Posts Tagged ‘NY Research Sites’

New York State is Now in New England

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is in Boston and was founded in 1845.

That makes it the oldest and most respected non-profit genealogical society in the U.S. If you have been a member of NEHGS you know that they also have a great amount of material on New York State in their holdings.

The NEHGS has been publishing many free articles on their main website, which will no doubt give you some excellent reasons to become a member and to have full use of all of the online databases that they have to offer. Short of a trip to Boston, which you should schedule as soon as possible, the website is a great starting point and will lead you to databases that you never knew existed.

Well NEHGS has long had very nice collections of New York State materials also. What you say? New York is not part of New England.

Maybe so but the New Englanders followed the setting sun and guess where they arrived at first? Sure many went on to the upper mid-western states, but many stayed in New York. There was also quite a bit of interaction between the families that lived in the western counties of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, with the eastern counties of New York State.

So it is a natural thing to gather documents and manuscripts of New England areas that also included quite a lot of information on New York. One way to make this fact known to a larger audience was to create a new website named and to bring information to people that might be helpful in researching their Yorker ancestors.

Yours truly was very excited a few months ago when one of the editors of the NEHGS website contacted me and asked if I would be interested in writing a monthly article for Well, yeah! My what an honor to even be considered. Now I’m no Michael Phelps but I sure am proud to be included with the excellent authors on this fact filled website. My first article appeared this week and it is titled; “Getting to Know the Lay of the Land Using New York State Gazetteers.”

So please visit and check out some of the great free information available. There are articles on a Case Study of Thomas Herring, Settlers of the Beekman Patent, The Erie Canal, Welsh Immigrants, NYS Census Records, NYS Vital Records, and many many databases that you will want to spend some time in.

While you are at it, check out all five of the NEHGS websites;,,, and

Your membership in NEHGS will allow you full access to all of the best websites and data that Boston has to offer.

Please tell us of any of your successes and leave comments below this post.

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American Archives, the Manuscript and Book Collection of Peter Force, (1790-1868.)


Peter Force was a 19th-century politician, newspaper editor, archivist, and historian.

Born near the Passaic Falls in New Jersey, to William and Sarah (Ferguson) Force.

His greatest achievement came as a collector and editor of historical documents. He published Tracts and Other Papers, Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America.

His American Archives was a collection of the most important documents of the American Revolution, 1774–1776. 9 volumes were published between 1837 and 1853. Force’s lifelong desire to establish an American national library finally came to fruition in 1867 when Congress purchased his own collection of original documents for $100,000 to found the Library of Congress.

Force died January 23, 1868 at the age of 77. His son, Manning Force, was an officer during the American Civil War.

(source – wikipedia – Peter Force)


To the readers of the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog;

I have a personal story abut this collection that goes back many years in my own genealogy research. My mother’s direct line 4th great grandparents were Seth Chase and Sarah (MILK) CHASE, of Little White Creek (Cambridge District, Albany County, New York.)

Seth CHASE was a Loyalist, a Quaker, and a Tavern Keeper in Little White Creek. His home/tavern was immediately the first farm north of the Battle of Bennington battlefield in the town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County. His house still exists and I have been all through it through the courtesy of the present owners. It is located on Cobble Hill Road south of the hamlet of White Creek adjacent to the town of Hoosick border.

About 25 or so years ago I was at the library in Cornell University and I came across a transcription description of Seth’s arrest in 1776 by the Americans, and being excited did not cite the exact reference. All I remembered when I went back later was that it was in a large book which was part of a multi-volume set. See boys and girls, cite your sources!

Well it turns out that Cornell has since put their set of this collection of transcribed manuscript records in their Kroch Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. Earlier today I was in discussion with another researcher friend, Deanna Smith, and I was reminded of this collection so set about locating it in today’s wonderful digital world.

Found it! Thanks to I found the title “American Archives” by Peter Force, and then wonder of wonders, the whole collection is digitized and online at the University of Northern Illinois.

What follows is just a snippet from the manuscript testimony of the two men that gave evidence against Seth CHASE:

The Deposition of Captain Isaac Peabody, of lawful age, being duly sworn, saith: That on Sunday morning, the 13th instant, he returned to the house of Seth Chase, in Little White Creek. I asked Mr. Chase if he had seen any of our Kinderhook friends the night past. He answered, no. I told him I wanted to see Mr. Hughs, the man we discoursed with last night in the road. He then told me Mr. Hough told him the discourse he had with us, and that Mr. Hough knew no more of the plan than what he had communicated to him. I asked him if he had for certain that Burgoyne with his Army was coming round the lakes? ….

The page further saith, that the people of Arlington had made such preparations for their march, that they could not forego it without being discovered; therefore, would march to-night. Mr. Chase then said, the people of White Creek are secure, they would not march till further order from Colonel Man. He likewise said, that Colonel Man had twelve fat oxen for the purpose of victualling the friends of Government on their march to join the King’s Army. And others had several more cattle for the same purpose. I then asked him to direct me to a plan whereby our Kinderhook friends could get safe to the King’s Army.

