Part of 1855 New York State Census Online By Mistake

The new Family Search website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is quite likely the most valuable free tool for genealogists anywhere in the world.

Recently while exploring some of the “1865″ New York State Census that are available as screenshots of the microfilmed pages, though not indexed yet, may be viewed on your web browser of choice and you may go page by page in a location that your family lived in.

I have been filling in many pieces of data in various family groups that I had previously recorded all of the federal census for and some of the other NY state census. So when I get time it is always a pleasure to go on to their website and start looking at various communities in the 1865 census.


One set of ancestors that had resided early in South Hannibal, Oswego County, NY and then at Lysander, Onondaga County were Hopkins and Phebe (GARDNER) HULET. I have gathered a lot of info on this family but realized I did not have 1865 data for them.

So going to and scrolling down near the bottom of the white section of their homepage, just above the green area, click on the text for “United States”. This will bring up a listing by states and a simple search box. So when you put in “1865 New York” it will immediately show you things that they have available online as scans of rolls of film. In this case you will see the following choices:
New York, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865
New York, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1865-1957
New York, State Census, 1865

Well the first two categories are a wondrous marvel in themselves, but at this time I chose the last one for the 1865 state census.

Now click on the link for “Browse through 57,158 images”, and you will see the list of counties of which films are available for.
Select “Oswego” County.

Now over the past few weeks I have been looking in Hannibal, Enumeration Districts 01 and 02, with no success in finding my ancestors Hopkins and Phebe. Then realizing that Hopkins died in 1869 and his wife Phebe died at her son, Herman’s home in Fulton, NY in 1875, I decided to take a look at the Town of Volney which is where part of the village of Fulton was located at that time. I knew that Herman had lived on the east side of the river, and he had at one time been the Sheriff of Oswego County.

So as I was scrolling through each double page of the census films it suddenly dawned on me that this layout did not look like the 1865 census pages that I had recently been viewing, so in looking at the header title of the screen shots, it showed that this film was actually the wrong film. It is the “1855″ census pages, not the 1865.


This is not exactly a bad thing, as none of the 1855 pages have been published yet on Family Search, but they no doubt would want to know about the error. So I sent Family Search an email about the wrong film showing and I am sure that at some time in the future they will put up the proper 1865 version.

So if you have any interest in people in the Village of Fulton for 1855, you better hurry and get what you can get as it is now. Chances are 1855 is not due to be published until some time in the future.

We are all so lucky to have these resources at our keyboards and fingertips and I can only encourage LDS to keep up the fabulous program of publishing such useful information as the actual scans of the census pages such as these. Thank you LDS.

You may search this UNYG blog site for other articles about the New York State Census.

Central New York Genealogical Society (CNYGS) 50th Year Celebration Banquet and Conference


Erie Canal Locks Upstate New York.

Oct 14: Banquet with keynote speaker Barry J. Ewell, “Ah Ha! I’m a Genealogist and Lovin’ It.”  He is a writer and researcher with extensive genealogical experience in Internet and field research, digital and software resources and mentoring genealogists.  He lives in Utah and is the founder of

Oct. 15:  “Good as Gold” day-long conference with six program topics.  Barry J. Ewell will present “Top 20 Lessons Genealogists Need to Know” offering five at each of his four workshops.  Other presentations are:  “Researching Rural Communities:  Local Government Records and Other Sources” by Suzanne Etherington, Region 6 Advisory Officer, NYS Archives Government Records Services; “Often Overlooked:  Genealogical Records in Colleges and Universities” by Edward L. Galvin, Director of Archives and Records Management of Syracuse University; “Onondaga County Public Library:  One of the Best Kept Genealogical Secrets” by Holly Sammons, Head Librarian of the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse, NY; and “Gadgets for the Traveling Genealogist” by Roger B. Williams, CNYGS member and active in their website development and County Indexing Project.

A vendor room with special resources for genealogists is an added feature.

Come early or stay after the conference to conduct research at local repositories.  Central New York was the earliest major migration route for New Englanders.  Later immigrants traveled west via the Erie Canal.

