Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Calendar - If Only In My Dreams...

"I'll be home for Christmas... If only in my dreams..."

Today's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories is a grab bag, so I thought I would talk about those times I was unable to be home for Christmas.  As a retail manager this has happened often.  While at FYE I would work Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, so driving home was difficult with the 4-hour trip each way.  Now that I am at Starbucks, I often work Christmas, as they do not often find people and it means I get off Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, which is when my mom's family tends to get together.  Coming home to Buffalo when it is only 2 hours away is much easier.

Those years when I did not get to go home at all I was always very lucky to have friends who were like family that I could spend the day with.  Lauren, Sterling, Matt and Christmas Eve at Emily's parents' party, are the ones that stick in my mind most.  Now, I spend the day with my husband and in-laws.  It was always hard to be away, but we would talk on the phone and having those wonderful friends and their families around made it much less lonely than it could have been.

I will be home this year from Tuesday until Christmas Eve.  Late Christmas Eve my husband and I will drive back so that I can work at 7am, then we will be at his parents house Christmas day.  I am thrilled that I will be able to see almost all of my family and my friends who still live in Buffalo this holiday season.  I am blessed to have so many people who have invited me for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through the years.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chrome for a Cause

For the next four days, you can donate books, trees, water, vaccines or shelter just by using the tabbed browsing in Google Chrome.  Just install a free extension, available here.  I will be browsing for Room to Read, one of my favorite charities and one I hope to work or volunteer with one day after I receive my library degree.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog Caroling - Oh Holy Night

My favorite Christmas Carol is "Oh Holy Night".  The best I have ever heard it sung was when I directed The Best Christmas Carol ever and, after the show finished, we had each of the kids line up along the auditorium with plastic light-up candles.  First, they recited the Christmas story that has become best know as Linus' speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas, turning on their candle as they said their line.  Then, in the candlelight, they sang Oh Holy Night a capella.  Unfortunately, the video camera didn't work that night, so it lasts only in our memory.  Here for your hearing pleasure, is Josh Groban's version:

This post is for footnoteMaven's Tradion of Blog Caroling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day: Marion F. Hubler

On Pearl Harbor Day, I will be remembering those who died in the attack.  I will also be thinking about those who survived, such as mu uncle Marion F. Hubler.

Here is an image of the muster roll for the quarter the attack took place of the ship he was on.


And here is a close-up of his name:


Source: Marion F. Hubler, muster rolls of the Ship Medusa (AR-1), 31 December 1941; Muster rolls and reports of changes, 1939-47; Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798 - 2003, Record Group 24; digital images, Footnote, "Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls," Footnote ( : accessed 7 Dec 2010).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar - Christmas Ornaments

We always had quite the mish-mash of ornaments on our tree while I was growing up; a tradition that continues through today.  There were the paper and Popsicle stick ones my sister and I had made.  The ones that were knitted by crafty relatives.  A multitude of those made by Hallmark.  Even fun ones of national monuments that attached to the string of lights and would light up and make noise every time they turned on.

As I got older, I started collecting miniature ornaments.  I love the detail each one has.  I have a small tree, just over a foot height, that I decorate with them each year.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 48

This weeks 52 week challenge by Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog is:
Examine different online tools for cataloging your personal genealogy library and keeping track of the books you read. LibraryThing ( is a site where you can catalog and tag the books in your own personal library. It is a great tool for keeping track of the genealogy books you have. You can ever create tags for books you want to purchase. Good Reads ( and Shelfari ...( are web sites that help you keep track of books you have read. All three of these sites have social networking components. Your challenge this week is to browse these sites and see how genealogists use them. Bloggers, do you use any of these tools? How do you organize your own personal genealogy library?

I have been using Good Reads since I talked about it in a class presentation last fall.  It is very user-friendly; easy to add books, write reviews and create tags.  I also like that I have quite a few friends on it, so I can see what they have read and add to my too-long list of books to read.  My user-name is amandaea129 or you can view my "shelf" here.

I have also recently begun to use LibraryThing.  I am excited to try this platform, as I already use their Local Books iTouch app and am always impressed by them at library conferences.  My user name is amandaea129 for this, too, or view my "shelf" (currently very empty) here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Katherine V. Tobin


I, KATHERINE V. TOBIN, residing at 404 Huxley Drive, Town of Cheektowaga, County of Erie and Stateof [sic] New York, being of sound mind and memory and aware of the uncertainty of human life, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, in mannor following:

FIRST: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon as practicable after my demise.

SECOND: All the rest, residue and remainder of my property, both real and personal, of every nature and wherever situate, whether owned by me now or here-after aquired, I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved brother and sisters, as follows:

CLARA E. BUSCH ["CH" written over "H" of original spelling of "BUSH"]




to be divided equally between them, share and share alike, survivor take all.

THIRD:  I nominate and appoint my beloved sister and brother, CLARA E. BUSCH ["CH" written over "H" of original spelling of "BUSH"] and WILLIAM T. EICHORN, as Co-executors of the my Last Will and Testament.  I give to my Co-executors the fullest power and authority in all matters and questions, and to do all acts which I might or could do if living, including, without limitation, complete power and authority to sell (at public or private sale, for cash or credit, with or without security), mortgage, lease and dispose of and distribution in kind, all property, real and personal, at such times and upon such terms and conditions as they may deem advisable.  I direct that they serve without being required to give bond or other security for the faithful performance of their duties as such.

FOURTH: I hereby revoke all Wills and Codicile made by me at any time heretofore.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I sign, seal, publish and declare this as my Last Will and Testament in the presence of the persons witnessing it at my request this 6th day of April, 1963.

Katherine V. Tobin [Signed] L.S.

The forgoing instrument, consisting of two (2) pages, was at said date, signed, sealed, published and declared by KATHERINE V. TOBIN, the testatrix, above named, to be her Last Will and Testament in our presence, and we, at her request, and in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses this 6th day of April, 1963.

Hazel F. Levy [Signed] residing at 8155 Sheridan Dr. Williamsville, New York

Robert Schaur [Signed] residing at 232 Wellington Buffalo 16 New York"

A Letter For Grandpa

[caption id="attachment_654" align="aligncenter" width="291" caption="With my Grandpa Acquard (1985)"][/caption]

Dear Grandpa,

It's hard to believe it has been a year.  Time is strange, I have learned, sometimes it feels like minutes, sometimes decades, and when is far beyond my control.  Did you ever think about that?  Did you wonder when you grew old?  When your children and grandchildren grew up?

It has been quite a year.  Aaron and I got married about two months ago.  I put a poinsettia on the alter in memory of you.  I wish I had gotten to dance with you at the reception.  We got Grandma to dance a few times and I think everyone had a wonderful time.  I am glad you met each other a few times, that he can have memories of you, too.

I went to Germany for 4 months.  I know you always worried when I traveled alone, but I was careful, and went to amazing places in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and even Iceland.  I didn't get to any ancestral villages like planed, but Aaron and I will be making a trip someday.

I am still a reader.  In fact, we have a huge stack of your books and magazines that Grandma let us have.  I'm still doing genealogy, when I get the time.  I promise to start on your mother's Polish side when I finish with school, since I know you and Aunt Dottie haven't done much of it.

I'll be 29 in a week and a half.  Pretty crazy, huh?  Can you believe you eldest grandchild is nearing the end of her 20s?  I also finish my third semester of graduate school that day.  Come May I'll have my masters degree.  I think this next year is going to be a good one... I'll keep you updated...

