NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #1

NYS-fam-hist-confLast weekend I attended the NY State Family History Conference in Syracuse. This is the third year for the conference that is sponsored by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society and Central NY Genealogical Society. The first day of the conference (Thursday) was more geared to administrators of genealogical societies. Friday and Saturday were for the genealogical researchers. There were three lectures running most of the day and there was always one that was for people researching in New York State. Those are the ones that I attended. Over the next week, or so, I will try to write brief reviews of the talks that I attended.

First lecture was by Karen Mauer Jones on “Patroonships, Manors, Patents, Rent Wars, and Land Companies.” Ms. Jones is the current editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

Ms. Jones explained that a patroon was an owner of a large tract of land that were in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The patroon had to get 50 settlers and establish a church on the land within the first few years. The settlers would only lease their land and have to pay a yearly rent usually in the form on bushels of crops. The largest patroonship was Rensselaerswyck. Records were kept by the land owner and rent ledgers for the larger patroonships exist at the NY State Archives.

When the English took over New York from the Dutch in 1664 the system was modified only slightly but the estates were then called Manors. The system existed until 1840s when there were rent wars and the land owners were forced to sell the land to the renters. See the “Land Patents” page from the NY Archives for tips on research in this period of NY history.

Starting in 1791 Military tracts were set up in central NY that covered 1.8 million acres of land granted to Revolutionary War veterans. A great share of these veterans sold their land without ever setting foot on the land. The Balloting Book and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York (1825) gives a full listing of those that were given military bounty lands and also who those lands sold to others. Start by looking at this index to the volume.

Ms. Jones concluded by talking about the Phelps and Gorham land purchase and Holland Land Company purchase. Those are two land purchases that were in western New York and both could be a full hour talk for each. Land purchased from those companies are found at the respective County Clerk’s office.

Top Songs of 1965 – #20

Bob_Dylan_-_Like_a_Rolling_StoneSo how do feel? Maybe; Like A Rolling Stone. That was the song by Bob Dylan that was to top a record chart in 1965. At 6 minutes and 13 second the distributor didn’t want to release the song as a single. But it was purposely leaked to a few radio station and it started climbing the charts. On 25 July 1965 Dylan performed the song at the Newport Jazz Festival and many in the audience yelled at him for using an electric guitar. The song was on his ground breaking album Highway 61 Revisited on which Dylan used rock musicians as his backing group. At an auction in 2014, Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to the song fetched $2 million.

Like A Rolling Stone was the top song on the Cash Box record chart for just the week of Sept. 12 – 18. It only made it to the number 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the weeks of Aug. 29 – Sept. 11. Just the same, Rolling Stone magazine put the the song as number one song on their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.

The official Bob Dylan website has tour dates but it appears he is only doing concerts in the foreseeable future.

Download Bob Dylan songs (for a small fee) from Amazon.com.

Top Songs of 1965 – #19

Beatles_help2Help!, the title song from the Beatles movie was the next top song in 1965. The song was written by John Lennon but credited to Lennon-McCartney as per the agreement from that time. The movie Help! was released in the US on 25 August. In the movie Ringo has possession of a sacred ring and a cult tries to get it back. There is a chase and the Beatles go to the Alps and Bermuda with the cult still chasing them. As part of the movie deal, the Help! album was distributed by United Artists in the US while the single was distributed by Capital.

Help! was the top song on the Cash Box record chart from Aug. 22 to Sept. 11. It was the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from Aug. 29 – Sept. 18.

As I mentioned before, the Beatles can only be downloaded on iTunes. You can listen to Beatles songs on their website.

Old News – U. of R.

This article about the coming year at U. of R. mentions the athletic fields. I looked on old maps of Rochester and I can’t figure out where those fields were on the old campus.


Thursday, Sept. 16, 1915

U. of R., Opens the 23rd
Faculty Enlarged – Athletic Field Added

The University of Rochester will open its doors for the 66th year of educational activity on Thursday morning, Sept. 23d. Throughout the summer months applications from prospective freshmen have been received in such numbers that a large entering class this year is assured. While several additions to the faculty will be made with the start of the autumn term, undergraduates returning to college will find none of the older faculty members and department heads missing.

The new year at Rochester will be marked by one event which will have a lasting effect on college life. The athletic field long needed and provided fro more than a year ago, will become a permanent part of the university equipment some time during the college year about to open. While the big field has undergone much preparatory grading and other necessary work during the spring and summer, the first athletic teams to use it, in all probability, will be the base ball squads next spring. A year hence will find the gridirons, base ball diamonds, running tracks, tennis courts and all other adjuncts of the field in readiness for the college men.

