Updates to Find A Grave and Billion Graves

siblingsSince Ancestry bought Find A Grave last year, the change that I like best is that they added a list of siblings to each person’s memorial. That only took some minor reprogramming as the siblings were from links that people created when they added children to a parent. My grandfather, Archie Halsey, (click image for larger view) has more siblings listed than his 3 brother and a sister. That is because also listed are some of his half brothers and sisters. Notice at the bottom of the image that it says two asterisks are used for half siblings.

F-A-G changed the way updates to a memorial are made. Before you sent a text message to the person that managed the memorial. Now you go to an edit screen and the changes are sent to the person managing the memorial for approval.

F-A-G now has an app for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With the app you can search and view records already on the website. You can also add photos to memorials that don’t have a photo of the tombstone. You can also add new memorials but you should check to made sure there isn’t a memorial for a person before adding so as to not duplicate a person. An Android app is planned for the near future.

Billion Graves has had an app for both Apple and Android devices. They have been sharing their records on FamilySearch for a while but recently made an agreement to share records with MyHeritage. MyHeritage is going to update the Billion Grave app to add support for at least 25 languages. To show their commitment to Billion Graves, recently MyHeritage had 80 employees take about 50,000 pictures of tombstones in a single cemetery in a single day in Israel near their headquarters.

To take pictures for Billion Graves you need either a smart phone or a camera that can record GPS coordinates. My digital camera doesn’t have GPS capability. That why I don’t put any photos on Billlion Graves.

Current tallies are that Billion Graves currently has approx. 6.8 million records and Find A Grave has approx. 112 million. You need to check both of those websites regularly to check for any new data

Top Songs of 1964; #6

Single cover

Single cover

Yet another Beatles song is to hit the top of the US record charts in 1964. “Can’t Buy Me Love” was hit the top spot only a little more than a month after it was recorded. The backgrounds were recorded in Paris in January and then Paul’s vocal and George’s guitar were recorded later in England.

Can’t Buy Me Love” was the top song on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart for the weeks of March 29 to May 2. It was the number one song on the Cash Box chart for the weeks of April 5 – May 9. That is 5 weeks at the top of the charts. The only Beatles songs that were on the top of the charts longer were “I Want To Hold Your Hand” at seven weeks and “Hey Jude” at nine weeks.

The week of March 29 to April 4 was a memorable week for the Beatles. They had the top 5 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The other 4 were:

  • Twist and Shout
  • She Loves You
  • I Want To Hold Your Hans
  • Please Please Me

The Beatles have an Official website that also includes a link to download songs from iTunes. (Beatles songs can not be downloaded from Amazon.)

Top Songs of 1964; #5

UK single cover

UK single cover

The next song to hit the top of the US record charts in 1964 depends on which of the major charts you look at. On the Cash Box chart for the week of  March 29 to April 4 the number one song was the Beatles “Twist and Shout.” That song only made it to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart but remained there for 4 weeks (March 29 – April 25).

Twist and Shout was written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns in 1961. It was first recorded by a group called the Top Notes but it wasn’t a hit for them. Then the song was recorded bu the Isley Brothers and became their first big hit. In the US, “Twist and Shout” was the only million-selling Beatles single that was a cover song. After being such a big hit by the Beatles, the song has been recorded by many groups.

The Beatles have an Official website that also includes a link to download songs from iTunes. (Beatles songs can not be downloaded from Amazon.)

Old News – East Rochester Fire, 1914

More news from the past.


Thursday, March 26, 1914


Eyer Building Containing Fryattt Department Store and Other Firms a Total Loss — To Be Rebuilt Immediately

East Rochester, March 24,—Fire causing a loss of nearly $200,000, occurred in this village, Tuesday  night.

eyer-fire-1914-aThe crew of an R. S. & E. freight car which was passing through the village about 11 o’clock, discovered fire in the basement of the Eyer block on Main street and extending from Elm to Commercial streets. The motorman sounded an alarm by blowing the whistle the length of the village.

