My Woodstock Story



Forty-five years ago this weekend (Aug 15-17) was the original Woodstock music festival. I was supposed to graduate from Alfred State College in May of 1969 but my cumulative average was 0.03 below what you needed to graduate. So I had to go to summer school and take some courses over and raise my grades to bring my average up. The summer session was compressed down to just 6 weeks. I was fairly sure that I was doing well in the two courses that I was re-taking. It was on a Thursday morning and final exams would be on the next Monday. A guy from down the hall in the dorm came in my room and said: “There is a big concert this weekend down toward New York City. You want to go?” And I said; “No, I better stay here and study.” Away he and some other guys went to music history.

The very next day reports on TV started showing the traffic mess that the concert was causing. It got so bad that State Police wouldn’t let anyone else go near the area. Those guys in my dorm were back by Sunday morning. They said that it rained so much that they couldn’t endure any more. Estimates range from 400,000 to 500,000 people attending this monumental music festival. There aren’t any actual figures because the fence got torn down by people wanting to get in and eventually the promoters just opened it up to anyone that was able to get to the site. Some people who didn’t attend. tell people that they were there. I’m not one of those. Instead, I get to tell tell this story of missing out on the chance to attend.

Onondaga Co. Library Partners with FamilySearch

Onondaga-County-FamilySearch-LogosPress release by  from FamilySearch

The Onondaga County Public Library and, a nonprofit premier family history and records preservation organization, announced today a joint initiative to digitally preserve 40,000 historic titles from the Library’s collections and make them freely accessible online to patrons worldwide. Some of the titles are extremely rare—dating back to Colonial America. The digitization effort commenced this week.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve over 40,000 historic titles from the Onondaga County Public Library’s collections and make them available to the Library’s patrons worldwide for free at The materials will be a tremendous resource for anyone researching local history or genealogical roots from the region. The digitized records will include published family histories, local and county histories, directories, locality records, school yearbooks, Bible records, personal journals published before 1920, and published cemetery records. To learn more about this partnership agreement, click here.

Super Market from 1942

Lawrence Halsey at Market BasketMy dad, Lawrence Halsey, started working for the grocery store chain, Market Basket, after he graduated from high school in 1933. He started as a clerk, then got promoted to assistant manager and then manager, Even as a manager, they would transfer him every couple of years to a bigger store.The picture has dad standing on the left behind the produce corner in first super market that the Market Basket had in Oneonta, NY. Before this time, grocery stores had most items behind a counter and you had to ask a clerk to hand you each item. One of the things that helped the change was the invention of the shopping cart in 1938. Notice a couple of carts in the lower right of the picture. Grocery stores soon learned that people would end up buying more by being able to pick up items using carts. It would be many more years before the meat would be per-packaged.

Besides this picture I have 2 more from the same day of the inside of the store and one outside. There are lots of signs with prices that I can read. While you check out these low prices, think about the fact that my father was making about $45 per week in 1942. So you have to make a a price comparison based on the cost of living at that time.

  • Milk – 12 cents per qt.
  • Kraft cheese – 2 lb box for 49 cents
  • NY State mild cheese – 21 cents per lb.
  • Eggs – 27 cents per dozen
  • Butter – 29 cents per lb.
  • Soup – 3 cans for 25 cents
  • Salad dressing – 25 cents per qt.
  • Sliced bacon – 19 cents per lb.
  • Steak – 25 and 29 cents per lb.
  • Leg of lamb – 29 cents per lb.
  • Veal cutlet – 39 cents per lb.
  • Pork steak – 19 cents per lb.
  • Pork sausage – 2 lbs for 25 cents
  • Roast beef – 29 cents per lb.
  • Jello – 3 for 14 cents
  • Crackers – 2 lb. box for 17 cents
  • Catsup – 3 for 10 cents
  • Hot cross buns – 16 cents per dozen
  • Fresh spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Iceberg lettuce – 2 for 15 cents
  • California Sunkist oranges – 27 cents per dozen
  • Florida oranges – 29 cents per dozen
  • Cauliflower – 23 cents
  • Carrots – 3 bunches for 15 cents
  • Fresh tender asparagus – 10 per bunch
  • Spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Bananas – 4 lbs for 25 cents
  • Baldwin apples – 10 lbs for 25 cents
  • McIntosh apples – 6 lbs for 25 cents

WDYTYA – Tomorrow’s Episode

Photo by Angela George

Valerie Bertinelli photo by Angela George

Valerie Bertinelli is searching for her ancestors on the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA). She got the part of Barbara Cooper on the series One Day at a Time in 1975 shortly after her start at acting. After that series ended she was on numerous made  for TV movies. Recently she is one of the stars om Hot in Cleveland on TVLand.

