Genesee River Romance Weekend Events

This is the weekend that many people in this area wait for all year. That’s because some places along the Genesee River are open for tours just once each year. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, October 3

  • 9 am to 3 pm: Guided Tours of RG&E Hydroelectric Facility
    Learn how renewable electric energy is produced along the Genesee River. Tour the RG&E Hydroelectric facility located along Middle Falls – including the dam and spill gates operation, river intake/rackhouse and upper level of gate control house. Please note that these are guided tours conducted by RG&E staff and are subject to cancellation should unplanned issues arise. Tours will start at the Middle Falls dam located at the south east end of Lower Falls Park. Free.
  • 10 am to 3 pm: Tours of the Lower Falls and Gorge
    Docents from the Maplewood Neighborhood Association will treat visitors to the beauty and history of the Lower Falls of the Genesee. Learn about the five bridges over the gorge, the rivalry between Carthage and Rochester and the river’s transformation from a place of industry to recreation. Tours are about 45 minutes long with the last tour starting about 3 pm. Free.
  • 10:30 am to 2:30 pm: Rundel Building – River to Roof Tour
    Meet in the lobby of the Rundel Memorial Building of the Rochester Public Library, 115 South Ave. Led by the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library. Tours leave at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Free tickets are required and will be handed out at the door on a first-come, first-served basis starting when the library opens at 10 am, and until the day’s spaces are filled. No advance registration. Space is limited. Tours will visit the Lower Stacks, where a trap door to the old millrace will be opened for viewing and participants can learn how the river is a natural air conditioner for the building. The tours will also visit the Upper Stacks, where participants may hear about various ghostly experiences staff have had in the building. Tours will stop in the Local History & Genealogy Division to learn about some special items in the library’s collection. A stop on the roof will reveal a spectacular view of the Genesee River and the city.
  • 12 Noon to 3 pm: Historic Aqueduct Open
    Enter from South Ave, behind the Dinosaur Barbeque. Get a glimpse of Rochester’s historic underbelly and hear about proposals for future development. Volunteers from the Canal Society of New York State will be strategically placed in the Aqueduct to provide history and insights about this unique Downtown Aqueduct. Free.
  • 7:45 pm Fireworks in the Lower Falls Gorge

Sunday, October 4

  • Tombstone restoration

    Tombstone restoration

    1 to 2 pm: Charlotte Cemetery Tour
    Meet tour guide Jack Kemp on Lake Avenue at River Street for a guided tour of the old Village Cemetery to view pioneer graves and the restoration work done by the Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-12, to reset and repair damaged headstones. Sponsored by the Charlotte High School Archives and the Charlotte Community Association. Additional parking is available at the Ira Jacobson Post Home parking lot on St. John’s Park. Free.

  • 2 to 2:30 pm: WPA Murals of Charlotte High School
    Join Charlotte High School archivist Marie Poinan in the auditorium for a talk on the installation of eight murals by Carl Peters in 1942 and hear the story of money raised for the 2009 restoration. Commemorative mural poster and note cards will be available. Event sponsored by the Charlotte High School Archivists and the Class of 1945. Free.
  • 3 to 3:30 pm: Tour of Charlotte High School campus
    Meet at the front door to take a guided tour of the remodeled building which is now home to the RCSD’s Leadership Academy for Young Men. Visit the Charlotte High archives in the 5th floor rotunda. Commemorative books on the school history will be available. Charlotte was one of twelve schools remodeled in the School Modernization Program, receiving recognition from the Rochester chapter of the AIA in the Interior Design category. Not recommended for children under 10. Free.
Nurals in Charlotte High School

Murals in Charlotte High School

I left out regular scheduled tours and some other events that are happening this weekend. To see a complete list of events, view the Genesee River Romance page from the City of Rochester. Dress for the weather this weekend.


NY Family History Conference, 2016

NYS-fam-hist-confThe date in the subject is correct. If you can plan ahead of time, you can save a lot of money on next year’s NY Family History Conference in Syracuse, NY sponsored by The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society and Central NY Genealogical Society. The dates of the conference are September 15 – 17, 2016. The conference will run concurrently with the annual conference of the Association for Public Historians of New York State.

Rates through November 30. 2015 are $105  (or $80 for NYG&B and CNYGS members). Rates from December 1, 2015 – May 30, 2016 are $125 (or $100 for NYG&B and CNYGS members). If you wait until after May 30th the rates are $150 (or $125 for NYG&B and CNYGS members.

You can also individually purchase breakfast for Friday and Saturday ($25 each), and lunch and lectures for Friday and Saturday ($32 each), and Friday dinner and lecture ($45).

To register go to the Conference Registration page or print the registration form to register by US mail.


NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #10

NYS-fam-hist-confJames D. Folts, Ph.D., is head of research services for the New York State Archives in Albany. His knowledge of the resources of the Archives is encyclopedic, with specialties in land and court records. He is an expert on New York state and local history and government, is widely published, and has contributed to the Encyclopedia of New York State (2005) and the Oxford Handbook of New York State Government and Politics (2012). Mr. Folts’ talk at the NY Family History Conference was “Overlooked Genealogical Sources: Civil and Criminal Court Records in New York.”

He said that NY State has the most complex court system of any the states. The early court system came from English common law. From 1691 to 1847 the Court of Common Pleas handled both criminal and civil cases. Those records are all in New York City. It was replaced in 1847 by a County Court in each county.It is the main court for felonies.

Some of the records that can be found in County Court records are:

  • Nationalizations (especially before 1906).
  • Matrimonial (divorces and separations) which are more common after 1962.
  • Name changes.
  • Mortgage insolvency.
  • Contracts
  • Torts (civil wrongs)
  • Commitments to mental hospital.

New York State also has its own court system the lowest of which is called Supreme Court. That began began 1691, was reorganized 1847 and again in 1896. Upstate records (non-NYC) 1797 – 1847 are at NY State Archives. There is also a Court of Appeals which began in 1847.

NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #9

NYS-fam-hist-confAt the recent NY Family History Conference (Sept. 17 – 19) Eric G. Grundset gave the talk “The Revolution in New York: Advice on Finding and Using Lesser-used Sources.” Eric has been Library Director at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library in Washington, D. C. since 1983. He is the author of the DAR’s series of research volumes on the 13 original states that began in 2011 with New York in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians. That book is over 700 pages of detailed information on the availability of manuscript and archival material for NY in the Revolution. It s available in printed version or as a PDF download through the DAR online store.

Mr. Grundset suggests starting with New York in the Revolution as Colony and State (1898) which can be download from this web page on

Contrary to what a lot of people say, not all Revolutionary records in New York State were destroyed in a 1911 fire. Most things dealing with the Revolutionary War are in the NY State Archives. For descriptions on some of the available records see these web pages from the Archives:

  • Tax records for 1779 that exist for most counties (see: Series A3210).
  • Revolutionary War Accounts Audited (see Series A0870) which are available online.
  • Revolutionary War Accounts and Claims, 1775-1808 see Series A0200).

Also there are random Revolutionary War items in the series of books on the records of George Clinton, the first Governor of New York State. You can view or download all ten volumes from this web page on the Hathi Trust Digital Library.


New TV Shows of Fall 1965 – NBC

NBC-logoNBC had 15 new shows in the fall 1965 schedule. Most of them would only last one season. Still. NBC ended up the the number one TV show of the year with Bonanza.

  • Branded; Sunday at 8:30. Chuch Connors stars as a disgraced Army Captain that was unjustly accused of cowardice. The series had started in January 1965 and the last episode aired in Sept. 1966. The opening is on YouTube as are many full episodes
  • The Wackiest Ship in the Army; Sunday at 10:00. This series was based on a 1960 movie by the same name. A story of an old wooden hulled ship cruising the Pacific that they found could evade radar. That made it perfect ship for secret missions. Based on a real ship in the early days of WWII. Starred Jack Warden and Gary Collins. Only made it through one season with 29 episodes being produced. Opening credits are on YouTube.
  • Hullabaloo; Monday at 7:30. A music show showcasing current pop songs played by the groups that made them famous. This show actually began in January 1965 and was taken off in August 1966.
  • The John Forsythe Show; Monday at 8:00. This show started out as a situation comedy taking place at a girl’s school. At mid season it changed to a spy drama. Somehow the show remained on the air for the whole season. The opening and closing credits are on YouTube for the first format.
  • Run for Your Life; Monday at 10:00.  Paul Bryan (Ben Gazzara) is given only two years to live so he tries to do everything he evr wanted to do before he dies. Only thing is that the series lasted 3 years (85 episodes). The opening and closing credits are on YouTube.
  • My Mother the Car; Tuesday at 7:30. One of dumbest ideas ever for a TV series. Jerry Van Dyke gets advice from his mother who has been reincarnated as a 1928 “Porter.” The voice of the mother was played by Ann Sothern. Somehow managed to last a whole season. The opening and closing credits are on YouTube.
  • Please Don’t Eat the Daisies; Tuesday at 8:00. A sitcom based on a 1957 book by Jean Kerr and 1960 film starring Doris Day. The family had four boys and a big sheep dog. Made it through two seasons with 58 episodes being produced. The opening credits are on YouTube.
  • I Spy; Wednesday at 10:00.  Robert Culp and Bill Cosby play spies that travel the world in disguise as a tennis pro and his trainer. Many episodes filmed overseas. This series was on for three seasons with 82 episodes being filmed. The opening credits are on YouTube.
  • Laredo; Thursday at 8:30. Stories of three Texas Rangers. and their commanding officer. The series last 2 seasons with 56 episodes total. Most episodes are on YouTube.
  • Mona McCluskey; Thursday at 9:30. Mona (Juliet Prowse) gave up a Hollywood career to marry a Sergent in the Air Force. Another one season series (26 episodes). View the short opening credits on YouTube.
  • The Dean Martin Show; Thursday at 10:00. This variety show ended up being the one out of the new shows on NBC that lasted the longest. It ran until 1974 with 264 episodes being filmed. After that Dean did The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. People always thought that Dean was drinking during the show. It wasn’t really alcohol. The guests rehearsed their segments without Dean who would only come in to film the show.
  • Camp Runamuck; Friday at 7:30. Camp Runamuck was a boy’s summer camp where everything went wrong. It was across a lake from a girl’s camp. There are people that liked this series. I wasn’t one of them. Another one season show. The opening credits are on YouTube.
  • Hank; Friday at 8:00. A sitcom about a boy trying to get a college education after his parents have died. Just one forget-able season with 26 episodes. Opening credits are on YouTube.
  • Convoy; Friday at 8:30. A World War II drama about a convoy crossing the Atlantic. Used a lot of stock footage. Lasted just 13 episodes.
  • Mr. Roberts; Friday at 9:30. Comedy-drama about life on a cargo ship of the US Navy during WWII. Roger Smith played the titlle character. Opening credits are on YouTube.
  • Get Smart; Saturday at 8:30. A comedy spy show. Don Adams played the title character with Barbara Feldon playing Agent 99 who towards the end of the series would be his wife. Series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. This would last 5 season with 138 episodes total. Opening sequence on YouTube.