I miss you,



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Workshop: Silent Voices: Telling the Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors

Last week I was able to hear Lisa Alzo at the Cortland County Genealogical Society.  Lisa gave a workshop titled Silent Voices: Telling the Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors.  As any genealogist knows, finding information on your female ancestors can be very difficult, namely because most records prior to the twentieth century focus on males.  One of the tips she gave was to focus on finding records for a woman's husband and siblings, as this can give you further information.

I really liked the idea that women are the household.  They raise the children, pass on traditions, and instill morals and values.  Home sources and oral history, therefore, are another wonderful way to learn about them.  I also recommend checking newspapers, especially the social columns, for information.  Addtionally, remember that women may have remarried.  I remember looking for Catherine Weiss Eichhorn's date of death between the census she was in and the one I could not find her in.  It turned out she had remarried in that time frame and once I found out that information (by finding her tombstone near her first husbands), it was easy to continue tracing her.

It is also important to write your own story, particularly if you are female, and to get your mothers, grandmothers and aunts to do the same. I purchased Lisa's book Writing Your Family History Book and am currently reading it.  I am looking forward to use the suggestions to write stories about my female ancestors, which I will post to the blog.  I will also write a review of the book once I finish reading it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Blog: OCPL Local History & Genealogy Dept.

As part of my internship at the Local History and Genealogy Department for the Onondaga County Public Library, I have created a blog that will introduce you to their collections, databases, and exhibits, as well as examples of how to do research using the items they own.  You can read it here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aunt Beulah's Coffee Cake

This post is for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

[caption id="attachment_645" align="aligncenter" width="205" caption="Beulah Gress Hoppel"]Beulah Gress Hoppel[/caption]

Every family has one, that amazing recipe that gets made over and over.  For my family it is my Great-Great Aunt Beulah Gress Hoppel's recipe for coffee cake.  I recall helping my mom make it as a child, being allowed to grind the walnuts in the hand grinder or beat the dough.  We only make it for major holidays: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  On Easter we always had to make a few of them, as my mom hosts brunch every year and this is one of the favorite dishes.  It is the most delicious breakfast treat, especially with some butter on the side.

This is the version of the recipe my mom gave me:

From the Kitchen of Mom from Aunt Beulah

Recipe for Cinnamon and Nut Coffee Cake

Mix well in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter

  • 1/2 pint sour cream

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 cups flour

Combine in a small bowl or measuring cup:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Oven Temp: 350 degrees

Grease and flour or "spray" [we use Pam] top and sides of a funnel tin.  Pour 1/2 of the batter in bottom of funnel tin.  Put 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture on top of batter in funnel tin.  Pour remainder of the batter into funnel tin.  Add remainder of the cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Cool and remove from pan.  Enjoy!

Serves: depends on the family that is there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Make Up Work

I have fallen slightly behind on my 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy prompts from Amy Coffin and wanted to catch up before week 46 is posted later today.

Week 44: Research ways to give back to the genealogy community. A great deal of genealogy information on line was put there by volunteers. This week, your challenge is to examine some different ways genealogists can donate their time and effort in kind.  Find-a-GraveRandom Acts of Genealogical KindnessFamilySearch Indexing, the World Archives Project,Unclaimed Persons and the USGenWeb project are all dependent on volunteer effort. Perhaps you’ll even discover a new tool to use. You do not have to volunteer as part of this challenge, just increase your knowledge of the available opportunities. Genealogy bloggers, are there any other online groups and organizations you can think of that may be of benefit to your readers?

I am a huge fan of many of these projects and have worked actively as a RAOGK volunteer in the past (I had to stop with school).  Mostly I went to take photos of tombstones in the area, but would sometimes do look-ups at the library (namely obituaries) and at the county clerk's office or city hall.

Another way I have found to give back to the community is through genealogical societies.  I belong to a few societies in areas my ancestors lived that are no where near where I live.  In order to participate, I assist with transcription projects that I can easily do at home.  Check with your local society to do the same.

Week 45: Examine genealogy societies in your region. Many genealogists belong to their local societies, but it’s helpful to be aware of other organizations within a few hours of your home. Sometimes these societies have good programs or resources to share. Cyndi’s List has an impressiveSocieties and Groups Index to browse, but it might not include certain smaller or newer societies. You may have to do some creative keyword searching on the Internet to find a list of societies near you. Use this week to see what types of groups meet in your part of the county, state or country. Don’t forget groups with specific research interests, such as ethnic societies. Genealogy bloggers can use this week to highlight some of the societies in their neck of the woods.

By doing a search, I found a list of all the societies in New York State.  I am amazed at all the ones that are in driving distance that I did not know about, such as Rochester, Finger Lakes, Yates and Ontario.  I could even head to Albany if the program was good.  Recently, I also found out about the society in Cortland, (found from the speakers calender on GeneaBloggers) and will be attending a presentation there Tuesday.  I also attend, when able, events for the Central NY and Western NY societies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bar Coded Vital Records

Imagine getting a birth, marriage or death record with a bar code on it.  What would your first though be?  When I received my marriage certificate, my first thought was "Why on earth is there a bar code on it?"

Although not very pretty, some vital records now come with a bar code.  Much different that that old birth certificate of great-grandma's.  I tried doing some research online to figure out what it is for, but was unable to find anything.  My best guess is that it offers security, for example a person cannot change a date, as the code will offer the correct information when scanned.  In the future will genealogists be able to scan these codes and get further information than is shown on the record?  It is an exciting idea.

Has anyone else come across this?  Any ideas why?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free Military Records on Ancestry this Weekend!

I received this email earlier today:

Find the heroes in your family tree for free through November 14th. Discover the stories of family members who served in conflicts ranging from the American Revolutionary War all the way up to Vietnam. Find out where they were in life when they joined the military. The roles they played in key battles. Even the color of their eyes and hair. It's all in the world's largest online collection of historical military records on

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NYLA Workshop: Creative Programming for the Frugal Librarian

Last Friday I was able to attend one day of the New York State Library Association's Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York.  One of the workshops I attended was Creative Programming for the Frugal Librarian by Lisa Forrest of Buffalo State.

In the times of cut budgets, this workshop was particularly important to librarians, as was seen by participants outnumbering the chairs in the room.  Lisa started the session by discussing how librarians need to change the perception of libraries just being a building full of books to "a lively space for engaged learners."  It is our job as librarians to engage our patrons in their quest for knowledge.  We are all educations, teaching information literacy daily.

One of the best ways to engage patrons is through programming.  There are many programs that can be run for free or on a slight budget, such as book clubs, workshops, discussions and collaborations with other groups in the area.  Lisa focused most of her examples on the Rooftop Poetry Club at Buff State.  It is a tremendous example of what can be done with a small budget, a passion for the subject and collaboration with other groups.  Not only does this group attract college students, but members from the community of Buffalo.  It makes me wish I still lived in the area.

I highly encourage you to look around the site.  All of the programming has been archived and is available on various social networks.  Lisa said that this program has given her a personal connection with her patrons.  They now know she is a person, with a name, who is there to help them, not just a scary librarian they do not want to bother or are afraid of.