The press release for this episode says that Valerie “goes on the hunt to unlock her family’s mysteries. She tracks down courageous ancestors who suffered through hardship and tragedy, and discovers a royal lineage dating back centuries that she never dreamed possible.” There is probably more to her story because during filming, she spent a day at the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, PA. Valerie also spent some time in London, England. We will see if those two locations tie together or are different parts of her family.

WDYTYA airs at 9 p.m. in most TV markets on the TLC channel. Check your local listings. After the episode with Valerie, the episode on Brooke Shields from 2010 will be repeated.

Rochester Music

rochester-maidThe Rochester Public Library has uploaded a new digital collection of old sheet music. The collection has music published in Rochester, sold in Rochester and about Rochester. All are dated from the 1890s to the 1920s. The music has been scanned and placed on the RPL website as PDF files. This collection is so new that the library hasn’t yet created a web page listing all the titles. Instead you can view this directory page of the titles with links to each title.

Kodak Movie Film Deal

Kodak Vision3 movie film

Kodak Vision3 movie film

Kodak competitor Fujifilm stopped making movie film last year. Kodak also was thinking of stopping the manufacture the film that was once used by most Hollywood studios. Sales of film stock have dropped from over 12 billion feet in 2006 to an approximate 450 million feet this year. That is a 96% decrease. Recently Kodak and some Hollywood studios reached an agreement in which the studios will buy a minimum amount of film over the next several years. It helped that some major directors including Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow and J.J. Abrams had lobbied for a reprieve for movie film. The studios that have have signed on to the agreement are Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and the Weinstein Co.

It is easier to film digitally than on film stock but many directors agree that there is a richness on film that is not on digital. Most films are now distributed in digital format and that means that the studios are not making multiple copies of films to be sent to theaters. Film stock is still needed for archiving old films. Hopefully this agreement will help Kodak to continue to be able to afford manufacturing movie film for the foreseeable future.

Old News – Accidental Death

This news from the past is about an accident in Fairport

Fairport, NY

Thursday, August 6, 1914


Edward Patterson Killed Thursday–Victim’s Mangled Remains Scattered for Yards Along Railroad Tracks.


“Edward Patterson, who had recently taken a position as chef at the Kirkwood Hotel, was struck and instantly killed, Thursday afternoon shortly before 3 o’clock by the westbound Empire State express, while walking upon the railroad tracks west of Main street in this village.

Mr Patterson was seen at the hotel a few minutes previous to the accident, and it is nut known how the man happened to be upon the tracks where his mangled remains were found scattered for several yards, shortly after the passing of the train.

Undertaker H. R. Relyea was called and Coroner T. A. Killip notified. The latter upon investigation granted a certificate of accidental death.

Mr. Patterson came to Fairport Tuesday from Rochester to accept the position at the hotel. He was accompanied by his wife and it is said leaves no other relatives in this country, his home being in England.

WDYTYA – Tomorrow

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams

This week on Who Do You Think You Are? the star being profiled is Rachel McAdams. Rachel is best known for her roles in the movies Mean Girls and The Notebook. Rachel was born in Canada but now works mostly in Hollywood.

This episode of WDYTYA is different because Rachel travels on her genealogical adventure with her sister Kayleen, a celebrity make-up artist,. They discover an English ancestor who lived and worked as a footman to the privileged class. As they unravel the mystery of their Canadian heritage, they then connect with relatives uprooted by war and uncover the harrowing circumstances that brought their family to Canada.

WDYTYA airs on the TLC channel at 9 p.m. (eastern & western time zones).

Misleading Data

There are many websites that will give you give you addresses, phone numbers and even birthdays of living people. Some that I know of are: Intelius, Spokeo,  Zaba Search and Pipl. These can be useful to find records of your distant cousins that you may have lost track of. All of the previous are pay websites and will give you some data for free and then eventually ask for money for more detailed information. I usually stop when they ask for money. FamilySearch has a collection that has some of the same information as the commercial websites. The description of “United States Public Records, 1970-2009” says that the “records were generated from telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, and other records available to the public.”

