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 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 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: 

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.

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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Hard Times and a Hard Man

Picture from the Joseph Metcalf collection.


Recently my wife and I traveled to Potter County in Pennsylvania to visit family, three cousins on my father’s side to be precise. They are Susan who I met while researching my family a few years ago, the second Joseph whom I knew about but never met, and the third Kelly was a very recent discovery via DNA findings at I only had a short time to spend (less than two full days) with them, and we will be getting together for a longer visit in the near future.

My cousin Joseph Metcalf is the grandson of Henry Joseph Moore. Henry Moore was the brother of my grandfather Frank Moore, so Henry is my great uncle. From what I know about my grandfather Frank, and the type of man he was, it is hard to believe that the two men were brothers. Both men were to face very difficult times in very different ways. Frank was to crumble under pressure and, his family was scattered to the winds of cruel indifference. The crucible came for each man during the 1918 Flu epidemic when they both were to lose their wives to this disease. This will be Henry Joseph Moore’s story; I will deal with Frank at some point in the future.

Henry was born June 4, 1875, and he was one of nine children that were born to Henry and Clarissa Peterson Moore. While he could read and write his formal education was to stop at the fourth grade. His life was to be one of hard labor finding employment in the following fields; Farming, Railroad, state highway labor, with most of his work being done in the Lumber and Tannery industries.

Wife Lottie and the children of Douglas Moore. Left to Right Benjamin, Leonard (on lap), Pearl. In back Lettie. Taken about 1908

On March 23, 1909, Henry’s brother Douglas died of what was called Camp Dysentery on his death certificate. The death left a widow Lottie Luella Peterson Moore and four children all younger than ten years of age. The 1910 census shows the family living with her father in law Henry Moore Sr. However Lottie’s health was to take a turn for the worse in September 1911. I found this notice in “The Potter Enterprise” on September 28, 1911.


Is Very Ill

Lottie Moore of Portage, widow of the late Douglas Moore is now a county charge. She is very ill with typhoid pneumonia. She is 32 years old, and the order of relief was sworn to by Henry Moore Sr. and Henry Moore, Jr., father and brother of the dead husband,…

If that was not bad enough on September 30th, the Austin Pennsylvania Dam broke killing scores of people and leaving a path of destruction that would sweep away their shared home. In Paul W. Heimel’s book “1911 The Austin Flood” I found the following account from Lettie Moore Clark, the daughter of Douglas and Lottie, who was 11 years old at the time.

Our family home was swept away by the flood, but we were warned and were all able to escape. My mother was sick in bed and was placed in a rocking chair and carried to safety. The whole thing is like a hideous nightmare.

I recall watching the recovery of a number of the bodies from the wreckage. I remember seeing the body of one man who was so mangled that they couldn’t identify him. I also remember seeing the body of a large, white horse way up in the branches of a tall tree after the flood passed.

Some of the damage caused by the dam break.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA


I was able to find a newspaper article that listed the money paid out to the flood victims. Henry Sr. and Lottie received a combined total of $200. That would be a little over $5000 in today’s dollars.

After three years of helping and looking after his brother’s widow, Henry Moore Jr. married Lottie which made for a ready made family of four children. Henry and Lottie had their first child a girl, which was named Clarissa, after Henry’s Mother. However little Clarissa was only to live for three months. Henry and Lottie were to have three more children that were to live into adulthood. The three children were Joseph born 1914, Lottie born 1917, (she was the mother of my cousin Joseph Metcalf) and Arthur born 1918. By all handed down family accounts while not blessed with wealth, it was a happy home. Henry was able to work and earn money, despite the fact that in 1916 he was to lose his thumb and Index finger on his right hand in a work accident while coupling railroad cars. Tragic events were about to visit the Moore home once again.

In 1918 the great world Influenza epidemic took place. The estimated number of the world dead range from 21 million to 40 million. In the United States, 25 million people came down with this disease and about 675,000 died. Lottie was among the many that made up that awful number. Perhaps she was weakened by her pregnancy and childbirth as she died just two weeks after the birth of Arthur. Henry now found himself with six children ranging in ages from 15 years old to only two weeks.

From the Potter Enterprise Nov. 28, 1918.

