Posts Tagged ‘default’

Report on the bylaws changes voting at the NYG&B – "We’ll count them if we have to count them."


Report on NYG&B special meeting Thursday, July 19th 2007 at High Noon.

I came by train Wednesday night, only took 8 hours, instead of the normal five. Yeaah AMTRAK! Got to the door of the G&B exactly at 9:30 am, might as well do some research until the meeting starts, right? Wrong, the research library would be closed until 12:30. “I am a member; may I please wait inside in the meeting room?” “Well…” “I am supposed to meet Roger Joslyn here.” “I’m sorry; you will have to wait outside.” (Thinking, maybe this is not going to go well.)

The synagogue was set up with room for a couple hundred plus chairs, with a small platform in the center and a lectern with no audio system. It felt a little eerie with the dozen large dirt smudges on the walls where the former founders of the G&B used to be memorialized. Only one or two remain as they were bronze plaques that were built into the mortar and the new owners have not yet had a chance to remove them.

The chairman smiled and called the meeting to order at 12:23 and explained the procedure. I did not take an exact head count, maybe 50 – 60 people? I felt like an usher should have asked if I was a friend of the bride or groom, thinking which side should I sit on. I picked the middle.

A description of the procedure as to how the voting would be handled was given. Please limit remarks to three minutes. The chair recognized Leslie Corn, CG, FGBS, who read a prepared statement, (that I will attempt to get a copy of in digital format and post it here on this Blog,) that essentially made a “motion to postpone the vote on the proposed amendment of the Society’s bylaws eliminating the voting membership, until a date in the reasonably near future, so as to ensure that all voting members of the Society have the opportunity to cast their votes with full knowledge of the consequences of their actions, based on accurate and unbiased facts.” (Hmmm, sounds like lawyer speak.)

Seconds and thirds were unceremoniously shouted. The chairman smiled and said we would continue. I rose, was recognized and I repeated some of the above line and said that “There was a motion, seconded and must be voted on.” Chopped liver. We would not yet vote on the motion. Shouts of impropriety all around. The chairman smiled and said that “He wanted to hear from all members.” (Except Roberts, of course.)

An acknowledgment of the flurry of recent interest by all those Bloggers was given. The chairman said that when the G&B was founded that there had been no mention of members in the earliest bylaws of the society. When asked when members had been included, he smiled and said “he really didn’t know.”

There would still be members in the “colloquial sense.” (Cha-ching.) The assets of the society were to be under the control of the 15 member Board of Trustees, and that they were by law able to be watched over by the Attorney General’s Office of the Ultimate Charitable, something or other. They had a fiduciary responsibility.

The society’s attorney, Pamela Mann, spoke and said that she had formerly worked in the Attorney General’s office in that same department, and that she was extremely familiar with the rules and regulations. She mentioned that to her knowledge 100% of past investigations by that department had been in cases where charitable organizations were controlled by a Board instead of members. (Hmm, gee, I wonder why?)

She made the shocking announcement that the society had lost one hundred thousand dollars in interest on the 24 million dollar recent sale of the building due to the delays by the membership. (That was major news to most of us, as they had reported before the mere pittance of only a 24,000 dollar loss.)

The chairman smiled and said that he understood that there was a high level of distrust, but that the Board would always follow the letter of the law. He acknowledged that the present proposal was similar to the one at the NEHGS in Boston. When asked why there would be no oversight committee with partial voting rights in this proposal, he smiled and said “that they did not have time to consider it. “He really didn’t know.”

He described the expense and bother involved in members voting. He said that e-voting was not allowed by law in not-for-profits like ours. (Now, theirs.) Again, there would be members, but not named in the bylaws. They would be “Users and Contributors.”

He explained that they have a two year lease in this spot and that a decision would then be made as to where the G&B would go. Hankers rose again. Shouts by others of, “Where is your plan?” “What are the goals?” “What will happen to the collections?” “What about the books?” “What about publications?” I was not one of the shouters, but I was not the only person there with each of the above questions in the forefront of thoughts.

The chairman smiled, and said “he really didn’t know.” “They needed more time to study it.” “They were looking at a great many possibilities.” “He really didn’t know.” (Seems to me that a Board of Trustees should be a driving force, setting goals, making plans, forging ahead, leading.) As I said in a previous posting, “You will be told.”

