The Loomis Gang Rides Again

Have you heard of the Loomis Gang?  This was a family from Madison county, New York that lived slightly more than slightly outside of the law.

Local lore in Upstate New York is often talked about with shock and awe, or chest out proud of, the outrageous acts reported to have been performed by this complete family of thieves.

When you ain’t got nuthin’ you got nuthin’ to lose, comes to mind.  It is said by many that the mom of this group of 19th century Robin Hoods was the instigator and trained her boys that if it ain’t tied down, bring it home, mentality.

Oh and if you are about to go on trial and all of the evidence against you is in the court house, well then it would be a good thing if the court house burned down, which actually did occur.

One author, Charles Brutcher, of a very rare book titled; “Joshua, a Man of the Finger Lakes”, Syracuse, 1927, made the claim that the founder of the Rockefeller fortunes got his start with a close association with the Loomis Gang.

In this historical novel the author throughout the book used the name of Big Bill Rockwell as he described his life of thievery and deceit, horse theft, bigamy and his association with the Loomis’s is a wild tale for sure.  It is claimed that the author went to the Rockefeller family to attempt to have them purchase his manuscript, can you spell blackmail?, and after being rejected inserted an addendum into the rear of this book that blatantly explained that throughout the book his use of the name Big Bill ‘Rockwell’ should be changed to “Rockefeller” and that the novel was a true story.

Turns out that William Rockefeller, the father of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the Standard Oil Company, was born in Upstate New York and the genealogy of this family commenced in Moravia, Cayuga county.  Brutcher’s claim was that Big Bill Rockefeller, the convicted bigamist, used to steal horses down around Pennsylvania and Corning areas and would trade them with the Loomis Gang.  Should make a fun project for some serious historians and genealogists to tackle.

Well you may read some modern discoveries that are going on now by a dedicated historian, Robert Betz, in Madison county that is working on these Loomis stories and his articles are being published in the “Madison County Courier” newspaper which you can read online at: http://bit.ly/9Aqgku

There are several books on the Loomis Gang which you can find by searching on www.worldcat.org, there is even a VHS video available.

Do You Ever Think About the Printed Sources Sources?

You know the drill by now.  You find something on your ancestors in an old book and you are on Cloud 9 because now you have something factual to go on, it is in a book!

Well do you ever consider the source of that printed source?  Do you ever wonder, “Gee I wonder how he knew that?”  Well it would be good to think about the sources that were available to the writer at the time the book or other printed source was written.

I thank my lucky stars every time I find an entry in an old county history because it gives me a little platform to launch a new research project, or might provide clues that will send me off to search in greener pastures.

Most of the men and women that compiled those huge old county history books were nuts just like you and me and they had a story to tell that they thought was interesting enough to share with everyone.

Think about the time period that the author lived in and what was their background and why would they write it.  Many of these big old books were published from about the 1850′s through about the start of World War I, with the largest majority coming to print soon after the Centennial of 1876 which I believe  created an interest in the founders of this country over the previous 100 years.

I have a picture in my mind of one of these compilers having boxes and scrapbooks of old documents and newspaper clippings and journals and perhaps albums of photos or sketches that related to the early history of their community.  Chances are they knew other people in their area that had similar collections and liked to swap yarns so I envision many letters back and forth.

So lets say an author is about 50 or 60 years old when they get bit by the bug that says ‘better leave a trail’.  They can remember back 40 to 50 years and they know what their parents told them growing up and they can go and interview the older people still living in the area.

These things were their sources right?  They had few books that they could refer to for sources other than natural history books, gazetteers and possibly an earlier publication on the same subject that might have been released a generation or two previous.

They did not have Google, Ancestry.com, Rootsweb or any of the multitude of databases that you have right at your fingertips.  They wrote history the old fashioned way, they did historical research in old record collections and they served up countless memories from various sources.

The point here is to not take anything too seriously that is found in print in any of these old publications, but by all means do not discount them or bypass them!  By being able to prove, or disprove, any of these printed words using modern research methods or to at least build a strong case for a new hypothesis will afford you countless hours of pleasant research and a much stronger affinity to those that signed their name on the dotted manuscript say a hundred or more years ago.

