16 May 2018

Upcoming Cemetery Ventures through HVCC and St. Agnes

There are two upcoming cemetery programs presented by St. Agnes Cemetery in June. The following information comes from the Summer catalog of Hudson Valley Community College's Community and Professional Education.

A Walk Through Time: Cool Facts about Grand Old Cemeteries
If you love old cemeteries and find them very interesting places to visit, this talk is for you. Cemetery historian and author of "These Sacred Grounds," Kelly Grimaldi, offers a presentation discussing the Rural Cemetery Movement featuring Historic St. Agnes Cemetery founded in 1867 and neighboring Albany Rural Cemetery incorporated in 1841. We will learn why rural cemeteries were founded, what early gravestones looked like and how funerary art and symbolism changed through the Victorian Era into the 20th century. Loaded with interesting photographs of gravestones and mausoleums, this PowerPoint presentation offers a lot of insight into why rural cemeteries look the way they do! Course fee includes $5 materials fee.
Center for Creative Retirement Trips, Tours and Off-Campus Classes: Directions and Additional Information
1 Session, St. Agnes Cemetery
Fri., 6/1, 11 a.m. - Noon
Kelly Grimaldi, Instructor

Art Appreciation Tour of a Victorian Era Cemetery and Lunch
Have you ever wondered why old cemeteries look the way they do? Perhaps you have pondered the meaning of gravestone carvings and styles. Do you know why we see monuments that look like ancient buildings or ruins? What can we learn from touring an old cemetery? We can learn plenty!
Join cemetery historian Kelly Grimaldi for a combination walking/driving tour of St. Agnes Cemetery and parts of Albany Rural Cemetery for a fun way to learn about monuments and symbolism as they relate to the study of art history. We will drive up to chosen areas and walk short distances to view magnificent works of funerary art in a peaceful, beautiful setting. Together we will explore sacred grounds in a leisurely manner. After the tour and a short break to refresh ourselves in the visitors center, we will gather high upon Founders Hill, overlooking the Hudson River valley, and enjoy a delicious catered lunch while comfortably seated at tables.
Meet your tour guide in the visitors center located in Historic St. Agnes Cemetery, 48 Cemetery Avenue, Menands at 10 a.m. for a fun and informational morning. Feel free to call (518) 350-7679 for more information. Course fee includes $15 materials fee.
Center for Creative Retirement Trips, Tours and Off-Campus Classes: Directions and Additional Information
1 Session, St. Agnes Cemetery
Tues., 6/12, 10 a.m. - noon
Lunch at 12:15
Kelly Grimaldi, Instructor

Lecture at the Hudson River Maritime Museum

The following information about an upcoming history program hosted by the New Netherland Institute came to me earlier in the week via an email.

Hudson River Maritime Museum  Hosts Sloop Design Author, Paul Fontenoy for Special Lecture
With Dutch Yacht Onrust As Part of Dutch Heritage Weekends

KINGSTON, N.Y. – The Hudson River Maritime Museum is pleased to announce a special lecture on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 2:00 PM featuring Paul Fontenoy, author of Sloops of the Hudson River: A Historical and Design Survey.

In “The Evolution of Dutch Sloop Design,” Fontenoy will discuss how the unique Hudson River sloop evolved from the earliest Dutch sloeps and how the sloop changed lives in the Hudson River Valley. Lecture will conclude with discussion of the replica Dutch yacht Onrust in comparison to Hudson River sloops. The Onrust will be at the museum docks and will available for public deck tours.
Paul Fontenoy earned his B.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of London (Kings College and Queen Mary College respectively) and an M.A. in Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University. He has taught at New York University, Sophia University in Tokyo, and East Carolina University, and became Curator of Maritime Research and Technology for the North Carolina Maritime Museums in 1996, where he primarily is responsible for exhibit development. His principal research concentrations are on national and international naval and maritime technological developments between 1650 and 1950 and their societal impacts. He has written and presented extensively on these topics and is the author of five books (including Sloops of the Hudson River: A Historical and Design Study), several book translations, 100+ articles, chapters, and 20+ conference presentations.
Tickets are $10 for HRMM members (all levels) and $15 for non-members. Registration is available online at www.hrmm.org/store/c17/Special_Lectures.html.

This program is part of Dutch Heritage Weekends, a collaboration between the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area of the National Park Service, the Dutch Consulate, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

About the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Located along the historic Rondout Creek in downtown Kingston, N.Y., the Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries. HRMM opened the Riverport Wooden Boat School in 2016 and the Riverport Sailing School in 2017.

Ellie Burhans
Development & Communications Manager
845-338-0071 x 14

Pinkster Celebration at Fort Crailo

The following information about an upcoming ethnic event hosted by the Crailo State Historic Site came to me earlier today via an email.

On May 26, 2018, Crailo State Historic Site will host a Pinkster celebration featuring musical performances and educational experiences. Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions. All along the Hudson River and on Albany’s “Pinkster Hill” (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance. Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers.

Please join us at Crailo State Historic Site in celebrating and commemorating the historic Pinkster holiday from 11 AM to 4 PM on May 26th. Festivities include presentations and demonstrations by The Children of Dahomey, an educational and performance group specializing in the historical experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans in colonial New York. Visitors can participate in The Children of Dahomey’s traditional Pinkster dances and theatrical demonstrations, and listen in on a storytelling session. The group TMI – Black Stories Matter will share stories that connect the past to the present. Melody Africa, a traditional dance and drum troupe will perform. Ensemble Congeros will share musical traditions from the African Diaspora, combining Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music and tying new world rhythms to their African roots. In Crailo’s kitchen cellar, culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon will be preparing food over the open hearth and interpreting historic African and African-American foodways. Other family-friendly activities will include crafts, games, music, and refreshments. The museum will be open for self-guided tours of the historic rooms and exhibits, including the featured exhibit A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World, currently on display in the upstairs galleries.

