he could no longer afford to operate a general store. He locked the door and walked away. There sat the merchandise until the museum was ready to open. There is even a case with real eggs from 1940!

The only child of Julius was Sybil Phelps. In her early days she traveled to New York City and attempted to become an actress. She was a very talented musician as well as a Spiritualist. Later she returned to Palmyra and her parents’ home above the store. Rising two stories above the general store, this apartment is a spacious Victorian apartment. Furnishings typical of the Victorian age still occupy this space. The family lived here with no running water, only a cistern, and no electricity. In fact, it was last updated in the 1880s. After her parents’ deaths, Sybil continued to live here alone (besides her 15 cats that is) until her death in 1976 at the age of 81.

Since that time nobody has lived here. Or have they? Did I mention that Sybil was a Spiritualist? Did I mention that many people believe the place is haunted? Strange sightings have occurred here over the years. Black cats have wandered in and disappeared. Music has played when nobody is in the upper floors. Doors open and lights appear and disappear. All the trappings of a ghost story exist. Whether they are real or not, I will leave for you to decide. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Upcoming CNYGS Meetings

Here are the latest announcements from the Central New York Genealogical Society Publicity Chair, Cindy Hall, about upcoming meetings:

We are pleased to announce our last program meeting for this year on Saturday, November 19, 2016, “The Bomber Boys: The Eighth Air Force in World War II” presented by Cheryl Pula, author, lecturer, and retired Reference Librarian. She has written eight books on the subject which should entice WWII enthusiasts and those of us who had family members in the service during the war.

The information from the program flyer is included below. If you have any difficulty reading the information below, please open the attached flyer in .pdf format.

For the latest news on our upcoming 2017 programs, including any venue and parking changes, please check our website:

You can also find CNYGS updates on Facebook. You are welcome to post interesting findings relating to local genealogy, photos, and other news of interest to CNYGS members at:

The CNYGS Genealogy Interest Group (GIG) aims to foster an interest in family history and genealogy, provide a regular discussion forum for members, provide information on sources, and use technology whenever it will help us succeed in our research. Meetings are held on the last Monday of the month and more information is available on the CNYGS website. The next meeting will be held Monday, November 28, 2016. The topic is German Genealogy, presented by Mahlon Wagner. He will guide attendees through researching ancestors in Germany. He has traveled regularly as a guest professor to Germany and will include a brief travelogue of the country. Mahlon Wagner also has exciting new information about Martin Luther! Lastly, hear him tell about a duck in Germany who had ESP– and an Elephant’s Toilet found in one city!

Mahlon Wagner, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, taught for 30+ years at SUNY Oswego, retiring in 1996. He also taught at Valparaiso Univ. and UMass– Amherst. GIG meetings are held at the Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale, NY (behind St. Margaret's Church), from 6 p.m. - 7:55 p.m. These meetings are free and open to the public. Questions? Contact Susan Proch at

Our newest group is the CNYGS DNA Interest Group. Meetings are usually held at the Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Drive, Manlius. Look for the date and time of upcoming meetings in our bi-weekly CNYGS E-Newsletter, or asked to be added to the e-mail list. For additional information, contact Janet Brown at


Friday, November 11, 2016

Historic Palmyra Museum

 Address: 132 Market 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!
Hours: May 1st to Oct. 31st 10:30am to 4:30pm, Tuesday through Saturday.   And Tuesday – Thursday, Nov. 1st – April 30th, 11am- 4 pm. Watch for special events.

This museum is on the site of a former building that had a fire in 1964 that claimed 6 children and an adult. The building that is there now is a former hotel that was moved to the site. The museum talks about the history of the area, particularly the village of Palmyra. There are 23 themed rooms of memorabilia of Palmyra. Among the topics are, firefighting, military, death, children’s toys, religion, kitchen tools, local businesses, medicine, education and photography. There are local connections to the Civil War, Women’s Suffrage and the Book of Mormon.

Why would there be a local connection to the Book of Mormon? The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) started not far from here and their annual Hill Cumorah pageant takes place about five miles away. Stepping outside the museum’s door and looking towards Main Street you can see the building where the Book of Mormon was originally printed. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Find My Past- Free Records Access for Veterans Day 2016

I just found out that Find My Past is offering some free records access this weekend. I know many of us don't have a long weekend for Veteran's Day, but perhaps you can still find time to take advantage of this and get a few extra records on your ancestors!
The pictures below are of my grandparents, Marion & Alice Wooster during the time they served in the Army during and just after WWI. 

