The Dance

This well worn picture was taken about 1968.

When we go through an old box or album of pictures they can give us reason to laugh or sigh, and even feel a little sad. We get the most out of these pictures when they are of us or were taken by us. We know the background and story that the picture represents. The picture helps to capture the moment so we can recall the events that were taking place all around while the photograph was taken. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes we have to tell its story.

The above picture was taken at a Valentine semi-formal dance at my girlfriend Sandy’s (now my long time wife) high school in Beekmantown, New York. It was what we called a semi-formal dance. I know it was a semi-formal because I am wearing a coat and tie and Sandy is wearing a dress. The area high schools held many dances throughout the year. It was not uncommon that if two schools had an athletic contest, the school that was not hosting the athletic event would host a dance. Students and athletes from both schools would attend the dance. The cost to get into the dance was nominal, and the music was always a live band. Most of the bands were high school students who had gotten together and formed a group. We also had bands from students from the local colleges and from people who did it part time from their regular jobs. Below is news clipping from a 1967 Plattsburgh Press-Republican news article, about a newly formed band.

News article about just one of the many area bands.

 

It was at a school dance Where I met my wife. We did not go to the same high school as she went to Beekmantown High School and I went to Plattsburgh High School. We were to meet at a dance at a third school called Mount Assumption Institute (MAI). The night we meet I had no intention of going to the dance. I was at home watching television when a good friend came knocking on my door. He had a major crush on a girl at school and he wanted to go to the dance being held at MAI to try and meet up with her. I will admit it took some effort to talk me into going, as the last thing I wanted to do was go out that night. We walked to the dance where he went off to find the girl of his dreams (he had no luck) and I was thinking I would just go home. That’s when a girl who had her school locker next to mine came up and said she had someone she wanted me to meet. That’s when she introduced me to her cousin Sandy. She was cute with freckles and red hair and while I did not know it then I had found my dance partner.

Below is MAI the school where I met my wife. The school closed down a few years ago but has been remodeled into apartments. Funny I can still hear the music.

This was where my wife and I had our first dance.

 

 Could I Have This Dance

I’ll always remember that magic moment

When I held you close to me

As we moved together, I knew forever

You’re all I’ll ever need

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Would you be my partner every night?

When we’re together it feels so right

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Released 1980

Songwriters; Wayland Holyfield and Bob House

 

 Happy Valentines Day

 

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A Box Full of Surprises

This was the box that was full of surprises.

 

All that it cost me was twenty dollars. For those twenty dollars, I received hours of fun and entertainment. So as far as I am concerned I obtained more than my money’s worth. All this was found in a box of pictures and documents at an estate sale. When I started looking through the box, the dealer informed me that that I would not find anything local since she brought the box up from Florida (I live in New York State) from the estate sales she did while living down there. The box contained well over a hundred pictures and documents, so I started to group items that had names in common. Eventually, I had four groups that drew my interest. After a little negotiation, the dealer and I settled on the price. Now all I had to do was to research the people staring at me from those photographs. I needed to see if I could find them a home to which they belong

John F Rollins

 

The above picture is of John F Rollins who was born in Springfield, N.H. in the year 1835. The Rollins family was easy to find as they have several family trees on ancestry.com. I did discover that John Rollins had moved to Florida by the time of the 1880 census where his occupation was listed as receiving U.S. money. That sounds like a job I would like. He was still in Florida for the 1900 census where his occupation is simply listed as a Capitalist. He must have moved back up to N.H. after 1900 because death records show that he died there. However, his time in Florida may explain how these pictures ended up there. I have five pictures from this family, John in the picture above, Gertrude Rollins, John H Rollins, Nora Rollins, and one which is written on the back as Great Grandmother Rollins. I received two quick responses to my inquiries regarding the pictures. One person only wanted digital copies but the second person wanted the photographs. I was pleased to send the photographs and not have to destroy them as I have a limited amount of room.

 

The family of Oscar A Rexer Sr.

