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New to the Genealogy and Local History Section March 29, 2017

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History, Uncategorized.
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New books in Genealogy and Local History Reference Section:

Historical and Genealogical Atlas and Guide to Barnstable County, Massachussetts (Cape Cod) by Marjorie Hubbell Gibson

Boldt Castle: Heart Island — Alexandria Bay NY and the Thousand Islands

Tulpehocken Settlement Historical Society, Womelsdorf PA: Hoodbeats through the Tulpehocken and St. Daniels, the Lutheran Congregation of Heidleberg dated 12/28/1887.

Marriages 1793-1810 Dauphin County, PA

Dauphin County Marriages, 1744-1854. Dauphin County PA.

The Chenango Canal by Barry K. Beyer

1848 History of Dauphin County PA

The Early Churches of Lebanon County, PA

Two Hundred years and More of the First Reformed Church, Lancaster, PA

Sesqui-Centennial of the First Reformed Church, Lancaster, PA (July 4, 1926)

Birthplaces of 1400 early residents of Schuykill County PA

the P.P. Bliss Museum of Rome PA

1843 History of Lycoming County PA

1843 History of Bradford County PA

1843 History of Schuykill County PA

1883 List of Pensioners of Bradford County PA (Mostly from Civil War).

Elmira College: Still ahead of its Time by Hank Walshak



New Titles in Genealogy and Local History February 6, 2017

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History, Reference.
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Here are just a few of the titles we recently added to our genealogy and local history research collection:

Onondaga Iroquois Prehistory: A Study in Settlement Archaeology by James A. Tuck

Landmarks of the Revolution in New York State: A guide to the Historic Sites open to the Public by David C. Thurheimer

Population History of New York City by Ira Rosenwaike

Our Past Revisited: Ashland Township, Lowman and Wellsburg: Photos 1883-1982

Reforming family: The Hunts and McClintocks of Waterloo, New York

Erie Canal Days, a Pictorial Essay (Albany to Buffalo)

We’ve also just added the Eric Lindsay Memorial Postcard Collection of local images. This collection was made possible by the Friends of the CCLD.  It is upstairs in ready reference. Ask for it at the desk.  Here are some postcard images from that collectionold-mountain-house_elmiraview-from-mountaintop_near-elmiraview-from-fort-hill_elmiralooking-towards-elmira-ny-from-sullivan-mountainchemung-valley-from-waverly-hill-towards-elmira







New to the Genealogy & Local History collection: 1931 Church directory and the Soundex cards on microfilm August 17, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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New to our collections: A member directory from 1931 of the South Presbyterian Church in Elmira on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Southport Streets.  In 1931, they were already over 100 years old.  Today, the church is gone.  It burned down in 2004.  (Here’s the story: http://www.joycetice.com/church/2004fire.htm). Below please find a picture of the church in 1931 from the directory, and a Google earth shot of the same lot today.

Also new at the library, and of interest to genealogical researchers: We now have Soundex index cards available on microfilm.  This groups phonetically similar surnames together.  This is useful in case your family’s surname was misspelled in the census or the census index.  Sometimes, it is the only way to find a family in the census.  Feel free to come in and look at them yourselves!

corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Southport Streets today


Our precious books repaired–Thank you, Friends of CCLD! June 17, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Friends, Genealogy / Local History.
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We have some really wonderful, hard-to-find and hard to replace reference books in our popular genealogy and local history section of the Steele Memorial Library.  But, even if these books don’t leave the library, they have seen a lot of use over the years.  Many are in disrepair, and quite a few could be repaired, but were beyond what we could to do to responsibly repair them in the library.  We needed to send some out for a complete rebinding, but our small budget couldn’t possibly begin to cover the cost.

That’s why we are so, so, grateful to The Friends of CCLD!  http://www.steele.lib.ny.us/friends.htm

The Chemung County Library District Friends made it possible for us to send the books in the most dire need of rebinding out to a professional bookbinder.  They came back in this week and they are like brand-new books! Some titles that were falling apart but now are in wonderful new bindings: “Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut”, “History of Waverly, NY”, “History of Bradford County, PA”, and “Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776”, among others!  As a special bonus, we can now offer to our patrons for the first time a 4-volume set of the Genealogy of Early Connecticut families.  This was donated to us but we couldn’t put it on the shelves due to its deteriorating leather covers.  They are now in pristine condition and able to be used by our researchers.

As a genealogy and local history department, we have two main mandates regarding our collection.  The first to acquire items that will be of use to people researching genealogy and local history.  The second is to maintain these items in a responsible way to ensure that library patrons 100+ years from now will have access to this important and hard-to-obtain information.  Thank you, Friends of CCLD, for helping us keep our collection healthy.  We couldn’t have done this without your help.


