11 November 2013

First impressions with online courses

Just a brief note on my first impression about the online course that I am taking from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  I am taking a course called Using the Internet.  Although the course only began last week, I am very pleased with it.  The course lasts for six weeks but you can move ahead quicker if you desire. So far I am slightly ahead of the schedule.  You can truly work at your own pace.  The "reading" load is not heavy and is interesting.  Assignments are only required if the student is working on a certificate in one of their programs.  Also I am finding out about many different "gateway" websites that were previously unknown to me.  These sites will definitely further my online research.  I will post a complete review after I complete the course.

08 November 2013

Brief history of German Brewers in Albany

Although I am interested in and research all of my ethnic lines, I have accumulated a huge amount of
German-American history in Albany from my Masters Thesis research .  The following is an excerpt from my 2005 MA Thesis, From Acceptance to Renunication: Das Ende von Albanys Deuschtum. The sub-chapter gives a brief history of Albany's German brewers and the a brief synopsis of the times.

Bier, Joviality, and Celebrations = Gemütlichkeit:[1]
Ethnic membership in any national group holds with it specific cultural characteristics, and German immigrants brought with them to America traits such as a love for beer, singing, festive celebrations, and camaraderie.  These German attributes were opposed by the temperament of mainstream Anglo-America.  The first local organization to disapprove and to attempt to suppress alcohol consumption was the New York State Temperance Society, which was formed on April 2, 1829.  The group also ventured to limit the sale of intoxicating beverages.  The society was supported by numerous philanthropic citizens, and its influence spread throughout the state.  By March 1832 the society was publishing its principal organ, The Temperance Recorder, in Albany.[2]  Also in 1832 there were fourteen temperance societies in Albany with a membership of 4,164.[3]  Many temperance members were native born Americans who desired the arriving Europeans to completely accept the attitudes of Anglo-America for thorough assimilation into American society.  Their belief held that immigrants must discard their cultural heritage and submit to Anglo-conformity.  Historian Andrew P. Yox vividly describes and contrasts the German neighborhood to the “English” district;
Unlike the sedate neighborhoods of the Anglo-Americans, the German district rustled with sounds.  Beer gardens, brass bands, shops, dance halls, and “slumber-breaking” bells, installed in the steeples to rouse the artisans for work, teamed up to deprive the Yankees of their once quiet weekends.  The German community was much younger and more tolerant with regard to beer and dancing and more populated than the Anglo-American sectors.[4]

The temperance movement was viewed by Germans as an issue of Anglo-American Puritanism.  German-Americans opposed laws against alcohol consumption and Sabbath-breaking activities.  From their perspective, such laws reflected the Puritan Sunday.  German-Americans preferred a “Continental Sunday,” where they would spend an afternoon with the entire family at picnics and festivities.[5] Geselligkeit, or sociability, was strong in family settings and in the community feasts attended by German-Americans.  Union College English Professor Codman Hislop describes the Puritan Sunday in Albany during the early nineteenth century;
By order of the Common Council all amusements ceased…The only noise to be heard throughout the city was the occasional rattle of a stagecoach as it toured the city from tavern to tavern to pick up its passengers.  Albanians were expected to be in one of the nineteen churches which held services on that day.[6]

Music, alcohol, and food formed the foundations of German holiday celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, weddings, and baptisms.  Consumption of beer was common practice in German culture. The 1884 Albany Handbook reminds readers that “Twenty years ago lager beer was almost unheard of outside of Germany.  Today it may be called the national drink of America.…” Also, “For many years Albany had been noted for its ale, but it was not until 1878 that it became equally famous for lager.”[7] In 1973 the Knickerbocker News reported that “…by the end of fiscal year, May 1, 1884, 359,203 barrels of malt liquors were produced in the city, an increase of 26,409 barrels above the previous year.”[8]  It is estimated that the total number of barrels can be broken down to approximately 263,500 barrels of ale and almost 95,000 barrels of lager style beer.[9]