Army Calvary

Army Nurse's Corp


Findmypast makes entire collection of more than 70 million world military records free for four days

All UK, Irish, Australian, Canadian and US military records free from the 10th to the 13thNovember 2016

Includes free access to over 43 million US and Canada military records
Leading family history website, Findmypast, has just announced that they will be making their entire collection of military records free for four days to coincide with Veterans Day 2016.
From 04:00 EST, 10th November until 18:59 GMT, 13th November 2016, all 70 million records within Findmypast’s “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict” category will be completely free to search and explore, providing family historians from around the globe the opportunity to uncover the stories of the military heroes within their own family.

This will include free access to:

·         Over 43 million US and Canada military records
·         Over 1.3 million United States Army enlistment records
·         Over 1.1 million United States Civil War Pension File Index records
·         Over 89,000 Revolutionary War Pensions
·         Millions of Civil War soldiers, sailors, veterans and medal records.
·         Millions of records covering US forces in Korea, Vietnam and WW2
·         Over 26.4 million British military Records including the most comprehensive 
collection of British Army service records both for WW1 and pre WW1 - these multiple page documents were released in partnership with The National Archives and are packed with fascinating biographical details such as the names and addresses of next of kin, physical descriptions and character references from commanding officers
·         The most comprehensive British Royal Nave and Royal Air Force collections available online
·         Over 2.6 million POW records in our exclusive Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection.
·         Over 1.1 million WW2 casualty records
·         Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919 records
·         Over 1.5 million medal index cards, memorial rolls and roll of honour records
·         Military tribunal records - the records of thousands of men who attempted to avoid conscription
·         Military Nurses 1856-1994 records

Free Live Webinar
On Friday November 11th at 11:00 EST, Findmypast will be hosting a free Remembrance Day Webinar presented by in-house military expert, Paul Nixon. In “Unpicking the past: revealing secrets in old military photographs”, Mr Nixon will demonstrate how anyone can turn detective using old military photographs, military records and historic newspapers to uncover clues which in turn open up further avenues of research.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Press Release on RootsTech Innovator Summit

Leadership Expert Liz Wiseman to Keynote RootsTech Innovator Summit

Salt Lake City, Utah, (8 November 2016)—Do you multiply or diminish intelligence? Liz Wiseman, a leadership strategist, best-selling author, and inspiring speaker whose recent clients include Disney, Microsoft, eBay and PayPal, Google, and Facebook, is excited to share highlights of what she has learned as the keynote speaker for the 2017 Innovator Summit at RootsTech. Innovator Summit is a one-day event for developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who want to explore business and technological opportunities in the multibillion dollar family history industry. The Innovator Summit will be held on February 8, 2017 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Liz Wiseman teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She is the founder and president of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. She has been listed on the biennial Thinkers50 ranking for 2013 and 2015 and named one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world.
Wiseman is the author of three best-selling books: Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of WorkMultipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter; and The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools.
She has spent years working around a lot of really smart executives in tech industries and conducted significant research in the field of leadership. She's observed how some leaders actually shut down the brain power of people around them.
"Yet, other leaders seem to amplify the intelligence of people around them," said Wiseman. "These leaders were intelligence multipliers." She said that “when these leaders walked into a room, it was as if you could see lightbulbs going off over people’s heads, and ideas flowed and problems got solved.”
Wiseman has emphasized that one of the most important aspects that she learned in this research was “that when we linger too long on a plateau a little part of us dies inside. But when we step out of the space of knowing—where we are fully capable—and step into unfamiliar territory, we feel alive. I think it is actually where we feel divine, and, in some ways, I feel like it is where we see God’s hand working in our lives.”
Wiseman is a frequent lecturer at BYU, Stanford University, and the Naval Postgraduate Academy. She is a former executive at Oracle Corporation, where she worked over the course of 17 years as the vice president of Oracle University and as the global leader for human resource development. During her tenure at Oracle, she led several major global initiatives and has worked and traveled in over 40 countries. She writes for Harvard Business Review and Fortune. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc., and Time.
The RootsTech Innovator Summit keynote session begins at 9:00 a.m., followed by a full day of classes, the semifinal round of the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, a networking social, and other related activities.
The annual Innovator Showdown contest is designed to foster innovation in the family history industry. Twelve semi-finalists will be chosen and announced, with $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes offered by sponsors to the winners.
Share this release.
About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Please To Remember The Fifth of November...

Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot...

So begins an English folk poem from about 1870 about Guy Fawkes day and the Gunpowder treason plot of November 5, 1605. In my house we always remember the day, not because of Guy Fawkes, but because more importantly (to me at least!) today is my birthday. Here are a few fifth of November pictures of mine through the years. Funny, I seem to be in less and less pictures the older I get, perhaps because I am the main person taking pictures now.
I think Mom still has that tablecloth!

My favorite doll joined me at the table that year.

Sixth grade with friends and my nephews.

Thirteenth birthday?

My college dorm room door one year.

New England Historical Genealogical Society, Boston in 2014.