Detailed information may be found at and questions can be addressed though email:

Sounds like a fun filled day.  Put it in your calendar and don’t miss the festivities and great speakers.

“Save these dates – Oct 14-15, 2011.  Central New York Genealogical Society (CNYGS) 50th Year Celebration Banquet and Conference.  Detailed information may be found on their website and email questions to”

Join the HILLENBRAND Family Group With Your Y-DNA Test at FTDNA

Well I took the plunge and started a DNA Family Group at Family Tree DNA, and I welcome all of you HILLENBRANDs out there to join us.

Last weekend I read on that FTDNA is having a summer SALE and it is on until the end of the week, so I clicked on an order button on the DNA Testing Kits website and placed my order for a 67 marker Y-DNA test.

Then as no one had yet started a group with my surname I volunteered to become the administrator of the new group.

If you are a male HILLENBRAND anywhere you can also join the group for no additional cost other than the cost of your test kit, which is a bargain at the regular price and now a real good deal at the sale price.

If you are a female HILLENBRAND you will need to have a brother, father, uncle, cousin or nephew with the HILLENBRAND surname submit the DNA cheek swab sample at FTDNA.  I will report here on the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog from time to time as we have further developments.

This should be a lot of fun because in the past few years I have had contacts from other HILLENBRANDs all over the U.S. And though we have not found any direct connections, it seems most of them come generally from Southern Germany.  Perhaps now through DNA testing we will be able to discover if we have a genetic connection and approximately how far back we might have a common ancestor.

The process is very easy.  Just order your Y-DNA test kit and then do let me know when you join.  When it comes to Y-DNA  testing, a male can find out his father’s paternal line of the family. This is because only men have the Y-chromosome. The testing on this short chromosome is the Y STR test. This is helpful in discovering the past since this is passed down from father to son.

The STR is a segment of the DNA in the Y chromosome in the region that is considered Junk. The letters STR stand for short tandem repeats. The number of times a segment repeats itself is called the allele. This number is distinctive within a population which leads to surname lineage.

There are over 100 different markers in the Y-DNA chromosome, but the typical one tested is the 10-67 STR marker. This identifies the haplotype that the sample belongs to.

Here is the link again to order the DNA kit at the sale price:  DNA Testing Kits

Have You Exploited Footnote Lately



Missing Airmen Report


As a serious genealogist there is no doubt that you have earned your position at the research table in many libraries and historical societies in many of your ancestral regions.

You most likely also have subscribed to various online services such as, and various subscription genealogical societies.

I have written about on this blog several times in the past but now I want to call your attention to the massive amount of new information that is available to you on footnote. You will also note that many of the groups of records that are online at footnote also allow you to interact with the original records by submitting your own notations and additional documents, photos and research notes.

Footnote pioneered this interactivity a few years ago by allowing people to interact with the 1930 census and the Vietnam Wall records. Footnote does charge a reasonable annual fee to obtain full access to all of the data on their site, but they also provide many collections that are totally free to use by anyone.

Earlier this week I went to a local church supper and the program was a slide show and talk presented by my sister-in-law Janet Hillenbrand who presented an extremely interesting talk about her father Charlie Bennett who was a B17 pilot during World War II.

Charlie was on his 13th bombing mission on April 13th 1944 and though they had an engine shot out by flak over the ball bearing factory target, they were on their return and only a couple of miles from allied controlled Luxembourg when another flak burst along with a cannon shot through the cockpit from an ME109 forced the crew to bail out and the plane crashed.

One man was badly wounded and sent to hospital and all of the others were captured and spent the rest of the war in POW camps. The crew was split up and as Charlie was an officer he was sent to the north east part of Germany and actually was treated with more respect that he had expected.

Charlie always gave thanks to the Red Cross for the food packages that they received and claimed that in some cases the prisoners fared better than the boiled cabbage food rations that their captors were given.