A keg of beer aided any festivity and usually prompted a successful venture.  Germans regarded beer as “healthy and nourishing,” and unlike the English language press, German newspapers always printed advertisements for beer and wine, as well as for German Biergartens.[10] A letter to an American in Baltimore was printed in the Albany Evening Times that describes the scene at beer gardens in Vienna;
Beer gardens and beer rooms are everywhere in Vienna and the drinking of beer seems to be regarded as one of the necessaries of life.  It is drank [sic] freely at all the restaurants and is brought as a matter of course to every one as soon as they take a seat at a table.  A man who would undertake to eat without beer would be regarded as a curiosity…Beer is the daily and hourly drink of almost everyone, old and young.  It is part of their daily food, just as coffee and tea is with us.  When families are dining at the restaurants, the beer mug stands by the plate of old and young, male and female, and it is even put to the lips of infants.  Vienna beer does not; however, seem to have any intoxicating effect and it never occasions a headache.  We have seen and been in the company of men who will drink a dozen large glasses in an evening without observing the slightest inebriating effect.  We doubt if they could drink as much American beer with impunity.[11]

The German love for beer is quite evident in the number of German breweries, both large and small that were located in Albany.  John F. Hedrick founded the first large German Lager Bier brewery, the Hedrick Brewing Company in 1852. 
1907 Ad
The Hedrick Brewery produced only one thousand barrels of beer in 1856, but its output increased; by 1878 the brewery was producing three thousand barrels per year, and by 1901 the volume had reached eight thousand barrels per year.  The brewery was located at 426-430 Central Avenue. 

 It ceased producing beer in 1919 and closed down completely in 1925.  However, the brewery survived prohibition and reopened in 1933.  There is conjecture that the reason why the brewery survived was due to the fact that it was owned by Daniel Peter O’Connell (1886-1977), the chairman of the Albany County Democratic Committee.  It has been suggested that it was literally impossible for a tavern owner to obtain a license if the proprietor did not sell Hedrick Beer.[12]  The original brewery buildings have been long torn down; presently the site is home to the Central Towers, owned by the Albany Housing Authority. 

            In 1852 Prussian-born Frederick Hinckel (1832-1881) and Windsheim, Bavarian-born Johann Andreas Schinnerer (1827-1876) established the Cataract Brewery.  Its premises occupied half a city block, bounded by Swan Street, Myrtle and Park Avenues.  By 1864 Hinckel was the sole owner of the business- Schinnerer opened another brewery in Schenectady. 

1873 Ad

1903 Ad
In the early 1880s, the brewery’s name was changed to the Hinckel Brewery.  In the 1850s, the brewery produced somewhat small quantities of beer, approximately five hundred barrels of beer a year.  Yet as years passed the brewery substantially increased its output.  In 1886 alone the Hinckel Brewery produced at least thirty-five thousand barrels of beer and employed seventy-five employees.  After the death of Frederick Hinckel Jr. in 1916, family involvement with the brewery ceased.  In 1922 the Hinckel Brewery closed.[13]  In the mid 1980s, the vacant brewery buildings were transformed into a luxurious apartment complex. 

Around the corner from Hinckel brewers was Dobler Brewing Company, bordering Swan and Elm Streets and Myrtle Avenue.  John Dobler founded the business in 1865.  By 1897 the capacity at the brewery was sixty thousand barrels per year, with sixty employees.  The Doblers succumbed to competition from premium breweries throughout the country and sold the Dobler name to the Hampton-Harvard Company of Massachusetts in 1968.[14]  The brewery buildings have long vanished from the streetscape. 

1876 Ad
  Smaller scale breweries owned and operated by German proprietors included Frederick Dietz’s, located on the southwest corner of South Pearl Street and McCarty Avenue.  Today the former site is covered by a bridge with Interstate 787 traveling over it. 

Bavarian born Jacob Kirchner (1811-1882) operated out of 9 Central Avenue and 8-10 Sherman Street.  Today the sites are vacant lots.  Christian Rapp worked out of 65-67 Central Avenue.  Presently, the edifice houses apartments above small business on the ground level.

1876 Ad
William Schindler labored from 393-403 South Pearl Street.  Today the site is home for dilapidated buildings and vacant lots.