Henry had no time to mourn he had to make hard choices and somehow keep his family intact and healthy. There was no welfare system no safety net. Failure on his part would have meant the end of his family. He did have time to bury his wife near his brother her first husband. He would be buried there himself much later. When I saw Lottie’s grave stone 86 years later the inscription that Henry had put on the stone showed a man who was deeply in love and suffering a great loss. This was the inscription.

A loved one from us is gone. A voice we loved is stilled. A place is vacant in our home which never can be filled.

Arthur was only two weeks old had to be cared for. In a letter to me dated December 15, 2002, his granddaughter Judy said: “Because my grandfather had to work to keep food on the table, Arthur was given over to a family in Austin for care (they never adopted him, just acted as his foster family).” I was able to track Arthur in the 1920 and 1930 census and in each one he was placed within the family. In 1920 with an Uncle and 1930 he was with his brother’s Benjamin wife’s family. Judy also stated in her letter that he kept her mother who was not yet two and Joseph who was only four. She stated, “I can’t imagine how that all worked, but it sure did.” The daily grind on Henry had to be immense. But day in and day out Henry prevailed and took care of his family. Then I found this in the “Potter Enterprise” newspaper dated Thursday, October 4, 1923.

Auto Accident

About dusk last Wednesday evening James Huff of this place while driving his Ford along a road to Costello, ran into Henry Moore Jr., and his two children. Joseph aged eight and Lottie aged six, who were walking to Costello. Both children were somewhat bruised and Mr. Moore severely hurt. His injuries consist of a broken rib, bruised shoulder, lacerated scalp and numerous cuts and bruises.

Over lunch, my cousin Joseph Metcalf, Henry’s grandson spoke of this. Henry had either thrown and or pushed his children to safety off the road down a slight embankment. With no time to get himself to safety, he took the brunt of the blow from the automobile. It was his fast action that saved his children from serious injury or worse.

Left to Right
Henry’s grandson Joseph Metcalf and myself Charles Moore. This was the first time Joseph and I met. I have a feeling that if we had known each other earlier we would have had some good times.

I am sure that at times it must have seemed hopeless, but Henry was a hard man. Henry never remarried. All of his children went on to become good citizens with families that stayed connected. Four boys and one of his girls were to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War two. Speaking with his grandson Joseph I was a little envious of the family stories he was able to share. They were stories from a family that was held together by the strength of one man, Henry Joseph Moore. Joseph had history and family that was not there on my father’s side. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, I began to find little newspaper stories about family parties and celebrations of one type or another. Below is one such article. You will not find this kind of newspaper article from my father’s branch.

One of many society articles about the family Henry kept together.

I noticed that pictures that Joseph brought to our meeting of Henry in the last years of his life he was always on crutches. I was told he had broken his hip and since at the time it could not be repaired this was the only way he could get around. I thought to myself just one more tribulation Henry had to endure. Henry was not a general who led his troops on a great cause, or a politician to whom people would flock to hear them speak. He had no cheering crowd to hear, as he did his work out of the public eye. History books will never write of him. When I think of what he did he is a true family hero, the man humbles me. Below is my favorite picture of him. It was taken just a couple of months before his death. His manner, his face says and shows he was a person to be reckoned with.

Henry Joseph Moore
This picture was taken just a few months before his death in 1954.
“I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Theodore Roosevelt


But I will leave the last word about Henry to his granddaughter Judy who said in her letter of December 15, 2002; “My grandfather Henry was a kind man. I have fond memories of him holding me on his lap while, at age 6, read one “Dick and Jane” book after another to him! That’s patience!”






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Left to right: Edward Lyon, Charles Lyon, Robert Lyon. Photograph taken about 1979 Photograph from the collection of Charles Moore.

This is another of what I call a front porch picture. It is of three brothers Edward Lyon, Charles Lyon, and Robert Lyon. Edward and Charles were my wife’s uncles while Robert was her father. Edward was born in 1916, and Charles in 1912, while Robert was born in 1924, making him the baby of the family. Their father died in 1939, after a lengthy illness. While this was going on the Great Depression was in full vigor and had taken a toll on the Lyon household. The result of their father’s illness and the lack of income was the two older brothers had to leave school and forfeited their education. One had to quit in high school, and the other never made that far. They took jobs where they could find them. They clerked in stores, general labor or working in a fiber plant; this brought in money so their mother could maintain home and family. The one thing they made sure of was that their younger brother stayed in school and graduated high school. This is something Robert would remember for the rest of his life. Robert was to become an attorney after serving in World War 2. While his brother Charles did not have any children, Robert paid the college expenses for Edward’s oldest child.

