Old News – Hit and Run

More news from the past.


Thurs. February 26, 1914

Autoist Guilty of Manslaughter

1914 Cadillac

1914 Cadillac

George H. Williamson, secretary of the Oswego Auto club was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree by a jury in Justice Hubb’s court in Oswego. A previous jury disagreed. Williamson was charged with running down Mrs. Theresa Miller, who died from the injuries, and having hurried away from the scene of the accident. This is said to be the first conviction in the state under the automobile law. He got five years and three months in Auburn prison.

Short Followups

In took the book, Hundertjährige Geschichte des Deutschtums von Rochester (1915) by Hermann Pfaefflin to the RootsTech 2013 conference. FamilySearch scanned the book and were going to place a digital copy online. It has been almost a year and it still isn’t online This web page on FamilySearch says there is a digital copy but it appears that they forgot to add the link to it. Meanwhile, you can click on the title and view my version of the digital book made from the FamilySearch scans.

Back in this post from Aug. 27th 2013 I mentioned that FamilySearch had added tombstone records from Find A Grave . That was based on a press release from FamilySearch the day before. It was actually easier to search on FS as they took into account spelling variations. There were only 2 million records added at that time out of the 104+ million tombstones on F-A-G. That database on FS disappeared within a couple of months. F-A-G is now owned by Ancestry.com where you find those records. You can also search the F-A-G records on Mocavo. And you can also search directly on the Find A Grave website.

In this post from Nov. 23, 2013 I had a link to a free search of 1892, 1915 & 1925 NY State Census records on Ancestry. That link not longer works. Instead go to this link on NY State Archives then you have to put in a zip code in NY State. Any number between 10001 and 14899 will work.That will send you to a page of Ancestry.com. If you do a general search on that page it will give you many results which require an Ancestry membership. If you scroll down on the search page and click on the 1892, 1915 or 1925 census you can search just that year for free. Ancestry doesn’t make it easy for you to see the content that they have for free.

Washington and the Calendar

washingtonToday is the anniversary of the birthday of out first President, George Washington. But he wasn’t born on February 22nd. The original birth date of Washington would have been February 11, 1751/2. There are two genealogy problems at work to cause the confusion.

First, there was a change in the calendar used. Originally most European countries used the Julian calendar which was begun by Julius Caesar. After many centuries it was found the calendar was off  by about 10 days. The Gregorian calendar (from Pope Gregory XIII) replaced the old Julian calendar in most Catholic countries in 1582. England and her colonies including us in America didn’t switch to the Gregorian calendar until September 1752. By that time there was a difference of 11 days. For a while after that you may see old records with either the suffix  “O.S.” for old style (Julian calendar) or “N. S.” for new style (Gregorian calendar) or occasionally both date styles recorded.

Then there is what most people call the double dating for the year. That arose because in England the start of the legal year began on March 25th. So dates from Jan. 1 to March 24 usually recorded with the double years. That has always confused genealogists. If you are looking at old vital records from New England and only see one year recorded before 1752 then check to see what year is recorded after March 25th in order to get the correct year.

This part isn’t related to Washington but I have some ancestors that were early Quakers (aka Society of Friends). Quakers recorded their records as xth day, xth month, year. Before 1752 the first month was March as in the English legal calender. Then beginning in 1752 the Quakers started having January as the first month.

No matter what country you are doing research in, you should familiarize yourself with the calendar that was used at that time. George Washington really was born 282 years ago today but that day wasn’t February 22nd.


Old News – Edison

More news from the past.

THE FAIRPORT HERALD, Wed., February 19, 1914


Ten Ounces of Food Fill Him For Fifteen Hour Work Day.


97n/36/huty/8100/23Thomas A. Edison, beginning his sixty-eighth year brimful of health and vigor, says that people eat too much and that’s why they are always getting sick and worked out. In the course of an interesting interview the wizard of electricity said::

“I started it years ago to feed myself about ten ounces of food daily. I eat everything I like, but I don’t eat much of any one thing. I persuaded Mrs. Edison that I had the right idea and after some argument she tried it and has kept right on.”

“How hard do you work now, Mr. Edison?” was asked by a reporter, and speaking close to the investigator’s right ear, for the man who produced the phonograph and perfected the telephone and who has solved wonderful problems in sound delicacy has been hard of hearing since boyhood when a Grand Trunk conductor boxed his ears for uncorking a bottle of phosphorus.

“Oh, I don’t work hard any more,” he said, with a chuckle. “I start in about 8:30 a. m. and keep at it until 12.”

“Twelve, noon?”

“No; 12 midnight. You see, Mrs. Edison objected to my grinding, so she cut down my work hours. But I’ve got her pretty well trained now. Got her so she needs only five or six hours of sleep a day and nine to ten ounces of food. I get up about 6 usually and find something to play with until 12 or 1 o’clock. A young fellow like me with a lot of ideas in his head only needs five hours of sleep.

“Is it a fair question, Mr Edison, continued the reporter, “to ask what your income is from phonographs, the movies, storage batteries, incandescent lights, telephones and the many other inventions patented and commercialized?”

“Why, I’d tell you in a minute if I knew exactly myself but I don’t. The only way for me to get rich is to die. I make a whole lot of money, but I save only what would be a salary for a railroad president.”

“A good railroad president?”

“Well, yes, a pretty good one. Money always had a habit of getting away from me, because I’m always experimenting, and that costs a heap. In my laboratory, where I sort of play with science and keep the toys I love best, I spend $200,000 a year. That’s what my experimenting cost me. I’ve always been that way. When I sold to the Western Union the inventions I had got up for them, that years ago, they gave me $100,00. But I knew I was a goner if I took all that money at once, so I made the agreement read that I was to get it in seventeen installments. They lasted over seventeen years, and I kept feeding em into the mill.”