The overall theme of using your passions to drive programming is very exciting to me.  After taking an older adult programming class at Syracuse University, it really made me want to be in charge of programming after graduation.  Whether in a public library setting or a historical society, the idea of being able to use programs to advance patrons knowledge and my own on a wide array of topics is now one of my goals, which this workshop has further solidified.

Lisa has created the blog Nothing to Lose: Frugal Ideas for the Creative Librarian, for librarians to share frugal programming ideas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MSLIS Monday - Work/Life Balance for Grad Students

I have been hearing a lot about work/life balance recently.  There are workshops, articles on magazines, discussions on talk shows.  Yet, in all of these different discussions, no one has mentioned work/life balance for the graduate student.

I was once told that if you are a grad student who also works and has a significant other, say goodbye to your social life for the next 2+ years.  As I am nearing the end of my third semester, I tend to agree.  I have a husband, work 30 hours a week, do 10 hours a week at an internship, take 3 classes, am part of a ProGen group and am a blogger.  Other things I consider myself, such a a genealogist, reader, and traveler, have all but disappeared.  Blogging goes in spurts.  Cleaning falls by the wayside, except for laundry when I am out of clean undergarments.  I do not exercise as often as I should, sleep as much as I should or see friends as much as I would like.

To keep sane, I do allow myself to combine certain interests in my spare time, usually the one day a week I take off from everything mandatory (work, classes, etc.).  I have been reading a lot of genealogy guidebooks lately, particularly during breaks at work.  I find this both relaxing and educational.  I arrange my work schedule, which is very flexible, around my husbands, which is static.  This means we usually have lunch together and spend most of Friday and Saturday together.  This time is often spent at a coffee house or library doing work, but we get to chat during breaks and see each other more than we would otherwise.  For traveling, I try to attend a conference or two each semester, as well as workshops that are easy to drive to for a day.  This allows me to see new places and spend time with my school friends that I go with.

I know the easiest way to gain more time would be working less and taking out more in loans to support myself or taking fewer classes and a longer time to get through the program.  Luckily, I am not bothered by this less than balanced life except for about the month of November, where every project seems due, the sunlight starts to decline rapidly each day and the excitement of the holidays and time off comes at me full-force.

The secret to surviving a crazy busy, not very balanced semester is to eat well, exercise as much as possible, know when to say no and realize that even if you disappear for a month into school, your friends, family and social media followers all understand.  It is also important to have one day a week where you can do what you want, whether that means reading genealogy guidebooks, touring an art museum or just staying in your pajamas all day staring at a wall.  Plus, just think of how enjoyable winter/summer break will be!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

SNGF - Make a Genealogy Wish

Courtesy of Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  If you found a bottle on the shore, and it had a genea-genie in it, and rubbed it and you had ONE WISH to make about your genealogy and family history research, what would it be?

This is an easy one for me.  I would want to talk to my great-great grandmother Anna May (Elizabeth Anne) Sanderson Whitehead.  It is most likely that after being married and having a few children, she then left them, married my great-great grandfather, moved to Buffalo and had a whole other life.  I just want to know for sure if she did and then ask why.  No judgement, of course, people do what they need to do, just curious for the story.  I will post more about her for Madness Monday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010

It is time for the midterm elections once again.  I woke up bright and early this morning to drop Aaron off at his election inspector site at 5:30am.  Like many other New Yorkers, I could not help but smile at the "Rent is 2 Damn High" party listed on my ballot.

As a blogging prompt, Thomas MacEntree of the GeneaBloggerssaid "Today, November 2, 2010 is Election Day here in the United States with many local and national contests. Think about how voting and the right to vote has factored into your family history.  Or have any of your ancestors run for office whether it be local dog catcher or perhaps even President of the United States."

[caption id="attachment_604" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Robert Casell Entering Alden Town Hall as Supervisor"]Robert Casell Entering Town Hall as Supervisor[/caption]

My grandfather, Robert Casell, was supervisor of the town of Alden for multiple terms in the 1970's. I was once listed in his campaign brochure as his first grandchild due in November.  I am told he ran fair campaigns, refusing to stoop down to the mud-slinging level that is so prevalent in politics today.  It was also impressive that he was elected as a Democrat in a very Republican leaning town.  As supervisor he built a senior center and a town hall (see above picture), among other things.  One of the reasons I was a political science major in college was hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of my grandfather and my other very politically active family members.  I was thrilled when my first time voting was for the 2000 Presidential election.  If you have not yet gone to vote, remember to take your kids with you and, also,  to talk about politics with them in an age appropriate manner.  Doing so will help raise a civically conscious and engaged generation.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Election Day Edition


Robert A. Casell Victor In Race for Supervisor

Robert A. Casell, Democrat-Liberal, a locomotive engine man on the Penn Central Railroad for 17 years Tuesday, won the supervisor race in the Town of Alden after an unsuccessful attempt two years ago.  He captured 1,826 votes to 1,571 for Republican William L. Risher, a former mayor of the Village of Alden.

In the race for the four-year term as councilman, Republican Donald J. Donnelly, now completing his third term as superisor, and Democrat Gabriel P. Ciulla, won.  Donnelly who did not seek re-election as supervisor, had 1,798 votes, Ciulla, 1,809, Republican Everett J. Beyers, an incumbent, had 1,666, and Joseph Sank Jr., Democrat had 1,424.

Savage Is Victor

In the race for the two-year term as councilman, Republican Ronald L. Savage beat Democrat Robert Wojciechowski [next door neighbor to my grandfather, Robert Casell], 2,017 to 1,320.

Republican William S. Sivecz won the town justice post with 1,926 votes to 1,462 for Democrat Gerald J. Butler.

Democrat Louise E. Morris defeated the late incumbent Republican, Agnes R. Borden, for the post of reveiver of taxes.  Mrs. Borden died last Thursday but her name had to remain on the ballot.

On the proposition on whether the town supervisor post should be made a four-year term instead of two, the town voted against it with a vote of 1,575 against to 816 for.

With Alden's population growth, it has recently been upgraded to a first class town, requiring four councilmen instead of two.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sorting Saturday - My eReader Makes Everything Better

I received a Sony eReader as a present a couple months ago (thank you Tara!!!) and this week I finally put a bunch of items on it.  I downloaded all the back issues of National Genealogical Society Quarterly (available to members on the NGS site), bought a new genealogical guidebook and created a pdf of my family tree and to do list and put them all on my eReader.

This has saved a lot of trees, a lot of space in my apartment and a lot of money, since eBooks are less expensive than paper copies.  Additionally, since my eReader fits easily in my purse, whenever I have extra time, I can easily read these items, furthering my genealogical education.  There are also highlighting and bookmarking features so that I can easily mark items of interest.

I also think this will be quite useful when doing genealogical research.  I am a paper and pen researcher, and obviously cannot bring all of my information when I go to libraries or court houses.  In the past I have come across names I know are related to my family, but cannot recall how.  By having my family tree with me in this way, I will (hopefully) never have this problem again.

Weekly Sorting Goal: Continue with organizing my blue bin of genealogical chaos.  Put all legal size documents into my new legal size binders.

SNGF - Halloween Personality

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go take the Hallowe'en Personality quiz at

2)  Post it on your own blog, as a comment on this blog, or on your Facebook page.

3)  Tell us if this is "right on" or note.  Have fun with it!

You See Halloween as Scary

You're a friendly person, but not the life of the party. You like making someone else's day - and you'll dress up if you think of a really fun costume.