The chairman stated that the Board cared enormously in regards to their stewardship of the society and the staff and the membership. Hmmm… He said that their publications were at the very heart and soul of the society. He “could not predict the future in regards to publications.” “He really didn’t know.”

He explained that. “The society was greatly challenged by the Internet.” (There’s a bulletin.) “They were not beholden to any interest group.”

The society before the voting had a 21 person Board of Trustees. Believe it or not, six of them were able to find their way through Manhattan to attend this rather unimportant meeting. Loud noises from behind me, “And not ONE professional genealogist on the Board!”

When asked if the proxy ballots that were returned that had been properly signed and dated, but that the member had not checked either box for yes or no, were to be counted? He said, “We will count them if we HAVE to count them.” (Huh?)

When asked why Leslie Corn’s original proposal was not being voted on, according to the rule, he smiled and said that first the proxy ballots would have to be counted as they were appointing Mr. McNeeley to cast not only their vote for or against the bylaws change, but that he could also represent them in all matters brought before this meeting. (For.. get.. it..) (There is no doubt in my mind that if the votes to delay the voting had been voted on by those present that it would have easily carried.)

A large number of members were respectfully acknowledged, most were calm, cool and collected, with well thought out statements or questions. Lots of smiles in response. (Comes from the confidence of one who has previously counted proxy ballots.) One Life Member rose and requested more than three minutes and acknowledged that he knew that from now on he would be known as a “Former Life Member.” (Yikes, consider the normal description of that phrase.)

I have a lot of notes and could report in further detail, but let’s cut to the chase.

When the proxies were counted it was 1,401 YES votes to 227 NO’s. There are reportedly just under 5,000 members.

Quite a lot of further discussion and comments were allowed after the vote. But sorry, “He really didn’t know…”

eBay get ready.

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

July 19th is a Famous Day in History.

19 July 1846 – The first Women’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York.
(Voting is such a wonderful right and privilege.)

19 July 1941 – Winston Churchill was the first to use the two fingers “V is for Victory” sign.
(Be confident and win through strength.)

19 July 2007 – The members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society vote “NO” to defeat the bylaws modification that would take all of their membership rights away.
(Thanks to all concerned members.)

(If you are a recent reader of this blog, please click on other listings on the left side to read further on this subject.)

It is not too late to vote for NYG&B Society By-Laws permanent change.

The following message was sent to me and I am encouraging all readers to read carefully. Dick Hillenbrand –

Dear Concerned Members of the NYGBS:

We’ve been asked by many members if it’s too late to change their proxy
votes to “no” or submit a proxy for the first time and have that vote
counted at the G&B’s special meeting this Thursday, July 19.

It’s not too late, and we can help. But you need to act right away by faxing
your proxy.


1) You have not yet sent in your proxy vote concerning the board’s proposed
bylaws changes that will disenfranchise all members of the NYG&BS and
absolutely and forever empower a board of 15 to unilaterally make decisions
about the NYG&B’s assets and future,

2) You have voted but want to change your vote and/or want to change the
person to whom you give your proxy to cast your vote,

You can still do so. Here’s how.

Having consulted with counsel, we have been advised that you can fax your
proxies to one of us or to another member for submission at the meeting. If
we’re to carry your vote, we must receive your proxy by fax no later than
8:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, in order to take it to the G&B’s special meeting
held at the Society at noon that day.

Heres what to do if you want one of us to carry your proxy to the meeting
to be counted:

1. Log into the Members Area at
2. Download a proxy, available in the Members Area at
3. Cross off the name of George McNeely IV (his name appears in two
places) and substitute one of our names. (Leslie Corn or Roger D. Joslyn.)
4. Indicate your vote, YES or NO, about the proposed bylaws changes.
5. Sign and date the proxy.
6. If you voted previously and are changing your vote and/or designating one
of us to submit your proxy, so indicate on your new proxy.
Suggested wording: “This proxy replaces my proxy previously submitted and
alters the prior vote.”
7. Fax your new proxy toll-free to 1-888-667-1464. No cover sheet is needed.

If you provide an email address, we will confirm receipt of your fax.

If you want another member who is also attending the meeting to carry your
proxy, then follow the same procedure and fax to that person.

Of course, in lieu of the above, you can attend the meeting and vote there.

A big thanks to all members who are concerned about the G&B’s future.

Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FGBS, FASG

Leslie Corn, CG, FGBS

Save NYG&B Society from itself. – Internet vs. the Library

This Blog is prompted by a couple of crisis state situations that are occurring right now!

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) will be having a vote to amend the By-Laws on July 19th, 2007 that if approved would “ELIMINATE MEMBERSHIPS!”

Oh, you would still be able to have a membership and pay a fee to use the facility or online services, however no one other than a fifteen person Board of Directors would ever have any say or input into the business operations of the society. My, My, what a shame that would be.

If you are like me, and I suspect like most other members of the society, you have been pretty happy to let the board make decisions. You’re far to busy. You have research to do. Your family matters are too pressing. Your health is not good and why bother anyway?

Ding / Dong (that is the bell of reality.) The elite are taking your society away from you. You will NEVER have a vote even if you passionately want to on any given matter. The recent letter issued to the membership describes how the society lost thousands of dollars by having a delay from the membership in regards to the selling of their headquarters building in downtown Manhattan. Guess what, it IS sold or will be for sure.

So what? They will get another building somewhere right? Who knows? If just a handful of people are running the show, they won’t have to listen to anything you have to say in the matter. You will be notified… period.

If you are a member of the NYG&B, please go on their website, read the information about the vote. Download your proxy ballot and get it in the mail NOW! The people behind the amendment change do expect it to pass (primarily because very few members ever vote by proxy,) and you can definitely put a halt to this madness. “Checks and Balances,” people. Multiple houses of government, let the people vote, does any of this ring a bell? If you voted by proxy before and want to change your vote, you may send in another with the new date and indicate that you are changing your vote. If you REALLY want to make a difference, go to the vote meeting on July 19th.

Of course if you are in favor of the amendment don’t bother to send in your proxy, it’s not necessary. {wink}

What follows is a message that I just posted on Dick Eastman’s story Genealogical Societies and Buildings in his most recent newsletter at

Dick Eastman has reported on this crisis very well. It is caused by each and every one of us and does not seem to be able to be resolved easily to any favorable conclusion, if we maintain the status quo.

The Internet has changed everyone’s world! In all ways imaginable, and in so many ways that no one has even started to realize. We should embrace the technology, accept and grow with it, and never, never forget whence we came, nor where the data came from.

We need it all… The digital world has broken down so many brick walls that we all have been carrying around with us for so many years, however I for one will always want, need, and feel incomplete if the libraries close, if the museums go out of business, if the historical societies close their doors. There is nothing like having the freedom to roam between aisles of old friends and smiling as you remember the lucky find you had in that one, looking for a specific title and then finding out that the book that you REALLY wanted is sitting right next to it on the shelf.

Some of my fondest memories are mingling with the other researchers, and as I have described it many times, sticking your nose into someone else’s business. You meet only the nicest people in libraries. They have helped me enormously and I have always tried to help everyone that I come across in this obsession of ours.

There is no price that can be attached to the vast amount of knowledge in the heads of the librarians. When they have time and you get lucky, they will steer you into an amazing world that even though it was there all the time, you just might have never found on your own.

I do not have all of the answers to this dilemma, however I would like to offer some points to consider as a suggestion. Help your favorite library out in as many ways possible that you can. Volunteer your time, donate cash if you can, join their “Friends” program if they have one, if not then consider starting one, and soon!

If you have a membership in an organization that is struggling, please send them an extra donation with your annual membership. Offer to assist with cataloging, correspondence, research, or just plain old grunt work. They need it.

Remember, “it ain’t all on the Internet.” It never will all be on the Internet. It will always take boots on the ground, and getting dusty and dirty. That is, if you really want to document your findings. It is the ONLY way!

We need all of these societies and organizations to stay in business. We must be willing to bear some of the burden.

I have written about many of these wonderful facilities and services many times on my website and Blog, which you may link to at

Dick Hillenbrand

Member: New York Genealogical Society,

Member: Association of Professional Genealogists.

Let’s all lend a hand before it is too late.