Mrs. Alice Creighton, night operator of the Bell telephone exchange, heard the alarm and immediately sent an alarm to the car shops, where the fire whistle was blown and the firemen were quickly on the scene. Mrs. Creighton also called up the proprietors of several business places situated in the block and was instrumental in arousing the night operator in the Home telephone office which was situated in the burning building.

Wm. Maisenheimer, the janitor of the block, who with his wife and mother occupied rooms on the second floor, barely escaped. they lost everything except the scanty clothing they wore.

The fire started in the basement under the gents’ furnishing department, and had gained such headway that in spite of the strenuous efforts of the firemen, the flames spread rapidly and one-half of the building was destroyed. The other half, which was built two years ago, was of fireproof construction with a double wall, which stood the test, between the old and new parts.

The flames darted rapidly up the elevator shaft, part of the third floor burning before the second. Realizing the magnitude of the fire, a call was sent to Rochester’ commissioner of public safety, Charles S, Owen, who sent Truck 17 with Lieutenant Kern in command, to the scene of the fire. Calls were also sent to Penfield, Pittsford and Fairport. Firemen from each town quickly responded and rendered valuable assistance. With the concentrated efforts of all companies, the fire was confined to the building in which it started. A strong west wind sent sparks and burning brands for a long distance, but the roofs of buildings being covered with ice and snow prevented in all probability the loss of many buildings in East Commercial street.

The loss sustained by Mr. Eyer, owner of the block, is estimated at $85,000. B. J. Fryatt occupied the lower floor with a department store, comprising a drug store, gents’ furnishing department, boot and shoe department, dry goods’ department, china and hardware, also an extensive grocery department including a bakery in the basement.

Parts of the second and third floors were filled with a large amount of furniture, none of the contents of which were saved. On the second floor were the offices of W. D. Hewes, insurance and real estate, Walter Parce and son, real estate, and H. L. Frank, dentist. The third floor was the I. O. O. F. Lodge rooms. The contents of all these were destroyed with the exception of the safes which appear to be in good condition although some of them have nor been opened at this writing. The safe belonging to the Odd Fellows was opened and contents found to be in perfect condition. Mr. Hewes’ loss is greater than the first estimable, as a metal filing cabinet which was supposed to be fireproof and contained many valuable papers when examined, was found to have all its records burned.

Fortunately no lives were lost.

About 3 o’clock a large portion of the front wall fell. Warning was given but several barely escaped before the walk was covered with the fallen mass of brick. The firemen suffered intensely from the cold and their clothing was frozen on them. Several were exhausted and overcome with smoke while a few were cut by flying glass.

eyer-fire-1914-bMr. Eyer greatly appreciates the heroic work of the local fir department as well as the out of town companies who so kindly came to their assistance. The fire companies under the command of Fire Chief Whittleton have been warmly praised for their work by those whose property they worked so hard to save; in fact, the only criticism came, as is usually the case from the ones who stood at a safe distance, with their hands in their pockets and told what the other fellow should have done.

Mr. Fryatt was at the building a few minutes after the alarm was sounded, and on attempting to enter his store, was badly cut on the wrist by falling glass, the wound requiring four stitches to close. But while suffering intense pain and submitting to the work of the surgeon, he was given directions to George Clark, the manager of the grocery department, to lease a vacant building and start for Rochester, to purchase new goods and he was supplying his customers with groceries the next afternoon. Courage and perseverance like this cannot help command success. Mr. Fryatt began work here on a small scale, with the beginning of the town and worked up to one of the finest and best equipped stores to be found in a small town any where. Mr. Fryatt has once before lost his stock of goods by fire.

He leased the building known as the Smith block and has a good stock of groceries, boots and shoes. Dry goods are constantly arriving. The building formerly occupied by the laundry, is being used by him as a drug store, and gents’ furnishing depart met. Harry Brady will soon be found on the third floor of the new part of the Eyer block with a line of furniture and an undertaking department. The bakery which was located under the side walk, was not wholly destroyed and work has been resumed there.

W. D. Hewes has rented room 5 and Yale Parce room 6 in the new part of the block.

Dr. H. L. Frank rented the rooms formerly occupied by H. Newcomb, and started at once for Buffalo, for a new equipment. Dr. Frank is a young man recently graduated from the Buffalo Dental College, and only a few months ago, opened an office here with all the modern appliances for a dental office, elegant office furniture, etc., all of which was lost.