At present a vacant lot, 44-46 Third Avenue housed the former brewery of George Weber (1825-1906), brewer of weiss beer.  His business was established in 1858.


1889 Ad

1897 Ad

[1] Gemütlichkeit is defined as a convivial atmosphere of genial sociability.
[2] John Homer French, comp., Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860), p. 147.
[3] Howell and Tenney, eds., History of the County of Albany, N. Y, p. 340.
[4] Yox, “Bonds of Community: Buffalo’s German Element,” New York History 66(2): 141. O’Connor, German-Americans, pp. 288-292. Regarding Anglo intolerance, see, Reimer, “Ethnicity in Albany, N. Y., 1888-1908,” p. 10. Reimer notes that “by 1811, the Dutch had become so powerless that the new Yankee majority on the Common Council could forbid their main cultural event, the Pinksterfest, as being too boisterous and disorderly to their New England taste.” Similarily, Cuyler Reynolds wrote “No person shall erect any tent, booth or stall within the limits of this city, for the purpose of vending any spirituous liquors, beer, mead or cider, or any kind of meat, fish, cakes or fruit, on the days commonly called Pinxter; nor to collect in numbers for the purpose of gambling or dancing, or any other amusements, in any part of the city, or to march or parade, with or without any kind of music, under a penalty of ten dollars or confinement in jail.”Reynolds, Albany Chronicles, p. 409.
[5] Tolzmann, The German-American Experience, p. 234. Luebke, “The German-American Alliance in Nebraska, 1910-1917,”Nebraska History 49(2): 173-174. Frank C. Nelson, “The German-American Immigrant Struggle,” International Review of History and Political Science 10(1): 39.
[6] Codman Hislop, Albany: Dutch, English, and American (Albany, The Argus Press, 1936), pp. 263-264.
[7] Henry Pitt Phelps, comp., The Albany Hand-Book: A Strangers’ Guide and Residents’ Manual (Albany: Brandow & Barton, Printers and Publishers, 1884), pp. 99-100.
[8] Knickerbocker News, June 7, 1973, 6C:1.
[9] Times Union, July 6, 1986, Supplement, 57:2.
[10] Jay P. Dolan, The Immigrant Church: New York’s Irish and German Catholics, 1815-1865 (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 128. For an advertisement of Ferdinand Lange’s hall and garden located at 72-81 Central Avenue and 293 Washington Avenue, see Albany Freie Blaetter, November 7, 1877.  See, the Albany Evening Journal, July 20, 1888; for a summary of the entertainment at Lange’s, which was provided by visiting German-American singing societies. Morris Gerber reprints a Van Olinda article from the Times Union describing Lange’s in Old Albany, Volume 3, p. 214. Lange always provided music and dancing. The pavilion was always filled to capacity.  He was also famous for his sauerbraten, potato pancakes, kalbschmierbraten, and wienerschnitzel.
[11] Albany Evening Times, July 12, 1878, 1:4.
[12] Stanley M. Axelrod, “A History of the Brewing Industry in the City of Albany, 1683-1965.” (Seminar paper, State University of New York at Albany, 1969), pp. 25-26. Paper in possession of the Albany Hall of Records.
[13] Howell and Tenney, eds., History of the County of Albany, N. Y., pp. 559-560. Axelrod, “A History of the Brewing Industry in the City of Albany,” p. 24. Knickerbocker News, June 7, 1973, 6C:1; July 28, 1980.
[14] Axelrod, A History of the Brewing Industry in the City of Albany, 1683-1965, pp. 29-30. n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy (Albany: Albany Taeglicher Herold, 1897), p. 176.
[15] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy (Albany: Albany Taeglicher Herold, 1897), p. 228.

29 October 2013

Online Genealogy Courses

There are many ways to learn "how to do" genealogical research; such as taking seminars, heading to a local LDS Family History Center, asking other genealogists, joining a genealogical society, reading a book on the subject, or simply talking to librarian. Whatever you do, you need to start with yourself and your siblings and then start to work backwards with your parents, aunts, and uncles; then your grandparents, etc.