It was an excellent program and the family has all of Charlies old uniforms and medals, letters, diaries and photos in an archive that is just great. Charley received the Distinguished Flying Cross and returned after the war to take over his family owned hardware business. Salt of the earth American history story for sure.

When I got home after the program I went to and noticed that they have a large collection of World War II Air Force photos online in their free section that you all have access to and I found many images that were of interest regarding B17s.

Then I logged in to my account and searched on Charly’s name and found three documents that were original government documents called Missing Airmen Reports that gave all of the details about Charley and his crew mates.

This is just one small case of the sorts of things you will find on footnote. You can go to to learn more about the other categories of original records available online at footnote. You really need to exploit all types of original documents to flesh out your own genealogy and to help you find new clues that are in the National Archives Genealogy records

Enhanced by Zemanta

Locate Ancestral Town Using World War I Draft Registration Cards


Have had a rather exciting find for 2011. My father’s family of HILLENBRANDs in Syracuse started with grandfather Jacob HILLENBRAND coming from Markelsheim, Wuerttemburg in 1885. I have mentioned this before on this blog, and his photo can be seen on my main website at

Well last month I received an email from my new best friend, a genealogist that actually lives in Markelsheim and she offered to help! Wow, you should all be so lucky.

This very kind lady went through the church record books and was able to take some of my Markelsheim lines back almost to the 1500′s. I had done the best I could with my self-taught Genealogical German when I used these same records on microfilm at LDS in Salt Lake city some 25 or 30 years ago.

The earliest HILLENBRAND ancestor that I had recorded previously was a Caspar HILLENBRAND, a baker of Markelsheim with an estimated date of birth of about 1760 with no known location in Germany. His wife’s name was Barbara (PFAU), with no further information that I had been able to discover.

So now with a native German researcher going through the same Catholic Church records she was able to locate his parents names and place of birth as another Caspar HILLENBRAND, also a baker of Röttingen, Wuerttemburg, Germany, which is only about 8 miles up the Taube River from where Markelsheim is located.

So now I will be ordering the microfilms of Röttingen to see what I might find. This caused a light to go on in my noggin as Röttingen is right on the border with Bavaria. The reason that is so exciting to me is that there was another family of HILLENBRANDs in Syracuse that came in 1866, and for many years I have always told every one that we are not likely related as they were from Bavaria and my direct line was from Wuerttemburg .

So fortunately I have been working on the “other” HILLENBRAND family off and on, with quite a bit more research in the past month as I bought the book, “Unbroken” by the best selling author, Laura HILLENBRAND, (she also wrote “Seabiscuit”), and it turns out she is a descendant of this same “other” HILLENBRAND family in Syracuse.

Now we get to the title of this Blog post and what it has to do with the World War I Draft Registration Cards. This excellent collection of some 24 million names of men that registered for the draft has been available on for quite a number of years now and it has been very helpful in finding dates of birth and many other details like nearest relative, occupation and more.

If you have used these draft cards online before you will have noted that they are often quite hard to read as the image quality is very poor. Usually you are able to read it well enough to get some of the data and it is helpful.

So I found a card on Ancestry of an Anthony HILLENBRAND and lo and behold it listed his father’s place of birth as [unreadable] Bavaria, Germany. So I downloaded the image and ran it through photoshop, and enhanced it the best I could by sharpening the edges and altering the brightness and contrast and still the best I could guess at were names something like; Nissisedicl, Rissiuqid, Kissiseaicl, and about a half-dozen other total meaningless spellings.

Then I decided to dig deeper on these draft cards, and discovered that the National Archives southeast Region Branch near Atlanta has high quality scans available to purchase online. It is really quite easy. All you have to do is set up an account and this same account may be used for future purchases.

I ordered a digital download copy of Anthony’s card for five dollars and was told that it would be 4 to 5 days. I ordered yesterday, Sunday, and the order was ready today, Monday!

