24 November 2014

Importance of Multiple Backups

We have all heard many times about the importance backing up your data.  For some this may be a new one but how about keeping multiple backups.  Yes, it may sound crazy but what happens if you only have one backup and that backup fails for some reason.  That has the ingredients for a real disaster.

Over the weekend I was updating and backing up various files.  I was putting them on multiple DVDs and then finally on a Centon 128 GB USB flash drive which was purchased this past January.  Well the flash drive died or crashed; either way it will not work and the files that were on it are no longer accessible.

Fortunately I had backup DVDs from earlier in the year plus what is on the computer's hard drive.  If I lost anything I'm not 100% sure.  But I am lucky that I did not store my data simply on the flash drive.

This particular flash drive was purchased because of its capacity, price, and being completely rubber coated.  They advertise it as being waterproof.  I would never trust that statement.  But it appeared to be very well built.  Looks can be very deceiving.  It might be sturdy on the outside but its insides are definitely lacking.

I have my files backed up but will need to get another flash drive.  I will probably buy two.  Just in case one fails.  I do know that I will be staying away from Centon products.  Also I called their customer support line and no one answers.

16 November 2014

Care of old Photos

A project that I have been working on for about a year that seems very simple will hopefully be complete in about a week.  My old family photos were put in those magnetic photo albums from the 1980s and 1990s. The perpetrator of this crime was myself.  I unknowingly put upwards of 500+ photos into multiple magnetic albums which are supposedly not very good for the photos.

The final, but largest collection will finally be put into archival quality albums and photo sleeves.  It has been a lot of work but I think that it will be worth it.  These photos were in the albums for a little over twenty years and it appeared that some of the photos were beginning to stick to the magnetic cover.  I was able to remove them from the magnetic film without damaging them.  I guess that I was lucky. Who knows how it would have worked had the photos been in the album for another twenty years?

A photo below shows some of the photos that are organized and piled into groups that will be put into new albums.  It does not look like many but believe me; there are enough of them to keep anyone busy for a while.

A company called University Products, Inc. is where I purchased the new archival albums and sleeves.  The company website is http://www.universityproducts.com
Although their materials are very expensive, so far I am very happy with their products.  The bottom line is if I had done this, initially, years ago I would not be doing today. Also, very very important before putting photos in albums, be sure to lightly write on the back of the photo who the photo is of and perhaps a date as to when the photo was taken.  I have numerous photos of unknown relatives that are upwards of 130-140 years old; and we have no idea who these people are because everyone who might know who they were are long gone now.  Please do not let this happen to you.

12 November 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 4; Abigail Hanks Hitchcock

This bio is on Abigail Irena Hanks Hitchcock.  She was the wife of Alexander Hitchcock; who was a brother to my gggg grandfather, Aistroppe Robinson Hitchcock.  During a "google" search for anything about Alexander Hitchcock I found the photo below of Abigail Hitchcock, with a brief description about what was written on the reverse of the photo.  The bottom line is you never know what you might find on google! Use it for your genealogical research!

Abigail Irena Hanks Hitchcock

Abigail Hanks was born in Mansfield, Tolland County, Connecticut on 10 November 1816. She was the daughter of Rodney Hanks and Olive Freeman.  Abigail married Alexander Hitchcock from West Troy, New York on 9 November 1836 in Mansfield.  Abigail and Alexander had the following children:

  • Julia Philena (1841 - 1896)
  • Madeline Louisa (1843 - 1893)
  • Olive Hanks (1848 - 1929)
Abigail died 25 December 1884 aged 68 years in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She was eventually buried on 29 May 1885 in Albany Rural Cemetery with her husband Alexander.

04 November 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3; Charles Koreman

Until last year, since the early 1850s there have been three men named Charles Koreman living in Albany.  A father, a son, and a grandson; all with the same name.  This bio will focus on Charles I. His name was not always Charles.

Charles Koreman, circa 1872

He was born Adrianus Johannes Koremans on 31 January 1844 in the city of Zierikzee, in the Province of Zeeland, in the Netherlands; to Cornelis Koremans and Maria Catharina Colen.  Charles was the younger brother of my great-great grandfather, Henry Koreman.  The author believes that sometime after the family arrived in the United States, circa 1852, that Adrianus Johannes Koremans' (Adriaan John Koreman in English) name was changed to Charles Koreman.  From there the name stuck.

