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.

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...