Well Bingo! The card is very clear to read and the name of the town is “Kissengen”, Bavaria, Germany. It is too soon to be sure but at first check of Google maps and an old World Gazetteer it is most likely Bad Kissengen which is just a little northeast of Würzburg, and as Markelsheim is just a little southeast of Würzburg, so we just might have a connection after all.

I will be trying to locate church or civil records of Bad Kissengen and for some reason it does not seem to be a place name that is in the LDS film catalog by doing a place search. I will find it for sure, this has all just happened today! Turns out the two towns are only about 68 miles apart.

In reading the description of the National Archives WW I Draft Cards they note that there were three different series of these cards issued in 1917 and 1918, and only one short group asked for the name of the father’s birth place, so we were indeed fortunate that Anthony registered when he did.

Here are comparisons of the two different scans.


Ancestry View


National Archives High Def Scan

Note the ancestry version is so compressed digitally that much of the card is hard to read, but a good high def scan of the original record is excellent. Five dollars well spent and you all might want to do the same on some of those hard to read draft cards.

Steele Memorial Library in Elmira New York Genealogy News

Yesterday’s post about the Broome County Library Vital Records Index caught the eye of Phyllis Rogan, a reference librarian at Steele and she wrote to say that they have the Vital Records Index also.


So then she sent me an announcement about some happenings at Steele and I am very happy to pass this information on to our readers.

It is with great pleasure that the Genealogy Department of Steele Memorial Library announces the acquisition of local early Catholic Church Records on microfilm. Beginning in 1848 to1910, most film consists of Chemung County Churches but also includes churches in Addison, Waverly, Trumansburg, and Watkins Glen. The records are available for immediate use and can be found on the second floor of Steele Library in the microfilm department.  This provides researchers with early records previously unavailable.


Hi Everyone!
Sherry Nichols and I will conduct a free workshop, Beginning Genealogy, at the Hornell Library on Tuesday October 26, 2010  from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. We will discuss what you can find  in your central library’s (Chemung County Library District) website, on the web, and in the two databases that Steele and Hornell subscribe to – and This is open to all interested.

Phyllis Ryan Rogan
Reference Librarian
Head, Genealogy Dept.
Steele Memorial Library
101 E Church St., Elmira, NY


On an additional matter about Steele, and I probably wrote about this several years ago on this blog, but it bears repeating. Back in the 1980′s I used to go to Steele on a frequent basis as they were the only place in Upstate New York, or at least closest to Syracuse, that one could find “ALL” of the U.S. Federal census on microfilm through 1880, and for NY State and Pennsylvania, through 1930.

This was a goldmine of data available all in one spot and I did not have to drive to Washington, DC or Salt lake City to access these films. I asked once why they happened to have such a huge collection and was told that after they suffered enormous damage to their collection in the Corning – Elmira Flood  of 1972, they were in the process of rebuilding their collection and a local citizen came in and asked, “What would you like to have for your library?”

The librarian’s response was something like, “Well we could always use some more federal census microfilm”. So this anonymous donor purchased the complete collection for them from the National Archives. Amazing!

In these days of automated digitization of the census film and being online at places like Ancestry, HeritageQuest, Footnote, FamilySearch and other locations, I might just add that it still pays to go and take a look at the actual microfilm yourself. You might just pick out some little hidden fact or clue that the super duper electronic digital gadget missed. There is no technology quite as good as an analog set of eyeballs!

Another Area in Upstate New York Now Has the NYS Vital Records Index

Binghamton in Broome County, NY now has the NYS Vital Records Microfiche Index. For those of you that reside in the Southern Tier of the state, you no longer have to drive to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester or New York City (the nearest locations that have the index), but just go to the Broome County Public Library in Binghamton to have access to the fiche set yourself.

There are some limitations on use of these index fiche as this department is staffed by volunteers and at this time, starting as of October 12th, they are only open on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 pm, and also on Tuesdays from 4 to 8pm. Each library in the state that has the index has their own rules as to how to use the fiche.

So for births, deaths and marriages that occurred in the Upstate New York regions commencing in 1880, you might find the name of the individual, the date of the event and the village, city or town that the event occurred in. Thanks to reader Esther Griffin for the heads up on this Broome County announcement.