Doing genealogical research is a fairly easy task.  However as time passes and as you learn and as your skills increase you may want to become a better researcher and learn about additional resources and how to use them.  I am at that conjuncture in my research.  I am looking to further my skills and find new avenues for my research.  

In early November I will be taking my first online genealogy course from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  The course that I am taking is Electronic Resources: Using the Internet.  The syllabus states this course will cover all aspects of using the Internet for family history research, beginning with some of the fundamentals of using the Internet and then moving onto all the many categories of websites that contain potentially useful genealogical information.   

Their courses are relatively inexpensive at $89/course.  Courses last for six to seven weeks.  This is my first venture into online genealogy courses.  The National Institute has a complete curriculum in American, Canadian, German, English, Irish. Scottish, and Australian records.  They also offer certificates in the same fields.  Check out their web page at National Institute for Genealogical Studies for all other details.

As I mentioned this will be my first online course.  I will post a review of my thoughts on their course.  If I decide to take other courses I will review them also.  If anyone has any experience with online courses from the National Institute or any other organization I would like to hear your opinions about them.  Thank you in advance.

18 October 2013

October Genealogical Conference in Albany

An upcoming genealogical conference is coming to Albany next week.  Details are pasted below.

Thursday-Saturday, October 24-26, 2013
The NYG&B is returning to Albany! Join the New York experts, the people who know New York research best, for three days of research and genealogical camaraderie.

Program fee of $170 for members/ $210 for non-members includes:
  • Welcome reception
  • Orientations to the NY State Archives and the NY State Library
  • A private consultation with a genealogical professional
  • Three days of assisted research
  • Wine and cheese party
  • Gala dinner on October 24 with a talk
  • Brainstorming and networking with fellow genealogy researchers at social events
  • Reduced rates at Hilton Albany (formerly the Crowne Plaza Albany)

JOIN US: The program fee, including a dinner, reception, and all other arrangements, is $170 for members, $210 for non-members. Guests for dinner $35.
You may register online at www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org; or email education@nygbs.org; or by telephone 212-755-8532, ext. 211.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We have arranged a special room rate at the Hotel Albany of $110 per night, single or double. Please call the hotel directly at 518-462-6611 and mention group code 1GENE (the NYG&B program) to get this rate.
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 9:00am to Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 5:00pm
The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

10 October 2013

Oktoberfest Dinner

Although this is short notice, locally, a German themed dinner will be held at the German-American Club of Albany this Saturday night, October 12th with live music.  Details of the upcoming come from their web page.


On Saturday October 12, 2013 enjoy an evening of German dinner and drink at our Oktoberfest.  Live music by Herb Liebenhagen.  Doors open at 5:00 PM.  Dinner served at 6:00 PM.  Dinner choices are Wurst Salad, Sauerbraten or Fried Chicken with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Red Cabbage or Mixed Vegetables and dessert. Cost $20/person.  German Lagers, Pilsners, Bocks, and Hefeweizens will be available.  Walk-ins are welcome for music and dancing at $6 per person.  For reservations, please call 518.439.5932.  All of our events are open to the public!

The German-American Club is located at 32 Cherry Street (off Fuller Road) in Albany/Colonie.  Their web site is http://www.GermanAmericanClubofAlbany.com

08 October 2013

Cemetery Conservator & Preservationist

Recently in my travels I met Joe Ferrannini from Grave Stone Matters.  He is working on conserving a cemetery in East Greenbush.  I saw his sign on the roadside and I stopped and introduced myself. Aside from being a very friendly guy who truly enjoys his work, he is extremely professional and knowledgeable on all things regarding conserving and preserving grave stones.  Since I have been involved in a few small cemetery projects of my own, I decided to ask an expert if I was using the appropriate methods. Fortunately I was.  Joe was very willing to answer all of my questions.  And I had a lot of them.

The above picture of Joe Ferrannini at work was found online from the Saratogian Newspaper from July 2013.

As Fall fades into Winter, my cemetery jaunts and projects will lessen until Spring rolls in next year.  I will continue to try to preserve the grave sites of my ancestors as my abilities allow.  However if a project is too large for me to handle and I do not have the skills and materials to accomplish my task, I will contact and hire Joe.

