04 December 2019

2020 Genealogy Conferences

2020 is just around the corner and so begins a new year of genealogy conferences. Below are snippets on the larger and local conferences that are coming up next year.

RootsTech 2020:
The Story of You

  • 26 - 29 February 2020, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Registration
  • Schedule
  • Click to view my free four day pass to the world's largest genealogy conference.

Echoes of Our Ancestors

Improving Yours Skills: What Do You Need?

Cross the Bridge to Yesterday

Federation of Genealogical Societies 2020 National Conference:
Blazing Trails in the Heart of America
  • 02 - 05 September 2020, Kansas City, MO
  • Registration TBA
  • Schedule TBA

New York State Family History Conference 2020
  • 10 - 12 September 2020, Albany, NY
  • Registration TBA
  • Schedule TBA

01 December 2019

Eintracht Gesangverein & Stephen Behrhof

Late Friday afternoon a nice discovery was made while scanning old handwritten ledger books for the now defunct Eintracht Gesangverein. These books are the society board records and minutes for the singing society. The books are in the possession of the German-American Club of Albany. I am sure that at some point in the future the record books will be deposited at one of the local libraries for safe keeping and for use by historians. Scans of the books are presently being made as an additional back-up for these irreplaceable records.

While scanning the books I discovered a receipt that was taped to the inside pages of a ledger book. The receipt was for the grocery store of my great great granduncle Stephen Behrhof (1854-1917); younger brother of my great great grandmother Margaret G. Behrhof Koreman (1844-1908).

Over my many years of genealogical research I have found many items and tidbits pertaining to Stephen Behrhof. And this is my latest find. Below is a scan of the receipt for his grocery store located at 91 Herkimer Street.

91 Herkimer Street, Albany
photo courtesy Google Maps

Stephen Behrhof was a member and an officer in numerous Gesangvereine in Albany including Eintracht. Hence, his receipt being inside the ledger book. Is the handwriting on the reverse of the receipt Stephen's? Further research will need to be done to determine if he was ever a recording secretary for one of Albany's German Gesangvereine and then compare the handwriting and signatures in the old ledger books.

Genealogists and historians dig into many different types of archaic records and materials. Until one starts digging, you never know what you may find.

30 November 2019

RootsTech 2020 : 4 Day Pass Giveaway Worth $299

It's here; the wait is over! Genealogists and family historians, RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City will be here soon; February 26-29 2020 actually. As a RootsTech Ambassador, I received a free pass including other perks. One of which is the opportunity for me to give away a four-day free pass to this event. By the way, it is the world's largest genealogy conference. If you were to register for RootsTech 2020 the cost is $299, for all four days.

This coming year is the 10th Anniversary of RootsTech Conferences. Next year's theme is The Story of You. RootsTech is for you whether you are a beginner or expert. Click on the schedule for the sessions.

Wondering what's at RootsTech?

  • Over 300 breakout sessions on DNA, methodology, documentation, ethnicities, technology, military records, immigration, and much more. There are plenty of sessions that will be of interest to you. 
  • Sessions are presented by world class experts in genealogy.
  • The Expo Hall which is loaded with genealogical and family history groups/societies, professional genealogists, and vendors of all kinds.
  • Presentations from keynote speakers.
  • Night time social events.
RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah and is only one block away from the Family History Library. If you plan accordingly you could also do research at the FHL. Numerous hotels surround the Salt Palace.

This contest is posted to various forms of social media. All you need to do to enter is to send an email to me at AlbanyGraveDigger@gmail.com stating why you would like to attend RootsTech. The winner will be drawn randomly.

Things to Know:
  • I receive no commission with this offer.
  • Accommodations, airfare, and meals are not included in this offer.
  • If you already bought a pass, if you win this giveaway, RootsTech will reimburse you for your purchased pass. Just act quickly!
  • Please enter only if you really plan on attending.

Giveaway Rules:
  • Giveaway ends Monday 23 December 2019, at 5 PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • Send an email to me at AlbanyGraveDigger@gmail.com stating why you would like to attend RootsTech.
  • I will contact the winner via their email, on December 23, 2019 after 5 PM. The winner needs to contact me to confirm, by Tuesday 24 December 2019, at 6 PM Eastern Standard Time, otherwise I will have to move on and pick a new winner.
Good Luck and see you at RootsTech 2020!

29 November 2019

The Search for Amasa Jones

Today, the search for Amasa Jones, brought me out to the Town of Berne, in rural Albany County. Amasa Jones (1749 - 1828) and his wife Azubah Woodruff Jones are ancestors of one of a buddy of mine. I took it upon myself to see if I could locate their grave site. However this is not becoming an easy task. There are a couple of discrepancies in this search.

This Jones family is listed on FindaGrave as being buried at the Reidsville Cemetery on North Road in Reidsville. I was there today and found some Jones burials which I believe are related to my friend. Pictures are below. The gravestones need attention. The stones are difficult to read. Perhaps a cleaning/conservation session will take place on this plot next Spring. But, there was no gravestone for Amasa found. It is possible that I missed it, but I doubt it.

Reidsville Cemetery

Jones Plot

Manchester Jones ?

Martha Stalker Jones ?

Chauncey Jones

Lansing Jones ?

Amasa Jones is also listed on the Berne Historical Project website as being buried in the Cass Hill Cemetery. According to the BHP, this cemetery is located on the north side of Cass Hill Road just east of Gulf Hill Road. Nothing resembling a small cemetery can be seen from the road. GPS coordinates are also given. However, my belief is that the given coordinates are incorrect. The location would be in Delanson; no where near where it should be.