The Home Telephone Company immediately secured rooms on the second floor of the Ramsden building on Commercial street, ordered a new switch board and supplies from Buffalo necessary to resume operations and were soon in working order.

Mr. Eyer was ill at the time of the fire, but says he will commence at once at the ruins with a fine new fireproof building.

Kodak Business Park For Sale

EBP-logoEastman Kodak today announced that the property formerly known as Kodak Park and for the last few years called Eastman Business Park (EBP) is now for sale. The site contains 1,200 acres and many buildings comprising 7.2 million square feet of space. The Park is currently home to 50 different companies and within those companies are 4,700 employees. The bankruptcy over the last few years has meant that Kodak has gotten rid of the majority of their divisions including the personal imaging division. Thus the amount of space that Kodak occupies in EBP is much smaller. The last hurdle for Kodak occurred in the last few months with an agreement with the NY State environmental department to set up a trust fund for past contamination of EBP and the Genesee River.

A few news outlets are reporting that EBP has its own electric, water & sewage plant and making it sound like those services will be included in the sale. In fact, Kodak over the last few years has sold all those services to a company named Recycled Energy Development (RED).

Kodak’s official press release tries to paint this sale as good news. The company says “Kodak believes the uniquely well-equipped site can best continue its transformation into a multi-use, multi-tenant industrial facility under the ownership of a firm focused on its redevelopment. At the same time, EBP’s sale will help Kodak to maintain its focus on its commercial imaging businesses.”

No price for EBP has been announced. A new owner would probably have to have a plan for some of the current open space in order for the sale to eventually make money.

Sitting on EBP on Lake Avenue is grave of George Eastman. Will the new owner also get George?


Fort Ticonderoga Image, 1818

Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga- 2009

Last week on the Fort Ticonderoga blog they published this post that included a drawing of what Fort Ticonderoga looked like in 1818. The posting doesn’t mention it but you can click on the small image to see a much larger version of the drawing. By 1818 the once important Fort had already fallen into ruins.

Fort Ticonderoga was originally built between 1754 and 1757 by the French during the French and Indian War. The Fort commanded a river that connected Lake Champlain and Lake George. Using that water route made it fairly easy to get from Montreal to Albany in the days when roads were in poor condition. The British captured the Fort in 1759. They left only a token amount of troops at the Fort after that war and the Fort started to fall into disrepair.

During the Revolutionary War the Fort was captured in May 1775 by American troops commanded by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. The Fort was captured again by the British in June 1777 and they maintained control of the Fort until the end of the War in 1783.

My 4th great grandfather, Mathew Halsey, was in the Revolutionary War and marched with his company from the eastern end of Long Island all the way to Fort Ticonderoga where they stayed for about 3 weeks in November 1775. I visited the Fort in the mid 1990s on vacation. It wasn’t until many years later that I found out that the Fort had major reconstruction done in the early twentieth century.

Shared Library Catalogs

Fairly recently the FamilySearch catalog was merged with the WorldCat catalog. It definitely benefits genealogical researchers in finding sources closer to where they live.

From the main FamilySearch web page, you can get to the catalog either of two ways. If you hover over the “Search” at the top of the page a menu comes up with “Catalog” that you can click on. Or if you click on “Search” on the bottom bar on the main web page, then a new web page comes up with “Catalog” to click on at the top of that web page. On the Catalog page you can search by places, surnames, titles, authors, subjects and keywords. For this example I searched for the Town of Parma, here in Monroe County. I find  “Heroes in Homespun; The Story of Parm’s Revolutionary Heroes…” that I would like to see (see Graphic 1) (you can click on the graphic to see a larger version).

Graphic 1

Graphic 1

I click on the title of “Heroes…” and I get this description (below).

Graphic 2

Graphic 2

I see that it isn’t available on microfilm, just as a book in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. But if you scroll down on the web page there is a link that says “View this catalog record in WorldCat for other possible copy locations” (my big red arrow). If you click on that link, it opens a new web page on WorldCat (see below).