Contact information for Joe Ferrannini at Grave Stone Matters, 518.424.9562

Some links about Grave Stone Matters can be found at
From the Troy Record
From the Saratogian
From the Eastwick Press

29 September 2013

Follow up to Restoring a Cemetery

Summer's over and the kids are back at school.  I am finally posting after a short break.  The beautiful weather this weekend brought me out to check up on my Spring cemetery restoration project.  Today I took a ride to Our Lady Help of Christian's cemetery in Glenmont where I restored the grave site of my great-great-great grandparents.

I cleaned the stones with D/2 Biological Solution, which is a monument cleaner.  The stones were clearly much cleaner immediately after the initial cleaning.  However, after almost three months since I restored the site, the stones are noticeably brighter and cleaner.  I am extremely satisfied with the results of this product.  A link to D/2 is http://www.gravestonecleaner.com/welcome-to-cemetery-preservation-supply-llc/

Anyone wanting to clean gravestones should check out this product.  It costs $40 per gallon plus shipping but in my opinion it is worth every penny.  Below are final pictures of what this product can do.

Above: This photo was taken today, 29 September 2013

Above: This photo was taken in May 2013

Additional photos from another ancestor's grave site clearly show what D/2 Biological Solution can do for cleaning old marble tombstones.

This grave stone is for John Albert, a German immigrant from Baden.  He is one of my great-great-great grandfathers.  He is also buried in Our Lady Help of Christian's cemetery.  Note the black coloring on the stone.  This is a combination of lichens and the effects of acid rain on the stone.  Around 1980 I cleaned this stone with a wire brush.  I do not remember how "dirty" the stone was but I know now that scraping/rubbing the stone with a wire brush is an incorrect method for cleaning it. This stone was photographed in February 2013.

Note how bright and clear this stone is.I cleaned this stone in June 2013.  This photo was taken today, 29 September 2013.  The cleaning method was to scrub the stone with a soft nylon bristle brush and clean water. This lifted and removed a lot of the loose lichens on the stone.  Then I heavily sprayed the stone with D/2 and after 15 minutes I used the same brush and then re-scrubbed the stone. After another 10 minutes I scrubbed the stone with clean water and the cleaning process was complete. The stone was clean but over a period of a few weeks the stone brightened and became cleaner.  The chemical continues to work after your work is done. 

To clean this stone I spent about 10 minutes of active work to get the job done.  Most of the time spent was on waiting for D/2 to do its work.  This was a very easy process and very rewarding.

13 June 2013

My Heritage or Ancestry?

The Internet has greatly changed the genealogy scene since the late 1990s.  Numerous archives both domestic and international have their holdings available for online searches.  This is great for us.  Research at your own leisure from your home.  How can it get any better?

It does get better.  For me, I have been using Ancestry.com for a little over a year now and I am very pleased with its record searches.  I have found numerous records and expanded my tree greatly.  The "hints" that ancestry provides are also very helpful.  The access to all census records up to the recent release of the 1940 census is phenomenal.  I am not an expert on Ancestry but it helps my research and I would recommend it to anyone.  Unfortunately I do have one "beef" regarding Ancestry but it is not with the site itself.  It is with some of its users.  I will get into that later.

Just last week I signed up and paid for another genealogy subscription with the addition of My Heritage to my regular online search databases.  I was hesitant to do this at first because I was already paying for Ancestry and My Heritage offers many of the same searches that Ancestry does; so I would be paying for the same thing twice.  Hopefully they balance and complement each other.

So far I am very happy with My Heritage.  I have not yet done any specific record searches on My Heritage but I am very impressed at the "Smart Matches" that My Heritage has found for me by comparing my uploaded GEDCOM tree to other subscriber's trees.  Presently I have over 3900 individuals in my The Master Genealogist (TMG) database.  After I imported a GEDCOM file of my tree into My Heritage, I came up with over 4700 matches/hits from over 900 subscribers trees.  Obviously many of the matches are incorrect and I am "rejecting/ignoring" those hits.  It will take me quite a while to go through all of these matches.  I am trying to review a number of these each night.