Below is the NBC fall TV preview hosted by Don Adams

Sources used in this series of articles:

  1. The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs; 1947-1979 (1979) by Vincent Terrace.
  2. The Complete Directory to Prime Time and Network and Cable TV Shows; 1946-Present (1995) by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
  3. Wikipedia
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NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #8

NYS-fam-hist-confAt the recent NY Family History Conference in Syracuse Laura Murphy DeGrazia gave the talk “To You I Leave My Fortune: Probate Records in New York.” She is past president of Board for Certification of Genealogists; author of NGS’s Research in the States: New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County; and former editor of the NYG&B Record.

Ms. DeGrazia noted that probate records filed before 1787 were all filed in New York City. Abstract published by BY Historical Society are digitized on Ancestry and American Ancestors.The date of 1787 was when a Surrogate Court was set up each county. Beginning in 1830 estates required the filing of a petition for probate which is often the best document in the estate file because it lists all heirs.

She recommended starting in Gordon Remington’s New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist’s Guide to Testate and Intestate Records. (2nd ed. 2011). Gordon is from the Rochester area and now works in Salt Lake City doing genealogical research. Also Ms. DeGrazia mentioned that members of The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society have access to two research guides by Harry Macy, Jr. One is New York Probate Records Before 1787 and the other is Library Resources for Research in New York Probate Records Since 1787.

Ms. DeGrazia recommended two references for abstracts of early probate records:

  1. Calendar of Wills on File and Recorded in the Offices of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals of the County Clerk at Albany, and of the Secretary of State, 1626–1836 (1896 and reprints) by Berthold Fernow.
  2. “Early Original New York Wills [1658–1738]” in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, volume 51 (June 1963), pages 90–99, 174–78, 185.

NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #7

NYS-fam-hist-confHenry Hoff was talking again at the NY Family History Conference last week in Syracuse. This time his topic was “Research Strategies for Upstate New York.” Mr. Hoff is editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and former trustee editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. His genealogical interests include New York and the West Indies.

Mr. Hoff said that are key dates to remember when researching in New York State:

  • 1787 – Surrogate courts are organized
  • 1825 – First state census
  • 1830 – Probate petitions are required for estates
  • 1855 – First state census requiring all names being listed.
  • 1880  – Statewide vital records begin&

Consider what might make your family unique: geography, religious groups, occupations, college attendance or military service.

Some places you should investigate: websites, local historians, local genealogical periodicals, tax lists, old newspapers and DAR transcriptions.

New TV Shows of Fall 1965 – CBS

CBS-logoCBS had good ratings for the previous year. So they only had 8 new shows in prime time and 2 of those were series that came from another network.