Adrianus Johannes Koremans, Dutch birth certificate

In the 1860 New York State Census, 16 year old Charles was listed without an occupation but residing with his parents.  The following year the Civil War broke out and the young immigrant boy desired to show his patriotism for his new homeland.  He longed to enlist as a volunteer soldier. Against his parents' wishes he was mustered into the 177th Regiment of NYS Volunteers as a Private on 16 October 1862; and within five weeks Charles was discharged as a minor on 23 November 1862 for enlisting without his parents consent.

Record from 177th Regt. NYSV, Adjutant General Book
Record from 177th Regt. NYSV, Muster Rolls
Record of Discharge 

However within two years Charles re-enlisted as a Private this time in the 12th Cavalry, NYSV on 8 September 1864 for a one year term.  He was discharged on 14 June 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina.

Charles Koreman, 12th Cavalry, NYSV

Record from 12th Cavalry, NYSV Adjutant General Book

Record from 12th Cavalry, NYSV Descriptive Rolls

Charles Koreman, 12th Cavalry. NYSV, Discharge Paper

After the war Charles re-entered life as a civilian and took up the occupation as a saddler.  At one point Charles and older brother Henry were in business together as saddlers in 1873 according to the Albany City Directory for that year.  Below is a listing from the directory for their business.

1873 Albany City Directory Ad
Also around 1873 Charles married Magdelena Behrhof (1854 - 1892). Magdelena was the younger sister of Margaret Behrhof who married Henry Koreman in 1863.  Two Koreman brothers married two Behrhof sisters.

Magdelena Behrhof Koreman, circa 1875

Charles and Magdelena resided in Albany's South End on Osborn Street for a number of years before moving around the corner to 77 Catherine Street in a neighborhood known as the "beehive." The couple had eight children;

  • Charles (1874-1877)
  • Henry (1876-1876)
  • Margaret (1877-1938)
  • Charles Joseph (1878-1938)
  • Peter Edward (1880-1933)
  • Henry William (1884-1939)
  • Frank Joseph (1886-1915)
  • Adrian Charles (1890-1927)
Charles Koreman seated center of picture with crossed arms

From 1888 till 1893 Charles was employed as a foreman at the Carriage Manufactory of James Goold Company until his eye sight started declining.  I believe the photo above to be the workers from the Goold Carriage Company.  His poor eyesight enabled him to apply for a pension with the United States government for service during the Civil War.  An affidavit from his Civil War pension files is below detailing his troubles.

Affidavit from Koreman's pension records

Charles kept his ties with other Civil War soldiers by joining one of the local Grand Army of the Republic posts.  As of this writing, the author knows that Charles was a member of one the three GAR posts in Albany but not which one.  Below is a photo of Charles on the right; seated perhaps next to his brother-in-law, Joseph Wagner, who also fought in the war.  Both men are wearing GAR dress uniforms.

Charles Koreman, seated right

Charles died on Christmas Day 1908 in Albany at 77 Catherine Street.  He collapsed and was found in the hallway of his home according to the Albany Evening Journal.  One of the last photographs of Charles is below.  Charles is seated left; brother Henry is seated right; and an unknown Koreman relative is standing behind them.  The unknown man may be Henry Koreman Jr.?  Charles was buried in Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery in Glenmont, NY.

Koreman photo circa 1908

31 October 2014

Monthly data backup

Now that all of the trick or treaters are gone an tomorrow being the first of the month please do not forget to backup your genealogical data.  Try to set a day where you backup your data, photos, and files. For me, I do this on the first of the month, every month. Actually I backup my data as I research; but I also do another monthly backup where absolutely everything is copied and saved externally. Please do not let your hard earned work become a casualty to a computer crash or virus. It can happen. Also, do not forget to test your backup to make sure it works and that you have everything that you meant to save.

25 October 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2; George Washington White

The ancestor biography for week 2 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is about one of my great grandfathers, George Washington White.

George Washington White

George Washington White was born on 22 February 1871 at 116 Spring Street, Albany, New York. He was a son of Charles William White (1835-1917) and Mary A. Wilson (1838-1908) both of whom were Irish immigrants.  Charles and Mary were married in Albany on 23 September 1861.  They had many children; all born in Albany.