You like to think of yourself as naughty. But compared to most people, you're actually quite mild.

Your inner child is open minded, playful, and adventurous.

You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.

You're prone to be quite emotional and over dramatic. Deep down, you enjoy being scared out of your mind... even if you don't admit it.

You are a traditionalist with most aspects of your life. You like your Halloween costume to be basic, well made, and conventional enough to wear another year.

Parts are true, parts aren't.  I'm definitely not a misanthrope.  I am however quite dramatic when I want to be;-)  I can't say I consider Halloween scary, it was always my favorite holiday when I was younger.  Unfortunately I'm closing at work tomorrow, but at least we're allowed to wear costumes:-D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Honeymoon Food Fun


[caption id="attachment_591" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Restaurant Toqué!"]Restaurant Toqué![/caption]

I read that Wednesday's are also Wedding Wednesday, so I thought I would show and tell some of the food we had inMontréal for our honeymoon.  For dinner one night we went to Restaurant Toqué! which is amazing.  We had the tasting menu and the wine pairings.  That night the chef made such dishes as sea urchin soup, fried bone marrow and squab (pigeon).  Definitely items I would not order normally, but they were fantastic and served in very artful ways.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in town.





[caption id="attachment_590" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Poutine!"]Poutine[/caption]

Poutine is a well known dish in Quebec.  It is french fries, gravy and cheese curds and DELICIOUS!

Although I did not get a picture, we also went to the Tibetan restaurant OM.  In addition to Tibetan food, they also have Indian.  I had never had Tibetan, but it is a lot of dumplings and beef dishes.  The owner was very nice and the food was great.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Carolina Casillo Will

Amanuensis Monday is a blog theme created by John Newmark at TransylvaniaDutch.  He defines amanuensis an 'a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

For my first Amanuensis Monday I have transcribed the will of my great-great grandmother, Carolina (Izzo) Casillo.

Will of Carolina Casillo

Erie County, New York

Will Book 123:559

Written 25 June 1934; proved 26 October 1934


“Last Will and Testament.


I, Carolina Casillo of the City of Buffalo, in the County of Erie and State of New York, being of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament, in manner following, that is to say:

First.  I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

Second.  I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved children Amalia Berni and Alfred M. Casell the sum of One Hundred Dollars each.  To my children Angeline Frascelli, Lucy Murphy and Clara Catalano, I give devise and bequeath to each the sum of Fifty Dollars.

Third: I give, devise and bequeath all the remainder of my estate be the same personal or real to my beloved husband Marco A. Casillo.

Lastly, I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my beloved husband, Marco A. Casillo, without bond, executor of this, my last Will and Testament: hereby revoking all former wills by me made.


In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name the 25 day of June in the year One thousand nine hundred and thirty-four


Carolina Casillo


We, whose names are hereto subscribed Do Certify that on the 25 day of June 1934 Carolina Casillo the testatrix, subscribed her name to this instrument in our presence of each of us, and at the same time, in our presence and hearing, declared the same to be her last Will and Testament, and requested us and each of us, to sign our names thereto as witnesses to the execution thereof, which we hereby do in the presence of the testatrix and of each other, on the said date, and write opposite our names out respective places of residence.


Ernest L. Colucci residing at 370 Eagle St. BuffaloN.Y.

Ralph Colucci residing at 370 Eagle St BuffaloN.Y.




Surrogate’s Court, Erie County, New York.


In the Matter of Proving the Last Will and Testament} Certificate of Probate.


Carolina Casillo}






I, GEORGE T. VANDERMEULEN, Clerk of the Surrogate’s Court, of said County of Erie, do hereby certify in pursuance of Section 151 of Surrogate’s Court Act, that on the day of the date hereof, the last Will and Testament of the above named deceased, being the annexed written instru-ment, was upon due proof daily admitted to probate by the Surrogate’s Court of the County of Erie and by the Surrogate of said County, as and for the last Will and Testament of said deceased, and as a Will valid to pass Real and Personal Property.


Said last Will and Testament is recorded in the office of said Surrogate, in Liber 123 of Wills, at page 559.


In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the Seal of Office of the Surrogate of said County, this 26 day of Oct. in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred thirty-4.


G.T. Vandermeulen

Clerk of the Surrogate’s Court


By John F. Uhler[?]

Assistant Probate Clerk”


MSLIS Monday - OCPL Archives Internship

I am currently at work on my newest internship, organizing the archive of the Onondaga County Public Library.  When I started, this was basically a hidden collection, the librarians knew it was there, but patrons did not and it was not organized or cataloged.  I have almost gone through the entire collection and there are fantastic items in there, like a letter from Laura Ingalls Wilder and the first public library of Syracuse.  Beginning this week, I will begin foldering and boxing the collection and then will create a finding aid.  My internship is scheduled through January.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Challenge 43 – Source Citations

This week,  Amy Coffin says: "Week 43: Brush up on your knowledge of citations. The most detailed element of genealogy is also the most important. Take some time to review articles, books and web sites on the subject. If you have a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained, you can read it as part of this challenge. If you do not, consider getting the book, then review some of these pages and the links they contain: Genealogy Source Citations Quick Reference by Thomas MacEntee at (this is a PDF file), Citing Sources at Cyndi’s List and Documenting Your Research / Citing Your Sources at Bloggers, do you have a favorite book, web site or tool for helping you craft quality citations?"

I haven't taken part in this challenge in a while, but am glad I got back into it for this week in particular.  I am going over my copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I have one professor in school who has us use Chicago style for our papers, which is what genealogical source citation is based on, from what I have seen.  Therefore, I am also going through that manual to pick up any hints I can.

Currently, I use Legacy Family Tree to hold my research, which has SourceWriter, an easy way to input your sources and know that they are created correctly.  SourceWriter crafts citations based Evidence Explained.  The user enters information into a form, which makes it very simple for even the beginning genealogist to source their information.  There is the option to create your own or edit the citations created for you, if necessary.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sorting Saturday - The Beginning

I just learned about Sorting Saturday, created by Michelle Goodrum of  The Turning of Generations.  Looking around my apartment, it is clear that this is an excellent thing for me to become involved in.  Yesterday I ordered 2 legal sized 3-ring binders to hold the wills and other legal sized documents I have.  Today I went through my family tree program and began creating a list of research to do when my classes begin.

Based on todays post by Michelle Goodman, I am going to try to organize all the documents I have , a few at a time.  This includes checking if they are in my family tree program and then putting them into their proper binder.

Goal for the week: Organize all the documents I have in my big blue bin of genealogy chaos by surname over the next week.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Same birthday as yours?

This weeks SGNF from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1)  Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do?  If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2)  For bonus points, how did you determine this?  What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out?  I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

According to Legacy's calender function, I am the only person born on 9 December.  I like being an individual;-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Gress Siblings

Here are the oldest 5 of 7 children of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fink) Gress: Chester, May, Walter, Elsie, Howard.  It was taken approximately in 18671868, prior to the birth of Beulah in 1898 and Vera (my great-grandmother) in 1900.  I darked the photo as the original is quite faded.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I Don't Have to Think About Today

Please go read this brilliant post by John Scalzi.  And please think about it and pass it on to others to think about as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Video and media coverage of Saturday’s Quran reading

Posted on my ALA listserv:

Video and media coverage of Saturday’s Quran reading

Posted on September 15th, 2010 by Jonathan Kelley

On Saturday, September 11, ALA staged a reading from the Quran, in response to the high-profile threat to burn the book by a Florida pastor. The event demonstrated the library community’s commitment to intellectual freedom and belief that spreading knowledge and information is the best counterpoint to efforts to destroy or restrict access to it.