Graphic 3

Graphic 3

On the WorldCat page you can put your zip code in the location box (my blue arrow) and it will sort the libraries by closest to you. For “Heroes…” that is many libraries in Rochester. All together this book is in 23 libraries in the US. I edited the results to show the farthest locations below the red line. Note that the book is in libraries in Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan. Note that the farthest library from me is Family History Library but I wouldn’t have to travel that far to see this book.

For some older books, WorldCat also indicates those digital copies that are available online. Check out a surname or location on the FamilySearch catalog and see what references you can find for your family research.


WWI-2smI have decided to let go of my 3 volume set “World War (I) Service Record; Rochester and Monroe Co., NY.” All together 3,225 pages including in Vol. 1, 467 portraits of men that died during WWI. Volume 2 is huge (1985 pages) with a listing for everyone that serviced during the War. That includes when they were enlisted, units service in, rank, date discharged and address after the War. Volume 3 has description of organizations that helped the war effort.

I put this set up for a one week auction on eBay starting at $125. That price might sound high but the set is in very good condition. If you are local you will want to pick-up the set to save the postage charges. Click on “My current eBay listings” over in the left column to see this and everything I have on eBay.

Old News – Death of Westinghouse

More news from the past.


Wednesday, March 18, 1914


Invented His Famous Air Brake When a Youth.


Engineer, Dead at Sixty-seven, Was One of the Most Remarkable of Nation’s Great Men—Introduced and Developed Alternating Current System For Electric Light and Power.

westinghouse-georgeThe late George Westinghouse was more than an American, says the New York Times editorially. He belonged to the world and had been a conspicuous figure in it for nearly fifty years. He died comparatively young, only four months over sixty-seven, but he was still a youth with which his career began. The air brake; with which his name will always be associated, was in successful use when he was only twenty-two. It is said of that invention that it has saved more lives than centuries of warfare have destroyed. It has made possible the development of railroad traffic as it is known today—the trains of great length, high speed, large capacity and increasing frequency. For this invention Mr. Westinghouse received great reward and worldwide recognition.

Turned to Electricity.

He made many other contributions to individual progress. If any of these deserve mention more than another it is probably his work to introducing and developing the alternating current system for electric light and power. In the early days of the electrical industry it was soon found that the direct or continuous current, could not be transmitted economically and efficiently beyond a “short  distance” from the generating stations.

Mr. Westinghouse always alert for new ideas and new methods, found that in Europe apparatus had been devised for utilizing the alternating current. By these devices current generated at high pressures could be transmitted over long distances and lowered to pressure at any desired point. He bough the patents, undertook to improve and develop them and labored, against much opposition, until the alternating system became universal.

His career, continues the writer, was a happy illustration of what Tyndall called “the scientific use of the imagination.” He had a wonderful faculty for transforming visions into acts. He became eminent as an engineer, as an inventor and an manufacturer, Fifty thousand employees and $200,000,000 of capital were needed in the many organizations which he founded in America and Europe.

His genius was never shown in brighter light than when he took up some task which other men described as impossible. He must have heard frequently that the air spring for motor vehicles was impossible. The world told him that the geared turbine for driving ships’ propellers and especially his application of it could never succeed. But he made it succeed, and just before his fatal illness he learned that two new battleships are to be fitted with these inventions.

Arthur Warren, close friend of the inventor, says:

“He thought in flashes, and his action seemed almost as quick as his thought. He could and did outwork many men. Every day but Sunday was a working day.”

Top Songs of 1964; #4

beatles-she-loves-youAfter a month and half a new song was to knock the Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” off the top of the music charts. But it was another Beatles song; “She Loves You.” It had been released on 16 September 1963 in the US but didn’t have any initial success until Beatlemania took hold. It helped make the song more popular by having the Beatles play it on the first two of their three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in Feb. 1964.

She Loves You” would only stay on the top of both the Cash Box and Billboard Hot 100 charts for only two weeks (March 15 – 28) to be knocked off by another Beatles song.

The Beatles have an Official website that also includes a link to download songs from iTunes. (Beatles songs can not be downloaded from Amazon.)