Ed. Note: This blog would be missing huge chunks of family stories without the work of the indefatigable Troy Irish Genealogy Society of Troy, Rensselaer County, N.Y.
The project teams of TIGS continue to break new indexing ground each year. It’s only factual, not exaggeration, to say their website is indispensable for anyone with ANY sort of ancestry in Troy and the surrounding towns of New York’s Capital District. (Check out the additional links at the Projects page mentioned below.)
And here comes yet another important compilation from TIGS. Without further ado we yield the floor to the society’s project coordinator, Bill McGrath:
An index to 9,682 death notices that were published in ten different Lansingburgh, New York, newspapers from 1787 to 1895 was created by staff at the Troy Public Library in 1938 through 1939. The Troy Irish Genealogy Society was allowed by the Troy Library to scan the two books of these important records so they could be made available on-line for genealogy researchers. To see these records:
- Go to the TIGS website.
- Click on PROJECTS.
- Then click on DEATH NOTICES APPEARING IN LANSINGBURGH NEWSPAPERS.
Lansingburgh, by the way, for those not in the Capital District Region, was the first chartered village in Rensselaer County and was settled around 1763. In 1900 Lansingburgh became part of the City of Troy, New York.
The ten different Lansingburgh newspapers were:
- American Spy
- Federal Herald
- Lansingburgh Advertiser
- Lansingburgh Chronicle
- Lansingburgh Courier
- Lansingburgh Democrat
- Lansingburgh Gazette
- Lansingburgh Daily Gazette
- Lansingburgh Times
- Northern Centinel
Under “RESOURCES” on the TIGS website, you will also find an informative article, “Newspapering in Rensselaer County”, which identifies which of the above newspapers are available, on microfilm or hard copy, at the Troy Library. These historical records are extremely important to genealogy researchers as the bulk of the records predate New York’s 1880 law that required reporting of deaths. Outside of church death and burial records and newspaper accounts, you will not find these records anywhere else.
In addition to the name of the deceased, other entries show the age, date of death, names of newspapers that reported the death along with the newspaper date, page and column number where you will find the death notice in the appropriate newspaper.
It is important to note that the residence for the deceased is not just Lansingburgh, but may cover all areas of New York State, other States and even foreign countries.
Hopefully you will find some of your ancestors in this new data base or in the various other data series of almost 300,000 Irish AND Non-Irish names on the Troy Irish Genealogy website.
Bill McGrath, TIGS Project Coordinator
Clifton Park, NY
For such a little state, New Jersey has undergone a wealth of boundary and place name changes, with Bergen County providing more than its fair share of riches. The confused but determined researcher has a true friend in this .pdf file:
Compiled with impressive detail by Patricia A. Wardell, this file provides the full scoop on historic places from Acquackanonk to Zingsem. Wardell gives quick historical snapshots of many localities, and best of all, she cites her sources. These include county and local histories, colonial-era road surveys, church records and diaries, all of which give important insights about names the locals used for their towns and hamlets – names otherwise lost to history.
So if you find yourself squinting at a funny-sounding place name that can’t be Googled on a present-day Bergen County map, give this fascinating dictionary a try. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about the region’s history.
Pro tip: Pay attention to that “and Vicinity” part. Bergen County’s rich and complicated history means that a lot of the entries are connected to neighboring counties such as Passaic and Essex in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York.
Michelle’s post will also bring you up to speed on the legislative background behind New Jersey’s state censuses, and why they ended, in case you are like me and find this sort of thing extremely satisfying to know. Thanks, Jersey Roots!
Once you’ve fiddled with GPS coordinates and old address books and decided that you’ve located a great candidate for your ancestor’s Catholic church on a present-day map — you do not want to find out it was only founded sixteen years ago. Save yourself some grief with …
It also covers some of the parish mergers that make genealogy in these urban parts so interesting nowadays, although it may not be 100 percent up to date in that department. It’s a starting point, anyway.
Look, I’m completely gobsmacked over here, clicking madly through photo after photo and saying to nobody in particular: “Will you just look at THAT!” Don’t expect any pearls of prose. Why don’t we just go with the description provided:
“… a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI).”
Then hit that “Start Exploring” link and start clicking on any location on that map of the United States. Use the sliding tool bar at the top left to narrow or broaden your time frame as desired.
Leave a note for your loved ones explaining that you’re going to be away from them for a while.
(and a BIG h/t to my friend Jodie Slothower at the English Department of Illinois State University.)
Been a while since I did one of these — and this sure came in handy the other day:
Befuddled by someone’s Beruf? This is a collection of dozens of archaic German words describing what people did for a living. For me, it cleared up the designation “Komiss” on a manifest. This term (and similar ones such as Kommerziant) were used to describe sales clerks and the like.
I found it easiest to use when I did a text search on the term I was wondering about. Lots and lots of words here — maybe you’ll find one of them useful.
We have Milan Tyler-Pohontsch at European Roots to thank for this fascinating list.
If you have a vintage document with a Staten Island address, and Googling it gets you nowhere, you should visit this site:
This invaluable tool comes courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York and the Richmond County Savings Foundation, and it uses the overlapping-image technique to perfection.
From the home page, click “Explore the Maps.” You’ll open a window whereupon a map of present-day Staten Island is on your left, and a drop-down menu of historic maps is on the right.
Zoom in on the area of present-day Staten Island that interests you. Then, on the drop-down menu, click on a vintage map. Your map image will change to show you how the present-day area was drawn on the historic map.
One important caveat: Great as the site is, you must do your homework to get the most out of it. For example, I recently used it to gain insight into an address on a 1920 death certificate: 12 Ocean Avenue. There is an Ocean Avenue in present-day Staten Island, not far from Fort Wadsworth and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. That could have been the place I sought, except that the full address on the death certificate was 12 Ocean Avenue, Oakwood Beach. The 1917 and 1922 maps at Mapping Staten Island confirmed that this 1920 death occurred in a different neighborhood altogether from present-day Ocean Avenue.
(Note: Oakwood Beach took a devastating blow from Superstorm Sandy last year, and the road to recovery continues to be a long one. This article is a great look at the courage and resourcefulness of neighborhood residents in the face of the challenge.)
Resource Spotlight is a continuing look at useful resources I’ve bookmarked over the years.