President Rush Rhees of the university has been in Albany throughout the summer, being a delegate to the Constitutional convention.

Old News – Teachers

school picture

My grandmother was a teacher from 1910 to 1962 with only a few years off when her children were young. That is her on the left in the picture. Up until the early 1950s she taught in two room schools, like this one that is dated about 1928 of the school in Gainesville, Wyoming County, NY.

This newspaper, below, from 1915 gives many short articles that tell of the teaching assignments for the eastern part of Monroe County and western Wayne County.

The Monroe County Mail

Friday, Sept. 9, 1915


Miss Helen Thomas has accepted a position and will teach at East Rochester, this year.

Miss Kennedy of Buffalo, is teaching the third and fourth grades in Penfield Union school.

East Penfield

Miss Alice Clarke has accepted a position as English teacher in the High school at Edgewood, N. J.

Our school opened Tuesday with Marvin Fox of Penfield, as teacher.


Our school begins today with Miss Hazel Grabb of Webster, as teacher and the Bueg district also begins today with Miss Adalaide Sullivan of Fairport, as teacher.


School opened her, Tuesday, with the following factually: Principal, Louis E. Bird; preceptress, Miss Rose Riley; German, Miss Cora P. Reed; science, Miss Theo G. Haven; English, Miss Hazel Fisk; mathematics, Miss Florence Sherwood; music and drawing, Miss Louise B. Perry; eighth grade, Miss Gertrude Washbon; seventh B and sixth A, Miss Berdine Smith; sixth B, Miss Helen Brown; fifth A, Miss LaVerne Grabb; fifth B, Miss Lucile Kicher; fourth A, Miss Flora VanIngen; fourth B, Miss Catherine Wimer; third A, Miss Frances Corkhill; second B, Mrs. Ella Brokenshire; first A, Miss Cora Bennett; first B, Miss Edith Plaff; first C, Miss Helen Thomas.


Miss Edith Gascoigne began teaching, Tuesday, in the Stevenson district.


School begins this morning with Miss Hoad of Palmyra, as teacher.


Walworth, Sept. 7.–School opened today with the following teachers: Principal, Bernard Cole; preceptress, Miss Florence Farlow; seventh grade, Miss Frances Carter; fourth and fifth grades, Miss Nevada Carlson; primary, Miss Alice Walker.

Miss Ethel Russell is teaching at Elmsford, having primary work.


School commenced Tuesday, with Miss Anna McGarry, as teacher.


Our school opened Tuesday with Miss Cullen and Miss Sage in charge.


School opened in the Bay district, Tuesday, with Miss Bessie White of Canadea, as teacher.

Church Photos

st-andrewsYesterday, I told you about the Historic Highway Markers that I took pictures of this summer. While I was gong around the County I decided to also take photos of churches, temples, etc. in the suburban towns. Or at least I took photos of all that I could find. Even with directions from Google Maps I still couldn’t find some churches. Then a few were closed. Also, I did find a few that Google didn’t know about.

In the Town of Wheatland there were only 7 churches. The town of Greece had 34 including this Buddhist Temple. There is even a Sihk Temple in Penfield. Many Christian denominations in every Town.

There are lots of big churches. The picture on the upper right is the smallest in Monroe County. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Lake Road in Webster appears to be only used during the summer.

If you want to see all the photos, you can start on the Pictures Home Page. Then you can either browse by Town or search for either a name or a denomination.

Talk on Odenbach Shipbuilding Corp.

This Tuesday (Sept. 8th) there is a talk titled “History of Odenbach Shipbuilding during World War II” by Marie Poinan.  This talk will be at the Greece Public Library at 7:00pm.

The Odenbach Shipbuilding Corporation built tankers, tugs, landing barges and marine cranes on Dewey Avenue near lake Ontario from 1942 until 1947.  The company was also one of about 5% of manufacturing facilities that earned the prestigious Army-Navy  “E” award for production excellence. Learn about. the variety of marine equipment  built in Greece and how this facility employed thousands and contributed to the war effort. Personally I worked in the former Odenbach building in the mid 1970s. It is a huge building that during WWII had a portion of the building that had water in it that connected to a channel that lead to Lake Ontario.

Marie Poinan is an active member of the Greece Historical Society and is the volunteer archivist for Charlotte High School. She has written several booklets on local history and along with Maureen Whalen, conducts monthly history programs at the Charlotte branch library. Autographed copies of her new book “The Story of the Odenbach Shipbuilding Corporation” will be available for sale.