In the future I plan on bringing you some stories about my favorite historians and why I want them to come back and do it all over again, this time with a computer.

Update Relocation and Collection Downsizing of National Archives Northeast Region New York Branch

Roger D. Joslyn reports further…

Hello, again

Thank you for the many responses to my letter concerning the possibility of losing our National Archives–Northeast Region as an important research facility. The response was overwhelming and I regret I could not answer all the many e-mails. I understand my letter was circulated pretty far and wide and some persons wrote me from other countries. Many of you conveyed good thoughts about the issue, telling of similar experiences, and several wrote to offer, “What can I do?”

My apologies if I missed sending first my letter to a few people who are receiving this one, and if so, please let me know and I shall send the earlier one if you want to see it.

The main purpose of my first letter was to let you know what I knew and had heard about the planned move of NARA’s New York regional facility. At the time of my first letter, NARA had put nothing out to the pubic about the intended move, about any reduction in space and on-site research materials, and so forth. As I then wrote, some of the plans were told to Stuart Stahl by NARA’s Diane LeBlanc for him to pass the word. So, “officially,” that is the best information there was at the time, but one might also still consider any of those details to be “rumor” at that point.

Since the first letter, NARA has responded, and I have been told or led to believe that a positive result of my letter was that it put things in action sooner than later. I have had telephone conversations with Diane LeBlanc and other NARA personnel about the move of the New York regional facility and I refer you (below) to NARA’s official word about the move and also to some NARA-prepared FAQs. As you will see, some of information is different and/or a little more detailed than what had been said and circulated earlier.

http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/move-notice.html

http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/move-faq.html

Also since sending my first letter, I have been able to visit what will be NARA-NYC’s new home in the Customs House in lower Manhattan. There is no question the building is a lovely place and, when the space is renovated, will provide pleasing accommodations for researchers, staff, and programs. NARA’s Public Programs Specialists Dorothy Doughty is quite excited about the possibilities for the latter, not only for large and small presentations and workshops, but also because there is room for (for example) genealogical/historical fairs and so forth, using space NARA will share with other agencies in the building. (And without a lockup in the building as there is at 201 Varick Street, the security staff in the Customs House is more welcoming to visitors.)

While there is no question the new location will be a nicer home for NARA-NYC for the above reasons, the amount of storage space for textual records and microfilm will be greatly reduced.

I would like to add from my conversations with Diane LeBlanc some additional points that are of interest and/or concern to us as researchers.

Ms. LeBlanc said that NARA-NYC is “going through a process” in preparation for the move, which will likely take place eighteen to twenty-four months from now. She sees the Customs House as having “enormous potential” for NARA. One example is that being near the Circle Line terminal for Ellis and Liberty Island visits, there is increased possibility to attract tourists to the Customs House and thus to NARA.

According to Ms. LeBlanc, NARA-NYC currently has about 40,000 cubic feet of textual records at Varick Street, but with limited space in the Customs House, only about 5300 cubit feet of records can be housed there. (The 5000 square feet reported earlier as being the total of the new space was a misunderstanding about room for the textual records; NARA will actually have about 20,000 total square feet that includes public and office space, storage room, and so forth.)

Apparently, NARA looked at a number of possible new locations and chose the Customs House as the best of the bunch. The main argument for settling for the much-reduced storage space is that patron usage is down. What cannot fit in the new space will go to a new storage facility in Philadelphia. Ms. LeBlanc says the off-site material will have the “same access” by shuttle to New York City that is now provided for other off-site materials. The frequency of the shuttle service is still under discussion.

Similarly, because of less storage space, NARA will also not be able to take all its current microfilm collection to the Customs House. Ms. LeBlanc says there is room for only about twenty percent of the film. What becomes of the other eighty percent of the microfilm has not been determined, but Ms. LeBlanc said there may be some possibilities for keeping it in New York City, if some other repository can take it. She thought New York Public Library’s microfilm collection nearly duplicated that at NARA-NYC. I told her this is not the case.