Broome County Public Library
185 Court Street
Binghamton, NY 13901

Update: 10/14/10

This just in from:

Phyllis Ryan Rogan
Reference Librarian
Head, Genealogy Dept.
Steele Memorial Library

I would like your patrons to know that the Steele Memorial Library, [in Elmira,] Chemung County Library District also has the NYS Vital Records Index.

We are open M-T 9-9 F 9-5 Sat 9-5 and Sunday 1-5. [Phyllis Ryan Rogan]

To read a lot more about the NYS Vital Records Index please refer to our other previous posts on this subject:

1) – How to Obtain Copies of Vital Records for Genealogical Purposes in New York State
2) – New York State Vital Records Microfiche Indexes Update
3) – Vital Records Lookups, Update to the Update
[Please be sure to read all three articles]

If you hear any genealogy news in your neck of the woods, please let me know and I might be able to use it here on the UNYG Blog.

Dick Hillenbrand

Your Ancestors Are Being Released from Hostage on Saturdays

The New York State Library is going to be open on Saturdays, starting this coming October 16th.  This story sounded too good to be true, but it has been verified.

For those of you that work during the week this is a golden opportunity to be able to take advantage of the unique collections and fingertip access to some of the best published and non-published resources for New York State ancestors.

Update: Oct 13, 2010 – Additional information.
This may not be permanent. Some say yes, but one person that works at the library said that this might only be for a couple of months. So readers, if you want to take advantage of this great opportunity you had better plan to go sooner, than later.

One other bonus of visiting on a Saturday is that the two end parking lots outside are free parking.

If it is your first trip to Albany or if you have not visited the seventh floor of the Cultural Education Center in some time, then you will want to ask for a quick orientation when you get to the Genealogy/Local History reference area.

Here in metal filing cabinets you will find those hard to come by New York State census microfilms arranged by county/town for all of the NYS census that has survived.  A few of the counties have all or parts of the 1825 and 1835 census, many of them have the 1855, 1865, 1875, and 1892.  For those interested in more modern times there are also films for 1905, 1915 and 1925 available.

For a complete list of films available you will want to check out the main website at and click on the tab marked: NY Counties & NYS Census. Take a look at the far right column for a list of all of the known state census extant.

The state library is also where you will have ready access to the many microfilmed copies of old newspapers that are in the NYS Library Newspaper Project.  Nothing like going right to the center of your ancestor’s community to read about the events of the day just as they read them so long ago.

To those who have Civil War Union ancestors that served from New York State, you will discover that the NYS Library and Archives might just have more information on your guy than the National Archives in Washington, DC does.  Ask for help from a librarian for the best way to search for Civil War data.

Another huge resource of unpublished data is in the hundreds of volumes of manuscript or typescript books that were assembled by the various NYS chapters of the  National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  These wonderful ladies started as long ago as the late 1800′s, collecting bible records, church records, documents and surveyed thousands of NYS cemeteries and sent their lists in to Washington.  Then a duplicate copy of these mostly typewritten sheets were also deposited at the NYS Library.

There is a card file index and also a compiled general index to the DAR collection that was done by Mrs. Jean Worden. You may search by county/town, surnames, etc.  Most of these thousands of unique DAR records have never been published anywhere.

Check out their website before your trip and you will be able to plan your research goals before you arrive. – If an item is in storage they only pull books at 10 am and 2 pm, so it would be good to know ahead of time what you might need when you arrive.

For directions and a map of the parking areas check this link:

If you have any questions you may call ahead of time at the Local History/Genealogy desk: 518-474-5161.

One other nice benefit of going to the state library is that during the week, the Capital District Genealogy Society (CDGS) mans a volunteer help desk.  The nice people of the society are there to assist patrons and help the librarians, but I have not been able to find out yet if there will be a CDGS volunteer there on Saturdays.

Good luck in your search and have fun!