What I am finding with these Smart Matches is that many of the subscribers who have posted their trees online are also direct descendants of my ancestors.  Meaning we are cousins.  Now part of the reason I believe that I am getting so many matches is because most of these hits are on my "Dutch" side.  From what I gather, genealogy is very popular in the Netherlands.  Also Dutch vital records are outstanding.  Civil registration for births, marriages, and deaths began in 1811.  Most of these civil records are searchable online directly from the appropriate provincial archives.

Now with these Smart Matches, I am able to review them and send a confirmation that my "individual" matches the corresponding person in another subscribers online tree.  It is almost an instantaneously way to find others who are researching the same ancestors as you.  Also, after you confirm an individual, the other subscriber can either reject or confirm your find.  Everyday I have been getting almost 100 confirms from other researchers.  I will have to check the sources for this new found data but it appears to be a very quick way to find distant cousins who are also genealogists.

Very soon I will be contacting these new found cousins of mine and hopefully I will not end up with the disappointment that I have had numerous times when I contacted other cousins who listed their trees on Ancestry.  Perplexing I find it when someone posts their tree on Ancestry and when I contact them about "our" relative, especially with stories about these individuals, the other person does not respond to your query.  Now these are not people who listed their trees a few years ago.  They are very recent users who still access Ancestry on a regular basis, when I checked their profiles.  They are also local to where I live.  They must be half-hearted genealogists; not in with both feet.

As mentioned, I am happy so far with my little experience on My Heritage especially with the smart matches, I hope that my Dutch cousins will be interested in swapping data afterwards.

12 June 2013

National Palantines to America National Conference

An interesting upcoming genealogical conference coming to Albany next week at the Desmond Americana Hotel is the National Palantines to America National Conference.  Details are below.

Palatines to America Calendar Details

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Palatines to America, 2013 National Conference will be held June 19-22, 2013 in Albany, New York at The Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12211, phone 800-448-3500
Enjoy speakers Henry Z “Hank” Jones, Jr. F.A.S.G.,Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer, Joseph Lieby, Jeff O’Connor, Hans Pohlsander, and Ernest Thode and Peter Christoph.
Take advantage of a bus trip to the Mohawk Valley historic sites on Wednesday, the 19th before the conference formally begins! It will be a full day bus tour of the historic sites in the Mohawk Valley area. It will cost $60.Departure will be at about 8am and return to the Desmond at 6pm. A description of this bus tour is attached.
The second tour is the trip to the NYS Library and Archives. It will take place on Thursday, the 20th. It will leave the Desmond at 9:30 am and leave the Library at 4:30 pm to return to the Desmond. The trip will tour some of the historic sites in Albany before doing to the Library for an orientation and the opportunity for research. The cost of that trip will be $40.
Palatines to America, PO Box 141260, Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-267-4700
E-mail: palatinenotes@gmail.com

02 June 2013

How time changes things

Time flies.  We all know that expression.  And it does.  Time passes by very quickly and things change along with it.  Recently I was looking at some photos of some cousins at their home on Central Avenue from the 1940s and 1950s.  I knew the address and I am familiar with the area where it was located but could not picture this home in that area.  

At that time the exodus out of the city into the suburbs had just begun.  Central Avenue in the Roselleville area up to Fuller Road was still somewhat rural.  There was very little commercial expansion; simply a few small farms, single family homes, and a few two family flats.  Below is a photo of my cousin's home from the 40s-50s.

It looked like a very nice well kept home with brown cedar shakes.  I just could not picture this house; being somewhat perplexed I decided to head over and check it out.  What I found was a little surprise.  Over the past 70 years, I am sure the property has changed hands numerous times with each owner doing their own revisions to their own tastes.  Below is a photo of the home today.

Over the years I am sure that this building was converted into a commercial property with a business on the first floor and a small apartment on the second floor.  I think that there are two apartments in the home today.  We all have own tastes and likes.  I like the way my cousin's home looked in the past with landscaping, grass, and walkways not the commercial look of today.

