31 May 2017

30 May 2017

Armenian Festival 2017


Welcome to the St. Peter Armenian Church, located at 100 Troy-Schenectady Road, Watervliet, New York 12189; home of the annual Armenian Festival taking place this weekend, June 3-4, 2017.

Hours for the Festival are 12-8 pm on Saturday, June 3 and 12-5 pm on Sunday, June 4.

This year’s event promises to be our biggest one yet, with live Armenian music, dancing, cooking demonstrations, craft vendors, and carnival games for the kids.

And as always, we’ll have a variety of authentic Armenian foods, including Shish Kebab, Lahmejune (Armenian pizza), an expanded vegetarian menu, rice pilaf, and an assortment of our home-made desserts.

29 May 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is today. Aside from the thought of barbecues and a day off from work, what is Memorial Day to you? For me, it is a day when we remember those who died in service of the United States of America. I usually plant flags on the graves of deceased soldiers. Originally Memorial Day was called Decoration Day. The day was set aside to honor, remember, and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers from the Civil War.

On 5 May 1868 General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11 proclaimed “The 30th of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

After World War I ended in 1918, Decoration Day now remembered soldiers who died in all United States military conflicts. Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day after World War II. The day became a Federal holiday in 1971. Instead of thinking about Memorial Day kicking off the beginning of Summer picnics, please take the time to think of those soldiers who died protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy today.

27 May 2017

Saturday's Society : Rensselaer County Historical Society

The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum (RCHS) was established in 1927 to promote and encourage historical research on the early history of Rensselaer County. They gather and preserve materials relating to the county. The Society has an impressive website located here. A small listing of the holdings of the RCHS include:
  • Rensselaer County Surrogate Court Records - estate files for over 30,000 residents of the county between 1791 and 1915 used for genealogy and other historical research projects.
  • Burden Iron Works Archives - documents the company's impact worldwide from this 19th-century manufacturing company.
  • Photographic Collection - 10,000 images of people, places, events from the early 1840s to the early 2000s.
  • Hart and Cluett Family Records - records and artifacts extensively documenting the Hart-Cluett Mansion.
  • Historical Clothing and textiles, furniture and decorative art objects, tools, stoves and cast iron collection, dating from the late 18th century to present.
  • Maps, city and county directories, cemetery records, church records, community organization archives, county home records and numerous other newspapers, and records

The RCHS is located in the Hart-Cluett House located at
57 Second Street
Troy, New York 12180

Membership offers free passes and discounts for its programs and use of the library. Various levels of membership include 
Individual: $50
Student: $25

Aside from the Society's outstanding webpage, the RCHS has a strong web presence on Facebook and on Twitter @RensCoHistSoc

26 May 2017

United States Flag Store

Another great offer for this Memorial Day Weekend is from the the United States Flag Store. For the last four years I have been buying my small 8" x 12" high quality graveside flags from this company. This weekend they are having a sale. Check there web page here. Enter the code DEAL10 for an additional 10% off military flags. Offer ends 6 June!

The flags that I purchase are always bought in bundles of 12; which knocks the price down to .67 each. WWI, WWII, and GAR flag holders have also been purchased from them at less than $15 each. They also have free shipping on orders greater than $75.

I usually stock up on these items at this time but I am also a cemetery enthusiast who places flags on all of my ancestors and relatives gravesites who were military veterans.

Ancestry Free Access to Military Records

Just dropping a note that this weekend non-subscribers will have free access this weekend to all military records on Ancestry. Are they trying to hook you? Probably, but why not get free acccess and possibly find that elusive ancestor!

FREE ACCESS at Ancestry.com

All Military Records FREE This Weekend

FREE ACCESS to Military Records this Memorial Day Weekend at Ancestry! Includes WWI and WWII records as well as over 100 million names across over 700 different databases. Offer expires Monday, May 29th. Click HERE to search – via Ancestry

PolishFest 2017

The annual PolishFest is held on the grounds of Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa Church conveniently located at 
250 Old Maxwell Road
Latham, New York

PolishFest is an annual three day event and the largest in Capital District celebrating Polish and Polish-American arts, literature, music, culture, history, and, of course Polish food. 

They are also proud to host Polish vendors of high quality Polish crafts not easily found in the Capital District. The event is planned so that there will be plenty of fun activities for kids, adults, and seniors. With our wide variety of musical, artistic, educational The Capital District's PolishFest is a celebration of Polish heritage – the food, music, art, language, customs and the culture of the Polish people.