In order to determine what textual records and microfilm will likely be moved to the Customs House, NARA staff and volunteers will be “assessing” customer usage—what material, textual and microform, gets the most on-site use. (A large amount of NARA-NYC’s collection, mostly voluminous court records, is already stored off-site in Lee Summit, Missouri.) I reminded Ms. LeBlanc that much of the more-used microfilm is self-serve, that patrons take and replace microfilms themselves. This limits what staff and volunteers may be able to determine about usage. They are more aware of the usage of specific microfilms they must retrieve for patrons from the back “stacks.”

Ms. LeBlanc clarified that certification of copies of records at NARA-NYC will still be possible. Certifications needed from microfilm that will no longer be at NARA-NYC can be requested to be done at NARA-Pittsfield, or the microfilm can be brought in from Pittsfield to be certified at NARA-NYC.

She also said that over time, what textual records are actually kept on-site in the new facility could change, based on patron usage. For example, if there was increased call for ships’ original passenger lists, they might be brought in from off-site storage and less-requested material sent off site.

Two other things need clarification. First, volunteers will continue to be needed and they, in addition to helping patrons, will be involved with projects. There will be designated space for projects in the new facility, with textual records brought in from off-site for such projects as needed.

Second, the expansion at NARA-Waltham mentioned in my first letter is for public programming space. Some of this new space was formerly used to store microfilm, a large amount of which was given to the library in Plano, Texas, because, as Ms. LeBlanc explained, “no one else wanted it.”

I wrote my first letter in reaction to the response a colleague received who suggested to NARA that some of the more frequent patrons might be consulted for input about the upcoming move, records use, and so forth. The person was told that no one was going to tell NARA what to do. NARA staff has told me that, following former Archivist John Carlin’s attempt to move large amounts of material out of the regional facilities, that NARA has became more sensitive to public wants, needs, and so forth. So the response to my colleague was out of line and certainly was not good business. We expect better from an agency that has long been one of our primary repositories for the research we do.

Ms. LeBlanc agreed. In acknowledging that my first letter got NARA’s attention, she stated, “We will do this better than we did in the past.” The move to the Customs House seems set, and while my opinion is that user involvement before that decision would have been helpful and should have been sought, NARA-NYC is holding two public meetings about the move (see the announcement). I hope those of you who are interested in the move and have concerns and questions will attend. It is not clear if whatever is voiced at these meetings will change any of NARA’s plans at this point, but those of us who are concerned should go and speak up.

Here are just two of the many concerns about which some of you have written to me.

“It’s all online.” And many of us doubt it ever will be. But even with all that is available on the Internet, we have all experienced problems that take us back to the original sources, or at least back to the microfilm, for a variety of reasons, including legibility, printing, missed material, even speed. Can we be content with loosing easy access to what we now have so readily available?

Out of sight, out of mind, or never in mind at all. Ms. LeBlanc agreed that this is one area where NARA can use a lot of improvement. Many patrons have no idea what else there is beyond the Federal censuses, passenger lists, and a few other microfilmed records. With less microfilm in the public space for users to actually see some examples of what resources there are, there need to be ways of letting researchers know about the wealth of other records that might help them—microfilm and textual.

If NARA is willing to let its users work with them to do better and not just be informed of what others have decided, is that not a positive thing?

Roger Joslyn

P.S. I realize that most people who learn “what we do” usually react with, “That’s very interesting!” or “My aunt was the family historian,” and so forth. But we also frequently encounter those who cannot fathom such an interest in the past. In these instances, I am always reminded of what is carved on the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., as you all know so well: “The Past is Prologue.”

This was brought home the other night as Leslie and I viewed (from Netflix) Masterpiece Theatre’s Shooting the Past, about a photo archives doomed to the trash and the staff’s struggle to save it. We were deeply moved and saw parallels with what has happened and will likely continue to happen in our field. For those of you who have not seen this wonderful BBC drama, I strongly recommend it. In the meantime, you can read a little bit about it at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_the_Past

and in this New York Times review

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/21/tv/spotlight-an-imperiled-muse-weaves-her-spell.html?pagewanted=1

Important Vital Records Bill in Assembly

This message was sent as a comment on the old version of the blogger blog that we no longer update.  It is important enough to genealogists that I thought we should make a blog post out of it here on the Upstae New York Genealogy Blog at www.unyg.com/blog.