25 May 2013

Memorial Day

Earlier today I spent a few hours with the members and friends of Albany's Sheehy-Palmer VFW Post. We placed flags on the graves of veterans at two local cemeteries, Graceland Cemetery on Delaware Avenue and the old German Evangelical Protestant Cemetery on Krumkill Road.  

It was very cold, rainy, and windy.  However it was worth it.  We need to remember all of those who served and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Next year, I will be contacting a local VFW post so that myself and my girls can volunteer to place flags again.  

I need to teach my girls that Memorial Day isn't just another day off from school or work, nor simply the beginning of the summer season, nor just a reason for a picnic.  It is about remembering our fallen soldiers.  We all seem to forget the importance of this day.  I will try to break this trend in my family.

23 May 2013

Memorial Day Events

Albany Area Memorial Day Weekend Parades 2013

ALBANY NY - Celebrate our country's fallen heroes! Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died to protect the United States and to honor those who serve our community day in and day out.
It's a great way to pay respect and celebrate the official start to the summer season.

Here is a list of the 2013 Memorial Day Parades in the Albany Area:
Nassau Memorial Day Parade
Mon, May 27, 2013

11 May 2013

Restoring a Cemetery Plot (part III)

Continued from part II

The gravestone bases were then set on top of the leveled foundation stone and pinned to prevent movement. Next the gravestones were set and pinned to the bases.

Note the blackness on the gravestones and especially on the bases.  This, I read is a combination of lichens and the effects of acid rain on the marble stone.  I have D/2 Biological Solution which I sprayed on the the stones and then scrubbed with a soft brush.  It did appear to start to clean the stones but with impending thunderstorms and heavy rains my focus was mainly to upright the gravestones.  I will be coming back to fully clean the stones with the D/2 which costs $40 per gallon and then another $12 to ship.  Also, I need to epoxy the grave stones to their bases to fully secure them.

This is a before photograph taken Sunday May 5, 2013 showing the condition of my ancestor's gravesite before work was performed to correct this.

Above is after the work completed on Saturday May 11, 2013 minus the final cleaning and epoxy.

Restoring a Cemetery Plot (part II)

Ahh, I most definitely, and probably my father, are now feeling the pain, tight/sore back muscles from restoring the grave site of my great great great grandparents Michael & Magdelena Behrhof and some of their children at Our Lady Help of Christians cemetery in Glenmont.  The project took a little under four hours to complete.  It was hard work digging up the marble bases and the lower foundations and then leveling them.  But it had too be done.  All four grave stones had toppled over from age, gravity, settling of the soil, and I am sure the stones were hit by lawnmowers over the years.  

A series of photographs and details will be used to explain how this was accomplished.  Unfortunately the project is not 100% complete.  The stones need to be fully scrubbed with a monument cleaner called D/2 Biological Solution and the upper stones will need a monument epoxy spread in between the upper stone and the lower base to fully secure them.  All of the stones have been re-pinned with new steel rod.

Plenty of hand tools, levels, rakes, shovels, stone dust, crusher-run, a hammer-drill, a portable generator, steel rods, tampers, water, and cleaning materials were brought to the cemetery.  I did not want to forget anything that I might need!  The area looked like a construction zone.

After the grave stones were moved out of the way and the lower bases also removed, the bottom foundation was dug up and removed.  It was tilted approximately 45 degrees.  Very far from being level.

Next the soil under the bottom foundation was tamped down and a crusher run base was laid over the tamped soil.  The crusher run was then tamped down (upper photo).  A layer of stone dust was then put over the crusher run and leveled (lower photo).

The foundation stone was then placed on top of the leveled stone dust and checked for levelness (above picture).  Next the area around the foundation was back-filled and tamped (lower picture).  Note the drilled holes in the foundation.  Originally these holes had steel nails which held the base stone to the foundation.

Although this next photo is a gravestone base for a different tombstone at the Behrhof plot, it shows the new steel pins which were measured, cut, and installed in the base.  The actual gravestone then was set upon this base stone.  Holes were already drilled in the gravestone to accommodate the steel pins.  Note the cracks in this base stone.  My next project here will be to epoxy and seal the cracks.  The stone is cracked but not broken.

The remainder of this project will be continued in part III.