June 2nd Friday 4PM - 9PM
June 3rd Saturday Noon - 9PM
June 4th Sunday Noon - 6PM

Admission - $5/Day
$1 off with Price Chopper Advantage Card
Children 12 and under FREE

All Children's Activities are free

Check the PolishFest website here for more info!

Friday Funny

For those genealogists who are also Star Wars aficionados

25 May 2017

Throwback Thursday : 1598 Digital Scan

For Throwback Thursday this week, I cropped a digital scan from the marriage records of the Catholic church in Hilvarenbeek, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. The scan is the marriage record of my 10th great grandparents, Walterus Adrianus van Spreuwel and Adriana Adrianus Joannes Tijlmans. They were married on 24 November 1598. Witnesses at the marriage were Petrus Jacobi and Adrianus Nicola van Spreuwel. As of today, this is oldest primary record that I have found in tracing my ancestry; so this is my oldest throwback photo/scan. Without a doubt it is extremely difficult to read!

24 November 1598 marriage record for
Walterus Adrianus van Spreuwel
Adriana Adrianus Joannes Tijlmans

23 May 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Photos

This post is simply suggestions when taking photos of tombstones. One of the most important factors is the sun. Very often the sun might be too high and the sun's rays can put a glare on a polished granite stone. This will make the stone very hard to read and also make a bad photo. Sometimes early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or even on overcast days can be the best times to get that perfect shot. Below is a photo of a gravestone of one of my great great grandfathers. I took this shot at least a dozen separate times before I finally got it right. All due to too much sunlight and glare.

Wetting the face of a stone can sometimes make it easier to read also. The practice of putting baby powder and shaving cream on a stone should be avoided. Chemicals in these products are not good for porous marble gravestones.

Photo shots that I take always include a direct shot of the front of the stone so that the inscription is clearly visible. See the above photo. Sometimes this shot is taken at an angle. But I always want the inscription in the photo.

One of my pet peeves is I do not like to have my shadow in the photo. I try to avoid this at all costs. It disrupts the image. Most of my photos are taken in color; but sometimes adjusting them in photo editing software to make them black and white can really make the shot pop. Below is an example of a photo taken on black and white film about 25 years ago. Recently my wife thought that it was an "old-time" photo. In reality, I got lucky with this one.

Finally, I take a picture of each individual gravestone and then finish the shoot with a photograph of the whole cemetery lot. Depending on the number of gravestones included and also the size of the lot; this shot will either be from an angle or straight on. It usually depends on which shot looks best.

21 May 2017

German Methodists in Albany

A very brief history of German Methodists in Albany follows;

The German Methodists or Albrights originated in New York State circa 1800. By 1860 they numbered approximately three thousand followers with fifteen churches in the state.[1] The German Methodists differed from the mainstream of American Protestantism only in language, while the German Lutherans, by contrast, differed in language and ritual, as well as theological heritage.[2] 

In Albany, the German Methodist Church first gathered at a meeting-house on Rensselaer Street in 1853, most likely at the Albany City Tract and Missionary Society. Soon the congregation met at 86 Schuyler Street, between South Pearl and Franklin Streets, until they sold their church to the German Reformed Church in May 1858. The German Methodist congregation appeared to completely vanish after the sale of their church. It is not known whether the congregation merged and joined with an existing Methodist congregation.

Pastors of the German Methodist Church:
M. Lawer, 1848-50
Augustus Hertell, 1851
John J. Grau, 1852
Jacob Gabler, 1853-54
Schwartz, 1855
F. W. Tingar, 1856-58

[1] John Homer French, comp., Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860), p. 141.
[2] Frederick C. Luebke, “German Immigrants and Churches in Nebraska, 1889-1915,” Mid-America, An Historical Review 50(2): 119.

20 May 2017

Saturday's Society : Historical Society of Esquatak

The Historical Society of Esquatak is this week's society plug. The Society was founded in 1971 by residents of the towns of Nassau and Schodack in Rensselaer County. Esquatak is a not-for-profit educational organization chartered by the New York State Education Department. Their mission is to identify and preserve the historic resources of the two towns. Beginning in the Fall during the month of September, lectures, presentations, and educational programs begin their season. Check the website for upcoming lectures.