The picture above is of the Rexer family. On the back of the picture is written Aunt Erma, Grandpa Rexer, Uncle Bill, Dad, Grandma Rexer, and Aunt Gertie. With a little research, I was able to put complete names to these people. They are left to right Erma Rexer, Oscar A Rexer Sr., William O Rexer, Oscar A Rexer Jr., Frieda Spiehs Rexer, and Gertrude M Rexer. I also have a picture of Oscar Rexer Jr. taken for his high school graduation and a picture of his wife to be Helene Nietmann. However, they also had many documents and such mixed in with the photographs. Someone had taken great care to keep these items together as a group as many were placed in Sheet protectors of the type that would be placed in a three-ring binder. Some of the items were a death certificate, a letter written in German, a map highlighting a city in Germany, and among other things, a statement of personal history filled out by Oscar Rexer Jr.

This is one of the many paper documents that I have for the Rexer Family.

From these papers, I was able to start putting some of the facts needed to research this family. Also, I was able to get some records from ancestry that was of great help. The Rexer family immigrated to America in December of 1910 from Germany. Oscar Rexer Jr. was about six years of age. They arrived at a difficult time since hostilities were soon to break out between Germany and the U.S. World War One broke out in Europe in 1914, and the American public became apprehensive toward people of German heritage. Then with Germany, increasing submarine warfare life for German immigrants became much harder. When the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917 the lives of all German-Americans were to become very difficult. Most German-language publication ceased to exist; German music was no longer played, streets, buildings, and even some cities were renamed. German language instruction in schools was stopped. Many German immigrants and German-Americans were subject to mistreatment, and some were killed by mobs that got out of hand. Many were jailed without charges and released after a day or so. On an application that Oscar Rexer Jr. filled out is an interesting tidbit. To the question “Have you ever been arrested” Oscar gave the following answer. “May 1924 Port Arthur Texas. While on a weekend trip to Texas was picked up on suspicion, held overnight on open charge. Released without charges being preferred.” While this was after World War One it was during a period in our history of negative reaction against immigration, and also perhaps there were some ill feelings toward people of German heritage.

One of the many articles found by looking at online newspapers.

I also was able to make good use of digital newspapers on the internet. I found many news articles like the obituary shown above that allowed me to learn more about the family but also to locate living relatives that may be interested in having these items returned to the family. This was very useful since the Rexer family had very little in the way of family trees on ancestry. I was able to reach out with social media and by phone to well over six family members. Only one was to return my messages. However, she is currently living outside the country and said she would have me mail the papers and photographs to her when she comes back for a visit. She should be back in the country now per the dates she has given me, but so far I have not heard from her or anyone else from the Rexer family. I will keep these items for a little while longer.

J. Silver Hill

The happy smiling man shown above is a sad story. It is the only item I have for him, and his smiling picture was what drew me toward keeping it and seeing what I could learn. On the back of the picture was written J. Silver Hill, Nov.1905 Dixon, Calif. I did some checking on ancestry and soon found what I believed to be the right family. Also once again online newspapers proved to be very valuable in the search for Mr. Hill. I was to learn that his full name was Joseph Silver Hill and that his father was James Hill. However, it seems that everyone called Joseph by his father’s name of James and sometimes even put a Jr. after his name. This was a little confusing when I first started to do my research on Joseph. As you can read in the newspaper article below Mr. Hill committed suicide as he perceived that he had not won the love of his new wife.

One of the many news articles I found regarding the Hill family.

This took place in 1915 just ten years after the picture was taken. Mr. Hill was well off finically leaving his new bride $35,000 which would be in today’s value about $861,000. I was able to very quickly contact Susan, a relative of Mr. Hill who very much wanted the photograph. I had asked her about Lillian, the young bride and she was able to tell me some more of her story. This is what she wrote. “You inquired about Silver’s wife, Lillian. I did a bit of checking and found she did not remarry. She was a librarian prior to her marriage in 1914. She returned to her profession, wrote a number of children’s books, became “chief” of the California State Department of Education in the 1930’s & 40’s. She died in Los Angeles in 1973. She’s buried just south of San Francisco in Colma.” I was also able to find some of Lillian’s children’s books for sale online. I cannot guess as to the reason she did not remarry, but it seems she was able to carry on and have a full and very meaningful life. I find it very sad the Joseph Hill was not able to do the same.

