Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

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Another huge resource of unpublished data is in the hundreds of volumes of manuscript or typescript books that were assembled by the various NYS chapters of the  National Society Daughters of the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!

Old Massena Newspapers Added to NNYLN Website

News release:

MASSENA — Nearly 100 years of Massena Newspapers are now available on-line to the general public and researchers alike on the Northern New York Historical Newspapers web site at

The site is provided free of charge to the public by the Northern New York Library Network in Potsdam. The run of papers from 1891-1989 includes the “Massena Observer” (1897-1989), “Northern Observer” (1891-1897), and “Massena Press & Norfolk Times” (1915).

The “Massena Observer” is one of 33 newspapers with 1,205,000 pages on the Northern New York Historical Newspapers site. Go to for a complete listing of on-line newspapers, which may be searched by county or individual paper.

The Northern New York Library Network is dedicated to support and services for all of its members. The Network serves libraries in the seven counties of northern New York. For more information, call 265-1119, or go to

Visit our main website at

Fulton History (dot com) Owner Operator Interviewed


I Finally Met Superman! Tom Tryniski of .

I have been working as a project manager for a massive genealogy research project with many other professional genealogists, that is on a major push to break down some old brick walls. More about that later, but one of the recommendations that I made to the group was to interview a man who I have been corresponding with for several years, but had never met yet.

So yesterday we got to meet Tom Tryniski, the man I call Superman, who brings us that absolutely fabulous website, . Mr. Tryniski allowed us to grill him about his background, how he got started posting old newspapers online, what is going on now, and what some of his plans are.

Well I’m here to tell you that all is well with and it will be growing for many years to come. Tom told us that his background was in data processing and working with mainframe computer systems. When he retired he was presented with a box of old postcards of Fulton, New York and he scanned them and put them on the web. He’s really quite young to be retired, but I did not ask.

The postcards turned to old newspapers when he had a chance to scan and post the “Oswego Valley News” newspaper. He scanned these all by hand, page by page. This man is dedicated!

Once bitten by the bug he started to expand and sought out some newspapers that were on microfilm, and he had us sitting on the edge of our seats as he told the story of purchasing his first digital film scanner for a price that was a small fraction of the going rate. He bid on one at auction and then was confronted with sending close to $4,000 to the mid-west to a man he did not know, that said he was the owner of a bankruptcy dispersal company, and would only accept cash or a bank money order. Oh, and the man did not know if the machine worked or not.

It all turned out perfect. The machine arrived, was tested, worked perfectly and most of the millions of film images that you view on Tom’s free website are the product of that first machine. His earliest scanner was bi-tonal and produced sharp high quality images “if” the original was of high quality. There in is the rub. Newspapers are horrible quality at best. Bear in mind that these old newspapers were all typeset by hand and the metal type characters were used over and over until they were totally shot. What you get is broken type faces, poor and varying impressions, blurring and ink smudges, and that’s if you’re lucky!

Then you have the problem of the reproduction process. When scanned, if the operator was bored, sleepy, or eating a sandwich you get many Operator Head Space problems, I like to call it the Nut Behind the Wheel. Then you get registration problems where parts of the page are missing or a kilter, and the film processing quality varies from company to company and project to project.

Some of the quality problems can be alleviated with the use of a new type scanner which uses the Gray Scale tonal scanning process. So naturally Tom purchased the much more expensive type scanner and now scans everything in the much higher quality. Remember this is Tom’s hobby.

When he was asked about how to search by year ranges he explained that all of those instructions are in the FAQ_HELP_INDEX. He encourages the use of Boolean searching to narrow your search quest and says read the help instructions. One problem that I have heard discussed through the years is that some times you can’t read the date of the newspaper. This is usually caused by the scanning process if the page was slightly on an angle, but Tom said if you just go to the index page number before or after that one you usually can read it. Let me try to explain that a little better. Each of the images has a number at the top of the screen. To scroll to the page before or after, just take that number and go back to the original search box and all you have to do is put that number in the box, with plus or minus one number and you will go right to the image you want.

FultonHistory’s start was in Oswego County, however they now have newspapers from almost all parts of the state and they have varying ranges in years from about 1820 to date. He told us that his next release is going to be one of his largest yet, (over one million new pages,) and I just can’t wait because he announced that one of my favorite areas is complete and coming next.