Anyone with an interest in local history, antiques, genealogy, preservation of structures, cemeteries or other historic features should consider joining Esquatak to support our effort to promote an appreciation for our heritage and preserve at least some of the past for the future. A membership application can be downloaded from their website. All are welcome to join!

Esquatak has a presence on the Internet with
Esquatak's Facebook Page

Monthly meetings take place at venues located in Schodack and Nassau. Please refer to the Program Schedule for exact locations.

Esquatak's Mailing Address:
The Historical Society of Esquatak
P.O. Box 241
East Schodack, NY 12063

19 May 2017

Archaeology at Van Schaick Mansion Tomorrow

Yes, this is extremely late, but it's new to me, since I just found this announcement. Tomorrow, Saturday 20 May 2017, 11 AM till 2 PM, New York State Museum Archaeologists will be at the Van Schaick Mansion for an archaeological program. The program is free; discover Albany’s past.

Notes clipped from the New York State Musuem webpage are below:
In the fall of 2016, the State Museum began an archaeological survey of the Van Schaick Mansion in order to locate remnants of buildings and landscape features that no longer exist. Excavations at the Mansion uncovered artifacts dating to the nineteenth century that provide clues about the lives of the Van Schaick family and the many unidentified enslaved African Americans who maintained the property grounds. Completed archaeological excavations will be open, artifacts will be on display, and archaeologists will be available to discuss their findings.

The Van Schaick Mansion is located at 1 Van Schaick Ave. in Cohoes, N.Y. 12047.

Van Schaick Mansion

Friday Funny

Yes, but some families more than others

18 May 2017

Throwback Thursday : Stephen Joseph Koreman @ OLHOC Cemetery

Considering that I just got home and showered after five hours of working at the Krumkill Road cemetery, I deemed this old photograph of one of my great grandfather's older brothers, Stephen Joseph Koreman (1881-1968), appropriate. Stephen, with watering can in hand, is most likely tending to the graves of his ancestors at Our Lady Help of Christians cemetery in Glenmont. Someday I will try to determine the spot where this photo was taken.

Stephen Joseph Koreman

17 May 2017

16 May 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Lottie McDonald

This week's Tombstone Tuesday is on the gravestone of Lottie McDonald (1859-1871). She was the child of Barbara Helen Hitchcock (1834-1922) and Abram W. Baker (1836-1868). After Barbara's husband, Abram, passed away, she married Dr. William Ogden McDonald (1836-1918) on 05 January 1870 in Brooklyn. Lottie Baker took the surname of her step-father.

Lottie McDonald, gravestone

Lottie was only twelve years old when she died of an unknown cause on 24 March 1871. Below is a photo of Lottie's ornately carved tree gravestone with cut branches that represents a life cut short before it was cleaned with D2 Biological Solution.

Very little is known about Lottie because of her young age at the time of her death. Below is a scan of her burial card from Albany Rural Cemetery where most of the information known about her comes from.

When Lottie's mother died on 06 October 1922 in Brooklyn. It was written in her Will one of her last wishes. Below is page one of Barbara's Last Will and Testament. Please note the Second and Fourth items within the Will.

15 May 2017

Military Monday : Albany Rural Cemetery, Soldier's Lot

Albany Rural Cemetery has a large lot in Section 75 on the North Ridge where 149 veterans of the Civil War are buried. The Soldier's Lot was created in 1862 for the burying Union soldiers from the Albany area. The Lot has 149 identical marble gravestones; one for each fallen soldier. Overlooking the marble gravestones is the large Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Monument. The monument contains the names of 648 Albany County residents who were “Killed in Action.” The bronze plates on the monument were cast from a melted down Civil War cannon. On the top of the monument stands a life size bronze statue of a Union Army soldier. After years of settling the individual gravestones became uneven and un-level. In 2013 and 2014 a project was undertaken and all of the individual gravestones were cleaned and re-leveled.

Soldier's Lot

Restored Soldier's gravestones

GAR Monument

Soldier's Lot Plaque

14 May 2017

German Baptist Church

Below is a brief history of the German Baptist Church in Albany.

The origins of the German Baptist Church date back to 1708, when Alexander Mack founded a religious community of eight believers in the Schwartzenau region of the Wittgenstein Province, in the Palatinate. The early religious movement was originally named the Church of the Brethren; but they were identified by other names, such as Dunkards, Dunkers, Täufer, and Tunkers, all relating to their practice of baptizing by immersion. 

