NY State Death Index

The index to New York State birth records is online at Ancestry.com. The thanks for wrenching these records out of the NY State Dept. of Health actually goes to Reclaim the Records who filed a Freedom of Information request for the indexes. Reclaim the Records currently has not received their copy of the records but they will. The Dept. of Health used Ancestry to film the records and they were able to get the index records online first. Eventually when Reclaim the Records gets their copies, they will upload the pages to Archive.org.

The indexes that are online include the years from 1881 to 1942. More current birth records and their indexes are restricted. The indexes do NOT cover the entire state. Prior to 1914, Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers had their own records offices and the birth certificates for those cities are not in this set of indexes. New York City has always kept their own records. Up until 1898 New York City only included Manhattan. So early records for Brooklyn (Kings Co.), Queens, Bronx and Staten Island (Richmond Co.) ARE included in this set of indexes. On example #1 are “New Lots” and “Gravesend” which were villages that were later absorbed into Brooklyn.

The early indexes (1881 – 1939) are alphabetical. The records were numbered as they were received by the Dept. of Health. On example #1 is John Donnolly, record number 51. It has his birth date as 16 Nov. It is possible that he was born in 1880. Also on this example on top is Rosa Doerer and her record says she was born in “Rch.” That is the abbreviation that the Dept. of Health used for Rochester but Ancestry has all the Rochester records mistakenly listed as Richmond.

It appears that there are between 6,000 to 7,000 births recorded for the upstate NY for the year 1881. Registration of vital records became better very slowly. Some say that it was after 1900 before there was close to 100% registration of birth records.

Notice too that some births are only listed as “F” or “M” for female and male. Parents had not decided on the child’s name until after registration was completed.

The indexes from 1940 – 1942 are printed out on old computer forms (see example #2 from 1942). Instead of being alphabetical they are arranged by the Soundex system. If you need a review of how to convert names to their Soundex code, see this web page from the National Archives. Notice in the example that both Arne E. Aho and Leon W. Abbey have certificate numbers that start with a “D.” That means that they are delayed birth registrations. Those could be birth registrations that were filed many years later.

At least these later birth indexes have Rochester spelled out so Ancestry can’t mistake the place of birth on these pages.

For the year 1942 there are approx 2390 pages with at least 50 names on each page. That means that there would be approx. 119,000 births total. The index page only has space for 5 digits. So for certificates 100,000 to 109,999 they are listed as beginning with an “R.” Certificates beginning 110,000 begin with an “S.” These would be for certificates from December.

I noticed that in the 1942 index there were names that had a place of birth as “New York.” They didn’t have a certificate number so they are recorded in the New York City Dept. of Health. There are other mysteries like one person listed as born in New Jersey and two listed as born in Germany. Why would those people be in the NY State birth index?

The indexes were typed (early indexes) or keyed into a computer (later indexes) years after the births occurred. There is the probability that the persons creating the indexes made typing mistakes. Ancestry put the indexes online very quickly. The must have used OCR (optical character recognition) to create their indexes. OCR has problems reading text that isn’t perfect. So that would also create more probabilities of mistakes.

Right now the indexes are only behind a pay-wall at Ancestry. Reclaim the Records will eventually put the indexes online for free on Archive.org where you will be able to view the entire collection of index pages.

Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #44

In the last article in William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he told about an old law in Rochester. Here is another set of laws that were passed in 1862 by the Rochester City government.

Wilkinson 44

Penal Ordinance Passed November 11, 1862

“No person shall fly a kite within the said city under a penalty of two dollars for each offense. No boat bell shall be rung, nor shall any signal horn or trumpet be blown or played for a signal within said city on Sunday nor shall any bell connected with or used for any railroad depot, be rung within said city of Sunday.
No person shall place or post or cause to permit to be posted in any street or an bridge, in said city, any handbill or advertisement giving notice that any person has, or professes to have skill in the treatment or curing of any disorders, disease, or giving notice of the sale or exposure to sale of any nostrum or medicine, under the penalty of ten dollars dor each offense.”

Hit Songs of 1968 – #25

Gary Puckett and the Union Gap were back again with another hit. This time it was “Lady Willpower” and it was written by Jerry Fuller that also wrote “Young Girl” and “Over You” for the group. This song is about a guy wants to take a relationship to the next level but the lady isn’t willing.

Gary Puckett had been playing with bands since High School. The Union Gap was formed in 1967. In 1969 they had a hit with “This Girl is a Woman Now.” It would be their last hit and they soon faded away. The group split for good in 1971.

Gary Puckett is playing many dates this summer as part of the “Happy Together” Tour with other groups from the 60s. That tour didn’t make it to anyplace near here this summer. He is playing 12 concerts in Australia in Feb. 2019. His website has everything including a store to buy CDs, autographed pictures and T-shirts.

“Lady Willpower” was at the top of the Cash Box record chart for just the week of July 28 – Aug. 3. It was number one on theRecord World 100 Top Pops for the week of Aug. 4 – 10. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart it only got up to the #2 spot but for two weeks (July 14 – 27).

Ontario Beach Park – #19

As mentioned in the last chapter on the Park, it was auctioned off March 5, 1906 on the Monroe County Court House for debts owed on bonds. The new name for the Corporation that now owned the Park was “The Ontario Beach Hotel and Amusement Company.”

From Local History Division, Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County

In May they started announcing improvements that were being made for the year. Some were minor like repairing a fountain and adding drinking fountains. They did repair the bathhouse. In 1905 the Auditorium hosted dancing. In 1906 it was changed over to a roller skating rink under the management of Casino Rink Co. who operated rinks in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The newspaper article mentioning the opening on May 19th says that they have 500 pairs of skates. They built a new dancing pavilion, 200 x 100 feet at a cost of $30,000. They also opened the Ontario Beachoscope which was a movie theater.

There had been an Old Mill ride planned in 1905 but it appears that it didn’t get built until 1906. It was building in which there were small boats that “sailed” around an old water wheel. It lasted for many years but did later did change the name of the ride.

There was another new roller coaster besides the Scenic Railway which was also a roller coaster. This one was smaller and the only picture is the postcard to the right that shows the entrance (blue-gray roof).

Entertainment for the week of June 4th was Miller’s herd of trained elephants, who bathed twice a day in Lake Ontario. Other vaudeville acts for the season were Jackson family of 8 bicycle riders; George and Harrington, comedy horizontal bar act; Japanese top spinners & jugglers and Dewar’s, trained cats and dogs.

There was a small want ad in the Democrat & Chronicle of July 30th that the park wanted fifty girls for Marti Gras and carnival in August. The girls that the Park hired for Marti Gras danced in masks in a parade. At the end of the parade they would then have a giant confetti battle.

The featured act was to be a Russian giant. When that fell through, they went in the other direction and got “Chiquita” the smallest woman in the world. Her real name was Espiridiona Cenda and she was from the Tumsari Valley, Cuba. At that time she was 36 years old, 26 inches tall and weighed 26 pounds. She sang songs in Spanish.

Other acts during Marti Gras were an Oriental show with eight girl dancers, an animal show, natives from the Philippines, Madame Caro the leopard trainer and a minstrel show (see ad from D&C, Aug. 19th, below). The Marti Gras was so successful that it was extended for a second week.

Just before the the Park closed for the season there was a tragedy. Leonard, who did one of those acts were a bicycle goes around a loop and jumps a gap at the top of the loop (see picture on part #16). Three  boards broke and he crashed on to the platform. He struck his face and shoulders. No bones were broken but he was unconscious when picked up.