Join us on Wednesday, January 6, 7:00-8:30 pm for our Beginning Genealogy program. We will show you some of the basic records for tracing your family tree. This program is free and open to all.
Recently I was asked what the records referred to as Manhattan Bodies in Transit, 1859-1894 were all about. As the somewhat unusual title suggests, it was a New York Department of Health ledger of corpses that were transported through New York City. The information found in the records are the date of passage through the city, name of deceased, date of death, place of death, place of interment, name and residence of person having charge of the body, cause of death, and sometimes age, nativity, occupation, and attending physician. Perhaps the most notable individual listed in the records is President Abraham Lincoln, whose funeral train passed through New York City on its long journey. The collection is housed at the Municipal Archives in New York City, but it is also available on microfilm through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is currently being transcribed and indexed by the Municipal Archives, and the ongoing project can be viewed at www.gafsari.com/bodiesintransit/documentation.html.
I am happy to inform you that the Fold3 database has been renewed. You will find the link back on our eResearch Databases list. As before, you can login in to it through your personal computer by using your Connetquot Public Library card barcode.
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of John Martino of the Italian Genealogy Group. He was one of the principal project managers and coordinators of the valuable on-line database indexes for New York City vital records and naturalizations, as well as other indexes that can be found on the italiangen.org and the germangenealogygroup.com websites and elsewhere. He spoke at our library about his many projects and often attended some of our other genealogy programs. He was definitely a memorable individual, with his strong yet always amiable personality, and a no-nonsense approach to genealogical projects. For years he was driven in his volunteer work in making family history records more readily available to the general public, from which most of us have benefited on many, many occasions. On a more personal note, I would like to add that in the field of genealogy, as in most others, you can find plenty of people with grand egos and self-promoting agendas, but John Martino was not one of them. He will most definitely be missed.
With Thanksgiving Day being celebrated tomorrow, it seems the appropriate time to mention an interesting fact about the holiday. Although it has been a widely celebrated holiday in the history of the United States, it was not always a national holiday observed by the states on the same day. It wasn’t until after the battle of Gettysburg, that President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 3, 1863, naming the last Thursday in November (later changed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the fourth Thursday in November) as the national Thanksgiving Day. Before then the governors of each state separately declared the day upon which the holiday would fall. For instance, in 1854 New York and Massachusetts celebrated Thanksgiving on a different day than New Jersey and Pennsylvania did. So if you had some ancestors in 1854 living in New York City and others across the Hudson in Hoboken, they were probably observing Thanksgiving on different days.
Two parts of an 1854 newspaper article about Thanksgiving Day
Join us on Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. for our next genealogy program. This month you will have the opportunity to ask a panel of two experienced family researchers your questions. This program is free and open to all.
Join us for our next Family History Roundtable program on Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. Elena Florenzano will speak on the regions of Sicily, Calabria, and Campania from the 19th and early 20th centuries up to present day. This program is free and open to all.
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has recently published a genealogical research guide to New York State records titled New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer. The book is chock full of information for family researchers. To give some idea of the overall content of this publication, here are the titles of some of the chapters: Colonial Era, Vital Records, Census Records, Immigration, Migration and Naturalization, Military Records, Cemetery Records, Business, Instructional and Organization Records, City Directories, Tax Records, Peoples of New York, Religious Records of New York, National and Statewide Repositories & Resources. There are also geographically oriented guides for the state counties, New York City, and Long Island. The book is in our reference collection with the call number R 929.1072 New.
Join us on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. for a program on the Irish Potato Famine and Irish immigration to America during the Great Hunger years. Tom O’Reilly, Ancient Order of Hibernians History, Culture, & Traditional chairperson, will be our speaker. This program is free and open to all.
Ancestry has made the following announcement, “More than 170 million pages from the largest collection of wills and probate records in the United States is now available online exclusively on Ancestry. With searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005), this unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale in the United States.”
Although Familysearch.org also has collections of wills and probate records from various states, including New York, I believe they are not indexed (New York, Kings County Estate files is an exception). For this reason, the indexes to wills and probate records included on the Ancestry.com website are a valuable addition. You can view Ancestry.com (Library Edition) free of charge by using a database or internet library computer.