He then told me that Colonel Man had given countersigns at two places, and if these countersigns could be conveyed to your friends, they can pass safe, and get all intelligence necessary. He then spoke to his wife to bring him a paper, on which she immediately came to us and takes a paper out of her bosom and gave it to her husband, and he handed it to me, saying, Now I give you my life. I took the paper and read it to be this: “At Landlord Northrop’s the countersign is Tryon; and at Jacob Lansing’s Ferry, the countersign is Burgoyne.” I told him for fear I should make a mistake in these countersigns, I would write them down. Then wrote them down. He then said that upon giving these countersigns out at these two places, we could be secreted, have provisions, or be helped on our way, or any thing we desired to forward.

He further said, that Simon Covill was a good friend to Government, and that I might not be afraid of him; he further said, that his house was a place where Colonel Man’s page came for entertainment, and to bring news to the friends to Government.
Bennington, October 14, 1776.


Seth was arrested and put in jail for 14 days in Albany, then with many other prisoners was marched to Exeter, New Hampshire, to be banished to stay within the gaol limits of the town of Exeter for one year. At the end of the year he was allowed to return to his home and he also was allowed to keep his property.

As I said, I have been in that house where this event happened and I have this image burned in my mind of my fifth great grandmother pulling the secret password code out of her bosom.

Damn, I love history!

I encourage you all to search through these marvelous original documents that are online. There is just a world of exciting finds to be made!

American Archives – Peter Force

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Here are the websites that were recommended in July

One month ago today, this UNYG Blog posted an article inviting readers to send recommendations of their favorite links to websites or Blogs that have information on Upstate New York Genealogy.

Here are the links that were submitted for July.
All have been checked and are good suggestions.

Fulton History dot com:

Apple (Charlotte) of Apple’s Tree:

Colleen of Orations of OMcHodoy:

Thomas of Destination Austin Family:

Cyndis List:


Doris Wheeler’s Family:

NYS Newspaper Project:

Jefferson County, NY, Pioneer Portraits Project:

Schmid and Madr family history site:

100th Annual Reunion of descendants of Job PRINCE (1750-1827) and Rhoda KIBBE PRINCE (1770-1831):

New York Traveler:

Montgomery County Department of History and Archives at Fonda, New York.

history of New York State Diners.

Joyce Tice’s Tri-Counties and History web site:

Town of Hornby in Steuben County:

Rochester and a tiny bit in the Chesterfield, NY:

Mt. Hope & Riverside Cemetery Records:

Rochester City Directories:

Rochester Historic Marriage Records:

Gen Web of Monroe County:

Thanks to all who shared these with us. You know the old story about not being able to see the forest for the trees, right? Well this is a way that you can inform researchers of sites that they might not locate on their own.

Keep them coming folks. Just add your favorite NYS site to the comments just below this posting.

Tomorrow I will write a review of one of the July submissions.

You may read the previous post on this subject for the 07/08/08 article, here:

Then one more thing, our friend over at Dear Myrtle has just returned from a genealogical cruise that she will tell you all about on her recent podcast.

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NEHGS – Now also Publishing at

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS,) the oldest such organization in the United States was formed in 1845, and they have been concentrating immensely on New York State research lately, as well as the old standard New England States.

The NEHGS, also fondly referred to as the HistGen, has always offered information on their neighbor New York, now you will want to take a look at the website and publications that are being published online by the NEHGS at:

With all of the grumbling that has been taking place lately about the possible demise of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B,) or at least the loss of the library as it was, might want to visit this NEHGS sponsored website.

Some of the excellent articles that are online and freely available to all visitors are; Settlers of the Beekman Patent, The Erie Canal, New York State Census Records, New York State Vital Records, The Vosburgh Collection of Congregational Church Records, Earliest Records of Western New York, Early Palatine Families of New York, and New York State Cemeteries. That is just a taste, there are many more online!

There are also a great many public access databases available at:

The NEHGS is offering a 15% discount until June 30th for any new members that join from this website. If you are not yet a member, you should be.

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New York Public Library Digitizes Many NY State Maps Online

This is a day that should live in digital history for two reasons. First is that the New York Public Library (NYPL) in Manhattan has released a large collection of digitized state and county atlas maps.

The Burr’s Atlases and many of the individual County Atlases are able to be viewed online for free! Having only just now found them and testing only a few, they do leave you wanting more. The quality of the scans that I have checked so far is poor to fair at best, but they still are able to be used for reference as to locations.

The individual homeowners names on the few that I checked were almost unreadable, but you should check them yourselves and maybe you will have better results. I for one would just like to give the NYPL credit for such forward thinking, and with thanks. Possibly the quality will improve.

It is possible to purchase map copies from them so perhaps the quality will improve with price. The old saying has always been true. “You get what you pay for.”

Not all of the counties are available but here is the link to the collection: NYPL Maps.

