NCGS library notes

Spotlight on our Vertical Files – Barns/Barnes

Throughout the years, our librarians and volunteers have clipped and copied loads of news articles and filed them by surname in our library.  Files like these may also include pedigree charts, family group sheets, pictures, and more if members have donated them.

This particular file also includes some copies from an old family bible.

If you have family group sheets, pictures, newspaper clippings, etc. that you would like to donate to our Vertical Files, please contact us!  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094.  We are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm or you can reach us by e mail at: comments@niagaragenealogy.org

If you are unable to easily visit our library to check out our Vertical Files, remember that your membership to the Niagara County Genealogical Society entitles you to one FREE 30-minute Look-up in our Library’s holdings.  More information about our Society, membership and other benefits can be found at: http://niagaragenealogy.org/membership.html.  (Psst: You can apply for a membership and renew online from our website!)

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

Advertisements
NCGS in the News

Take a Trip to the Cemetery to find Family History

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 07/06/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Summer is here and with it comes time for hands-on cemetery research. Where your ancestors are buried can tell you so much about them and their lives. You can also learn what was important to them. Is your ancestor buried in a church cemetery? They were likely involved in a faith community. If they were buried in a family cemetery, consider that it was very likely part of family land at one time.

As a research tool, cemeteries are crucial for building a family tree. Grave markers are a direct connection to our ancestors’ lives and may have clues, literally, written in stone. There is so much more to cemetery research than just the names and dates on the gravestones. Look around to see who is buried near your ancestors. It’s likely you will find connections which may lead you to break down a brick wall within your family history. Here are some basics that you need to know.

Check death certificates, obituaries and funeral home records to identify the cemetery where your ancestor is buried. Also, look at close relatives of your ancestor. If you’ve located where their sibling is buried reach out to the cemetery office and inquire about others with the same surname. Keep in mind that where your ancestor lived may not be the same place they died, and vice versa.

Once you have the name of the cemetery you’ll need to locate it. Findagrave.com and Billiongraves.comallow users to search for cemeteries around the world. On the Findagrave.com home page you can search by an ancestor’s name, cemetery name or by location. The map view shows the exact location should you want to visit in person. Billiongraves.com allows users to collect photos of headstones and upload them to their site by using a phone camera app. Once uploaded the photo is tagged with the GPS location and becomes available to all users. (I located an ancestor’s tombstone in Italy through this site!)

Now that you’re ready to explore, organization is key. With that said, repeat after me… it is not weird to have a graveyard kit. Mine includes: A plastic pail, scissors and a trowel, wet wipes, garden gloves and disposable latex gloves (I like clean hands), insect repellent (Lyme disease is no joke, people!), cemetery map with grave location marked (call during office hours and they will have them waiting for you!), masking tape (for when your spouse complains), rags, flashlight, cheap aluminum foil, whisk broom, notebook and pen, plastic grocery bags (I like clean knees too!), drinking water, water jug that can easily be refilled, sunscreen, soft toothbrush and old shoes. Obviously keep your phone charged and handy, not only for taking photos but for your safety. With safety in mind, it’s best to have a partner with you. Just tell them you’re going for ice cream.

By studying tombstones, we can discover facts about an ancestor such as hobbies, occupations, organizations, family members’ names and military service. They may also include cause of death. While visiting a Boston cemetery, I located a tombstone showing a man pinned under the wheels of a cart pulled by running horses, a tragic event memorialized for eternity. Even the nearby plantings may be symbolic; oak trees represent strength while weeping willows are the symbolic tree of sadness. Looking closely, you may see symbols that held greater meaning in a time when many people didn’t know how to read. Photograph the stones and notice the carvings, initials and symbols. A Google search can easily decipher these.

Planning a cemetery field trip is a wonderful way to learn more and pay your respects to previous generations. I consider cemeteries sacred ground where tombstones stand as monuments to an ancestor’s life filled with rich genealogical details just waiting to be unearthed.

If you have a story to share or an idea for a future column, feel free to reach out to me at noellasdaughter@gmail.com.

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and a member of the National Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for more than 15 years and blogs at noellasdaughter.com.

Tributes

Planning my Grandpa’s Funeral as a Genealogist by Jeanette Sheliga

Our last photo together taken on 6 Apr 2019 at the Adams Fire Company Installation Dinner where my grandpa received his 50-year member pin.