Early followers were persecuted, and many immigrated to America. The first American congregation was founded near Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1723. In America, believers were originally known as Neue Täufer or new Baptists; therefore they adopted the title “German Baptist.” 

The first German Baptist congregation in Albany dates to February 1854, when German Reverend Johann Gerhard Oncken began a German Baptist mission in the city. Many of the Germans at the mission originally worshipped at the North Pearl Street Baptist Church. After Oncken baptized nine German converts, the German Baptist Church was organized and dedicated on October 29, 1854. In 1863, 252 Washington Avenue was purchased for use as a church.[1] 

During the year 1865 the German Baptist Church merged with the State Street Baptist Church to become the Calvary Baptist Church. However, Albany city directories still listed the church as the German Baptist Church until 1926. By 1897 the church counted eighty-five members, and its societies included a Sonntagschule, a Jugendverein, and a Frauenverein. 

The beginning of the end for the German Baptist Church occurred when Reverend David W. Zwink resigned as pastor of the church in 1911. He acknowledged that he was advancing in age and that he was troubled by the fact that “…the younger members of the congregation neglect the language of their fathers and speak only English. They subsequently attend the churches of the English speaking people… the attendance of the German church has fallen off to a scant body of about sixty old German residents.”[2] 

David W. Zwink

In 1926, the Calvary (German Baptist) Church burned down and merged with the Tabernacle Church to form Temple Baptist Church, on the corner of Clinton Avenue and Ten Broeck Street- today the site of the Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church. Eventually, in 1970, the Temple Baptist Church merged with the Emmanuel Baptist Church at 275 State Street.[3] 

Pastors of the German Baptist Church
Alexander Von Puttkammer, 1854-62
Henry Feltmann, 1863-67
William Argow, 1868-75
Henry Trumpp, 1876-81
John Jäger, 1881- 87
David W. Zwink, 1887-95
A. M. Petersen, 1895-99
F. W. Becker, 1900-05
David W. Zwink, 1906-11
Vacancy, 1912
Adolph Bredy, 1913-1916
Vacancy, 1917-23

[1] n.a., Emmanuel Baptist Church of Albany: One Hundredth Anniversary, 1834-1934 (Albany: n. p., 1934), p. 46.
[2] Times Union, July 3, 1911, 8:1.
[3] n.a., Emmanuel Baptist Church 150th Anniversary, 1834-1984: Our Heritage, With Emphasis on Creative Tensions: 1959-1984 (Albany: Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1984), pp. 4-5, 7, 9.

13 May 2017

Josephus Gervasius Pfort

Yesterday was a day of helping others. Early in the day I located, photocopied, scanned, and emailed a few obituaries for another genealogist who lives out of the area. Later in the day I was helping my father-in-law with a genealogical line on his wife's side. And what a surprise we found! I will mention soon.

My mother-in-law's third great grandfather was Josephus Gervasius Pfort. Joseph was baptized on 29 March 1815 in Breisach am Rhein, Freiburg, Baden. He was the son of Gervas Pfort, born circa 1777. Gervas married Maria Magdalena Barbara Klar on 31 July 1804 in Breisach. Maria was born circa 1768 and died on 02 July 1829 in Breisach.

What was interesting was Joseph and his family lived in Watervliet in the early 1850s. Matter of fact according to the 1855 New York State census he was also living next to the "Last Patroon" Stephen van Rensselaer IV (1789-1868). A scan of the census page is below.

On the previous census page living nearby was Angelica Schuyler and also Peter and Elsie Schuyler. We never knew that my wife's family lived near and probably rubbed elbows with the Schuylers and the van Rensselears.

Upcoming Cultural Events : Summer Picnics at the German-American Club of Albany

Every Summer the German-American Club of Albany hosts three outdoor picnics in their pine tree shaded Biergarten, Schuetzenpark. The Schuetzenpark Biergarten is actually the last original German Biergarten in the Capital District.

At these picnics live German music can be enjoyed while eating delicious German Wursts and drinking imported German draft bier such as Spaten. Entry into Schuetzenpark costs around $3 per adult and children under 12 are free. The park opens at 12 noon and closes at 7 PM.