The public are welcome. Reservations are not required.  Admittance for Greece Historical Society members is free. A $3.00 donations is appreciated from non-members.

Odenbach building - May 2012

Odenbach building – May 2012

Summer Project Complete

greece-henpeckFor this summer I assigned myself the project of updating photos of Historic Highway Markers in Monroe County. When I last took pictures in 2001 I had a digital camera that ended up with images only about a third of a megabytes. My new camera takes photos up to 20 megabytes plus it has better looking photos. I finished this project yesterday. The photos are posted in a subdivision on the pictures pages.

Historic Highway Markers started appearing in NY State in the 1926 as part of a project by the NY State Education Department. They stopped placing markers around 1939. Then Monroe County  later placed more markers. There are some of the Towns here in Monroe County that have placed more markers. Starting in 2010 the William G. Pomeroy Foundation has funded the placement of even more markers.

I found a booklet from 1965 that listed all the markers in Monroe County at that time. Then in 2001 I made trips around the county looking for markers and taking pictures. Now there was this year’s project. Some of the markers have already disappeared. In some cases, the markers referred to buildings that had been torn down. Some markers may have been damaged and never repaired. Then a few may have been stolen for their scrap value. A few years ago I got an email message from a person that is an “urban explorer” that enters abandoned buildings. He said that he saw some of the missing markers from Rochester in a building on the Iola Campus. Iola was knocked down a couple of years ago to made way for City Gate (plaza).

In 2001 the Town/Village of East Rochester only had one marker. Now they have 15 because they added many during their centennial.

I did find a couple of markers that I wasn’t able to find in 2001. There were a few markers that have disappeared since 2001. In one case all that remains is an empty post. Hopefully is out being repaired.

Both in 2001 and now I give the ugliest award to this marker that is painted flat green and doesn’t have any letter highlighting.

Lastly, NY State has this web page where you can search for markers in other counties. But that is only for markers that NY placed between 1926 and 1939.


Old News – Women’s Stories

Some stories of working women. Also another story that asks if women get the vote will they also be put on juries. The Catholic Journal always had at least a full page of women’s stories.

Notice in both of the ads that they say are on “Both Phones.” At that time both Rochester Telephone and New York Telephone (a Bell Company) are competing in the Rochester telephone business. We were one of the few areas where Bell eventually lost out.

The Catholic Journal

Friday, Sept. 3, 1915


ads-1915-09-03Margaret Hill at ninety-three supports herself in Wilmington, Del. by keeping a notion business.

D. S. Josephine Baker, director of the department of child hygiene of the New York board of health, has under her over 300 nurses and 100 doctors.

Mrs. Isabella N. Goodwin, a police matron of New York city, has been placed in the honor regiment of the New York police force because of conspicuous bravery in the performance of duty.

Mrs.Thomas S Robie of New York went to work at the age of sixty-eight as shoppers’ guide for a monthly magazine. At twenty-seven she started on business for herself as corresponding home decorator.

Dr. Marjorie Kilulau of San Francisco is said to be the youngest woman dentist in America the second Chinese woman to be graduated from the San Francisco College  of Physicians and Surgeons. Although she is a native of the United States, her parents are both Chinese.

Concerning Women on Juries

“Do women have to sit on juries if they vote?” Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Woman Suffrage association, was recently asked.

“Not necessarily,: said Dr. Shaw; “but I have sen a lot of juries which needed to have some one sit on them, and I have known women who have had to stand up at most difficult and disagreeable employments who would be glad to sit on juries and receive about double the price they can get by standing. And these men and women who pray upon the virtue of girlhood and boyhood would rather face Satan himself than a jury of mothers. Yes, we need women on some juries.”

WDYTYA – Tom Bergeron

bergeron-tomTom Bergeron is investigating his paternal roots on the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA). Thst part of Tom’s family is French-Canadian. Whereas some of the celebrities on WDYTYA have been going back only a few generations, Tom is able to go back to his 10x great-grandparents in France. They faced religious persecution and starvation in France. They left an orphaned teenage daughter, Marguerite Ardion, who left France in 1663 and went to Quebec, Canada as a “fille du roi” (daughter of the king). I’ll let the expert on WDYTYA explain what that term means.

Tom says that: “Someone dead for over 300 years, if you’re willing to listen, can teach you things about what you are doing now.”

Tom’s episode airs tonight (Aug. 30) at 9 p.m. (eastern and western time zones) on TLC. This is also the last episode of this short season. TLC has been giving us two short seasons per year so expect new episodes in about 6 months.