The process is to first run the film through the digitizing scanners, then to run them all through the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that does the important indexing. He then has to compress the images so they can be broadcast on the Internet and he is careful to go as small in pixel size as is practical so that the image can be magnified, still read and does not cause a bandwidth problem. His backup program is massive and he keeps off site storage of complete hard drives full of data. He also keeps all of the original highest quality TIF scans.

We asked about his computers, network and ISP. Well he does all of his own serving, with many multiple computers all networked and has a very high speed broadband connection. Tom also floored me when he said that one day his page view count exceeded 73,000! His busiest time is usually when he makes a new release. He said if the service seems to be running slow to you, then you should just wait a while and come back later because there are so many users on there at one time. Our fearless leader asked Tom how many employees he had. Very big grin. “You’re looking at them all.” When I asked how often his scanning process occurred. Another very big grin. “It’s running right now in automated mode, and usually runs 24/7.”

When I asked the obvious question about money, it was shrugged off. Tom encourages donations, some of which he shares with local historical societies or libraries somewhere that he feels really needs some help. This has certainly gained him some respect and the much needed trust from societies and organizations that have to protect their holdings.

Tom is looking in to some State or governmental assistance to help pay for this project that is expanding far beyond his original expectation, but he does not look for any commercial partnerships. He never wants this to turn into a subscription based service.

Let me tell you something, right here and right now. Tom Tryniski is, honest, sincere and a first rate citizen that ain’t in it for the bucks! If your organization has microfilm or information that you would like to share with Internet users, Tom is your man.

If any of you readers belong to a historical society or a library that would like to have some microfilm digitized there is no place that does better quality work at any lower cost. Talk to Tom and he will amaze you with a super low price. Oh and he will donate a hard drive filled with the original scanned images all indexed for the society or library to use.

All of my visions of meeting Superman were reinforced; all I missed was the cape and the phone booth.

Please leave lots and lots of “thank you” comments. I’m sure Tom will be reading this later. If you have any questions or other comments you can post them here also right under this message line. I’ll make sure Tom sees them.

Dick Hillenbrand

Some of our other previous popular posts:
Fulton History Gets Major Media Attention -
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
Visit our main website at

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NewspaperArchive Becomes a Sponsor of Upstate New York Genealogy Blog

This Blog has published many articles and mentions of the importance of using historical newspapers for genealogical research.

We now are announcing to our reader friends that the largest of these historical online newspaper collections is a sponsoring advertiser on the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog. We are very excited about this new program!

Never before has it been quite so easy to locate information on your ancestors. Many of the details that you will find by searching NewspaperArchive are just not to be found anywhere else, not ever!

Your subscriptions to this fabulous resource by clicking on any of the links on this website, do help to defray our costs in bringing you all of this free genealogical information that you are able to read here on the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog.

Please check this fine company out and take advantage of their offers.


NewspaperArchive is a great place to research your family history. They have an easy and intuitive interface and a lot of content. If you are looking for birth notices, marriage records, death notices, or any family news that might have been printed in a newspaper.
Find anything from any year back to 1759 in the World’s Largest Newspaper Archive!

If you would like to read more about the various subjects that you will find in these old historic newspapers before you subscribe, you can find more information at: Old-Newspaper-Articles dot com.

Some of our most popular previous articles:
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
Visit our main website at

Add to Technorati Favorites

Fulton History Newspaper Database Gets Major Media Recognition

Readers of this Upstate New York Genealogy Blog will remember that we have written several times about one of our favorite people, Mr. Tom Tryniski, who publishes the fabulous collection of newspapers on-line for free at

Now the Fulton History website has just received mass media recognition in today’s Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper. The article will give you some idea of the enormity of this growing collection that has always been available on the Internet for free!

Tom now covers newspapers from Albany to Buffalo and he is branching out North and South. One of the latest additions is the collection of 72 rolls of newspapers on microfilm from Amenia in Dutchess county, New York.

Congratulations Tom on some well deserved attention!

Read the Post-Standard article here:

Dick Hillenbrand

Read our two previous Blogs about fultonhistory at: and here:

Read some of our previous most popular Blogs on other subjects below:
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
Visit our main website at

GenealogyBuff (great name – great site!)

GenealogyBuff provides dozens of unique quick finding aids for all types of genealogy searching. This website compiles data sites from all over the Internet and presents them in a nice easy to find and searchable format.