Thanks for letting us know Jim L.

If anyone has any more information on this subject we will publish it here on this blog.

There is a bill in the New York State Assembly,

BILL NO A02834
SPONSOR Kolb (MS)
COSPNSR McKevitt, Bacalles
MLTSPNSR McDonough

Amd S4174, Pub Health L

that relates to the cost of review and copying of vital records for genealogical purposes; reduces current cost by half; also provides that for applicants who show current membership in a genealogical society, such applicants may review vital records at no charge; also provides that all copies of files and records secured under this subdivision shall be stamped, “For Genealogical Purposes Only”

Use this link for more details and to follow the bills progress.

http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A02834&Summary=Y

Jim L.

Changes at National Archives–Northeast Region, New York City

Upstate New York Genealogy readers please note, it looks like we are losing another extremely valuable local research facility.  The  National Archives–Northeast Region in Manhattan has been our nearest location to access NARA record holdings.

Roger D. Joslyn, FASG, sent me this letter and requested that we share it here on UNYG.com/blog in the hopes of creating some public influence on the situation.  Roger makes a point to say that none of this information is truly “official” yet but it has been gleaned from various sources that he has.

Please read and take action.

“Dear Friends

We may be losing the National Archives–Northeast Region as a research facility. Perhaps we can save it and not have New York lose yet another important repository for our research.

Here is the supposed plan, told recently to Stuart Stahl by Diane LeBlanc, NARA’s Regional Administrator in Waltham, Massachusetts, for him to pass the word. So, there is nothing “official” beyond this, and nothing in writing for dissemination.

•NARA-NYC will move in approximately eighteen months to about 5000 square feet over two floors in the Customs House.

•Only about twenty percent of the current collection at 201 Varick Street, textual and microform (not specifically identified to Stuart), will go to the new location in the Customs House. All or most textual material will go to a storage facility in northeast Philadelphia and will have to be transported to New York City for researchers, as off-site textual material in Lee Summit, Missouri, is now.

•Among the textual material to be retained in the new space will be the federal court naturalization petitions not microfilmed and the federal court records docket books, but it is not clear if the originals of microfilmed naturalizations will be retained.

•“Non-regional” microfilm will go to NARA-Pittsfield.

•Certifications of records on microfilm will have to be requested from Pittsfield.

Additionally, the following seems to also be in the plans for the move:

•The volunteer staff will be abolished or reduced, since there will no longer be textual records for them to arrange, index, and so forth.

•The new space will be primarily for visitors to see exhibits. There will be a few computers and, apparently, some microfilm readers and reader-printers.

•The microfiche indexes of New York State vital records will evidently go to the new space, together with associated printed material and microfiche readers.

•Nothing has been mentioned about the fate of NARA-NYC’s library, including published census indexes and so forth.

•Some of us had been led to believe there would be invitations to some of us “regular” users to help NARA staff know our needs and plan the space and collection for the Customs House. It would seem now that, while there may be a “public meeting,” it will only be to tell us NARA’s plans—too late for any changes.

There is probably more that is or will be of concern to all or most of us.

When the move of NARA-NYC became more certain a month or so ago, I had a telephone conversation with Diane. She seemed very excited about the increased display space that NARA will have in the Customs House and explained the need to reduce the research collection because there will not be room. She also mentioned that the lower number of patrons using NARA these days justified the scaling down of the research facility. She did not seem to be concerned about the need many of us have for certification of records for legal matters, or that the microfilm and original textual records were still necessary even though there is much online. She was quite proud to tell me that NARA-Waltham had given all of its “non-regional” microfilm to a library in Plano, Texas. Guess who got the better deal there! Ironically, while New York City is scaling down, the Waltham facility is being expanded!!

I do not think I need to state the obvious to all you seasoned and knowledgeable researchers about the huge loss to us if all the plans noted above are correct and go through. I know I use microfilm of the Federal Census at least once a week in order find what I cannot online or clarify what I do find online, one problem being the annotations that obscure names on the 1900 Census. This is but one example. I am sure you have all found census pages missed by Ancestry, Heritage Quest, Footnote, or “front material” and other pieces not scanned from the microfilm that someone evidently decided we did not need. Sorry! One more example: What about the original ships’ passenger lists, especially the ones where the often abbreviated copy is what is on the NARA film? What will become of these?

