My Toughest Brick Wall

morgan-john-2I have a great great grandfather that I haven’t made any progress on in 35 years. His name is John Morgan. Part of the problem is his surname. Morgan may not be as popular as Smith or Brown but it still was a very common surname. From various census records I know he was born about 1823. In the 1850 census he is married with a daughter and living in the Town of Hornellssville, Steuben County, NY. The 1855 NY State census says that he was born in Allegany County but that could be only a couple of miles away as Hornellsville is on the west edge of Steuben County. I found the family residence on Webbs Crossing Road an old map and it appears that they lived at the same place from 1850 until his death. He and his wife Lovina are buried in the Arkport Cemetery just 3 miles north of where they lived. That is his inscription on the tombstone. It may be hard to read but the photo turned out to be better than trying to read it in person.

John died 10 July 1882. At that time New York State had required keeping death records for two years. But I checked the NY State death index and there isn’t any death certificate listed. Many years ago I also had the clerk in the Town of Hornellsville look for a death certificate. Again no death recorded. There was a probate file in the Steuben County Courthouse for John. It lists as heirs, his widow, 3 daughters and a son (also named John).  No brothers, sisters or parents were listed. The probate file had a listing of his personal estate. Among the household items left to his widow were a family Bible and family photos. I sure wish I could find those.

The only other clue of John’s parentage is that in the 1880 census it says that both his father and mother were born in New Hampshire. You would think that fact would help but it doesn’t. So I am still at the same place I was 35 years ago.

There was a recent blog article titled “The 13 Reasons You Can’t Break Down Your Brick Walls.” I read that hoping it could help me. There were some good suggestions but none of them helped me.

Four Issues of “Studio Light”

studio-light-1916-11I uploaded four issues of “Studio Light” from 100 years ago. It was a magazine that Kodak published for professional photographers. It had a long run, being published from 1909 to at least 1991 with minor variations of the title. Google Books has scanned some of the early issues and I am filling in for issues that they don’t have. Issues that I scanned this time are:

In these early issues they would feature photos from a single photographer. The Oct. 1916 issue featured photos from the Morrall-Hoole Studio in Rochester.Unfortunately, none of the people in the photos are identified.

Old News – Auto Accidents

Many automobile laws were being introduced 100 years ago. What really made a difference was enforcement of those laws to make drivers obey the traffic laws.

The Allen auto in the ad was made in Fostoria, Ohio from 1913 to 1922.


Thursday, May 25, 1916


Party of Kendal Women in Accident at Clarkson

Bert Dorrence’s Auto Bumps Trolley Car at Main St. Crossing

ad-1916-05-25Two accidents in this vicinity have occurred during the past week which although slight, should give a warning to autoists of this town and vicinity. The first one occurred Saturday afternoon last week at Clarkson corners when an automobile driven by Miss Sanford of Kendall was given too short a turn at the corners and turned completely over and up again on its side. The ladies were picked up in a dazed condition and carried to the office of Dr.Hermance. Miss Sanford had a tooth knocked out and suffered a fractured jaw as well as several cuts and bruises. Mrs Crandall was also cut but other members of the party escaped without injury. The windshield and lamps were badly smashed but the car was later able to proceed by its own power. After remaining at the doctor’s office for a time, the women were taken to their homes.

On Thursday night while driving north on Main street Bert Dorrance, proprietor of the garage on Main street, just over the canal, failed to see the westbound car in time to avoid colliding with it. Fortunately he was able to brake the speed of the car enough to save it from a severe impact and although the windshield, lamps and steering gear of the car were broken, he and Mrs. Dorrance were saved from serious injury.

Although such accidents sometimes fall to the lot of the most careful drivers, there is no denying the fact that motorists have entirely disregarded the speed laws on our Main street and spectators have had occasion to hold their breath many times as accidents have been narrowly averted at the Main and State street crossing. Another favorite trick of careless drivers is to make a wide and sweeping turn, taking advantage of the street but neglecting to first observe whether another auto was following their machine. Several times only the efficiency of the brakes has saved autos from colliding with such machines. With the enforcement of the new traffic ordinance it is hoped that there will be more caution used on out streets.

Sibley’s Ad – Early Summer

Here is another one of the original drawings that I bought that were used by the Sibley’s Department Stores in Rochester and the surrounding area. This one supposedly in the Times-Union of May 24, 1955.