While in this vicinity I knocked on a door asking a resident if she was aware of this cemetery. She was not aware of it but mentioned that her husband who is extremely familiar with the property would call me with information if he had any. Now it is also possible that if this cemetery does exist on Cass Hill Road; there may have never been any grave markers installed, or over the last 191 years the stones may have fallen over or worst yet; were removed and discarded.

To make things more interesting in a old Genealogy.com query dated from 2005, which mentions,
             "Amasa Jones was b. ca. 1749 Wales, according to Barbara 
             Tucker, and d. 8 May 1828 according to his tombstone
             in Cass Hill Cemetery, Clarksville, Albany, NY."

A new question arises, Cass Hill Road is a rather long road, beginning in Clarksville and ending at Braman Corners near the Westerlo/Berne town line. Could the Cass Hill Cemetery be located towards Clarksville?

Another point is there was a survey done of all known burial ground inscriptions in the Town of Berne. This work was done by Lieutenant Colonel William V. Hannay and his wife between 1926 and 1936. 83 to 93 years ago. This work was published in the 1945-1947 Yearbook of The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany. I have a copy of the article which is indexed and the Cass Hill Cemetery is not found among its pages.

Amasa Sr., wife Azubah, Amasa Jr., wife Mary Jones, and Solomon Jones are listed on FindaGrave as being buried in the Reidsville Cemetery. However none are listed in Hannay's work as interred in Reidsville.

A quick search of the 1800 United States Federal Census for Bethlehem, Albany County, New York shows Amasa Sr. and Jr. enumerated below one another. Where in the Town of Bethlehem did they live?

Who is correct? Who is incorrect? One apparent error is the lack of sources. Source documentation needs to be used always otherwise another researcher cannot check the work.

Much further research needs to be done; the old-fashioned way, going to the Albany County Court House and Albany County Hall of Records. Wills need to be searched for additional information and land and deed records searched. Perhaps the deed of the Cass Hill property will indicate a cemetery present on the grounds. The above mentioned query also states,
                "According to a summary of van Rensselaer lease records,
                in 1788 he (Amasa Sr.) leased lot 414 near Reidsville,
                Town of Berne, Albany, NY"

Below is a copy of the 1866 Beers for part of the Town of Berne.

Map courtesy Albany & Eastern New York Genealogy
by Cliff Lamere

28 November 2019

Thanksgiving 1979 / 2019

Thanksgiving is here! The turkey is in the oven roasting and the sides prepped for family and guests later today. We have a little quiet time for a moment. As I am sitting here taking a break it reminds me of Thanksgiving '79. I was in sixth grade, eleven years old, just learning my first Times Union paper route which I delivered on Norwood Avenue, Ontario Street, and Woodlawn Avenue. Also, one of my great grandmothers, Mary Elizabeth Schick Bailey LaClair had recently passed away on 21st of October.

On that Thursday, forty years ago, we were eating Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house on Hollywood Avenue, in her finished basement. My brother and I loved eating holiday dinners in the basement at grandma's house. Although, we did not eat down there that often, we usually ate in the kitchen, we thought it was fun and were disappointed when dinner was held in the kitchen. The finished basement was different. However, now I understand why we were not fed in the basement regularly. It was a lot of work bringing everything downstairs and then everything back upstairs when finished.

Sometime after dinner that day, the family started reminiscing about the old days. Many tales were told, most of which I cannot remember even though I was interested. Names of cousins, great grandparents, aunts and uncles along with dates and places were mentioned. At some point I grabbed a note pad and a pen and began to write this information down. I recall mentioning that next year in seventh grade I was going to have to do a family tree for a Social Studies project. Looks like I got a head start!

Probably for an hour or so this info was jotted down. I was very fortunate when I began my genealogical research because I knew all four of my grandparents. I even lived with my paternal grandparents in our two-family flat in Albany. Grandma and grandpa upstairs and us downstairs. All of my grandparents were able to give me the names of their grandparents. So, I had a great start in my research. Immediately I had my family tree back to all of my great great grandparents.

Shortly thereafter I am sure that my grandmother, Agnes, was driving me around the South End in Albany showing me where everyone lived. And of course she had me at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands and at Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery in Glenmont.

So, now forty years has past since that Thanksgiving afternoon when I began my family tree. Much has changed over the years. My grandparents are no longer with us. My parents now inhabit the position of grandparents and I am no longer one of the kids. My children hold that spot now. And my wife and I are now hosting Thanksgiving dinner. What might we learn later today about the family?

That Thanksgiving dinner seems at times long ago and yet other times like yesterday. No one knows what the future holds for anyone. Perhaps there will be another forty years of genealogical research for me or perhaps one of my daughters will get the research bug and take over where I left off. Time will tell.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

15 November 2019

DNA Kit Holdiday Sales!

Here we are again, holiday season! With the holidays come sales on DNA kits from Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23 & Me, & FamilyTree DNA. If you are waiting for a sale, now is the time to get your DNA kits at reduced prices. The sales do not last long so get them while they last. Prices do not include shipping.

Ancestry, offer ends 27 Nov 2019

  • AncestryDNA (Autosomal) now $59, was $99 

FamilyTreeDNA, offer ends 28 Nov 2019

  • Family Finder (Autosomal) now $59, was $79
  • Paternal Ancestry (Y-DNA) starting at $99, usually $169
  • Maternal Ancestry (mtDNA) now $139, was $199  

23andMe, offer ends 02 Dec 2019
  • Health + Ancestry (Autosomal) now $99, was $199
  • Ancestry + Traits (Autosomal) now $79, was $99
MyHeritage, offer ends 18 Nov 2019
  • MyHeritage DNA kit (Autosomal) now $49, was $79