Who in Pittsfield will make “my” kind of decision about the best copy to be certified for the court? In the always-tight time breathing down our necks for court cases, what will Pittsfield’s turn-around time be? Will there be added costs since we can no longer get the certifications locally? Will Pittsfield staff make “groupings” of certified records that we often get here to hold down costs?

Personally, while I have enjoyed many of the exhibits at NARA-NYC, I rarely see anyone coming to specifically look at them, and even those who come to do research seem not to pause for a few minutes of viewing.

And it has always been my understanding that one of the great things about our National Archives is its wealth of material for scholarly research. Yes, personal visits are down, but we all know what the majority of those who rely strictly on the magic box are missing. And I do not see much effort by NARA to help educate the unwashed about what is there that cannot be found online.

I very much admire the position of Kathleen Roe, New York State Archives’ Director of Operations. At a meeting there last year, she told our advisory committee something like, “I know financing for archives is tight, but our mandate is to serve the public, and we must make every effort to continue to do so.”

The very upsetting plan seems analogous to a library tossing certain books because no one has taken them off the shelves over the last couple of years.

So, who wants to organize the car-pooling to Pittsfield and Philadelphia? No? Then we should organize a group effort to let our concerns be known. Genealogists have been successful in the past in changing the direction of bad thinking at NARA. Some examples come to mind: When President Reagan proposed John T. Agresto as Archivist of the United States and the genealogical and historical communities formed a loud “No!” to the inappropriateness of the candidate; and when Archivist John Carlin planned to ship huge amounts of NARA material from the regions to cold storage (and some of you were on hand to give your two-cents when he came to New York City). Another example is the great effort genealogists lent to getting NARA away from GSA’s thumb.

Are there others out there, including folks you know in the historical community, whom we should encourage to get involved?

I know after the G&B mess, many of you may not want to devote the time and energy it may take to make a difference, but I look forward to hearing from those who are concerned and want to be involved. Then we can plan something together.

Roger”

Wisconsin County Histories Now Online

A huge treasure trove of historical and biographical information is now online for those of you that have family that lived in Wisconsin.

Why would we care on an Upstate New York Genealogy Blog?  Simple, millions of people that lived in, and migrated out of New York state went on out to the upper mid-west.  Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin and others as well.

You might have been searching for many years in New York for details, and you should, but actually your clues might be found in information that was published in later generations that had moved on out of NY.

So this information just came in on one of the rootsweb newsgroups (GENWISCONSIN) sent by Patricia Ricci about an hour ago and I jumped right in to see what it was about.  Wow!  The Wisconsin Historical Society has sponsored this project, major kudos to them, and it is a very easy website to navigate and the digitized scans are remarkably clear.

More than 80 standard county and local histories are all word searchable, or you may browse them page by page.  You will find obscure directories, almanacs, local histories and county histories.  Are these primary source documents?  Absolutely not.  Do they have immense value to genealogist, of course they do!  Where else would you find such clues to spark a major in-depth search for primary records unless you know where people were at any given time?

I have always been interested in the earlier settlers of Racine and Kenosha Wisconsin as that area was first populated by old time families from around Hannibal, Oswego County, NY.

Here is a section of data that I have in my computer database regarding a family of HULET/HULETT relatives:  “Many families from the town of Hannibal, New York and the immediate surrounding towns, were stockholders in “The Western Emigration Company” that originated in Hannibal and settled in Racine County, Wisconsin and the Kenosaha area.  I presume that Gardner HULETT either was a stockholder or went to Kenosha to join neighbors, friends, and possibly other relatives.  More can be found out about the Western Emigration Company on the Hannibal and Kenosha GenWeb sites on the Internet.”

So I went right to the search engine on the new WCH website, checked for Racine and found three publications:

Prairie Farmer’s Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders, Kenosha and Racine Counties, Wisconsin – 1919

Smith’s Business and Farmers’ Directory of Racine and Kenosha Counties for 1897-1898. Containing a List     Smith’s Business and Farmers’ Directory of Racine and Kenosha Counties for 1897-1898.