Rensselaer County Marriages 1908-1935 On-line at TIGS


In addition to the Troy Irish Genealogy Society mailing list, this message is also being sent to the following genealogy mailing lists:

Rensselaer County List – Research in Rensselaer County.
Albany County List – Research in Albany County.
Schenectady County List – Research in Schenectady County.
Saratoga County List – Research in Saratoga County.
Genealogy NYS List – Research in New York State.
Chenango County List – Research in Chenango County.
NY-Hudson River List – Research in counties bordering Hudson River;
(Rockland, Orange, Ulster, Greene, Albany,
Rensselaer, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam
Westchester) & Schenectady County.
NY-RollCall List – Research on New York State kin.
NY-Mohawk Valley List – Research in Mohawk Valley Region of NYS,
covers Albany, Fulton, Herkimer, Madison,
Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego,
Schenectady & Schoharie Counties.
NY-WarWashSar List – Research in Warren, Washington and
Saratoga Counties.
NYC-Roots List – Research in New York City.
New York List – Research in New York State where County is
Irish-NY-Troy List – Research of Irish Ancestry in City of Troy,
Rensselaer County, New York.
NY-Irish List – Research on Irish immigrants who landed,
lived in or passed through New York State.
NY-Southern List – Research in Southern counties of New York,
covers Broome, Bronx, Columbia,
Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Kings,
Nassau, New York, Orange, Queens,
Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk,
Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster & Westchester
Columbia County List – Research in Columbia County.
Westchester County List – Research in Westchester County.
Dutchess County List – Research in Dutchess County.
Schoharie County List – Research in Schoharie County.

A. The message can be forwarded to other lists where you feel it would be appropriate. If posted to any other lists, please copy:

B. The largest project the Troy Irish Genealogy Society has undertaken so far is the automation of the Rensselaer County Marriage Index. This 10 Volume Marriage Index of Rensselaer County marriages, from 1908 to 1935, has over 60,000 names. Volume I (January 1908-April 1913) with its 5,000 marriages and 10,000 names, was added to the TIGS website on June 13, 2006. Volume II, (April 1913-May 1918) with another 5,000 marriages and 10,000 names has now been completed and is now on-line on the TIGS website.

C. You can view these marriage records by going to the Troy Irish Genealogy website at: and click on TIGS PROJECTS. 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.

D. If you are researching relatives with a RENSSELAER COUNTY, NY area connection, you will be interested in these two on-line, name searchable, records of 20,000 names of local residents who were married in Rensselaer County, New York. If you live in a nearby county or even further away, you might want to check out the data base. There are also marriages in the data base where both individuals lived in Albany County or other nearby counties, and where some individuals lived in other states, especially Massachusetts and Vermont, or even foreign countries. One record even was for a bride and groom who both lived in Pennsylvania. You may even find an earlier marriage that you were unaware of. Take a look at the data base, you never know what you will find.

E. In order to appreciate the marriage index on the TIGS website, you need an understanding of the set up of the Marriage Index book at the County Clerk’s Office. All marriages, along with complete detailed information on the bride and groom and their parents, were first entered into the Record of Marriages Book. Brides and Grooms names were then posted to the Marriage INDEX Book which served as a locating device to find the complete record in the Record of Marriages Book itself. Without the Marriage Index, you could not easily locate a name in the Record of Marriages Book. The Marriage Index Book has SEPARATE pages of data for Brides and SEPARATE pages of data for Grooms. For example, for the letter “A”, there is a page of Brides names beginning with “A” and ANOTHER page of Grooms names beginning with the letter “A”. The data on each page is limited to the first and last name, a page reference number, a marriage license number and the date of the marriage. Names of SPO!
USES are NOT linked together in the index. The only linkage to the spouse in the Marriage Index is the marriage number.

F. The TIGS data base has greatly improved the usefulness of the Marriage Index as follows:

1. By using the marriage number, the TIGS Marriage Index now links the names of
the brides AND the grooms on ONE LINE of data, thus providing a much more
useful research tool.

2. Some entries in the Record of Marriages Book were never posted to the Marriage
Index Book. These missing records were identified by TIGS workers and added
to the TIGS Marriage Index.

3. A number of records in the Marriage Index showed only INITIALS for either the
bride or the groom. In many cases TIGS workers were able to determine the
ACTUAL names from the original source documents and added them to the TIGS
data base.

4. Several records for grooms names were originally posted to the brides pages of the
Marriage Index Book and a number of brides names were posted to the grooms
pages of the Marriage Index Book. TIGS workers corrected these errors in
developing the TIGS index.

5. A number of transcribing errors when the Marriage Index Book was created were
discovered by TIGS workers and corrected.