In 10 days, Banned Books Week starts. ALA will kick off this annual celebration of the freedom to read with a Read-Out! of the most frequently banned and challenged books of 2009. We hope those in Chicago will join us Saturday, Sept. 25 from noon-2:00 in historic Bughouse Square (901 N. Clark). Others around the country should check our website for events in your area.

We are pleased to share the video and media coverage of the Quran reading


ALA press release

Associated Press: Library Group Holds Reading Of Quran In Chicago

Chicago Tribune: Library group hosts Quran reading

WGN: Local Groups Battle Anti-Islam Sentiment

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mashups for History

Lauren Pressley, one of my favorite library blog writers, had a post on archive mashups.  As someone who went to library school to work with local history, genealogy and archives, I adored the link she gave, which is called Ghosts of World War IIs Past.  Go visit this link... do not pass go... do not read further... just go view the images.

I have learned that I enjoy working with Web 2.0 and I am excited to see ways to use it in an archival setting.  History will become much more interesting and understandable by using methods such as this.  Imagine have augmented reality, where you are taking a walking tour and are able to view images such as this on your smart phone as part of your tour?  Or if you are at a historical society and have photographs such as those shown in exhibits, making you see how you and where you live is a part of history?

Some other photographs of interest:

Do you have any other recommendations?  Please let me in the comments.  I look forward to using this technology in the future in an internship or job.

Monday, September 6, 2010

BECPL Hispanic Heritage Subject Guide

Labor Day: What My Ancestors Did

I think a lot of beginning genealogists start their hunt with a hope of finding out they were related to Charlemagne or Cleopatra or some wealthy king who left money and a title that they are now entitled too.  I had always heard growing up that somewhere in Italy, I had an ancestor who was a cavalier.  While being related to a knight would be cool, I have much more in common with the ancestors I have found in relation to their occupation, than I would with a night in shining armor.

My English and German ancestors were farmers, laborers, and gardeners.  They worked each day, often for people wealthier than they were, in the fields or stables, taking care of plants and animals.  Each successive generation kept the same position until they moved to America.  In America, I had ancestors work on the railroad, as coopers, as construction workers, as homemakers, work on the Erie Canal, own and run bars and corner stores and hold office jobs for companies such as Sacony Mobil and New York Telephone.

I have found I like these working class ancestors better than I would have liked rich merchants or royalty.  It is much easier to see and understand my ancestors as real people, people who worked, provided for their family, live like I do now, rather than as people who sat around having servants and watching their piles of gold grow.  Happy Labor Day to the working class of yesterday, today and tomorrow!  Thank you for being the drive that makes the world run!

What did your ancestors do?  Do you wish to find royalty on your family tree?  Do you find your working-class relatives as fascinating as I do?  To find out what other geneabloggers ancestors did, check out this post.

MSLIS Monday: Where have all the group projects gone?

I could tell I have become a true MSLIS student when I received my syllabus for my anthropology class in life histories and personal narratives and my second thought (after "wow ,this class is going to be AMAZING!") was "where are all the group projects?"

Every class I have taken for my master's degree, both in the US and Germany, is filled with group projects.  Whether pairs or groups of 10, I have come to expect and even enjoy the group project.  I have had my share of bad groups, such as the girl who told the rest of us that she wasn't going to help because she was busy with one of her other classes and didn't care much, nor had time for, this project (grrr...).  However, I have also had some awesome groups (shout-out to my 605 Charles Ammi Cutter Group!)  Even in the bad groups, you tend to find another person who has interest and works hard.  I also get to use my leadership skills (aka I organize the group and make sure everything gets done on time and is of graduate quality), make new friends and practice the skill of team-work, which is tremendously important in the real world.

But, my anthropology class only has solo work.  I am excited for many of the projects, such as interviewing someone and writing up a narrative of their life, but I will miss getting to know my fellow students in a way only a group member can.  I will use this class to practice writing on a professional, possibly even publishable, level and on networking before and after class with my fellow students.  The class contains under-grads, grads and even a post-doc, of which I am the only LIS student, so it will really expand the people I know at both SU and ESF (students from ESF are able to take SU classes and vise-versa).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month!  Why should you get a library card?  ALA gives you 52 reasons to use one here.  My favorites are "Trace your family tree" and "Check out a special collection of rare books."  I would also add that you can research an upcoming trip or check out books for armchair travel, save money by borrowing books, DVDs and CDs and read magazines, rather than buying or subscribing to them or go to a game night.  I can guarantee there is something for everyone at the library.  If you haven't been there in a while, why not go back and see what's new?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Wedding of Albert Nuwer and Edna Roll

[caption id="attachment_533" align="alignnone" width="235" caption="My great-grandparents, Albert Nuwer and Edna Roll, married 22 June 1932 in Alden, Erie, NY"]Al Nuwer and Edna Roll Wedding[/caption]

Monday, August 30, 2010

MSLIS Monday: Radical Reference

Have you heard of the Radical Reference librarians?  I read about them recently and realized I have found kindred spirits.  Their mission statement is "Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society."

It began prior to the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004 and helped demonstrators and others with information ranging from where the bathroom is to what are the politicians backgrounds.  Taking reference to the streets to help people is a brilliant idea for me and shows librarians are so much more than just "shushers"  behind a desk.

There is a Syracuse Radical Reference Collective, although the page doesn't appear active.  I have signed up to volunteer with them and hope to have further information in the future to share here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Eichhorn

Eichhorn Tombstone FrontEichhorn Tombstone Back

Frederick W. Eichhorn, 1875 - 1932

Mary C. Eichhorn, 1886 - 1966

Anne N. Eichhorn, 1913 - 1990

Edward Eichhorn, 1909 - 1993

Located at Acacia Park, Niagara, NY

Monday, August 23, 2010

Geek the Library

I geek travel

  • How much money would the average person save by checking out books and movies from the library rather than buying them?

  • What is the most common use of public libraries since the start of the recession?

  • Do you support your library?

These questions are asked on the quick quiz when you first go to the Geek the Library site.  As a future librarian, I know the importance of public libraries; accessibility of information for everyone, a place the community can gather and learn, the ability to apply to jobs online for people who cannot afford the internet and many, many more things.

If you support libraries or want to see why you should, "get your geek on" and go to Geek the Library.

MSLIS Monday: Summers End

It is hard to believe I will soon be starting another school year.  I have ordered my books and am anxiously awaiting their arrival by the USPS and UPS.  I have always loved getting new books and school supplies, although my checking account tends not to agree.

I am tremendously excited by my class schedule this semester, which includes Introduction to Cultural Heritage, Life Histories/Narratives and Telecommunications and Information Policy (which is a required course).  I am also auditing three one-credit classes on budgeting, grant writing and fundraising.  As I am hoping to go into library management, I think these will be tremendously useful and interesting.  I am also completing my first of two 150-hour internships.