The links in the titles are to Wikipedia where you can find more information on each show. These were the new shows that aired in fall 1965 (All times Eastern Time Zone):

  • Hazel; Monday at 9:30. This comedy wasn’t a new show. It had been on NBC for 4 seasons before moving to CBS. Hazel (Shirley Booth) was also working for a new family this season. This show was based on a cartoon by Ted Key that had appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. This 5th season opening is on YouTube.
  • The Steve Lawrence Show; Monday at 10:00. Singer Steve Lawrence had TV series previous to this one. Up against some heavy competition, this musical variety show only lasted until mid December.
  • My Three Sons; Thursday at 8:30. This show had been in B&W on ABC for five seasons before it moved to CBS and started being filmed in color. There were changes in the cast. The eldest son Mike (Tim Considine) got married and was hardly mentioned again. William Frawley who played “Bub” was in poor health (he would die in 1966) and was replaced by William Demarest as “Uncle Charley. A neighbor boy, Ernie (Barry Livingston) would become an orphan and was adopted by the family. This series lasted until 1972 and there were many others added to the cast. Steve (Fred MacMurray) would marry and also get a step-daughter. Sons Robbie (Don Grady) and Chip (Stanley Livingston) would marry and Robbie and his wife would have triplets. The most amazing thing about this series was that MacMurray had it in his contract that he would only work for a few weeks per year. So shows were written for the whole season and they would film MacMurray’s sequences. Later they would film the scenes without him. Usually only the color episodes on CBS find their way to TV now. View the opening titles on YouTube. They also have some full episodes.
  • The Wild Wild West; Friday at 7:30. This featured secret agents in the west. Added to the series were gadgets that were futurists that gave very campy feeling. Robert Conrad played Jim West. and Ross Martin was Artemus Gordon. The series last 4 seasons (104 episodes). The complete series is on YouTube.
  • Hogan’s Heroes; Friday at 8:30. A comedy that takes place in a POW camp in Germany during WWII. Col. Hogan is always one step of the Germans. The POWs even manage to get out of the camp to do their tasks and return without being noticed.  Had a good long run of 6 seasons with 168 episodes being made. This series is currently playing on MeTV (Rochester channel 10.2). See the opening on YouTube.
  • The Smothers Brothers Show; Friday at 9:30. This is NOT the show that you are thinking of. This was half hour a situation comedy where Dick was an executive at a publishing company. Tom had been lost at sea and comes back as an apprentice angel. They didn’t get to play any music in this series. The show managed to last a full season with 32 episodes being made. View the opening credits on YouTube.
  • The Trials of O’Brien; Saturday at 8:30. This legal drama proves that even if you put a great actor in a bad show that it will fail. Peter Falk was Daniel J. O’Brien a successful lawyer with many personal problems.  The series only lasted until March 1966 with 22 episodes being made. The first few minutes of an episode are on YouTube.
  • The Loner; Saturday at 9:30. A disillusioned Civil War officer heads west where he aids people in distress. Starring Lloyd Bridges as William Colton. Created by Rod Serling. Lasted just one season (26 episodes). The opening credits are on YouTube.

Below is the promo for Hogan’s Heroes which has the complete unaired pilot.

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NY Family History Conference, 2015 – #6

NYS-fam-hist-conf“Records of Institutions and Local Governments in New York State” by Karen Mauer Jones was her second talk of the day at the conference held in Syracuse. Ms. Jones is the current editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

Ms. Jones explained to the audience that there are 62 counties in New York and 932 Towns. He had to explain that Towns in New York State are like Townships in most other states.

She mentioned that every city, town and village in New York State is required to have a Historian. On this web page you can search for a local historian. The Historians vary in quality and helpfulness but often they are the only entry into local records. Also make friends with the Historian and don’t over burden them as most are paid little or nothing.

One of the records that you can might find on the county level are Supervisor’s records. In some counties those contain coroner’s records, lists of orphans & destitute children and transportation of insane, alien poor, idiots & epileptics.

Some Towns have School district records, tax records, court records, early land records, road district records, overseers of poor records, fire and police, and in rare cases vital records.

Ms. Jones also discussed the records of Houses of Refuge, which are often refereed to as Reform schools. The largest one was in New York City and among other locations were one in Rochester. The records of these institutions are at NY State Archives. This page gives an overview of the records available but you may want to click on the link to a detailed guide to the records. The records for the Western House of Refuge in Rochester include both admission records and some indentures of boys.

Top Songs of 1965 – #21

Were we really on the “Eve of Destruction” in 1965? That anti-war protest song was written by P. F. Sloan. He was a song writer and also a session musician as part of the LA group known as the “Wrecking Crew.” The song was made a hit by Barry McGuire. Barry had been a member of The New Christy Minstrels before recording this song. This would be the only song that Barry ever had to go into the top 40 record charts.

“Eve of Destruction” was the number one song on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Cash Box record chart for just the week of Sept. 19 – 25, 1965.