Bombay, Franklin County, New York Has a New Genealogy Society

The Bombay Historical Society announces the formation of the Bombay Genealogical Society.  Due to the recent surge in genealogy research, Becky Latulipe, president of the historical society, gave the explanation that the genealogical society would be able to serve the public, under the umbrella of the historical society.

The Bombay Genealogical Society will have their own elected officers.  Latulipe said, “We want people to be aware of the pioneer families and community members that have lived here, but it will take some time and research.”

The point she made about genealogy being about 90% of what the historical society is all about seems to be a common theme in most historical societies.

This is from a press release in the Plattsburgh Press Republican newspaper.
New Genealogy Organization Formed

There are contact phone numbers in the article if you are interested in joining.

The Troy Newspaper Project an Index: and a Bit about Aaron Burr and Comfort Tyler

The Troy Irish Genealogical Society (TIGS) is charging forward with their massive indexing project of all things Troy.  Your ancestors certainly do not have to have been Irish to be included in these collections.  TIGS members are working hard constantly making things easier to find the obscure clue that you might need to locate your ancestor that is hiding behind that brick wall.

I particularly like the note at the bottom about one of my favorite Vice Presidents.  Well most interesting anyway.

This has been posted on several NYS mail lists and I know that Bill has asked me before to make announcements for them.


A multi volume Index of Death and Marriage Records
transcribed from various Troy, NY newspapers

“A.  The Troy Daily Press is the THIRD newspaper to be added to the Troy Irish Genealogy Website.  The records for this paper cover 131 deaths and 460 names on the marriages during the period February 11, 1833 through June 30, 1834.  These records will be of great interest to genealogy researchers since the information in this data base predates the 1880 New York State law requiring the reporting of death and marriage records.  These records may help with breaking down some of those “brick walls” that you have been struggling with.  Also, the residence reported on the marriage records will be of interest as it shows numerous cities and towns throughout New York State as well as Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states.

B.    You can view these  records by going to the Troy Irish Genealogy  website at: and click on  PROJECTS and then click on THE TROY NEWSPAPER PROJECT.   It should be noted that these records, like most of the TIGS data series, cover the general population in the area and are NOT restricted to Irish surnames.

C.  Transcribers are currently working on the Troy Post paper covering the years 1846-1851,  also the Troy Sentinel covering years 1823-1832 and the Daily Whig for years 1834-1851.  If anyone would like to be a transcriber on this project they can send an email OFF LIST to

D.  Your attention is called to one of the interesting marriage records listed.   On July 5, 1833, at the age of 77, Col. Aaron Burr married Mrs. Eliza Jumel. Eliza was the extremely wealthy widow of Stephen Jumel.  When she realized her fortune was dwindling from her husband’s land speculations, they separated after only four months. The divorce between Burr and Jumel was completed on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr’s death.


Bill McGrath
TIGS Project Coordinator
Clifton Park, NY”

As an additional bit of information, you might be interested to know that Aaron Burr and one of the pioneer settlers of Onondaga County, Col. Comfort Tyler, were friends and banded together in 1807 with Tyler as Burr’s chief of military and they were headed down the Ohio River in 1807 to take over what is now parts of Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico with a plan to start a new country.

The whole bunch of Burr’s militia were all arrested by federal troops near Blennerhassett Island and put in stockade.  Burr was tried for treason in Virginia and was released when the court found insufficient proof, at which time Comfort Tyler and about 40 to 50 of their soldiers, mostly Revolutionary War veterans from Onondaga and Cayuga counties,  were released and allowed to return to their homes.

Tyler soon moved to Montezuma, New York and started making salt there.  Burr became one of the primary investors in the Cayuga Bridge Company which allowed goods, including Tyler’s salt, to reach out to the hungry western markets.

You may read our other post about the Troy Irish Genealogy Society by clicking the link provided.

Subscribe via RSS
Follow Me On Twitter
Donations Greatly Appreciated:
Pay on WePay
MyHeritage Top 100 Websites
Top genealogy site awards