Commemorative Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties Wisconsin. – 1906

In this last one I discovered the parents and siblings of one of the HULETT wives that is sure to lead me to more clues as they were from New York state originally also.

Thank you Pat, and a big thank you to the Wisconsin Historical Society!

Here is the link to the Wisconsin County Histories

http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/wch/

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy Blog
www.UNYG.com/blog

WALDRON Family History Research Turns Into Historical Novels

Gloria Waldron Huckle was bitten by the genealogy bug many years ago and while digging into her early Dutch Colonial Roots on the WALDRON Family she became so interested in their history that her passion for history sparked her career as a novelist.

From a recent article in the Glens Falls Post Star newspaper she tells her story to a staff reporter and it is a fun story to follow.

She brings her ancestors and their lives to life with her fictional novels, three of them so far, starting in the 17th century up to more modern times you will see how the families progressed through the generations.

(From the Post Star article:)
“Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple” is the story of lower Manhattan in 1653 and the Dutch who lived there, including Resolved Waldron. “The Diary of a Northern Moon” follows a 26-year-old advertising executive in 1976 as she journeys through the Adirondacks looking for clues to her family’s past. “Threads: An American Tapestry” tells the story of Margaret Vandenberg and the struggles she faces in the early 18th century because of her gender and mixed ancestry.

By going back in time through her family history research she was able to discover exact locations where they had resided and she would go to those spots and try to envision what it was like in the much earlier times.

Essentially her books follow quite a similar pattern of the history of New York from the earliest to modern times. Many of our own ancestors followed quite the same migration patterns as hers did, up and down the Hudson River towns and then branching out to other parts of Upstate New York.

You will want to read the complete article in the Post Star.

http://www.poststar.com/lifestyles/article_dd32459e-dbcd-11de-b9e3-001cc4c002e0.html

Congratulations Gloria on your achievement and thank you for writing these books.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy
www.unyg.com

Genealogy and DNA Hand in Hand

There is an enormous amount of discussion on the internet about using DNA testing to “prove” one’s genealogy.  Well certainly genealogy and DNA go hand in hand however there are certain limits as to what may be proven.

DNA Hand-in-Hand

DNA Hand-in-Hand

DNA absolutely may be used to authenticate the parents of an individual.  We all inherit absolutely unique codes of information from our parents.  50% of the code in our genomic makeup comes from our father and is known Y-DNA, and 50% comes from our mother which is called Mitochondrial DNA.  As long as you are able to collect a sufficient number of cells from all three individuals, you will have absolute proof that the two parents are indeed the ones that created the child.

There are various ways to collect the sufficient number of cells, such as through blood test comparisons, hair follicle strands, saliva, cigarette butts, a soda pop can and all of the various methods you will see on your favorite mystery or crime television program.  Most of those tests are indeed the figment of a TV writer’s imagination.  They might be able to be done but they very difficult to test and could be very costly.

One thing that is absolutely provable is that a blood spatter at a crime scene compared to a blood sample from a suspect unconditionally can prove or disprove that the blood came from the same individual.  The DNA sample can not lie.  Only certain people can lie in court and get away with it.  OJ did it.

For genealogy and DNA testing there is an easier way.  There are now many companies that offer DNA kits to gather the samples with.  This is a pain free, no blood method that is actually kind of fun to use.  A typical DNA collection kit will contain some sterile envelopes and perhaps some solution to swish around in your mouth for a specified period of time and then spit out into a container.

Another method is to use a simple little scraper which kind of works like a tongue depressor only it is shaped somewhat like a stumpy tooth brush with no bristles.  All you do is scrape it up and down inside the cheek of your mouth for a specified period and then this device is sealed and mailed in to the DNA testing center of your choice.

For my own Y-DNA testing I will be looking for my father’s and paternal grandfather’s bloodline male ancestors.  Well all of these males are deceased, so what to do?  Now we enter into sibling and male cousin relative comparisons to be able to show markers that will compare to the first common ancestor.  This should be fairly easy to affirm, as my brother and I will compare to our dad, and then we have three male first cousins that though all three are deceased, they each had male issue and those first cousins once removed will no doubt all compare to my paternal grandfather.