My grandpa passed away peacefully in his sleep the morning of Friday, June 7th, 2019. I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, but I have been putting it off as doing so is another form of closure and it is hard to let go.

He was 96 years old and had fallen the month prior and broke his hip. The doctor warned us that he was declining and that he didn’t have much time left. The last time I saw him was the Monday night before his passing. He was comfortable and happy laying in his bed. He asked where my dad was and then he asked where I was. He didn’t have his glasses on, so I said that it was me. He leaned forward, recognized me, and then said “Oh, hi!” He held my hand during our visit and when I asked if I could kiss him on the cheek to say goodbye, he said “Of course.” and turned to give me his cheek.

Helping to plan his funeral was a new experience for me. As a genealogist (and probably a lot of nervous energy), I was particularly concerned with the details that would be posted is his obituary and death certificate. I wanted to be certain the records that represented and honored my grandfather would be accurate for the generations to come. The funeral home sent me a draft of the obituary. I’m not sure where or who they received their information from, but there were many mistakes, typos, and inaccuracies. I spent hours and eventually called in my mom for help. Between the two of us, we finally revised the obituary to the final product and I was pleased with the result.

Edmund C. Sheliga, of the Town of Wheatfield, NY, passed away Friday, June 7, 2019, in Elderwood at Wheatfield.  He was born in Buffalo, NY on October 21, 1922, the son of the late Frank and Caroline [Ogrodnik] Szeliga.  Mr. Sheliga served with the US Army during World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.  He was an instrumentation technician at Bell Aircraft, Sylvania, and Mennen-Greatbatch.


Mr. Sheliga was the husband of the late Ruth [Parkin] Sheliga, who passed away in 2006.  He is survived by three sons Jeffrey (Marcia), Carl (Eileen), Donald (Linda) Sheliga; five grandchildren Jeanette, Brandi, Kristi, Thomas, and Neil; also several nieces and nephews.  Mr. Sheliga was the brother of the late John and Frank Szeliga, and Dorothy (Szeliga) Burkhardt.

Mr. Sheliga was a 50-year member at both the Adams Fire Company in Wheatfield and Delaware Hose Company in Tonawanda.  He was a member of the Wheatfield Seniors and enjoyed woodworking, doing crafts with his wife, playing cards, and spending time with his granddaughter Jeanette.

His family will be present on Friday, June 21st from 4:00 – 8:00pm at the RHONEY FUNERAL HOME, 5893 Hoover Road, SANBORN, NY, where funeral services will be held on Saturday at 9:00am, with the Rev. James R. Bastian officiating.  Members from Adams Fire Company will give a service on Friday at 7:00pm. 

Inurnment with Military Honors in Acacia Park Cemetery, Town of Pendleton, NY.

* In case you are wondering, my grandpa’s last name was misspelled on his birth certificate and he never had it corrected. His parents and siblings were all SZELIGA and his was SHELIGA. So now my uncles, dad, and I, all have a misspelled last name!

Concerning my grandpa’s obituary and death certificate, one of the details that I debated over was how to spell his parent’s first names. The original drafts from the funeral home listed the names in the Polish version: Franciszek Szeliga and Karolina Ogrodnik. That was how their names were spelled at birth, passenger lists, marriage certificate, etc. but it’s not the names that they went by in America as they had gone by Frank and Caroline. I’ve had this same debate with how I list their names on my trees on Ancestry and FamilySearch. At least with the online trees, you can add alternative names, notes, and also known as options. For his obituary and death certificate, there isn’t really an option for alternative names.

I ended up going with how they spelled their names in America. It matched how Caroline’s headstone was spelled which I assumed that my grandfather picked out back when she passed away in 1968.  There are only a handful of people left that knew his parent’s but they probably would only recognize them by how they used their names here in America. I’m not sure if what I did was genealogically correct, but it felt right.

Everything went well with my grandpa’s service.  I was especially touched by the support that I received from my genealogy friends. Thank you for the cards, texts, newspaper clippings, and attending the calling hours. It meant a lot to me and I’m so appreciative that our shared love for genealogy has brought you into my life.

I gave a eulogy for my grandpa that I will type up and save to his memories and gallery on FamilySearch and Ancestry. That way, I will always have it when I want to look back and remember and future generations will be able to read my thoughts and memories of him. I also plan on uploading the photo slideshow that I made for the calling hours to YouTube.  