6. Last but not least, the TIGS Marriage Index is in strict alphabetical order unlike the
original index. For example, on the original index, you may have four or more
lengthy pages of Grooms names ALL beginning with the first two letters “Ma” and
in no order whatsoever.

G. In using the TIGS Marriage Index data base, keep in mind the following:

1. Handwriting in some cases was very difficult to read and there could be some
problems with spelling.

2. At times, the original posting to the Marriage Index Book showed the marriage
filing data instead of the date of the marriage. This is especially true for most of the
entries in Volume II of the Marriage Index.

3. Remember, the TIGS index is a transcription of the Marriage Index Book and
NOT the Record of Marriages Book itself. It is always possible that the original
source documents, the Affidavit For License To Marry, the Certificate And
Record of Marriage and the Certificate of Consent, (for minors), were not posted
correctly to the Record of Marriages Book, or that entries in the Record of
Marriages Book were not posted correctly to the Marriage Index Book, or that
TIGS transcribers misread the handwriting. If there is a question on any entry, the
actual source documents at the County Clerk’s Office would have to be

H. In working on Volume 2 of the Marriage Index it was discovered that a number of boxes of the original records could not be located. Extensive searching has yet to locate these records. Photocopies of the original Volume 2 marriage documents, therefore, are available ONLY for marriages numbered from 5001 to 7945. For marriage numbers from 7946 to 10,000, the only item available will be a photocopy of the full detailed record that was posted to the Marriage Record Book FROM the original documents. (To view a copy of the Marriage Book Record, see J. below). The County Clerk’s Office has agreed to provide a photocopy of the Marriage Record Book entry for those names where the original documents are not available. In order to copy the record this very heavy and large book (13 x 19) has to be moved from the basement vault and taken to a photocopier on the first floor

I. The TIGS website has a PRINTABLE FORM that can be used to request copies from the Rensselaer County Clerk’s Office. Mailing instructions and fees are on the request form. There are SEPARATE request forms for Volume 1 and Volume 2. Depending on the Marriage Record Number for Volume 2 names, you can request EITHER:

a. Photocopy of the Affidavit For License To Marry and the Certificate And
Record Of marriage IF the marriage record number is between 5001 and

b. Photocopy of the Marriage Book entry IF the marriage record is between
7946 and 10,000.

J. An example of two entries in the Record of Marriages Book is shown on the TIGS website: Click on PROJECTS, then click on TIGS PROJECTS IN THE WORKS and then click “See Sample Record”. The following information for the bride and the groom is shown in the Record of Marriages Book and in the primary source documents:

1. Name.
2. Residence.
3. Occupation.
4. Birthplace.
5. Color.
6. Age.
7. Number of Marriage. (first, second, etc.)
8. If Widowed or Divorced, Where & When.
9. Father’s Name and Birthplace.
10. Mother’s Name and Birthplace.
11. Consent By & Relationship (For Minors)
12. Date of License.
13. Date of Marriage.
14. Place of Marriage.
15. Official Performing Marriage & Profession. (Priest, Minister, Rabbi, etc)
16. Names of Witnesses.

K. The original pages of the Marriage Index Book were scanned by TIGS members. The resulting pdf files were then sent to the volunteers working on the project as an attachment to an email, along with an Excel spreadsheet for data entry. This extensive data base was made possible by the following volunteers who did a fantastic job on Volume II, the second phase of this project. Please note that we had volunteers from all over the United States.

Kristin Cooney-Ayotte – Troy, NY
Kathleen Gallagher Brearton – New York State
Beth Callanan – Washington, DC
Tammy Casterlin – North Carolina
Austin Fadden – Knoxville, TN
Linda Christian-Herot – Newton, Mass.
Lynn Carey Grice – New Paltz, NY
Beth Hocking – Mass.
Jeanne M. Keefe – Troy, NY
Stephanie Kinney-Dewey – Ohio
Marilyn Mahoney – Abington, Mass.
Marialice P. Mangan
Bob McConihe – Haverhill, Mass.
Cathy McGrath – Clifton Park, NY
Bill McGrath – Clifton Park, NY
Joseph R. Murname – Williamson, NY
Joe O’Brien – Bremerton, Washington
Ltc. James L. Owens, USMC (Ret) Rockville, MD
John J. Salamida – Albany, NY
Jack Seppi
Lizette Strait – New York State
Candis Sunderland – Poughkeepsie, NY
Ellen Tolan – Troy, NY
Pam Trudeau – North Carolina
Carol Waldron – Saratoga Springs, NY
Eileen Callahan Werth – Plymouth Meeting, PA
Donna Vaughn – New York State