The pictures below I believe are all from the same family. This last group proved to be too difficult for me to gather any information on. The people have the following names, Haynes, Sue, Kate, Jimmy and not shown in the pictures below Evelyn. Several pictures are stamped Florida, and I believe that is where they were taken.

On the back of this picture is written “Kate”

Some pictures of Kate, Sue, and Haynes.

On the back of this picture is written “Auntie Sue, Jimmie used your $5 on monthly payments on his scooter. This was taken Sunday August 19, 56.”

I will keep these photographs for a while in the slim hope that a family member may come across my blog and would want them. This was a pleasant diversion from working on my family lines and helps to keep my research skills sharp. Also, I think that this is something that all of us that work on genealogy should do. Just imagine if each of us did this just once a year the number of family heirlooms that could be returned. Besides, it is fun to do, and when it all works out; it gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment.

 

 

 

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The Christmas Gift Under The Tree That Grew Into A Family Tree

The gift that helped to end a 55 year mystery.

 

The question I should have asked Bill about the DNA test kit he gave his wife Kelly for Christmas last year was, what did he think would happen? What did happen was an incredible life-changing event for Kelly and a family mystery that looked to be unsolvable finally revealed. Kelly was born in 1962 and immediately given up for adoption. She was to search for her biological family without any success until this year.

I now have to back this story up about fifteen years and give a little background. I have been researching my father’s family which had been scattered due to some unfortunate circumstances when he was very young. Two of his siblings were adopted into different families, one sent to the county home, and the four remaining including my father tried to make it on their own. Of the four remaining the oldest was 19 and the youngest age nine. I had finally found some of the children of the brother who was sent to the county home. It was with his daughter Susan my first cousin that family ties were reestablished and much information learned. Susan was to tell me a story about an incident that occurred when she was about fourteen years of age. At that time her family was working very hard to establish a farm in Potter County, Pennsylvania near the town of Shinglehouse. A woman with a young pregnant daughter came to visit. The woman turned out to be Susan’s father’s sister who she had never met. In fact, the sister was one of the siblings that had been adopted and had moved with her new family out of Pennsylvania several states away. In fact, it would be several years after hearing this story that I would finally learn what happened to her after the adoption. The young woman was left in the care of Susan’s family until she had the baby. After the birth of the baby, the mother came back at once and took her daughter home. Susan who thought that her family was going to keep and raise the baby never saw her aunt or her cousin again. She had no idea what had happened to the baby.

In March of this year, I received an email from Kelly asking for information as we have a close match in our DNA. We soon started talking over the phone. This was when I found out Kelly was adopted and was trying to find her biological family. I found out she was living in Potter County where she was born. She had been told that her mother had come from out of state for her birth. This was all Kelly knew about her birth and mother. Of course, Susan’s story came to mind, but I was in a quandary about what to do. Since hearing the story from Susan, I had tracked down the woman who could well have been the young pregnant woman in this story. We had exchanged letters and several phone calls regarding family history, and she was to give much information that filled many missing pieces of the family story. The baby being born in Potter County was never mentioned. Also while a long shot a couple of other possibilities could have been a viable explanation. I did give Kelly the name of a person who I have worked with on the Moore family history for years that had all the information I had. Then I thought and stewed about Kelly and her search for a couple of months until I could not stand it any longer. I contacted her again fully prepared to tell her where she should look. However, she had most of the answers already. She had reached the person I had recommended and with detective skills that would rival Sherlock Holmes she had put together most of the pieces. All I had to do was to fill in the Moore family history for her and introduce her to Susan. However, before I could introduce them, she found Susan herself. I told you she was good. Kelly informed me that Pennsylvania was releasing the birth certificates of adopted people who were of age on November 3, of 2017, and she had already sent in her request to the state.

Kelly was at last able to see her birth certificate which helped solve the mystery.

 

The above birth certificate proved that her mother was who we thought. The father was a bit of a surprise as the man was neither of the mother’s two husbands. However, Kelly had already through DNA testing had found the Green family and now the birth certificate confirmed the father. Kelly was able to find her biological family due to hard work on her part and DNA testing. Also what helped was years of family research that helped to make sense of the information on the birth certificate and gave direction to the DNA findings.