“Have you any special word to say to the United Sates?” Mr Edison was asked.

“I should like to say,” he replied. “that I hope the government will be slow about going into Mexico. We are big enough to stand a little humiliation, maybe, for humanity’s sake. Let them fight it out down there, I say. That will be the best thing in the end.”

“I truly believe the world is leaning more towards peace.”

1874 Atlas of Wayne County

1874-wayneThe Rochester Public Library recently added the 1874 Atlas of Wayne Co., NY to their collection of digitized books. This atlas published by D. G. Beers & Co. is in PDF format. I like the PDF format because you can make a PDF as large as you want to view all the detail. This atlas is one of those that shows where homes of people are located. Also the maps show schoolhouses, churches and cemeteries.

Within this atlas are some pages of illustrations. They aren’t illustrations of anything in Wayne County. Instead they are illustrations of places in Ohio. It appears that the publisher inserted the wrong illustrations.

This atlas is too early to find any of my relatives. They didn’t live in the County until the twentieth century. How about you? Do you have any relatives that lived in Wayne County in 1874?

Early Rochester Family Records; #3

Early-Rochester-family-recordsI added the third page of records from the old newspaper column “Early Rochester Family Records” that were published between 1910 and 1912. The records are on Page 43 of Biographies. Highlights of families on this page are:

  • Archibald Crandall family Bible records
  • Rev. Francis Cuming family
  • Letters from Sunderland P. Gardner describing his family
  • General Jonathan Fassett family
  • Mayor Jonathan Child family
  • General Vincent Mathews family
  • Abelard Reynolds family
  • Nathaniel Rochester family
  • Peter Sheffer family (of Wheatland)
  • Hiram Sibley family (of Western Union Co.)
  • Walker family of Brighton & Perinton
  • Rev. Comfort Williams family
  • and a lot of small family records

I still have more family records to come.

Black Sheep Sunday; Bigamy

bigamyNot all old family stories are pleasant. Bigamy is one of those things that most people want not to mention. If it exists in any part of your family, you should accurately record the fact but only share it with your family members with care.

I looked in the online newspaper indexes at the Rochester Public Library and found only 5 references in the 1818 – 1850 index but 97 references in the 1851 – 1897 index. There were many more cases that didn’t make the newspapers. You can do a search of old County Court records to see if the case is recorded. But very few cases of bigamy ever ended up in Court. Most of the time the man or woman that was committing bigamy would end up leaving when found out. That would mean that there would be two broken families.

I found a case of bigamy in a remote part of my family recorded in an unusual place. It was in a Civil Ware pension file. After my relation died in the Civil War, his widow married again after a couple of years. She and her new husband has a daughter, but two years after the marriage she found out that he was married before without getting a divorce. When found out, the new husband took off for parts unknown. She didn’t file for a divorce for another 15 years. and mostly to obtain her pension for her husband’s Civil War service. All the facts were well documented in the Civil War pension file.

Old News

More news from the past.

Thurs., February 12, 1914

Local and Vicinity Notes

red-cross-1913Among the cash prizes offered to rural schools for the sale of Red Cross Seals the first prize of $5 to the grade in a Union Free School went to Brockport Grammar School, Miss Gladys M. Smith, teacher Twenty-eight pupils sold 1362 seals.

The legality of “Farmers’ Clubs” and other similar organizations formed in no-license towns for the ostensible purpose of providing liquor for thirsty members at hotels or at other places is being tested in the case of the State Commissioner of Excise against the so-called “Agricultural Club” of Kendall, the “members” of which when recently arrested for having liquor for distribution all claimed to be part owners of the same as members of the club.

Fred Smith and family had a narrow escape from serious injury, this morning when the frozen water pipes of a stove burst from steam pressure, blowing out the front of the stove and hurling pieces of iron about the room.

A second disaster befell the plate glass window in Simmons’ Drug store when the terrific wind of last Saturday overbalanced the big sign of the Lyric Theater which Mr. Whiting and an assistant were moving and sent it crashing through the window.

Early Kodak Catalogs Digitized

Cover to 1914 Catalog

Cover to 1914 Catalog

The Rochester Public Library has added a digitized collection of some of the early catalogs of the Eastman Kodak Company.  Most of the catalogs show the camera models available at the time. They also show other photographic equipment such as enlarging equipment, tripods and home developing kits. The catalogs also include the prices. If you have an interest in seeing what Kodak was selling in the early days, then check out these catalogs.

RPL also have digitized these two early picture taking guides.

RootsTech 2014 Wrap-Up

TRootsTechhe 2014 RootsTech Conference is over but you can still see some of the sessions online. Right now there are only 3 sessions online at the RootsTech Video page but more should be added over the next few days. I missed a couple of sessions from Saturday that I want to see plus I want to view again the session on photo editing that was given by the Ancestry Insider.

Plus there were many blog posts about the happenings at the Conference. Randy Seaver has a compendium  of blog posts. There is enough posts about the Conference that it would take you a couple of days to read them all. More blog posts should  be coming as people return home and have the time to review their feelings about what they saw at the Conference.

RootsTech 2014 will go down in history as the larges attended genealogy conference in North America. There were people from every state except South Dakota in attendance. Next year’s conference will be even bigger because it will be a joint RootsTech and FGS event.

Update: All the videos of recorded sessions are now available from the link above.