Now after that it will become a little more problematic.  My grandfather Jacob HILLENBRAND (1862-1941) was the only son of an only son.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Grandfather Jacob came to America in 1885 and settled in Upstate New York in Syracuse.  I have been contacted many times through my years of genealogy publishing on the internet by other people with the HILLENBRAND (or variant spelling) surname to see if we could be related.  My answer at first is a simple “No”.  However I mean it in the aspect of related as in modern times.  It just can not be so.

We would have to go back in time through three generations to find any of the males that had sons.  Gramp’s father died fairly young (1825-1866) and his father also died fairly young (1798-1826).  Neither of these two early ancestors had any other male issue, than my direct line.

The earliest ancestor of this surname that I have been able to locate is Caspar HILLENBRAND who was born circa 1760 somewhere in what is now Germany and is first located in church records in Markelsheim, Wurttemberg in the late 1700’s as the father of three sons of which the only one I know anything about is my own direct line ancestor.

So that does leave two possible males that ‘might’ have produced male issue but it would take me a lot of time and money to attempt to track this possibility down to modern times.

However there is a possibility that we ‘might’ be able to perform Genealogy DNA tests on other males anywhere with this surname and if we were able to show that we indeed did have a common ancestor then it might help us to shortcut the amount of genealogical research that we would have to do to show the connection.

I think it will be fun to do and will firm up the many thousands of hours that I have invested this past 40 or so years of intense genealogical research in, and I will write about this later as we gather more information.

If you have your own genealogy and DNA story to tell please leave a comment here on the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog.

The 1865 and 1892 New York State Census Online

A Partial Index and Page Images of the 1865 and 1892 New York State Census Population Schedules are now Online at Family Search through the Pilot Program.

When I saw this announcement on one of the news group message boards I instantly went to the search forms and searched for some of my ancestors in Onondaga County, NY.  I found nothing so looked closer at the Family Search collection description.  Onondaga Co. has not been completed yet, however there is a very impressive quantity of other counties that have been made available for free online.

Here is a description of those counties that are now available.

1865 NYS Census:

Name index and images of 1865 New York state census.  Counties included in this collection are:   Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Fulton, Herkimer, Kings, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, and Yates.
http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=collectionDetails;c=1491284;t=browsable;w=0

1892 NYS Census:

Name index and images of population schedule of the census of New York taken by that state in 1892. This 1892 New York State Census is an every-name index to the state’s inhabitants as of February 16, 1892. The counties included are: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Kings, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Orleans, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schoharie, Steuben, Tioga, Ulster, Washington, and Yates.
http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=collectionDetails;c=1529100;t=browsable;w=0

You can search by first name, last name, all events such as birth/christening, marriage, or death/burial, year range per event, location and either exact & close match, or by exact, close and partial.  There is also an advanced search tab which will even present more optional search ideas.  The images are not linked to the search results, but you can browse the actual census page images once you know the page from the index search.

Family Search is a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Their main website is at www.familysearch.org.

To readers of this Upstate New York Genealogy Blog, please bookmark this new web address url www.unyg.com/blog as we no longer publish this Blog on the old Google Blogger platform and have moved it here and attached it to our main website page.

UNYG Readers Attention!- You Can Help Save the Library of Michigan

The State of Michigan is in a budget crisis.  What a shock.  What state is not?  The myopic view of the current state administration is to do away with the State Library

You can help stop this idiocy by signing an online petition, it does not matter what state you live in, sign it anyway.  An interesting note is that when I just signed it there were only 393 signatories.  It would seem that 300 thousand would be more impressive.  Please sign the petition, do not put it off.

From an announcement by Dick Eastman at www.eogn.com the following in part:

In meetings held during the Federation of Genealogical Societies/
Arkansas Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Little Rock this past
week, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (a joint committee
of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National
Genealogical Society) has initiated a petition drive in support of the
Library of Michigan.

Genealogists from within and without Michigan are encouraged to sign the
online petition. You are encouraged to sign this online petition NOW.

You can read more at http://www.fgs.org/rpac.

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