The three brothers were to remain close for the rest of their lives. They lived during the age of the bi-plane to seeing a man land on the moon. All went through World War 2, with one earning a purple heart. One brother sent a son to Vietnam, and none of them relaxed until he returned. Families raised, employment was obtained and lost, visits and vacations were shared. Weddings and baptisms, and good times were enjoyed. As in all families, times of sorrows made their visits. They buried their Mother Alice in 1961 and closed ranks when a family tragedy struck. Finally, they had to bury each other and their wives. Edward’s wife was the first to die in December 1980. Robert was at this time battling cancer and in the middle of his treatments. He was in no condition to travel the three hundred miles for the funeral. I remember the tears he shed that he “could not be there for his brother.” Robert was next to die in January 1982, just 13 months after the death of Bea, Edward’s wife. I was in the hospital room with Robert in what would be the last weeks of his life when Edward came to visit. Robert and Edward greeted each other warmly, and then Robert asked: “where is Bea?” Just for a second a stunned look came over Ed’s face, but he recovered quickly saying “she could not make it.” Charles died next in 1988 then his wife Eunice in 1998. Edward was the last brother with his death in 2002. Doris, Robert’s wife, was to die in 2006.

The picture below was taken sometime in the early to mid-1930s when the three brothers were much younger

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.” – Susan Scarf Merrell


From left to right: Charles Lyon, Robert Lyon, Edward Lyon. Photograph taken in the early 1930s. Photograph from the collection of Charles Moore.


I will share with you one amusing family story that I was to learn. Charles and Edward were to live near to each other in the Nyack, N.Y. area for all their lives. Robert would move well up into the northern corner of New York. It seems that Charles’s and Edward’s wife’s got into a little dispute. The relationship between the two ladies was to get so frosty that the husbands were not to speak with each other as to do so would greatly upset their wives. So Ed and Charles took to meeting each other in a local bar. The best part was that neither man drank and was what we would call teetotalers. In fact, both men were quite religious, and a bar would be the last place one would look for them. That was the idea. Their wives and friends would never think to look for them there and the chances they would run into someone they knew was small. This went on for a while until the two wives worked things out and all was made right. However, their secret meetings are still only known by a very few people.


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Monuments to Lost Libraries

Authors photograph 2017, Charles H Moore

“Whenever an elder dies, a library burns down.”


Most of us have heard the above saying in one form or another. If there is any truth to this saying (I believe it holds much truth) then perhaps the above picture is of monuments to these lost libraries. If you are the family historian, genealogist, archivist, or family story teller, some responsibility falls on you to try and preserve some of the knowledge held in these libraries. Far too many people will only be known as a name and two dates on a gravestone, with their life story soon forgotten. Most family historians believe that family lore, if not preserved, will be lost within three generations. In the case of my family as my research has shown it happens much sooner.

We have many ways to save and pass on our family’s history. We can publish a book or an e-book or both. We can make a family scrapbook, better yet more than one and give them out to the family. Interview and record our family members. Create a family website. Update our photographs by digitizing and printing copies, making sure names, dates, and places marked. Make copies of your family tree in your computer software and pass them out to the family. Make sure historical societies and libraries in places your family lived have copies of your family tree and whatever else they may be interested in. We have many ways to do this, and I am sure all of us can think of many different ways to do this. You can make all of the above suggestions as simple or complex as you like. The main thing is to do something that will tell your family’s story to future generations.

“Heirlooms we don’t have in our family. But stories we’ve got.”

Rose Chernin

Cornell University Library
Photographed 1920

The principal lesson I have learned while researching my family is how events and family dynamics have echoed through many generations to influence myself and in turn my family today. This is something I think most of us who labor on their family history soon see for themselves. What better understanding could we have than the knowledge of how and perhaps why our families continue today? It comes down to nothing less than respect and honor for those who have come before us, to know and save their story. It does not matter if you have hundreds of years of family history to tell or only a few generations. You need to conserve and tell the story. Some people have told me they can only go back a few years and so they do not have much to say. I believe that not only is it easier to tell shall we say a short story but perhaps it is the story that needs to be told the most. Perhaps someone in a future generation will find it and will be able to build a much greater family story from this first small effort. Perhaps if someone had taken the effort the picture below would not have been sold at a flea market.


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