*** Note: Update: Leland Meitzler at Everton’s Genealogy Blog also wrote about these maps today and his experience as to quality was excellent. So after checking again, I realized that in my excitement to get the news out I did not use the online pan and zoom tool provided with the maps. What I did was to download a couple of the maps in total to my hard drive and then tried to view them, so that is why the scans were of poor quality. So thanks even more to NYPL. The maps are great! ***

The second reason that this day shall remain famous is that this is the day that Mozilla wanted to set a world’s record with the most amount of downloads in one 24 hour period, upon the release of their new Firefox 3.0 browser that was to be available at 1:00pm today.

For what it is worth, I have been hammering on that download site for three hours and have not been able to get in yet. The only time there was a connection it ended up being an error message about http: (something) not available.

Looks like the new firefox is a little popular, even though you can’t download it.

Read our previous popular posts:
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
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Finding ancestors – With a Little Help From Your Friends

Genealogy websites are growing leaps and bounds every minute! Upstate New York Genealogy Blog will be telling you about some excellent resources from time to time and we encourage our readers to check these sites out. – Randy Seaver writes an enormously popular Blog on just about everything genealogy related. – Daily Blog of What’s New in Genealogy. – Diane Haddad writes a very informative Blog associated with items of interest that come to Family Tree Magazine. – Genealogy Forum provides chat rooms and a wondrous quantity of excellent genealogy links. - This website is for “Finding the Best Sites on the Web.” This tool is not just for genealogy but all categories.

Share the wealth, spread the word, find those ancestors!

Here are some of our most popular previous Blog messages:
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
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Billions of People in Over 100 Databases On-line for only $50 per year!

On-line Access to over 100 Important Databases. Cost: $50.00 per year. (Fifty Bucks!) Curious? Want to know more? Read on. This is no joke!

I did not count these exactly, but there must be over 100 databases, many of which will be very valuable to genealogists. These databases are searcheable and viewable on-line, and there is even an over all Master Search by Subject utility that will search all of the databases at once. You may also Browse by Title.

I’m guessing that these combined databases must contain billions and billions of names of people. Carl Sagan like, but I do not think I am exaggerating too much.

This following list is only a SAMPLE of the listings available.

19th Century Masterfile - Nineteenth century (1802 to 1906) newspapers.

Academic Search Complete – A full text database, with over 5,500 full-text periodicals, including over 4,000 peer-reviewed journals.

Accessible Archives – Online databases of primary source material from 18th & 19th centuries, including coverage of the Colonial Period, The French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, African-American History, and the Industrial Revolution.

African American Experience – African American history and culture is broken into topics such as history, biography, literature, arts, culture, business, civil rights, politics, sports, education, science, and more.

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century – The database consists of six newspapers: The Freedom’s Journal, The Colored American, The North Star, Frederick Douglass Paper, The National Era, Provincial Freeman, and The Christian Recorder. Dates covered are 1827-1902.

America: History and Life – Historical coverage of the U.S. and Canada from prehistory to the present from over 2,000 journals from 1964 on. Includes fulltext linking to matching Oxford University Press and Project Muse journals.

America’s Newspapers: New York – Full text coverage of a wide range of New York State newspapers from Albany, Batavia, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Ithaca, Lewisboro, Long Island, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Saratoga, Suffolk county, Syracuse, Troy, Utica, Watertown, and Westchester county.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index - Citations for over 12 million entries for current and historical persons.

(That is only a PARTIAL LISTING, starting in the A’s and B’s. Just a smidgen!)

Here are a few more FABULOUS collections!

HeritageQuest Online – Contains the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), full text of the Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Legislation and Administration Relating to Participation in the Revolutionary War, full text of Registers of signatures of despositors in branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company 1865 – 1874, full text of ProQuest’s Genealogy and Local History Collection of 25,000+ family and local history books and the full text of the 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1860 -1880 and 1900-1920 census for the entire United States.

JSTOR – Arts and Sciences Collection - The Arts and Sciences collections I, II, III, and IV contain more than 240 titles in over forty disciplines.

Sanborn Maps - Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 provides access to large-scale maps (50 feet to an inch) of towns and cities in New York.

Yikes! Sanborn Maps of New York! Do you people have any idea how important this collection is?

The above listing is only a teeny, tiny part of the list of all that are available for your fifty dollar investment.

All of these fine databases, and many more are available to anyone that has a New York State Library Card with the letter “P” designation. How do you get one?

Join the “Friends of the New York State Library.” In addition to the deep satisfaction of preserving a world renowned public research library, you can obtain special discounts at local book stores.

For all you Genealogaholics, the category that you will want is either the Contributing Membership at $50.00 per year, or you can be real supportive and sign up for the Excelsior Membership for $100.00 or more.

How do you join?
Go to the Friends website at:

To see the full list of databases available with membership go to:

See you there!

Thanks to Cynthia Van Ness of the Buffalo Library and the Erie County rootsweb mail list for letting us know about this.

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