Summer Picnic Schedule:
Father's Day Picnic, Sunday, 18 June 2017
Old Time German Day Picnic, Sunday, 16 July 2017
German Summerfest, Sunday, 20 August 2017

Check their website for more information.

Saturday's Society : Albany County Hall of Records

This week's blog is not on a society but on a local historical records holding facility. And for those who have yet to use the Albany County Hall of Records (ACHOR) for their genealogical pursuits, you are missing out! The ACHOR holds numerous city and county records that are stored at its facility. ACHOR records are vast. It is best to check the ACHOR website for its holdings. A few examples of important genealogical items of interest hold include naturalization and marriage records, city directories, Almshouse, census, church, and cemetery records, deeds, maps, and military discharges. This list is just the tip of the iceberg here.

The ACHOR has an extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. Many of them have worked at ACHOR for long time.

The Albany County Hall of Records is located at
95 Tivoli Street, Albany, NY 12207
Phone number: 518.436.3663
Email: achor@albanycounty.com
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30AM - 4:30PM

12 May 2017

Friday Funny

Although I do not have my own final resting spot picked out, I do not intend to have a gravestone such as this. That statement says it all.

11 May 2017

Throwback Thursday : Old genealogy office

While looking through my photo albums for Throwback photos I came across this one from 1993. Age 25 and working on the family tree with our 19 year old cat. Viewing the monitor screen I was using one of my first genealogy programs, Roots III, long discontinued. The photo was taken in our first house in Albany. Noticing my vintage Packard Bell computer with its 3 1/2" and 5 1/2" floppy drives. The huge 13" monitor was impressive. The $5 1960s Steelcase Multiple 15 desk that I bought years ago was one of the best purchases that I made. The desk was in mint condition for its age and was used by us for years. Wish I still had it.

09 May 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Ancient Aughrim Church & Cemetery

Tombstone Tuesday photos this week are on the ancient Aughrim church and cemetery. These photos were taken in April 1995 while visiting cousins in Ireland. Unfortunately I am unable to find any information online regarding this site.

Ancient Aughrim church front

Marker at ancient Aughrim church

Interior of ancient Aughrim church

Cemetery at rear of ancient Aughrim church

Rear corner of ancient Aughrim cemetery

07 May 2017

Trinity Church

The German Evangelical Lutheran Dreienigkeits, or Trinity Church Society was organized on May 30, 1860, and incorporated on July 2, 1860, becoming Albany’s third Evangelical church. Trinity Church was an outgrowth of the Evangelical Protestant Church on Alexander and Clinton Streets. Thirty-two parishioners left the church with Pastor John C. J. Petersen to form Trinity Church.

The original meeting place was located on the southeast corner of Broad and Alexander Streets. In 1878 the congregation relocated when they bought a chapel from the First Presbyterian Church for $4,300, located at 58 Alexander Street. At the church’s inception, German was the only language used during services and in the parochial school. The usage of German during services ceased after 1900 because on March 2, 1899, a number of members from the parishes of Trinity and Saint Matthew’s left their own congregations to form a strictly English language Lutheran Church- Emmanuel Lutheran Church. The new church was also located in the South End on Benjamin Street.[1]

Societies enrolled in Trinity’s parish towards the end of the nineteenth century included the Jugendverein, or Young Men’s Beneficial Society of the Trinity Lutheran Church, with seventy-four members, the Frauenverein, an Unterstützungverein, and the Young Peoples’ Association. On October 19, 1892, Trinity Church Luther-Liga or Luther League was organized under the name Jugendverein, with sixty members.[2] 

Parish societies established at the beginning of the twentieth century included the Ladies Society and the Concordia Maenner-Chor, which was founded on January 20, 1890. By 1897 the singing society counted twenty-eight active and four passive members.[3] In 1955 Trinity Church merged with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Hurlbut and Garden Streets, to form St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. St. Mark’s merged with the Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Benjamin Street to form the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in 1974. The German Trinity Church has disappeared, but the church building has been owned and employed by the Mount Calvary Baptist Church since 1956.[4]

Trinity Church, 58 Alexander Street, 2002

Pastors of Trinity Church:

Johann Carl Julius Petersen, 1876-81
Conrad Kuehn, 1881-83
Herman Heinrich Friedrich Hartwig, 1883-91
Ernest Heydt, 1892-94
Johann C. Flierl, 1894-97
J. T. Koehler, 1898-99
John Samuel Braren, 1899-1901
Herman Liebich, 1902-11
Hugo Ernst David Meyer, Ph.D., 1911-13
John Frederick Karl Riebesell, 1913-15
Friedli Heinecken, 1915-19
Gustavus Adolphus Bierdemann, D. D., 1920-35
Walter Frederick Frey, 1935-42
David Christian Gaise, 1943-47
Charles Edwin Deitz, 1947-52
Walter Paul Scherr, 1953-56

[1] Henry Hardy Heins, Swan of Albany: A History of the Oldest Congregation of the Lutheran Church in America (Rensselaer: Hamilton Printing Company, 1976), p. 126.
[2] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 189.
[3] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 177.
[4] n. a. The Story of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: Its Roots and Its Fruits, 1832-1957 (Albany: n. p., 1957), p. 7. Craig Earl Bartholomew and Henry Hardy Heins, eds., The Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross Centennial, 1876-1976 (Albany: n. p., 1976), pp. 6-12.

06 May 2017

Upcoming Cultural Event - Greek Festival, 2017

A great cultural event is just around the corner. Friday 19 May through Sunday 21 May the 2017 Greek Festival will be held again. Albany's Greek Festival is always held at the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church; located at 440 Whitehall Road.

Admission is $3 at the door and kids under 12 are free. Once inside plenty of Greek food and drink are available for purchase. Greek music and dancing will be on hand also.

Hours for the festival are:
Friday: 6pm - 10pm
Saturday: Noon - 10pm
Sunday: Noon - 7pm

Check it out, you will not be disappointed!

Saturday's Society - Greenbush Historical Society

This week's Saturday's Society is the Greenbush Historical Society (GHS). The society was organized in 1972 and chartered by the New York State Education Department the following year. The focus of the society is on the Towns of North Greenbush and East Greenbush. The GHS holds historical programs about local and regional history. It promotes and aids in preservation of historic sites within the Town.

A few of its recent projects include the rrestoration of the historic Carner Family Cemetery on Best Road, a survey and clearing of the Van Rensselaer Family Cemetery on NY Route 9J, and a procurement of a storage site for the Society’s files, records and artifacts at the North Greenbush Town Historian’s Office.

Membership is open to anyone sharing an interest in the history of Greenbush.
Annual membership for an individual is $10 per year and a family membership is $15 per year.

Meetings are held at the East Greenbush Community Library. Its programs are open to the public, although registration is required due to seating limitations.
To register for a program call the East Greenbush Library at: 518.477.7476 or register online at the library website.

Upcoming Events include:

Wild Women of Rensselaer County, on 21 May 2017, presented by Kathy Sheehan, Rensselaer County Historian

Edmonia Lewis: East Greenbush African-American/Native American Sculptor, on 04 June 2017, presented by Bobbi Reno

05 May 2017

Friday Funny

This comic reminds me some of those genealogists who say that they have traced their trees back to Adam and Eve. OK

04 May 2017

Throwback Thursday : Albany Rural Cemetery, August 1989

Ah the sickness continues with this Throwback Thursday photo that was taken in August of 1989 at Albany Rural Cemetery. We were at one of favorite haunts and I decided to be goofy. Notice my svelte clothing. Photo was taken about two months after I was wiped out in a car accident. Very very lucky, I could have been residing in the marble orchard myself.

02 May 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : GAR Marker

Tombstone Tuesday this week is on a Grand Army of the Republic grave marker in cemetery that is purposely not listed. The cemetery is not named because a very rare; in my opinion, grave marker for a member of the DKV (Deutscher Kreiger Verein) that I wrote about two years ago has come up missing. These relics are the property of the family members whom are buried. Perhaps the family of the missing DKV marker took it; but I doubt it. I will not point theives in the direction of these markers from the past.

Dawson Post # 63 grave marker

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization for the Union Armed Forces from the Civil War. The GAR was founded in 1866 and dissolved 90 years later in 1956 when its last member died. The GAR was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) which is composed of male descendants of Union veterans.

Albany had the following GAR posts.

Lewis Benedict Post #5, chartered 30 January 1867
George S. Dawson Post # 63, chartered 26 November 1875
Lewis O. Morris Post # 121, chartered 20 August 1870
Timothy J. Quinn Post #601, chartered 04 October 1886
William A. Jackson Post # 644, 31 December 1889

Located on the north side of the Albany County Courthouse on Columbia Street is the entrance to the GAR room where some of these organizations met.