It should be a busy semester, but also a fascinating one, full of classes I am interested in and projects that will progress my skills and be useful in my future jobs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Buffalo & Erie County Library System Faces Layoffs

Earlier today, the Buffalo News published an article entitled "Library system faces layoffs, closures due to budget shortfall."  They will be facing a $7 million shortfall in 2011 due to the county budget and other revenue losses.  The gap is "the loss of 145 full-time employees."  "Among the wide range of possibilities Quinn-Carey presented for discussion were accelerating the shift of purchases to online materials over more costly print, which she acknowledged is controversial; reducing staff hours, including leaving some desks unmanned for periods of time; sharing staff between branches and not anchoring books at branches to save handling and shipping costs."  Hopefully the library system will find ways to keep people employed and libraries open.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

MSLIS Monday: The World's Most Modern Library

In classes my first semester in graduate school, one of my professors continually brought up the DOK library in Delft, The Netherlands.  I imagine each of us students had a different idea as to what the "world's most modern" library was, but I was lucky enough to visit while on my semester abroad.

The town of Delft is wonderful.  Unfortunately my photos from the trip were corrupted, but there are a lot of photographs on Google images.  I was already in love with the town when I went to the library.  When I thought of modern, I thought technologically advanced.  It was in some aspects, such as automated book return instead of the boxes we have in America and video game units for patrons to play.  However modern here was more a feel.  It was colorful and vibrant, somewhere people actually want to come and hang out, not a boring, dingy building people come in when they need a book or to use the internet and then leave right away.

You can tell upon entering the library that they care about customers and customer service.  There is a huge seating area, complete with dozens of newspapers and a coffee shop where customers come, talk and read.  There is an art room where patrons can check out artwork to display at their home.  The librarians are very friendly in multiple languages.  One librarian explained to me in English about an upcoming art exhibit and said she hoped I would be able to attend.  If you ever get the chance to visit (it is just a short train ride from The Hague), please do.  I hope to go back to explore both Delft and the library more.

To see pictures of the library, as well as get another librarians view of it, please visit The Shifted Librarian.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Surname Saturday: Weiss

1-John George Weiss/Wise
|--2-Katherine Weiss b. Apr 1849, , , , Germany, d. 9 Aug 1936, , , New York,
+Charles Herman Eichhorn b. 25 Dec 1848, , , , Germany, d. 25 Feb 1907,
Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
|--3-William Fred Eichhorn b. 22 Jun 1874, Chippewa, Welland, Ontario,
| Canada, d. 9 Mar 1931, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
|--3-Frederick William Eichhorn b. 14 Jul 1875, , , Ontario, Canada, d.
| 1932, (North Tonawanda, Niagara, New York, USA)
|--3-George Eichhorn b. 30 Aug 1878, Niagara, Niagara, New York, USA, d.
| 1928, (Cheektowaga, Erie, New York, USA)
|--3-Eichhorn b. After 1878, d. Bef 1884
|--3-Eichhorn b. After 1878, d. Bef 1884
|--3-Clara Eichhorn b. 9 Aug 1884, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA, d. Aug
| 1967, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
|--3-Charles Eichhorn b. Abt 1888, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA, d. Btw 1892
| - 1900, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
|--3-Marie Eichhorn b. 21 Dec 1891, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
+Charles M. Gorndt b. Abt 1841, Prussia, Germany

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Albert Nuwer and Edna Roll's Wedding

Al and Edna's Wedding

My great grandparents Albert Nuwer and Edna Roll at their wedding 22 June 1932 in Alden, Erie, New York.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Alfred Marco Casell

Alfred Casell Tombstone

My great-grandfather, Alfred Marco Casell, 26 June 1906 - 25 January 1981.  In Acacia Park Cemetery, North Tonawanda, Niagara, New York.

Monday, August 9, 2010

MSLIS Monday: Archives Internship

I recently started my internship at the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.  My job was to create a website for them so that researchers know what information they hold.  You can see it here.  Now that it is nearly finished, I will assist with other projects they have.

It is amazing to hold the parish registers from the 1800s in my hands.  As a genealogist, I tend to use microfilms from the Family History Center, so to see the original, even without a connection to my family, is still thrilling.  The more I work in archives relating to genealogy and history, the more I want to do this for a living.

Monday, July 5, 2010

MSLIS Monday: Semester 2 Complete

I completed my second semester of classes today! Although I still have a couple papers to hand in by next Friday, it is mostly done. Thursday I will be leaving Germany to go back to my life in Syracuse:-)

Over the next couple weeks I will be getting back into blogging and discuss a lot of what I learned over the past 4 months.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Webpage & Blogs for Buffalo & Erie Co. Library

I love when I get emails about great new things to do with Buffalo genealogy.  Here is one from yesterday:

The Grosvenor and Rare Book Rooms of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library have new Web pages. Please visit to learn more about our local history, genealogy, and rare book collections. Mark Twain fans have a new page to consult: . Two new blogs are also associated with these Web sites. A Local History and Genealogy Blog: a Rare Book Room Blog:
Please pass this information onto potentially interested parties. If you should have any feedback or questions, please email me off list at the address below.

Fantastic Find Friday: Microsoft OneNote

I have a problem when it comes to my research log.  Well... logs...  I have started and stopped over a dozen research logs over the past couple years.  I will find this great form/excel sheet/word document set-up/family tree software idea, do it for a couple weeks or months and then stop.  I know I am not alone in this...

Needless to say I was thrilled to see How Do You Take Notes? On We Tree, by the amazing genealogist Amy Coffin (who is also a librarian:-))  Kelly, who's blogger profile is not yet activated, and Elyse Doerflinger, an amazing genealogist & blogger, both recommended Microsoft One Note.

Lucky for me, that is one of the programs I can download free from SU as an iSchool student.  Well, I downloaded it and the rest is history.  I am OBSESSED and use it for everything.  Sick of having a million little Word documents?  Make a new OneNote tab.  Forget to cite where you copied something from online?  No worries, OneNote does it AUTOMATICALLY when you paste something into it.

If you can find a copy of it or have this program already - I highly recommend you check it out.  It makes research logs so easy, particularly with the automatic pasting of the URL.  It is also an easy place to keep things such as research for school, projects for work or volunteer organizations, to-do lists, exercise logs.  Anything you could want is located in it under different tabs.  Easy, organized and you can add fun colors;-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Citation Listserv/Study Sessions Being Set Up

This went out on a lot of lists I am on.  I signed up, as someday I would love to be able to source things without my Legacy SourceWriter or thumbing wildly through EE.  Elizabeth Shown Mills even replied that she wants to be involved in case of questions that others can't answer.  Hope to see some of you there!

I've set up a restricted yahoo group called SourceCitations.  What I'm planning is a moderated study session group, restricted to those who don't have a high level of confidence in the writing of source citations.  It will not be like TheoryGen (which is completely wide open as to content and membership).  It won't be a place to debate the BCG or professionalism or anything along that line.
I think I'm well placed to moderate such a group because I have 25 years of experience with research methods, both historical and genealogical, and yet I have a strong interest in really taking a detailed look at source citations.  The idea would be a round table series of study sessions,  using reference material such as Evidence Explained, going step by step through that text, from front to back.  Plus looking at how the genealogical approach compares and contrasts with the Chicago Style Manual.  Also side sessions on the source citations preferred by major archives.  And a look later at the source citation requirements for different genealogical journals and magazines.

This is an open course structure, but not a place for those who already have a high degree of confidence in writing source citations already.  Members will be invited to bring their own source citations 'puzzles' to the table at different points in the sessions (they would have to be appropriate for the session that was current).