This summer my wife and I traveled to Potter County and met and visited with Kelly and Susan. We had a wonderful time and will be going again next year. It is a satisfying and pleasant feeling to meet family and to form bonds that you would never have without the research and effort that had to be done just to discover your family’s story. Just to be on the sideline to see the joy that Kelly and her family have experienced is very satisfying. It has also given me even more of a reason to keep researching and writing the family’s story.

Left to right. Susan Moore Lewis, myself Charles Moore, and Kelly Hunter. Picture is taken at the entrance to the driveway to the long abandon farm where Susan grew up and where Kelly’s mother stayed when she was pregnant with Kelly. At long last Susan was to learn what happen to the little baby that was born in 1962.

 

It has not all turned out well. Kelly’s biological mother who is alive has refused to acknowledge her or even speak with her. Also, her brothers and sisters from her mother’s two marriages have not been willing to accept her. This is the reason many names and locations have been left out of this blog. However, her siblings from the Green family have embraced her and welcomed her to their family. Regrettably, her biological father has died. His children do not believe he ever knew of Kelly’s existence. I tend to agree due to the clandestine nature of her birth. Of which some facts had to be left out so living people could not be readily identified. This month one of Kelly’s newly found siblings drove over 600 miles to visit with her. They spent several days visiting and she was caught up in her Green family history. But even better she has found new family members to love and be loved by.

Kelly with her newly found Brother, Christopher Green, who came to visit this month.

 

 

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All Dressed Up With Someplace To Go

Windmill Craft Market in Penn Yan, N.Y

 

 

 

This summer I visited the Penn Yan Craft Market which is located in the Finger Lakes region in New York. They had vendor after vendor selling all types of handcrafted items that took more talent to make that I could ever hope to have. Along with all these fine items was a robust farmer’s market. As I was going from booth to booth and in one building then to the next, I sighted the display shown below.

 

Lost pictures. All of us should try to return a lost picture to the family it belongs to.

I started to look through the box of pictures and found one with the following inscription written on the back, Byron Duckwall Charley Duckwall’s son. It was clear to me that Byron did not need to be an instant relative for some unrelated family he had to find his own family. The picture below I believe was taken for Byron’s high school graduation.

I was able to trace Byron family very quickly on Ancestry.com where vast amounts of information were found. Byron was born in 1916 in the state of Indiana to a family that was doing very well for its self. The 1920 U.S. Federal Census shows his father Charles was furniture merchant and they had two live in servants at home. In the 1930 Federal Census Byron’s father was now a civil engineer doing surveying for the county. His mother also had a job listed as a hack driver for the public schools. No servants were listed for the family. Perhaps due to the Great Depression that was just starting. According to Byron’s army enlistment records, he entered the service during World War 2 in July of 1942. He was married and had four years of college. I also noticed many pictures of Byron shown on Ancestry.com at various ages. I also saw one picture the same as I had but it had writing across the front. I found several family trees that listed Byron. I was able to send out six emails and waited to see who would reply. I received three replies. One person said they did not have Byron in their tree while another person said they would think about it and let me know if they are interested. It has now been well over a month, and I have not heard back. The third reply explained how they are related and would “love” his photograph. I did ask them if they knew how his picture could end up in a box in New York when as far as I could find out he did not ever live in New York. I also asked if they had any stories about Bryon they could share. I made this request twice and never got any information except a mailing address for me to send the picture. The picture has been mailed, and I hope they are happy with it.

 

Mr. Byron Duckwall son of Charles and Mary Duckwall.

 

We all should do this when we get a chance. I know if someone was to find a picture of my ancestor and send it to me that I would be very appreciative. All this cost me was a dollar for the price of the photograph and just a little more for the mailing. It did take a little time to track the family down but to be honest; I enjoy that.

 

 

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Walking With Giants

Clinton County had only a population of 54,006 in 1940. A casualty list of 304 people shows the suffering done by the people of the county. Several family members are listed.