I loved my grandpa very much. We had a special relationship and I was so fortunate to have him in my life for 41 years.

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

Newfane Century Yearbooks

Part of our library collections are the Newfane Central School’s yearbooks.  We have the following years: 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1958.

1948:

1953:

I checked the yearbook collections at both Ancestry and MyHeritage and found that we have some unique years (1942, 1945, 1947, and 1948) in our library that they do not have:

If you’d like to look through our Newfane Yearbooks, 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. 

If you do not live close to our library, you can become a member of our Society and take advantage of our Look-up Program.  The Look-up services is available to members only.  Members are entitled to one FREE 30-minute Look-up in the Library’s holdings.  After the free Look-up, additional are available for a nominal fee.  Look-ups for the membership year need to be requested by December 14th.  You can apply for membership right from our website at: http://niagaragenealogy.org/membership.html.

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

Grove Place Cemetery

Grove Place Cemetery – Town of Chili, Monroe Co., NY Compiled by June C. Feder

Our NCGS Library has many great resources for New York State and this book is a great example of that!  It is a transcription book for a cemetery located in the Town of Chili, Monroe County.  The table of contents explains when some of the information of captured: starting in 1928!  I can imagine that many of the stones look different now and their inscriptions may not be as easily, if at all, legible.  This book would be able help if you happen to have ancestors buried in Grove Place Cemetery.  

Here is a link to Grove Place Cemetery on FindaGrave: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/64735/grove-place-cemetery 

Here is a link to Grove Place Cemetery on BillionGraves: https://billiongraves.com/cemetery/Grove-Place-Cemetery/159674

If you’d like to look through our Grove Place 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. 

If you do not live close to our library, you can become a member of our Society and take advantage of our Look-up Program.  The Look-up services is available to members only.  Members are entitled to one FREE 30-minute Look-up in the Library’s holdings.  After the free Look-up, additional are available for a nominal fee.  Look-ups for the membership year need to be requested by December 14th.  You can apply for membership right from our website at: http://niagaragenealogy.org/membership.html.

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

Tree Talks-The Central New York Genealogical Society Quarterly

The Central New York Genealogical Society began publishing its quarterly Tree Talks in 1961 to publish abstracts of pre-1850 records of historical and genealogical interests from the five Central New York Counties.  Their coverage expanded to cover forty-nine upstate New York counties.

Tree Talks are published in March, June, September, and December.  The March, June, and September issues include information from certain counties.  The December issue usually has a special project (such as a complete transcription of a census or church record) and also a subject and every-name index to the March, June, and September issues from that year.

We have binders in our library organized by county for the Tree Talks that we have received.  Here are two image examples from the Chemung County binder that we have.

You can order County Packets from the Central New York Genealogical Society that includes the pages for each county that they have published up to a certain date.  Some counties they are no longer adding information to, so you can order the entire packet on the county.  Niagara County is one of those counties that they are no longer including in their current publications.  You can learn more about the Central New York Genealogical Society here at their website: https://cnygs.org

I will be doing future blog posts on Tree Talks and giving more detailed information of what our collection contains.  If you’d like to look through our collection of Tree Talks 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. 

If you do not live close to our library, you can become a member of our Society and take advantage of our Look-up Program.  The Look-up services is available to members only.  Members are entitled to one FREE 30-minute Look-up in the Library’s holdings.  After the free Look-up, additional are available for a nominal fee.  Look-ups for the membership year need to be requested by December 14th.  You can apply for membership right from our website at: http://niagaragenealogy.org/membership.html.

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

Spotlight on our Vertical Files – Bower/Bowers

Throughout the years, our librarians and volunteers have clipped and copied loads of news articles and filed them by surname in our library.  Files like these may also include pedigree charts, family group sheets, pictures, and more if members have donated them.

If you have family group sheets, pictures, etc. that you would like to donate to our Vertical Files, please contact us!  Our library is located on the 2nd floor of the Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara St., Lockport, NY  14094.  We are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4:45pm or you can reach us by e mail at: comments@niagaragenealogy.org

If you are unable to easily visit our library to check out our Vertical Files, remember that your membership to the Niagara County Genealogical Society entitles you to one FREE 30-minute Look-up in our Library’s holdings.  More information about our Society, membership and other benefits can be found at: http://niagaragenealogy.org/membership.html.  (Psst: You can apply for a membership and renew online from our website!)

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