NCGS library notes

American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society

One of the periodicals that our library receives is American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).  It is delivered quarterly and their two goals are to give their readers news about their organization and to have useful and engaging articles from a variety of perspectives on many facets of genealogical research.

Earlier this year, NEHGS launched a new research tool on their website https://www.americanancestors.org/ giving their users the ability to create online trees called American AncesTREES.  You can build a tree for free on their website with a guest account or pay for an upgrade.

You can learn more about American AncesTREES in this NEHGS webinar at: https://youtu.be/NJlL-CowG4A

Don’t forget that we subscribe to the NEHGS American Ancestors website for our library patrons!  You can read more about that in an earlier blog post here: https://niagaracountygenealogy.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/american-ancestors/

Come read through our NEHGS American Ancestors magazines along with our many other periodicals in the NCGS Library.  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094 and we are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm. 

Contributor: Jeanette Sheliga of Lockport NY is Vice-President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and Organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club.

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NCGS library notes

Genealogical and Family History of Western New York, Volumes 1-3 Compiled under the Editorial Supervision of William Richard Cutter, A.M. 1912

As it states in the Introductory, these books contain histories of the prominent people of the region (in 1912).  

If your ancestors were lucky enough to be listed among the prominent people, you will definitely want to check out this resource!

The three-volume set contains many pictures throughout the family histories of the prominent people.

These books are currently out of copyright protection and can be found online, however, the version that I found at Archive.org did not have the pictures viewable on the pages.  Compare a picture from our book and then below it, a screenshot from Archive.org of the same digitized page.

The pictures above help prove that “not everything is available online!”  

There is an index for the three volumes at the back of the third volume.

One of our volunteers previously abstracted the index from volume three to create one for each of the volumes.

If you’d like to look through our Genealogical and Family History of Western New York books, please visit our NCGS Library.  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094 and we are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm. 

Contributor: Jeanette Sheliga of Lockport NY is Vice-President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and Organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club.

NCGS in the News

Donating family research for future generations

This five-generation photo is from Helen Russell. Russell contributed her family’s photos and history to the society for future generations to find. The photo includes Helen at left, holding her son Jack, her father, Donald Ackerman, Donald’s parents Pauline Lute and David Lute and Pauline’s mother, Myrtle Clark, seated.

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 08/11/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

If you have visited the Niagara County Genealogical Society library, at 215 Niagara St. in Lockport, you know we have a number of family histories and photos that aren’t found anywhere else. This is, in part, thanks to the many families with local connections that have donated their own personal collections.

I know most people don’t like to think about their own mortality but as genealogists, we need to consider what will happen to our research after we are gone.

Helen Russell and Kevin Gaskill are cousins who reached out to me to make just such a donation. The items included a family bible dated 1904 (receipt included), daguerreotypes and photos with a written family history.

Helene is thoughtful as she speaks of her genealogical research and the bible’s journey:

“All of my cousins on my father’s side lived within 50 miles of one another; my siblings and I lived about 450 miles away from their town of Gasport in the Washington D.C. metro area. I saw my cousins once a year during my teens, then life intervened and I started my own family. At some point, my children had to create a family tree as part of an elementary school assignment, and I went to my parents to compile the data. It was then that I learned some of my ancestor’s names.

When my son was an infant I had a five generation photo taken with my father, Donald C. Ackerman, his mother, Pauline (Penwright) Lute, and her mother, Myrtle (Friedline) Clark. I obviously knew some of this history, but not all. Families become complicated when there is divorce and estrangement. I had met my father’s father once as a child.

Then came a trip to Salt Lake City, home of the Mormon genealogical library. I took the names I had and was able to trace ancestors on my Ackerman side back to 1662 arriving in New Amsterdam, also known as New York City, and I was hooked. I purchased software and subscriptions and began my journey of finding my ancestors.

The Internet was an integral part of my research. I posted questions to websites and searched the answers for potential matches. I followed the Lockportian site to find Penwright relatives.

I found a distant Penwright cousin who graduated from RoyHart High School living in the DC metro area. I became a cyber stalker, trying to find these relatives and meeting them. I have found two distant cousins who shared my interest in our ancestors. I met one while on a business trip to San Diego. She had a wealth of information as she married into the Penwrights and was a relation via the Smith family, Myrtle Clark’s mother’s maiden name.

I came into possession of my great-great-grandmother’s photo album when my father passed in 2011. I posted digital copies of the photos on my Facebook page. My cousins helped to identify some of the pictures. Along the journey I heard the verbal family histories that you don’t find in the documents from the time.

While genealogical research relies on the artifacts like birth/ death/marriage, the human stories rely upon the shared experiences many of which are not written. I have reunited my mother with a step-brother and found a cousin to my grandmother who had been adopted. I have become part of that history in many wonderful ways via my genealogical research. “

Helen Russell and her mother with a photo donated with her family history
Kevin Gaskill and NCGS Board Chairperson Shelley Richards looking thru his family donation.

If you’d like to make a donation of your family’s history, reach out to your local genealogical society for more information. Unfortunately, most libraries don’t have oodles of extra space (two file cabinets, 10 unmarked binders and several stacks of paper is my research reality right now!) so it must be organized. Planning now will keep your research out of the landfill later.