 

It was the above picture of a newspaper page that fueled the idea of this blog post. I had used this image in an earlier post. When I studied this newspaper page, I was reminded of the many people I knew while growing up that served in the armed forces during World War 1 and World War 2. Many of the names in the list above were people who I knew or knew the family. Many of the people who served during these wars never talked about their experience and the first time I knew about it was when I read their obituary when they died.

I wanted to write about my family’s history in these wars but was not sure what to say. Then I came across a poem by Paul Wesselhoft that put into words my feelings much better than I could express. Mr. Wesselhoft has permitted me to use his beautiful poem for this blog post

Walked Among Giants

By Paul Wesselhoft 

 

I walked among giants,

Men of renown,

Great ones they were,

Some, were women.

These men of might

Walked the earth

And communed with us.

They were brave when bravery

Had to make a difference.

Daily, they die.

Soon, they will be extinct.

They left their mark, though,

For all time.

During the great disruption,

They performed gargantuan feats.

These titans saved the planet

And preserved a way of existence.

Daily, they die.

Some were killed in the fight,

Others captured, tortured.

The remains of some were never found.

Some were maimed in body and mind.

Most lived to see a new day, a new world.

Now, these colossal men

Serve as pallbearers for their own.

They barely carry the load.

Some hobble with canes.

Some are bent over with years.

Some can only watch

With dim eyes from wheelchairs.

Their eyes see three colors blur as one

And slowly fall into the ground.

Daily, they die.

They are almost a lost breed.

Some are written about,

Most are not.

Some, were my uncles,

Others, my countrymen.

One was my father.

I can tell my children

And their children,

That for a time on earth

I was privileged,

To walk among the giants.                                                                     

 

Uncle “Chet” Edward Bushey

 

Lawrence Cole

 

Maxwell Moore

 

Edward Lyon

 

Robert Lyon

 

Page Cole with his wife Mary Bushey Cole.

 

Charles Moore

The pictures above are from my side and my wife’s side of the family. These were some of the giants we were privileged to call dad and uncle. While I am not going to tell their complete story, I would like to share with you a quick review of some of the deeds these men did and perhaps a glimpse of the price they paid. One man was buried alive in his trench left to dig himself out with his hands and a mess spoon. His mind was so affected he would spend large amounts of time in VA Hospitals and live for the rest of his life with his sister and her husband who was also a war veteran. One man above was to come home as a young man having his hair turn snow white and was to remain that way for the rest of his life. One of the soldiers pictured above would spend the war stateside in coastal defense. He would spend the war trying to get sent overseas so he could get into the fight. I have letters from his younger brother who was in Italy telling him, no begging him to stop trying and stay in the States. The younger brother depending on what was going on either carried a typewriter or a B.A.R. weapon. One man landed with the third wave on Omaha Beach on D-day. Some fought in the hedgerows, the Battle of the Bulge, saw the air raids in London, one helped to liberate two concentration camps. Two men were to receive purple hearts for wounds. One of these men was wounded so severely that he was told he would never walk or have children. He was to have several children, and he walked until the day he died, but he did live with pain the rest of his life. Two of these men were to suffer the death of a brother in battle. I heard their wives tell of how for years after they came home that a sudden loud noise would spook them. I remember one aunt telling how after a very loud thunderstorm one night she woke up to find her husband under the bed. But for the most part, they returned home found jobs and raised families. One was to find a home working maintenance at a large college. He came to be so well respected that when the college president died the family requested that he be one of the pallbearers.

Perhaps someday I will be able to tell their complete stories. These were private men, and their war experiences were never open for discussion. Much research was done to find out what I do know. Rare was the day when any of them would speak about the war at all. When they did talk, it was usually a funny story and never about the horrors that they shared. The war was something to be left behind no matter how fast they had to run. For now, this is my small salute to them this Veterans Day.

 

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Green-Wood Cemetery Where Ancestors Await You

 

Record book from Green-Wood Cemetery.
Courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery.