And anything on the list can be taken by any member who wants to solicit opinions and comments on another list or from an expert (non-member) off list.  There will be some restriction on that type of cross-posting.

Because it is a closed, restricted study group,  there will be an ability to examine actual documents and case studies.

Goal:  That participants hopefully will come out of it with a high level of confidence in the writing of good genealogical source citations.

Participants are invited to participate at a level that they feel comfortable at.  You can join at any point later as the sessions proceed, but I recommend you go back and read through the earlier entries and material.

the Source Citation study sessions will utilize the following Yahoo group:

The group is open now, and the first sessions will begin in about two weeks.  I need to prepare some outlines but in the meantime, the door is open for introductory discussions. I'd like to get a sense of what interests participants,  who you are, what your motivations are for joining, and just general ideas on the subject itself.

I think this is going to be really an interesting, quiet learning environment for us all.


Larry Boswell BA, PLCGS
"Experts in Historical & Genealogical Research"
Listowner, TheoryGen (a non-archived list)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SNGF: Feeling lucky?

A fun Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy at Genea-Musings

1) Go to and enter a search term and click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.
2) Try your name, your local society, favorite genealogy terms, whatever you want. Do at least three, and as many as you want if you have time. Be creative! Have fun!

3) What did you learn from this exercise?

4) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, as a comment to this post, or as a Note or comment on Facebook.

Mine is through, as it is the default in Germany

"Amanda Acquard" - My Facebook page

Genealogy - (so weird)

"Amanda's Athenaeum" - (my friends post where I am listed on her blogroll.  Ironically, I gave her the idea for this post)

"amanda genealogy" - (looks like a nice site)

"acquard genealogy" -

What did I learn?  I obviously need to start paying;-)

Surname Saturday: Tross

This is pretty much the same as last week, with my direct ancestors in red.  I really need to work on this line...

–1-Wenzel Tross d. Bef 1900|

+Maria Strassheim b. 18 May 1841, Eberstadt, Giessen, Oberhessen,|   Darmstadt, Germany, d. 18 Feb 1921, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA

+-2-Balthasar Tross b. 19 May 1869, Eberstardt, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany|

–2-Elise Tross b. Abt 1876|

–2-Katharine Tross b. Abt 1877|

–2-Augusta M. Tross b. 6 Sep 1877, , , , Germany, d. 1 Jan 1939, Buffalo,|    Erie, New York, USA|

–2-Heinrich Tross b. Aug 1875, , , , Germany|

–2-Philip Tross b. Abt 1883, , , , Germany, bur. 30 Oct 1958, Cheektowaga,|    Erie, New York, USA

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Old Buffalo church to be Reborn in an Atlanta Suburb

As many of you know, I am from Buffalo and over the years I have seen more and more things in the city close and heard stories of what it had been like there in the '40's when my grandmother was growing up compared to now.  I am unsure of my feelings by the news that people want to take "99-year-old St. Gerard's" out of Buffalo and move it to an Atlanta suburb, where it will become Mary Our Queen in Norcross.

So many Catholic churches have been closing over the past decade in Buffalo (as in all of western and central NY from what I have seen), so it is a nice idea to give the building new life again.  So many of the closed churches are just crumbling to the ground due to the rules the church has put on who can purchase them.  It is so sad to see the lifeless buildings, particularly those people want to purchase but are not allowed to.

The problem, however, is summed up in the following quote by Buffalo Council President David Franczyk, "You can't strip-mine a city's historic heritage."  Can you imagine finding out your ancestor went to this church.  He was baptized, married and buried there, but to see it you have to go to Atlanta?

This is one of those questions that has no easy answer.  Do you let the building stay in Buffalo and rot or give it new life hundreds of miles away.  If you say move it, which is an understandable position, what happens when they want another of our buildings?  Then another and another, going down a slippery slope, until the heritage of a city has all been shipped away, one brick at a time?

Personally, I like the idea of giving the building new life, I just hate that to do so it needs to be moved so far away.  As the citizens of Buffalo continually flock south, to areas with more jobs, lower taxes and less snow, do we really want to see our buildings do the same?  If the church stays in Buffalo will it just rot until it is one more condemned building to deal with?  It is much harder to answer when church is from the city I am from, one that I love and wish to return to someday.  I look forward to your remarks and beliefs on this.

To read the entire article, go here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Marienkirche, Rostock, Germany Part 2

Here are more tombstones from Marienkirche.  I also posted some last week.

[caption id="attachment_402" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Top of crypt"]
Top of crypt[/caption]

Bottom of crypt

Closeup of Skeleton
Closeup of Skeleton

[caption id="attachment_408" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Interesting tombstone carving"]Interesting carving[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_405" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Interesting Tombstone"]Tombstone[/caption]

Monday, May 31, 2010

EU Chooses 2014 Capitals of Culture

The EU chose its 2014 European Capitals of Culture on 22 May: Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia).  This program is currently in its 25th year and the current Capitals of Culture are Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey).

For more information go here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Surname Saturday: Strassheim

My direct ancestors are in red.

1-Jacob Strassheim

+Catherine Argin

|--2-Maria Strassheim b. 18 May 1841, Eberstadt, Giessen, Oberhessen,

|    Darmstadt, Germany, d. 18 Feb 1921, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA

+Wenzel Tross d. Bef 1900

|--3-Balthasar Tross b. 19 May 1869, Eberstardt, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany

|--3-Elise Tross b. Abt 1876

|--3-Katharine Tross b. Abt 1877

|--3-Augusta M. Tross b. 6 Sep 1877, , , , Germany, d. 1 Jan 1939, Buffalo,

|    Erie, New York, USA

|--3-Heinrich Tross b. Aug 1875, , , , Germany

|--3-Philip Tross b. Abt 1883, , , , Germany, bur. 30 Oct 1958, Cheektowaga,

|    Erie, New York, USA

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fantastic Find Friday - Letter from a great-great aunt

One of the biggest helps in research is always information from those who researched before you.  This is a transcription of a letter I found in my grandfathers' papers regarding his grandparents.  Although some of the information was not quite correct, it helped tremendously and provided a great starting point that would have taken me much longer to get to.

Aug. 3, 1978

Dear Bob + Maryln [sic] + family,

I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed each and every one of you.  I really hated to leave this time.  I am holding you to your promise to come see us here.

Now, as to the dates you want on your Grandfather Casell.  His correct name on his marraige license is Marcantonio Casillo.  Born Jan. 11, 1868[.] He passed away some time in Dec. 1938.  I think he was buried at Bflo. Cemetary [sic].  They should have the exact date.  He became a Citizen of the U.S. Oct. 24, 1892, age 24.  Married Carolina Izzo, Dec. 5 1901.  She was 25 and he was age 33.  I had to have all this information when I applied for my Passport.  They were amazed that they found the record of my father's first trip to the U.S. with his dad, when he was 17.  Hope this is of some help.

My love to you all.  Keep on being understanding of your father and see that he doesn't get too lonely.

Love, Aunt Lu

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Complimentary membership for all NGS members

I just received this tremendously amazing email.  I will let you know what I think of in the next couple weeks after I try it out.

Dear Member, we've got some great news!

