Old News – March Snowstorm 1914

More news from the past.


Thurs. March 5, 1914


Brockport streets were never in more impassable condition than on Monday morning after the heavy storm on Sunday night had piled them high with drifts in some places so high that entrance to buildings was impossible until three or four feet of snow had been shoveled away.

The east side of Main street fared better than the west but the drift near the corner of Clinton and Main streets presented the aspect of a snow fort built by small boys, and stood nearly eight feet high. There were few placed along the street where the snow was less than three feet deep.

Eighteen inches of snow were registered between Sunday night and Monday morning. The strong north-west wind made the storm seem even worse than it was. Brockport fared even better than many towns father east. Penn Yan was milkless, Auburn was isolated until noon, Geneva was trainless and Clifton Springs cut off. All the milkmen around Brockport experienced great difficulty in getting into town but managed to make it, remembering the many hungry babies on their routes. A peculiar sight was witnessed yesterday at the Normal school as a result of the snow. The snow on the roof of the Gymnasium very slowly began to slide until a snow and ice formation, about 12 inches thick, 25 feet long and 7 feet wide was hanging about seven feet over the side of the building. The bank represented probably from four to six tons of snow and fell with a crash about 11 o’clock. Trolley service although somewhat impaired was fairly good, thanks to constant use of snow plows. N. Y. C. trains arrived nearly on time from the west but service from the east was entirely broken up.

Several teams and a force of men have been busy since Monday carrying away the immense snow banks on Main street.

Pictures of Monroe County, NY

pics-pageI started adding pictures to the GenWeb of Monroe County website about 1997 or 1998. At that time everyone had slower internet connections so most of the pictures were rather small. Plus I had to hand code all the webpages that the pictures were on. That got really tedious and it was difficult to add new add new pictures. That all changed in November 2012 when I moved all the pictures to a sub-website.

The picture pages use a free application named Piwigo. It makes it much easier for me and I can even add a picture to more than one menu. For you it makes it much easier to navigate. You can pick the size of the picture you want to display. You can also download all the pictures and if you do, in most cases you will find it is even larger than the size you can view on the internet. That’s because since I moved the pictures, I have rescanned as many pictures as I could find and made them much bigger than they were a couple of years ago.  You can also rate the pictures on a scale of 1 to 6.

If you register on the picture page there some additional things that you can do. First you can leave comments. I originally had it so you could leave comments with registering but I quickly got spam comments. So I had to make a person register to leave a comment. You can also change the background color theme if you register. The best things is you can change the number of thumbnails that appear on a page. The default is only 20 but if you register you can set it as high as you want. I set my number of thumbnails to 125. that means I never have to page through pages of thumbnails

The largest part of the collection of pictures are old postcards. You should know that even old postcards were altered. They were originally black and white photos that were colorized. Some of the colors were added for dramatic effect and may not be accurate. I have also seen some postcards that have people, autos and a stage coach added to the original photo. Trees have leaves added and telephone poles disappear in some of the postcards.

Some of the pictures are from old books. I have a small collection of area history books but I also have found some unique digital books online. I can split digital books into separate pages and then  clean them up using Photoshop. That’s how I was able to recently add a collection of bank ads with pictures from the early 1900s. They came from books that were published by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. They were trying to show everyone how progressive Rochester was in those days.

When I moved the pictures to the picture pages I had approx. 1200 pictures. Now there are almost 2000 and I’m always looking for some new pictures to add.




1876 Atlas of Genesee Co., NY

1876-genesee-coThe Rochester Public Library recently added the Combination Atlas Map of Genesee Co., NY to their collection of digitized books. This atlas originally published by in 1876 by Everts, Ensign & Everts is in PDF format. This was a large atlas approx 27 x 17 inches and makes a large PDF file (80mb) This atlas is one of those that shows property owned and where homes of people are located. Also the maps show schoolhouses, churches and cemeteries.

Within this atlas are some short histories of the Towns in Genesse County. Also there are some illustrations of buildings and larger homes in the County

I found the cemetery were my ancestor, Richard Buell, was buried in 1819 in what is now S. Lyon St. in the  City of Batavia. That cemetery was dug up and moved before 1900. I found some of his descendants in the Town of Elba. I also found other distant relations in the Town of Pavilion. See if you can find any of your relatives in this 1876 atlas.

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.