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society, a guest lecturer and a member of the National Genealogical Society. If you have ancestors related to today’s story, reach out to her at noellasdaughter@gmail.com.

NCGS library notes

Warrensburg Cemetery Book

Our NCGS has resources from many different places.  One of them is a cemetery transcription book for Warrensburg Cemetery in Warrensburg, NY.  Warrensburg is located in Warren County, west of Lake George.  What is great about an older resource, such as this book, is that the stones were transcribed over 30 years ago.  A stone that was readable back then, may not be readable now. 

Here are links to the Warrensburg Cemetery:

Find a Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/208763/warrensburg-cemetery

BillionGraves (no records have been added yet): https://billiongraves.com/cemetery/Warrensburg-Cemetery/148555

If you’d like to look through our Warrensburg Cemetery Book, please visit our NCGS Library.  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094 and we are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm. 

Contributor: Jeanette Sheliga of Lockport NY is Vice-President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and Organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club.

NCGS library notes

We are looking for enthusiastic library volunteers to join our team!

Genealogy libraries are a real treat: totally free, but accessible to all. They give genealogists the opportunity to use resources that can knock down brick walls or at the very least, move them forward in their research. 

As a volunteer librarian, you will help people learn about their ancestors in our area. We will provide training so no experience is necessary just a passion for genealogy and willingness to help others.

If you are in the WNY area and would like more information about volunteering, email Jeanette at jsheliga@me.com

NCGS library notes

Wightman Family History Books

Our library contains many family history books that have been donated by genealogists.  We have five books on the Wightman family.  The first two were written by Wade C. Wightman:

These books contain genealogies that also include pictures.  They were written in 1990 and 1994.

The remaining three are binders written by James Edward Wightman. 

They include items such as stories, newspaper clippings, pictures, military information and much more!

If you are connected to the Wightman family, please visit our library to look through these resources!  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094 and we are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm.

Contributor: Jeanette Sheliga of Lockport NY is Vice-President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and Organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club.

NCGS Adventures

My First Genealogy Institute

From June 24-28, I attended my first genealogy institute! The one I chose was the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) https://www.gripitt.org/ at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. I mostly selected it for two reasons: one was because it is the closest to where I live and secondly because Tom Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS was teaching the course Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation.

I had heard that maybe Tom Jones was going to retire from speaking soon and I didn’t want to lose my chance to learn from him. Especially since he was speaking on a topic that I have been struggling with which is creating source citations. I know some people might find it strange that somebody would choose to spend money and a week of their time learning about citations, but I was excited about it.

I felt like I was able to keep up with the information the first day, and then I started to feel information overload. Luckily the handout was amazing and I can refer to that as I continue to process the information and start to put it into practice. When asked, I teased that we spent a whole morning talking about the semi-colon! Which we did, although we also talked about many other punctuation markings. I don’t think I ever knew there was such a thing as an en dash or em dash!

We were given pre-reading before the institute along with homework each night. The pre-reading was an article that Tom Jones wrote for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) and it was of particular interest as it referenced a family that lived for a time in Niagara County. I mentioned to Tom during a break that I live in Niagara County and we got to talking over the course of the week. He mentioned there was somebody in my area that he was hoping to make a connection to as she was a DNA match to him and could help break a brick wall. It turns out that I knew the person he was talking about (she is a music teacher in Orleans County) and I reached out to her and helped them connect! What a small world! I felt really happy that I was able to help Tom in that small way as he has helped the genealogy community so much over the years.

I got the chance to talk to and thank the GRIP Co-Directors. It is hard to not “geek out” when meeting these well-known genealogists. I did approach Elissa Scalise Powell and personally thank her for her webinar that she gave to the Western New York Genealogical Society (WNYGS) titled Your Personal Education Plan: Sifting through the Options as it opened up my eyes to what level genealogist I was and what I needed to do to become a better researcher.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, Jeanette Sheliga, and Deborah Lichtner Deal

It was really neat to walk around during the breaks and hear bits of conversation. Everyone there was so nice and were “speaking my language.” You could feel comfortable sitting with strangers at a table during mealtime and have plenty to talk about. Three of the evenings, they had speakers give a lecture that you could optionally attend if you wanted to. Maia’s Books https://www.maiasbooks.com/ was also there and you could browse all of the books during the breaks. I *may* have bought a few books… like 5 of them, but I promise to read them!

Members of WNYGS with LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM CG, CGL. WNYGS sponsored her Thursday evening lecture.

I really enjoyed my week at GRIP. It was a great opportunity to network, make friends, and learn from others. A few of us WNYGS members http://www.wnygs.org had carpooled together. I stayed in a hotel across the street from the campus which was very nice and I had paid for the campus meal plan which was delicious. I also took some time during the breaks to look at a few of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Portfolios https://bcgcertification.org/ that they had on display. I very much look forward to the next time that I can attend a course at GRIP!

Receiving my Certificate of Completion from Dr. Tom Jones

Contributor: Jeanette Sheliga of Lockport NY is Vice-President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and Organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club.