GenealogyBuff – Links to thousands of on-line sources for items like; Maps, Immigration, Obits, Marriages, Archives, Personal Announcements, Cemetery Inscriptions, School Yearbooks, Church Records, Census, Court, Land, Probate, Military, Newspapers, and let’s see did I miss anything? What else is there?

Oh, try the handy dandy surname search. Does this website miss some links? Sure, but what it does find is absolutely remarkable, and totally Free! (There’s my favorite word again.)

Check out the GenealogyBuff Library for New York State at

A quick search for New York State Newspapers is at

Upstate New York Genealogy is adding this site to the My Favorites folder, and thought you might like to know about it too.


Something new for 2008, if you enjoy the UNYG Blog, you might also like to visit our other Blog site that is meant for genealogists everywhere, at Still all free information! Our websites are now supported by advertising. Please leave comments on each of our Blogs by clicking on the word comment right underneath each Blog message. You may subscribe to all future posts of this Blog by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of this website and click on the subscribe tab. If you wish to be added to our email list for announcements and special offerings, just send us your email address to opt in.
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Ephemera of the Genealogical Type

Some might say, “What the heck is Ephemera?”
Pronounced “eff-em-er-uh” (at least that’s the way I pronounce it.)

Ephemera means an item that relates to the moment. This term is normally applied to just paper, but to some it might also include items of 3 dimensional types, and something that one might hang on to for a keepsake or future reference.

Some of the items that fall into this category are; manuscripts, autographs, letters, diaries, handbills, matchbooks, photographs, broadsides, almanacs, programs, advertisements, funeral cards, posters, newspapers, tax lists, old bill heads, valentines, business cards, and on and on.

“Why would genealogists care?”

Well what about funeral cards? They would be pretty helpful right? You would get the name of the deceased, their vital dates and other clues.

Let’s discuss some of the other neat little items that just might provide some clues to your research.

Old Almanacs from the late 1700′s into the 1800′s usually had a chart of distances from location to location. Say from Albany to Buffalo, the routes would be described starting at Albany, so many miles to the first stop, which might be a village, or a tavern, or some such landmark. As you study these charts you will notice that most of the distances between locations were within one days “walk.” Most of our ancestors, I venture to say the majority of them, did not have access to horse and wagon, stage coach, Erie Canal, and so on. They walked from place to place! I have read dozens of accounts of the early settlers that came into “Upstate New York” from New England or down along the Hudson River, or up from New Jersey, and they almost always tell about coming in with their belongings on an ox-cart. That means everyone else walked!

So those distance markers would be of importance to determine where the actual dirt roads went. There were no paved roads. It was easier to travel in the winter after the snow was on, because they could pull the goods on a sledge of some kind, and the ground was not a soupy mess.

I can’t begin to tell you the importance of reading old family letters and diaries. You will learn so many details that you will never find in a court house or on a census about the families you are researching.

Use your imagination regarding any of the items listed above and see if you can’t make a determined effort to locate some of these treasures to assist you in shaking your family tree.

The Ephemera Society of America has an excellent website at, replete with many informative articles, websites of member/vendors, notices of exhibits and forthcoming shows. They publish a very professional and scholarly journal, and the membership is open to everyone.

Dick Hillenbrand – Upstate New York Genealogy –

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Albany Times Union 150 Year Retrospective

Just in case you did not see the very nice presentation that the Albany Times Union newspaper published for their 150 year anniversary, here is a website that will take you back.

Albany Times Union 150 Year Anniversary.

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

Our newest advertiser at unyg is American Express – AMEX. Check it out.
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GenealogyBank Growing Newspaper Collection

NAPLES, FL–(Marketwire – October 25, 2007) – GenealogyBank, a leading online provider of historical and recent newspapers for family history research, announced today the addition of over 100 fully searchable historical newspapers. This includes more than 4 million articles brimming with significant genealogical content.

Next week, GenealogyBank will add another 2 million articles from over 100 more newspapers. Complementing more than 200 million family history records, this latest addition will expand coverage to over 2,200 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states.

Read the full story here:

Dick Hillenbrand

Upstate New York Genealogy

New York Times Archives will be FREE from now on.

Great news to those that have found references in the New York Times on-line indexes and then found out that you would have to pay a fee to see the original article.

After midnight tonight the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune archives will be on-line at no cost to view.

Read the report.

Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

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