Formatting & webpage: Jeanne M. Keefe – Troy, NY

L. We invite you to explore the TIGS website,
where you will find local history articles, resources and genealogy research tips as well as a number of free data bases. The TIGS mailing list, which is also free, is ideal for posting your Troy area genealogy queries. There are also some interesting photographs on the TIGS website from our group tours of the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel at Oakwood Cemetery, the Burden Iron Works Museum and the Watervliet Arsenal Museum. To see these photographs click on “NEXT” on the first page of the website: and then click on “TOURS” on the left side of the next screen. Also, you can search your surnames in the following additional records transcribed by TIGS members and other volunteers. These data bases are part of a continuing effort by the Troy Irish Genealogy Group to make available on line, Troy and other nearby area Irish AND non-Irish records, that may be of interest to genealogy researchers, especially those outside the Capital District Area.

Burden Iron Company Steam Mill Payroll Records. (8,236 names)
Troy Area Marriage Records. (1,448 names)
Troy Area Death Records. (6,031 names)
Index-History of the Troy Police Department. (668 names)
Bank Officers in Troy Banks From 1801-1891. (299 names)
Prominent Citizens of Troy, NY & Rensselaer County. (1,800 names)
Representative Young Irish-Americans of Troy, NY – 1899 (400 names)
Deceased Troy, NY Area Individuals Listed in 1902 City Directory (700 names)
(Note: Another 700 death records from the 1903 City Directory will shortly
be added to this database)
Alderman/Assistants In Troy, NY (1,400 names)

M. The next step in the Marriage Index Project will be Volume III, which is another 5,000 records and 10,000 names. Volume III covers Rensselaer County marriages from May 1918 to April 1920. If you want to be added to the list of volunteer transcribers, send an email off list to: with your name, address and telephone number. You will be contacted when work on Volume III starts in a few months time.

N. TIGS would like to hear from you if this marriage index was helpful in your family research.


Bill McGrath
TIGS Project Coordinator
Clifton Park, NY

ps: I will try to add more content to this Blog a little more often. Thanks to all the well wishers.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy damaged! – Upstate New York Newspapers on-line FREE!

Readers will recall that I previously touted the marvelous newspaper database site of Tom Tryniski and listed some of the excellent newspapers that are on-line and fully searchable.
See: newspapers.

Well there has been a tragic attack on Tom’s website as some person or persons attempted to steal massive amounts of automated data extraction and they not only crashed the system but destroyed it!

Tom’s first announcements were very sad and disheartening to say the least, and it first sounded like this fabulous resource might go away forever, as the whole site is financed and operated totally by Tom alone with no outside help financially, or in effort. There has been a ground swell of messages of sympathy and support from many users of the system and Tom has been more upbeat in his messages and appreciates the favorable response for sure.

Tom’s most recent message to me is shown here in part,
“I should be backup within a couple more days and thanks for the words of encouragement,
I can’t believe the tremendous quantity of emails I have received from people offering their support ….Its Things like that, that make all the work and expense worth it to me.
On a side note I will be adding more Syracuse newspapers around December, also you will start seeing Rochester, Boonville, and Moravia Newspapers starting next week.”

It costs several thousand dollars to build a site like his, I know, and then it takes thousands of hours of continuous maintenance that are required to keep it running and to add new material. Here’s the deal, and this was not at Tom’s request, but just a little thing that we can do to offer our support. Send him a few bucks, and your thanks.

Tom Tryniski
309 South 4th Street
Fulton New York 13069

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

New York State Marriages, 1908-1935

We all know that New York State’s Vital Records are sealed for several years, such as 75 years for births, 50 years for deaths, and 50 years for marriages, right?

Well did you know that there was a small group of years that sort of slipped through the cracks of the NYS Department of Health, Vital Records Department and have been readily available since their creation? Generally speaking the years from about 1908 to about 1935 the marriage records were kept by the various county clerks and because of that you should have total access to them. There are some exceptions of course on the range of years and also as to some counties might still restrict access. However there is a work around.