Last spring I was reading my local newspaper when an article caught my eye. It was regarding a cemetery in New York City that has compiled over 160 biographies of people who served during World War 1 and that are buried there. They even put this on their website for anyone to look up. The cemetery is Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and they put these biographies online in time for the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War 1. I immediately went to their website to check this out and found a vast resource for genealogy research. I spent hours looking over their website. I discovered that in addition to the World War 1 biographies they had done the same with their Civil War veterans. They even have an online magazine called “the Arch.” In the current issue, they had articles about Flora and Fauna, birding at Green-Wood, beehive keeping at Green-Wood, and many other remarkable reads. Green-Wood also has a guided trolley car tour you can take. Since Green-Wood is 478 acres large, this may be the best way to see the cemetery. They even have a burial search on their website that covers most of the over 560,000 people who are interred there. This burial search makes it easy to find ancestors that may be buried there

Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, undated (ca. 1890-1910).

In a fall 2013 article in The New York Researcher magazine by Anthony Cucchiara, a figure is given that one in seven Americans today can trace some of their ancestors to Brooklyn. That would mean about 46 million of us can trace part of our family to Brooklyn. Since Green-Wood Cemetery was established in 1838 and has well over a half million interments, you have a good chance that one of your ancestors are at Green-Wood. I ran a few of my family’s surnames and found that I have a fourth cousin buried there. He was Thomas Spencer Dakin.

General Thomas Dakin. The New York Public Library, Digital collection.

Thomas Spencer Dakin was an officer with the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn, during the Civil War. He also was a baseball player and was among those that wanted to make it a national game. Dakin also was a prominent member of the United States Rifle team. However, the one thing that intrigued me when reading his biography on Green-Wood Cemetery website was that he took ill while attending a sermon given by Henry Ward Beecher, and died the next day. I have just finished reading “The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher” by Debby Applegate. This is a well-written book and worth your time to read. As it turns out Henry Beecher is also buried at Green-Wood

Photograph shows the gravestone of Congregationalist clergyman and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2012)

Green-Wood Cemetery has many famous and infamous people buried there as well as the everyday hard working people to who you just might be related. If you do find an ancestor buried at Green-Wood here are some of the records, Green-Wood may have for your ancestor. Transfer Records of lot ownership, Affidavits of Heirship, Memorandum Files, Last Wills and Testaments, Burial Orders, Heirship Books, and Lot Books. Some of the items these files may contain are newspaper clippings, obituaries, photographs, correspondence, burial lot ownership, date of death, the cause of death, family histories, place of residence, genealogical charts, death certificates, grave diagrams, and many other items that any family historian would find interesting. When you do the Burial Search, you will be given the name, burial date, and the lot and section number. To learn more, you must ask for Green-Wood’s genealogy service. The cost is $30.50 per half hour. According to Lisa Alpert of Green-Wood Cemetery, the average charge is between two or three hours of work. The work is done by Green-Wood’s genealogy team who gathers the records and emails the scanned items and or photographs. Lisa explained that they are not set up for individuals to come in and do the work themselves. But she did say “we will shortly be offering the opportunity for someone to come and work with one of our archivists to do that. They will have the opportunity to review our institutional archives, as well as our Collection. (The Collection has over 8,000 items, including stereo views photographs, books, artwork, objects, etc. all relating to persons interred at Green-Wood.) It’s more of an accompanied visit. There will be a charge, but we haven’t determined yet what it will be.”

Roosevelt Burial Record.
Courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery.
On Feb. 14, 1884 the future President Theodore Roosevelt lost both his wife and mother hours apart from each other. In his diary that day he placed a black X, and wrote “The light has gone out of my life.”

With so many cemeteries falling on hard times it is refreshing to see the energy that Green-Wood has. Cemeteries can be an excellent source of genealogy information. This is something I am sure most of you already know. Perhaps we all should do more in our own local area to help our cemeteries last well into the future. I urge all of you to visit the Green-Wood website, even if no one in your family ever set foot in New York State. I am sure you will find it a fascinating visit. Here is the link: https://www.green-wood.com/ 

My thanks to Lisa Alpert, Vice President of Development and Programming at Green-Wood Cemetery, who furnished much of the information and many of the images used on this blog. I hope to meet her next year when I visit for a guided trolley tour.

 

 

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Quilts, Cemeteries, Snowflakes or Genealogy Fun in Pictures

It just does not get better than the Adirondacks.