For more information please contact:

Crailo State Historic Site
9 ½ Riverside Avenue
Rensselaer, NY 12144


11 May 2018

Slingerland Vault Update

Much has happen since my last post about the Slingerland Vault in Slingerlands off New Scotland Road behind the former Mangia restaurant. In January the Town of Bethlehem has pledged to restore old Slingerland Family Burial Vault.

Last month a GoFundMe page was set up to defray the costs of restoring the vault. The page can be found here. Below are preliminary estimates for stabilizing and protecting the vault while retaining the vault’s historic character. These estimates do not include labor and materials provided by the Town.

$50,000 Rebuild stonework at front of vault
$10,000 Replacement of vault door (current door is beyond restoration)
$3,000 Replacement of vault identifying entablature
$10,000 Restoration of entrance (re-set pillars, replace chain, address drainage concerns)
$13,000 Installation of perimeter fence
$1,200 Historical marker
$25,000 Analyze and repair depression on top of vault
$112,200 Total

Another web site was recently created, The Slingerland Family Burial Vault was created and it details the progress of the vault restoration. The web site is very informative with a tab that holds numerous photos showing past and present work of the work in progress. Another tab offers a history of the Slingerland family. A donate tab is present that links directly to the GoFundMe page for this worthy project.

Please check out The Slingerland Family Burial Vault web page and consider donating to this long overdue project!

Stephentown Historical Society Ceremony

The following articles came to me today via the Rensselaer County newspaper, The Advertiser.

The Stephentown Historical Society is holding a ceremony for the unveiling of a new historical marker on Saturday, May 19, at 2:00 p.m. The marker commemorates the original Methodist Episcopal Church building which been restored, beginning in 1988, by the Stephentown Historical Society as the Stephentown Heritage Center. The building is at 4 Staples Road at the corner of Garfield Road in Stephentown. The rain date is Sunday, May 20. All are invited to the ceremony and a reception afterward. The historic marker was given through the generosity of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

Why are Wynantskill and Defreestville considered hamlets? What are hamlets? Jim Greenfield, the North Greenbush Town Historian, will discuss the naming and growth of these two areas from the 1600s to the 21st century at the next Greenbush Historical Society meeting. Join us Sunday, May 20th, 2PM, at the East Greenbush Library for a most informative and lively presentation by Jim. Learn about some interesting local characters; the West Point grad with adeep, dark secret, the man who was a friend of George Washington, the owner of what was Wynantskills' version of "Walmart." Country life could also be quite surprising - hear about the night that Wynantskil was "bombed," learn about "a murder most foul" and much more. All meetings are free and open to the public, but please register with the East Greenbush Library since seating is limited. For more information, call 518.477.7476. You might also enjoy our new website: www.greenbushhistoricalsociety.org

24 April 2018


The last two months have been tough. With a death in the family, other responsibilities, shoulder surgery recuperation, and Winter refusing to loosen its grip blog posts and inspiration have been low. But now the warmer weather and good health appear to have reinvigorated my genealogy, cemetery, and blog pursuits.

The shoulder appears to be well on its way which has gotten me out into the cemeteries for quick work already. Although my little unwanted friends have already found me (ticks). I was bit again and although the tick was only attached to me for an hour max, the bite still became infected. Just finished another round of 21 days of Doxycycline. All is well. A batch of homemade natural tick repellent was concocted for my use which makes me smell like peppermint, eucalyptus, and vinegar when its on my clothes. Hopefully I do not find anymore new friends.

Last week I was contacted by a woman from Ohio who found me on both Ancestry and MyHeritage who we though was a relative. She turns out not to be a blood relative to me but we do have common blood relatives. Her half-brothers are my third cousins. She was adopted but through DNA she also found that she has a niece who lives local to me. The three of us met over the weekend. Turns out that the niece's mom was also adopted and she also recently took a DNA test but the results are not in yet. This mom and the woman from Ohio will most likely turn out to be full sisters and they never knew of each other until less than a month ago. I was glad to be part of this genealogy caper. Both families are excited and just grew because of DNA testing.

My low key cemetery project that was mentioned last month is well on its way and will be complete after two or three more sessions at this plot. Photos and a video will soon follow. By the first week of May the German Evangelical Cemetery project will begin again and continue until November. After this season, the end should be near for its completion. A survey will again be taken and it is thought that there will be very few stones left needing attention.

Memorial Day Ceremony & Meneely Bell Ringing

Oakwood Cemetery in Troy recently sent me a notification on its Memorial Day Ceremony next month. Cut and pasted is their information.

Historic Bell to be rung at Memorial Day Ceremony May 26th

The public is cordially invited to join us at 9AM on Saturday May 26th at Oakwood Cemetery for our annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The historic 3 ton Meneely bell in front of the Earl Chapel will be rung nine times to mark the start of the event. The Friends of Oakwood Cemetery and the Veterans of Lansingburgh will lay wreaths in honor of all deceased veterans. Michael Barrett will MC and Jim Pratt of the Veterans’ Miracle Center will speak. Nikki Osterhout will sing the national anthem. Representatives of the NYS 125th reenactors will fire a musket salute. Local Boy Scouts will place American flags on graves at the Soldiers’ Plot. There is no charge for this event. In case of heavy rain, the ceremony will be moved into the chapel. We hope you’ll join us.

Oakwood Cemetery 
50 101st Street
Troy, New York 12180
Phone: 518.272.7520