The name of the artist has been lost to time. I know that it was a lady that came from Germany specifically to draw for Sibley’s.

Dated May 23, 1955

RPL New Scans

Rochesters-wwiThe Rochester Public Library has uploaded some new scanned items for the first time in almost two years.

Among the new things is “Rochester’s Part in the World War (I).” It is a 36 page booklet showing the things that people from the Rochester area did to help during WWI. Some of the ladies in the picture were in the Women’s Motor Corps while others helped via the Red Cross.

There are two volumes of “Men of New York” from 1898. These are biographies of prominent business and political leaders.  Volume 1 covers western NY  including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara Counties. Volume 2  covers New York City, Eastern region, Chemung region and Genesee Region which does include some men from Monroe County.

Then also scanned was another scrapbook of newspaper obits collected by the Rochester Museum (vol. 5). Volume 1 which has obits from 1912-13 and volume 2 which has obits from 1914 were scanned in 2014. The newly scanned volume 5 has obits from 1916. Where are volumes 3 and 4? They are either lost or are too fragile to be scanned.

Old News – Spring Flooding

Spring flooding is always a problem. The Erie Canal, which by this time was being called the Barge Canal, uses feeders from creeks to fill it each year. It is emptied each fall and the same system can be used if the canal gets too high from spring floods. But if the creeks are also too high, it is difficult to release water from the canal.


Thursday, May 18, 1916


Rainfall Floods Streets, Gardens, Fields Doing Much Damage

ad-1916-05-18Up until six o’clock Tuesday evening Brockport had experienced in twenty-four hours 2.32 inches, the heaviest rainfall registered here in sixteen tears. Streets were running rivers, gardens were isolated lakes and several different places about the village six inches of water was running over the sidewalks. On Monday evening the lightning struck in two different places in the northern part of the village, it is reported. At the Bort property on Fayette street, occupied by Mrs. Mabel Allen, the lightning struck the ridge pole of the barn tearing off tearing off the shingles and the back of the barn was splintered. Some of the splinters were carried nearly eighty feet away and lodged in the top of a beach tree. The same night an apple tree in front of the Pitts residence on East avenue was shattered. the shock also broke one of the windows of the house near which a member of the family was standing..

Early Tuesday afternoon Barge Canal Division Sperintendent H. A. Kuntze was notified of a leak in the canal near the East Lake bridge. He soon had a force of men on the scene and the danger was averted A cloudburst at Brockville, near Holley caused the canal to overflow and a large territory was flooded and the culvert near there injured. Men were sen out to ope every waste weir between Lockport and Holley. but because almost every creek was filled with surface water, it was difficult to spill any great quantity, without flooding the surrounding country.

There was from sixteen to twenty feet of water in Holley Glen last night which under normal conditions is only a few inches deep.

Yesterday morning it was reported that Brockport’s auxiliary sewage disposal plant, in the process of construction was partially destroyed by the rains of Tuesday night. A considerable portion of the wall of the big vat caved in carrying with it tons of cement work only recently completed by the contractors. This is a serious set back for the village as the old plant is entirely inadequate and it was hoped to have the new work soon in readiness for use.

Fixing Relationships in FSFT

fam-tree-childrenMonths ago I notice a problem with an ancestor in the FamilySearch Family Tree (FSFT). Jeremiah Halsey showed with two wives with the same children listed. The big problem was that one of his wives was really his mother. At that time I couldn’t figure out how to fix the situation. Then last week I decided to look at the problem again. I was afraid I might make a mistake but FSFT does let you reverse changes if you make an incorrect change. It took a while to figure out how to straighten out the family.

What I found out was that I had to make changes to the children, not the parents. Notice in the list of children is a small box on the right of the name. When you click on that, it pops up a box where you can make changes. For the first child, I clicked on “Remove or Replace” to remove the relationship to the grandmother who was listed as the mother. That ended up creating another problem. It still had the father with that child but without any mother’s name. So I reversed that change. Instead, I found that I wanted to click on “Remove or Replace” on the child in the pop-up. That allowed me to remove both parents. That worked. When I did that for all the children that had been listed with their father and grandmother, those relationship were deleted and just the true father and mother were retained.