A quilt show was to take place in Plattsburgh, N.Y. so plans were made to attend. To be honest, I do not need much of a reason to visit my old hometown. This trip would be a perfect way to combine my wife’s love of quilting and my genealogy research. My maternal side of the family has many roots that came from or lived several generations in the state of Vermont. My wife also has family from Vermont, but they will be researched in a future visit. Since Vermont is just across Lake Champlain from Plattsburgh, this would all work out very nicely. We were to spend the first day in Vermont looking up ancestors in Jericho, Vermont.

Jericho Vermont Town Hall. They gave us information on cemetery locations and the phone numbers of the caretakers

Here is a long line of relatives. Pictured here are some of my great grandparents, great uncles and Aunts and of course cousins.

It is sometimes a strange feeling looking at the gravestones of ancestors, knowing if not for them there would be no you.

Some of the cemetery searchings’ were made rather easy like this large monument below to my 5th Great Grandfather Thomas Chittenden the first governor of Vermont. In fact, the photograph above is of my Chittenden ancestors.

This large monument made it easy to find my ancestors graves.

Below is a picture of Thomas and Elizabeth Chittenden’s gravestones. Elizabeth’s maiden name was Meigs. The Meigs family itself has a fascinating history for which I will have to do more research

Gravestones of my 5th Great Grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Meigs Chittenden.

It was while searching for the gravestones of my Barney family line I made an interesting discovery. The tombstone pictured below is for my third great grandparents Thomas and Hannah Bentley Barney. It was the Bentley name that would open the door to new revelations in my family history.

The gravestone of my 3rd Great Grandparents Truman and Hannah Bentley Barney.

The Bentley family line goes back to the 1600s in this country. They are well documented and a fascinating study. However, it is my 2nd cousin four times removed Wilson Alwyn Bentley that I would like to highlight. Pictured below is the “Old Red Mill” in Jericho, Vermont. The Old Red Mill was declared a National Historic Site in 1972. It is here that they have a display of the lifetime work of Wilson Bentley.


This is the Old Red Mill in Jericho Vermont.

Side and back view of The Old Red Mill.

Wilson Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. Wilson would go on to photograph over 5000 single snow crystals. I will let the pictures and newspaper accounts below tell a little more of his story.

 

From the Burlington Free Press April 10, 1931.

From The Burlington Free Press December 24, 1931

Our time in Vermont flew by, and soon it was time to take a short ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Plattsburgh.

 

It was a smooth crossing on the ferry.

Once on the New York side, it was time for family and to enjoy the area. It was easy to find beautiful scenery to enjoy. We also had to visit the farm where much family history is rooted

In New York with Lake Champlain in the background. From left to right Pam Moore, Nicole Moore, Dennis Panagitsas, and Sandra Moore. In front also left to right is Dale and Chip

A Cabot advertisement that featured the Gonya farm.

Dennis checks out the tractor while Willis Gonya looks on.

Outside the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Plattsburgh for the best breakfast in town. That is me on the right.

 

The last day of our trip was spent at the Plattsburgh Quilt Show, and it did not disappoint. The many quilts were beautiful and gave evidence to the talent that it takes to create these works of art. But perhaps the best part for me was meeting Kerry, a fellow blogger whose blog “Love those Hands at Home” is about her quilting and weaving as she talks about life, events, and whatever happens to be on her mind. I am not sure if she found my blog or if I found her blog first, but I do enjoy reading it and am glad I discovered it. Here is a link to her blog. https://lovethosehandsathome.wordpress.com/

My granddaughter Nicole and wife Sandra just outside the Quilt show.

Pictured are myself and Kerry. Kerry’s blog “Love those hands at home” is well worth reading and following. The quilt in the background is the result of the talent and hard work of Kerry.

 

So that is the story of my little weekend trip. The point of telling this little story is that as family researchers it is important to get out from in front of the computer and step outside. This was reinforced for me by the Bentley family line discovery, meeting Kerry, and best of all visiting and being with family. This was a simple trip of only a few hundred miles in which new understanding of my family’s history was achieved, and future family memories were made. So my advice is get up and take a little trip.

 

Go Hornets!

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