About twenty years ago I was working on a research project of some families that resided in Broome County and it would be helpful to look at some more modern marriage records. When I presented myself at the county clerk’s office and asked to see the 1908-1935 series of marriage indexes and certificates, I was told by the clerk that “they were not available as they are under the care custody and control of the NYS Department of Health!” Well I knew different, and politely told them so and with an emphasis on politeness but remaining resolute, I asked to have someone in authority explain why they were different than all of the other counties in the state?

After receiving the boiler plate answer from a few different clerks, they actually sent the county attorney out to essentially tell to buzz off! I explained to the gentleman that this series was available in all of the other counties that I had been working in and I could not see why they would not let me see them. He again, rather angrily told me to “forget it, they were not going to be seen by me!”

On the way home I was fuming because of their rudeness and obvious ignorance and I figured that by gosh when I got home I was going to write a letter and tell them what was what, and demand to see them on a return trip. Then I got the bright idea to check the LDS Family History Library Catalog, and lo and behold, the series of records I wanted was on microfilm in Salt Lake City. After ordering copies of the films at our local Family History Center I was able to see just exactly what I was looking for and I never bothered to ‘get tough” with Broome County, Nahh, nahh, nahh…

Well big deal, you say, so what? Well here are some of the items that you can get off a copy of the original marriage certificate:
Name, age, date of birth, place of birth, and occupation, of both the bride and the groom. You also get both of their parent’s names, including the mother’s maiden name, and where the parents were born. The names of the witnesses and the officiating person and where the marriage took place is also given.

So you see though these are modern records, so to speak, you can actually take the family back another generation by obtaining the names of the parents.

I do not know the reason that this series of dates is excepted from the NYS Dept. of Health collection, perhaps some reader could enlighten me, The only thing I do know is that these records have advanced the research greatly of many of the people through the years that I have worked on, and I hope they will help you too.

Here is a list of the counties that I was able to locate microfilms of this collection (circa 1908-1935,) for at LDS;
Allegany, Bronx, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenctady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming, and Yates. You will notice that some of the counties do not have the full range of years and a couple have a greater range of years, but most are 1908-1935.

I could find no listing in the on-line Family History Library Catalog for the following counties, however they might exist and perhaps if a reader knows anything more about them please advise and I will update the list: Albany, Dutchess, Erie, New York, Onondaga (however I personally have used these many times from the original books in the Onondaga County Clerk’s office and suspect that they have been filmed by LDS, but they do not appear in the catalog,) and Suffolk. I have no idea why any of these are lacking but am in hopes someone can tell me.

You can search for these and any other sort of records at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (LDS,) the Mormon church’s Family History Library Catalog on-line at Click on “Library” then “Family History Library Catalog“, then do a “Place Search,” for instance: Broome, New York. You will then see all of the things in their collection relating to Broome county, and these marriage records would be listed under “Vital Records.”

Though all of the above discussion is in regards to the records kept at county level, if you need something that was in a major metropolitan area then the records would be held by the City Clerk, so check the LDS catalog for those film numbers.

Here is a link to the official NYS Dept. of Health, Vital Records Dept.

You may print this out and keep it handy if it is helpful. Please come and visit our website, and note the “NEW” url at

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy (

Our new url: – Rochester Cemetery Records on-line

Well we dit it! See our new url!

Please take notice and bookmark our NEW url:

Any of the following will still work and will take you to the same place;,, but the main one from now on will be

We think that it should be easier to remember. “U”pstate “N”ew “Y”ork “G”enealogy=

Now here is a bit of excitement brought to our attention by Dick Halsey of Rochester. If you have any ancestors, or are interested in any burials in the Rochester cemeteries of Mt. Hope and Riverside Cemeteries, well now they are on-line. The Friends of Mt. Hope gave copies of the records to the University of Rochester and U of R put the records on-line. Plus there are fairly current records too. Included are records from the beginning of the cemeteries until 2002. These are not extracts, they are images of the original manuscript records. You will have to have a PDF plug-in for your browser to view the records. Go to:

Capital District Genealogical Society (CDGS)

Last Saturday the 28th of October, I was invited to give a lecture in Albany at the Capital District Genealogical Society (CDGS,) the subject was on how to build a website and new wondrous data available on the Internet.

There was also a Computer Interest Group meeting that was held first that was led by Robert Plunz, where we learned of many new utilities and websites of interest for genealogists. Bob talked about and demonstrated how to download and install Microsoft’s brand new Internet Explorer IE-7 which has just been released. He emphasised that before you run the install utility that you should run a good anti-virus, anti-spyware, and any other nuiscance elininator programs that you have to be sure your system is very clean before you do the install of IE-7.