As part of a special partnership between the National Genealogical Society and, all NGS members will receive a complementary three-month membership to ($20 retail value).  You don't even need to enter your credit card, and the membership will not renew without your expressed permission. is a relatively new family history website, but they’ve already managed to compile over 1.2 billion records, online family tree tools, a community forum, and lots of other resources – all of which are available at no cost to you as part of your complimentary membership.  Your membership includes unlimited viewing of millions of original census and vital records. However, some services and documents provided by other companies to such as contact information reports, on-site court record retrieval and Footnote images are not free. You can obtain this information  on a fee per document basis.  NGS has a number of new members who are just beginning family history research and this gives them an opportunity to search the indexes for free and become familiar with various record groups.

So, why would donate over $170,000 worth of membership resources to NGS and its members?  Three primary reasons:

1. Give Back - Our mission at is to make family history simple and affordable. The National Genealogical Society and other non-profit groups provide valuable resources and information to the family history community, and we’re committed to supporting these efforts.

2. Get The Word Out - launched in July of 2009, and has quickly become one of the most frequently visited family history websites in the US.  Despite that, many people still don't know about us!

3. We Need Your Feedback - It's VERY important to us!

The truth is, we're just getting started in building our product.  We’ve added a lot of records and built some useful resources, but we’re most excited about the innovative tools and additional record collections we can add to help make family history simple and affordable.  As you use our product, please give us your feedback - good or bad. The more specific, the better!

The main feedback is of course: "get more data" - and we're doing just that. Already this year, we've added over 300,000,000 records, including broad access to UK Census and Vital indexes and original images.

What do you want us to add next? What other changes would you like us to make? What do you like the most? The least?

We've set up a special feedback email just for you, and we're eagerly looking forward to hearing your thoughts and

Wisdom Wednesday: Marienkirche, Rostock, Germany

Yesterday I posted some images of tombstones located inside Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) in Rostock, Germany.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="343" caption="Image used with CC attribution to from Wikipedia Commons"]File:Rostock St. Marien Kirche 1.jpg[/caption]

Marienkirche was Rostock's parish church from 1265 - 1531, when it became an Evangelical-Lutheran church.  It is best known for its medieval astronomical clock, built by Hans Düringer in 1472 and which calculates the date of Easter through 2017

.Top half of clockBottom half of clock

They also a beautiful bronze baptismal font that dates back to 1290.

Bronze baptismal font


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Marienkirche, Rostock, Germany


TombstoneTombstone close-up: Skull with flowers coming out of the top

I took a lot of pictures of the tombstones in Marienkirche in Rostock, Germany, and will be posting them the next few weeks for Rombstone Tuesday.  They had some of the most interesting carvings I have even seen on tombstones.  The first image appears to be a medusa-type image, though that may be incorrect.  The second image is a moon and star.  The third was the most interesting to me, hence the close-up of the skull with flowers growing out of the top.  These stones date from the 16-, 17- and 1800's.  Tomorrow I will post on the history of Marienkirche.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SNGF - Time Capsule

This weeks Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings

1) Go to the dMarie Time Capsule Website -

2) Select a date in your family history that you want to know about. You might pick a birth date or wedding date of your parents or grandparents.

3) Enter the date into the search form, and select the news, songs, toys, books and other things that you want to feature.

4) Share the date, why you picked it, and the results of your Time Capsule study on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a comment or post on Facebook.

I chose 26 January 1869, the day my great-great grandfather Jacob J. Gress was born.

Top headlines were:

Feb 2 - James Oliver invents the removable tempered steel plow blade   Feb 3 - Booth theater at 23rd & 6th opens in New York NY (Romeo & Juliet)   Feb 6 - Harper's Weekly publishes 1st picture of Uncle Sam with chin whiskers   Feb 15 - Charges of Treason against Jefferson Davis are dropped   Feb 19 - US Assay Office in Boise ID authorized   Feb 20 - Tenn Gov W C Brownlow declares martial law in Ku Klux Klan crisis

The president was: Andrew Johnson

Other people born that day are:

1948 - Corky Laing rocker (Mountain)
1880 - Douglas MacArthur Little Rock AR, General of the Army (WWII), he did return!
1925 - Paul Newman Cleveland OH, racer/popcorn mogul/actor (Hud, Hombre, Hustler)
1928 - Eartha Kitt South Carolina, singer/actress (Catwoman-Batman)

This is a really interesting and useful site, particularly if you are writing a book or report on a family member.  The information from their birth or marriage date really makes the history come alive.  I will definitely be using this more in the future.

Friday, May 21, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week #20

Amy Coffin at the We Tree blog is challenging bloggers to become better genealogists, with a new prompt each week through her 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy:

Week 20: Play with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Government Land Office (GLO) Federal Land  Records web page. This is a great resource. Your task this week is to explore the land patents and land surveys sections. Input some search terms and see what pops up. Don’t be afraid to click links and see what happens. You’ll be surprised by what you find. Genealogy blog authors can share what they find from this site on their blogs.

I have never been to this site before.  There are no land patents for NY, so I searched the surveys for Erie Country, New York and looked at the one result of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.  The image is pretty cool.  I remember when I worked at a real estate law firm I always liked looking at the survey and trying to figure out where the house or land was located in our town.  This weeks challenge reminded me of my goal to work with deeds and other land records, as I have never done so for genealogy.  Hopefully I will be able to do that in July in Buffalo.

Fantastic Find Friday

Thank you for finding my improved, new URL today! I think all my blogger friends are some of the best finds out there. Bloggers, particularly genea-bloggers in my experience, are some of the most helpful, encouraging, interesting people out there. My finding all of you from writing blog posts and reading your blogs means more to me than I can tell. I tremendously appreciate you following me to this new site, as I know what a hassle it can be. I promise it will be worth it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Important New URL Announcement

Hi everyone,
I know I have been rather quiet on the blog recently and I wanted to let you know I haven't disappeared!  I have been thinking a lot about my blogs, my future, my interests, etc. and have figured out where I really want to take this blog.  I am going to merge this with my genealogy blog.  I am keeping the library blog name  Amanda's Athenæum so that I can expand my focus beyond just libraries to my other interests of genealogy, cultural heritage, historical societies, museums, travel (particularly in relation to history and culture) and reading (again mostly in relation to history and culture), among other things.

I am very excited about this change and to really expand what I can post on and the amount of posts I do.  I hope you will continue to follow me, but understand if you decide not to do to the expanded nature of the blog.  I also am changing my host to WordPress, as they offer some features I am very excited for.  My blog will now be at:  All of my old posts from this blog will be accessible there.

I will begin updating it there tomorrow.  Thank you and I am sorry for the inconvenience of updating your blog reader.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1847 - 1849 New York State Vital Records

Fellow New York State researchers, this was posted yesterday on the New Horizons Genealogy Blog:
"New York State enacted a law in 1847 to require school districts to record Vital Records including birth, marriage and death records within their districts. However, some areas completely ignored the law and others adhered to it, but generally did not keep complete records, even for the years that were recorded. Unfortinately this law was terminated in 1849. 

New Horizons Genealogy is working on locating and transcribing these records and posting them to our website. We have also linked to most of these vital records found on other websites in an attempt to make this the most complete of a collection as possible.

These 1847 - 1849 New York State Vital Records may be found here: 1847 - 1849 New York State Vital Records

This is an on going project and we are adding new records every week, so if you don't find what you are looking for, keep checking back."

Back to Basic: July

July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...