  • Mary A. (1862-1918)
  • Charles William (1863-1937)
  • James Lincoln (1864-1885)
  • Robert (1866-1908)
  • Joseph (1868-1954)
  • Margaret Agnes (1869-1939)
  • Emma (1873-1874)
  • Christopher (1875-1877)
  • Bella (1877-1877)
  • John Bridgeford (1880-1903)
George first appeared in the Albany City Directory in 1893 through 1895 as a moulder.  In 1898 as an iceman.  From 1900 to 1904 he was working as a fireman for both the New York Central Railroad and the Hudson River Railroad.  In 1905 until his death he was a locomotive engineer for the New York Central Railroad. George's older brother Charles William White, Jr. was also an engineer with the NYCRR.

George W. White 3rd from left

George married Clara Boyd Hitchcock (1882-1966) in Albany on 20 July 1904.  They had the following children;
  • Margaret Agnes (1905-1984)
  • Clara Edna (1906-1978)
  • Mary Wilson (1908-1973)
  • George Edward Kirk (1910-1982)
  • Marie Mulder (1912-1976)

George and Clara's children in 1911.  Left to right Mary, George, Margaret, and Clara.

On 10 June 1935 George Washington White passed away at age 64 and was buried in Graceland Cemetery on Delaware Avenue at the city limits.  Below is a photo of his memoriam medals from the railroad  union local that he was a member of.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman & Enginemen

George Washington White gravestone

24 October 2014

German Hall, 48 Beaver Street, Albany

A few weeks back I was involved in a conversation and someone mentioned the former German Hall that was on Beaver Street in Albany.  Therefore I decided to put together a blog post about German Hall.  The following is an excerpt from my MA thesis.

German Hall post card
German Hall Post

For over forty years, the numerous German societies longed for a “Deutsche Halle” or German Hall.  Circa 1904, the German Hall Association was formed to aid the German desire for a hall.  On January 18, 1908, their dream came true.  The Albany German Hall, costing $125,000, opened at 48 Beaver Street.  The hall included large assembly rooms, a ball room, kitchens, a spacious banquet hall reputed to be the largest in the city, a grill, restaurant, and a bowling alley.  The German Hall was an elaborate cultural landmark that became the dominant venue for German societies and clubs in the city.[1]

Schenectady Herold Journal Ad
Times Union Ad Feb 1913

As late as 1915, the German Hall Association promoted the study of the German language for the younger generation.  They also encouraged its study in schools and various institutions throughout the city.  The hall association suggested that all parents of Germanic descent teach their children to speak, read, and write the German language.[2] On October 2, 1914, the hall was toured by a large New York City theatrical concern with the intention of leasing the hall as a theatre.  The hall was considered a promising site because very few alterations to the building were necessary.[3]  The writer of this work was unable to determine the outcome of this venture, but concludes that the deal fell through.  Although the hall was home to most of Albany’s German societies and was the site for many successful concerts, the German Hall Association seemed always to be short on cash.  The Association owed the Albany Trust Company $60,000.  

Times Union 31 July 1918 1:3

           Regrettably, on July 31, 1918, the German Hall was sold to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for $68,000. [4] Over fifty years later, Edgar Van Olinda, a Times Union journalist, wrote in his weekly column “Around the Town” of the atmosphere inside the defunct German Hall.  He asked, 
…do you remember German Hall…where no ladies were admitted without a male escort? And the small Hungarian orchestra that played there, lending a strange, exotic touch to the scene? And the fat oiley [sic] violinist, strolling between the several tables playing his wailing Gypsy melodies for the occupants of the red table clothed drinking and eating pads? And the watery-eyed, silent little timpanist, wearing white cotton gloves, making soft, rippling music with his felt-covered mallets on the spinet-like instrument called a cymbalon?[5]

[1] Times Union, February 25, 1907, 6:2., 3:3.
[2] Ibid., August 20, 1915
[3] Ibid., October 2, 1914, 1:3.
[4] Ibid., July 31, 1918, 1:3. Schenectady Herold-Journal, June 1, 1917, 5:2; February 8, 1918, 1:6; June 21, 1918, 1:4.
[5] Times Union, January 14, 1970, 6:1.