GAR room entrance at Albany County Courthouse

01 May 2017

Military Monday : Isaac Hitchcock, War of 1812

This week's military ancestor biography is on Isaac Hitchcock who was a younger brother to one of my 5th great grandfathers, James Hitchcock. Isaac was born 15 May 1796 to Samuel Hitchcock (1760-1831) and Mary Schlippe (1760-1827). His siblings include:

  • James (1785-1858) married Peggy Meneely
  • Joel (1787-1853) married Freelove Dyer
  • Nicholas (1800-1870) married Sarah
  • Jeremiah
  • Rachel married Stephen Conger
The Hitchcock's resided in West Troy in the area of Washington Street. As a youth, age 18, Isaac volunteered at Troy to serve in the New York Militia during the War of 1812 on 05 September 1814. He served under Colonel Benjamin Higbie as an Officer's Waiter. His company became known as the "Troy Invincibles." Isaac was discharged in Troy on 10 December 1814. It is not know where he was stationed or if he saw military action. Below are two scans from his pension files.

Isaac married Nancy Meneely (1798-1858) on 23 November 1816 in West Troy. Nancy was also an older sister of Andrew Meneely (1802-1851) of the renowned Meneely bell company.

Isaac and Nancy had the following children:
  • Julia Ann (1818-1888) married Eli Fay
  • Elmina Jewel (1820-1876) married George May Wheeler
  • Margaret (1822-1904) married Luther Washington Jackson
  • Lucy (1824-1889) married Jabez P. Bowman
  • Jane Guernsey (1827-1867)
  • Isaac James (1830-1866)
  • Nancy Meneely (1833-1917)
  • Jonas C. (1836-1898) married Sarah Elizabeth Johnson
  • Mary Elizabeth (1839-1881) married Stephen Harris Seamans
Isaac was known as Captain Isaac. He operated sloops on the Hudson River for years as did his brothers James, Joel, and Nicholas. On 28 April 1847 Isaac was appointed US Postmaster in West Troy.

Isaac Hitchcock signature from his pension files
 On 24 April 1851 Isaac applied for a land bounty warrant. He was granted 160 acres. It is believed that the land was in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. because Isaac moved the family there eventually. A newspaper article from the Troy Times dated 31 August 1864 read:

Captain Isaac Hitchcock, a life-long resident of West Troy, has disposed of his residence in Washington street, and will, in the course of a fortnight, remove with his most estimable family to Illinois. Captain H. was master of a sloop on the river when passengers went to New York "by sail." He has been postmaster for two terms, and held other offices of trust. The citizens of West Troy will miss his face from the Postoffice, where for so many years he had a pleasant word or innocent joke for all. May success and long life attend him.

Isaac Hitchcock moved back to West Troy by 1880 where he remained until he died on 24 February 1882. His obituary from the Hudson Daily Evening Register dated 25 February 1882, 2:3 read:

Death of Captain Hitchcock
Captain Isaac Hitchcock, a veteran river man and prominent citizen, died at his son-in-law's residence at Port Schuyler, Thursday night.  He was 86 years of age and was the last surviving member of the "Invincibles," a company raised in Troy to fight the British in 1812.  He navigated the Hudson for 30 years.  From 1846 to 1857 he was postmaster at West Troy and was a member of the North Reformed church of that village.  He was respected by all who knew him.  He leaves a son and four daughters.

Isaac was buried in his large family plot in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Isaac Hitchcock, Albany Rural Cemetery plot

Isaac Hitchcock, obelisk inscription

1st of the Month : Back-up Your Computer Files

This is a point that I have not mentioned in a while. We all should back-up our computer files on a regular basis; just in case! One never knows what could happen to those important files, data, and perhaps photos. Electronics can crash at anytime for a multitude of reasons such as a hard drive failure or an electric surge. Either way if this happens, bye bye to your "stuff." I have had it happen and fortunately I was able to recover some data but luckily I had numerous CDs with my "stuff" saved upon them. Recently I purchased a Western Digital My Passport Ultra external hard drive for around $60 from Amazon. It is set to copy my laptop hard drive weekly on a particular day and at a set time. This is an additional way I protect my data aside from regular DVD and thumb drive back-ups.