I did some searching through a lot of these public record websites and they all have problems. I looked up Reginald W—-. who died in 1985. His last name is unique and only one person with his name has ever existed. I found records stating that he was living in Virginia from 1995 to 2007. I wonder how that record ended up in both the FamilySearch and commercial websites?

I looked my sister up and found a record that she lived in South Dakota from 2005 – 2007. She never lived there. There were also records of her living in La Mesa, CA in 1986 and 2000. That is another lady with the same name that got confused with my sister. Just one website, Been Verified, had her old address here in NY state. She and her family left NY in the early 1980s. That was a plus for that website. Then I also saw a record on another website that said she was born in 1900. That is only 37 years off. That is is big minus.

Then I looked up records of Sonoe W—-. I found a birth date in 1945 when she was actually born in 1929. There were a lot of records of address including some which overlapped. An address record from the 1990s matched information that I had when I wrote to her in that time. Then according to other records, she lived 2006 – 2009 in Utah, 2007 – 2009 in Florida and 2007 in California. The big problem is that she died in 2006.

These kind of records all contain a small amount of errors on birth dates, addresses and relationships. There are also some spelling errors. A couple of other records couldn’t decided on which was a first name and a  middle name. It would be best to use all these websites as just clues for further research on your part.

Old News – World War I Begins

Major news from the past. After a month of negotiations had broken down, on July 28th 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Russia mobilized on the 30th. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1st. Here some reports from the first couple of days when everyone thought that it might be possible to keep the war within just a couple of countries.


Thursday, July 30, 1914


holman-ad-1914-07Moment Austria Crosses Servian Frontier Russia Will Fight.

Well Informed Corespondent States That Russia Took Preliminary Mobilization Steps the Moment Council of Ministers Decided That Servia’s Sovereignty Must Be Protected–German War Office Shows Great Activity.

London, July 29.–The St. Petersburg correspondent of the Morning Post says he is in a position to state positively that the moment the Austrians cross the Servian frontier, Russian mobilization orders will be published and Russia will take the field with all the consequences involved in such action.


Quietly Preparing to Meet Any Emergency That May Occur in Coming Conflict.

London, July 29.–Austria’s forma; declaration of war against Servia cannot be said to have disappointed expectations, although it shattered some over sanguine hopes.

Nothing has yet reached London as to actual operations. Rumors of the occupation of Belgrade and the invasion of Servia via Mitrovitza are not confirmed, but official confirmation has been received of the seizure of Servian ships on the Danube.

As regards the general international situation it may be said that while it is still necessarily extremely grave it can be said that hope of restricting the quarrel to Austria and Servia has not yet been lost.

Germany’s and Austria’s courteous rejection of Sir Edward Grey’s efforts to prevent an international struggle has banished the idea of an ambassadorial conference, but this has been superseded by direct negotiations at St. Petersburg between Russia and Austria.

These negotiations according to Russian dispatches are going on with such smoothness that well informed circles in London last night hoped that it might be possible to prevent the trouble overstepping its present limits.

It is reiterated in London that Austria has made it clear that she does not aim at territorial conquests in the Balkans and this is regarded as good ground on which to build the hope that Russia will refrain from military interference.

Great Britain, while abstaining from anything which would be provocative of alarm on the part of Austria and her friends, is quietly making preparations for any contingency that may bring her within the scope of the continental troubles. There is great activity at the war office and the admiralty.


Reservists of Both Austria and Servia in this country Preparing to Return.

New York, July 29.–The announcement that Austria had declared war upon Servia gave impetus to the activities that for the last three days have kept the members of the two consulates in this city working early and late transacting official business and keeping their respective countrymen informed as to the situation and as to what is expected of them in the event of a call to arms.

Acting under instructions from the war office in Vienna, the Austria consul general made preparations to transport the several thousand reservists in this who are expected to answer the call to the colors within the next two weeks. More than a score of officers, who have been called back by cable, are expected to sail before the end of the week.

No instructions came to the Servian consul and he was kept busy informing inquirers not to get excited until events have worked themselves out to some extent.

Professor Michael I. Pupin of Columbia university, who is the acknowledged leader of the 100,000 Serbs in this country, motored to town from his summer home in Connecticut and immediately entered into conference with Paul M. Paviovitch, who is in charge of the Servian consulate. It is understood that Professor Pupin has already sent hundreds of telegrams to his countrymen asking them for funds to equip and maintain additional troops.