Bob also demonstrated some neat websites such as, a free site where you can search for and list items that you would like to find to help you with your genealoogy. Some other good resources are,, and These are additional places to help you locate documents, books, bibles, and three dimensional heirlooms that might help flush out your family history research. He also gave a good explanation of SKYPE which is a free Internet telephone service, and he recommended “Internet Genealogy” magazine.

My lecture was an updated version of my Internet Genealogy program with special emphasis on how the Upstate New York Genealogy (UNYG) website at was built and how it grew from a account with a few features to a very busy and better looking website by utilizing the expert help of website designers at, who are recommended very highly if you have any ideas of growing your own.

Some of the newer sites that were also demonstrated were; with emphasis on the millions of papers that are already on-line and the thousands of pages that are aded every week, which provides American County Histories to 1900, and GenealogyBank which is a brand new resource for finding unusual items that have been abstracted or digitized and will help everyone locate some new info that they would not noramlly have access to for their research. One other place to search for documents, photos, old letters, diaries and ephemera of all types that are offered for sale at

A good time was had by all.

Accessible Archives – New York County Histories Digitized – Part 1

The following exciting news is in regard to the New York County Histories that are available now at Accessible Archives. More news to follow very soon!

These books have been digitized and are able to be searched by words or phrases.

If you should enquire about this service please tell them you saw it on Upstate New York Genealogy (UNYG) at .


MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA (March 1, 2006):- ACCESSIBLE ARCHIVES, Inc., a publisher of electronic full-text searchable historical databases, announces plans to publish: “NEW YORK COUNTY HISTORIES as a part of the “AMERICAN COUNTY HISTORIES TO 1900” series. Part I is now available and contains over 10,000 pages of text and plates, from the New York counties listed below.

Most of these large volumes were published between 1870 and 1900 and have long formed the cornerstone of local historical and genealogical research. They are encyclopedic in scope and virtually limitless in their research possibilities.

These books included chapters which covered in great detail: local history, geology, geography, weather, transportation, lists of all local participants in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, government, medical and legal professions, churches and ministers, industry and manufacturing, banking and insurance, Schools and teachers, noted celebrations, fire departments and associations, cemeteries, family history, Health and vital statistics, roads and bridges, public officials and legislators, and many others.

The full text searchabilty, will permit the student/researcher to instantly explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read the text on a page by page basis, may do so in the original format by merely scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked to each chapter as well as to each individual illustration. The user can select a particular graphic from the List of Illustrations, and proceed immediately to it by the merely clicking on the highlighted text.

This technology will eliminate the cumbersome task of reading each volume page by page to find a specific subject. The serious scholar as well as the casual researcher will find a wealth of useful and interesting materials contained in these unique databases.

NEW YORK COUNTY HISTORY (Part 1) (Southeast)

Cooper, J., History of Suffolk County. New York, W.W. Munsell, 1882. 488 pp.

Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Westchester County, 2 vols., Philadelphia, L.E. Preston, 1886. 772 pp.

History of Queens County, 1683-1882, New York, W.W. Munsell, 1882. 472 pp.

History of the Valley of the Hudson, 1609-1930, Ed. by Nelson Greene, 5 vols. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. CO., 1931. 2935 pp.

Stiles, Henry R., The Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn from 1683 to 1884, 2 vols., Philadelphia, W.W. Munsell, 1884. 1408 pp.

Bayles, Richard M., History of Richmond County, Staten Island, New York, from its Discovery to the Present Time, 2 vols., New York, L.E. Preston & Co., 1887. 741 pp.

Green, Frank B., The History of Rockland County, New York, A.S. Barnes, 1886. 444 pp.

Pelletreau, W.S., History of Putnam County, Philadelphia, Preston & Co., 1886. 771 pp.

Ruttenber, E.M. & L.H. Clark, History of Orange County, 2 vols.,Philadelphia, Everts & Peck, 1881. 820 pp.

Quinlan, James E., History of Sullivan County, Liberty: Beebe & Morgans, 1873. 700 pp.

For more information, contact:

Rob Nagy

Accessible Archives

697 Sugartown Road

Malvern, PA 19355

(610) 296-7441

Toll Free: 866-296-1488

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