Maggie Young

Before_CCLD Bindery

after_CCLD bindery

Anniversary of a heroic WWI Pigeon: Cher Ami, Savoir of the Lost Battalion. June 13, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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On this date in 1919, Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon and recipient of the Croix de Guerre Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for Heroic Service in World War I, passed away in Fort Monmouth, NJ as a result of wounds suffered in war.  A pigeon of the Lost Battalion suffering both enemy and friendly fire, she was the only pigeon to avoid death long enough to deliver a message to Allied Forces to save the remaining members of the Lost Battalion.  She was severely wounded, and eventually lost a leg.  Members of the Battalion made her a wooden one.  She is now stuffed and in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.  This was discovered in one of the Steele Memorial Library’s copies of “History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion,” now in our reference collection, the book was given to members of Elmira’s American Legion Post, so we wouldn’t forget the sacrifices of the Lost Battalion.  In the end, 197 men were killed, 150 captured or missing, and 194 were rescued.

The message Cher Ami delivered to Allied Troops who were dropping friendly fire on the Lost Battalion

The message Cher Ami delivered read, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.”



History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion: Reference 973.91 M129.

History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion: Reference 973.91 M129.


U.S. Official Photograph taken in France shortly after the men were relieved and near the famous “pocket” the men were trapped in.

Beneficial Bits n’ Bytes – Newspapers Online June 11, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Beneficial Bits n' Bytes, Genealogy / Local History.
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NYS Historic NewspapersResearching newspaper articles is a great way to get primary source information on a topic of interest.  They’ve never been more accessible to everyone, either, all you need is an Internet connection and some trusty sites to search.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. NYS Historical newspapers: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/

Very easy to use site to browse news articles from New York.  Just click on a county to begin browsing.  Free to everyone. Not all counties are up on this site yet.

2. Fulton History: http://fultonhistory.com/my%20photo%20albums/all%20newspapers/index.html

A site begun by one man in his own home, it originally was just to share postcard pictures of Fulton, NY with his neighbors.  He really took off with this site, however, and has personally uploaded more historical newspapers to his site than Chronicling America, through the National Library of Congress, has been able to add.  Cons: It’s not easy to search right off the bat, but people can get the hang of it.  Click on the Index at the top to get a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of all the titles available and their dates.  Also, try a Google search <http://www.google.com>for the topic + fulton history.  Example: “Rorick’s Glen fulton history.”  Google will bring you newspaper pages from the site with the articles of interest.

3. Speaking of Chronicling America, here is a link to the Library of Congress site:  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

Free online newspapers, more being added all the time.

4.  Here’s a directory of newspapers on the web, also through the Library of Congress:


Not all of the links are free, some are more effective than others, but it gives a great overview of sites all over the United States.

5. Last but not least, The Library of Australia has digitized all of their country’s historical newspapers.  It’s a great site and very exciting to search.  Let’s hope the U.S. takes note of what they’ve done and follows suit!


On this date 100 years ago: Elmira’s Crystal Eastman lobbies for Women’s Suffrage in Washington D.C. May 18, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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I was glad to see good news on the front of the Star Gazette today: thousands of people showing up in downtown Elmira to support cancer survivors and the Komen Foundation, and the news that the Elmira YWCA received $19,000 in donations to help them after they unexpectedly had to close this winter. I wonder if 100 years ago today, Mrs. Crystal Eastman Benedict, from Elmira NY, knew that she was to be a part of an ultimately successful campaign to secure voting rights for women.

On May 18, 1915, the Elmira telegram reported that Mrs. Crystal Eastman Benedict was in Washington DC before the Commission on Industrial Relations to fight for women’s suffrage. She didn’t ask them to please, maybe, consider it. She “declared the commission should immediately report to President Wilson advocating a Federal constitutional amendment for nationwide women suffrage.”

Crystal Eastman was the daughter of Samuel Elijah Eastman and Annis Bertha Ford. Annis was one of the first female Protestant ministers in the US. Samuel and Annis worked as pastors at the Independent Congregational Church (now known as Park Church) under Thomas K. Beecher.

The Valparisio University Law Review writes of Crystal’s early years in Elmira: she was “raised in the feminist, humanistic, intellectual, fun-loving and progressive environment of the Park Church in Elmira, NY.” (Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 28, No. 4 [1994], Art. 6, p. 1306).

Crystal Eastman was a 1903 graduate of Vassar College and earned an M.A. in sociology from Columbia University in 1904. She received her law degree from New York University Law School in 1907, graduating second in her class. In 1909, she was appointed by the governor of New York State to be the first woman on the Employer’s Liability Commission and drafted New York State’s first Worker’s Compensation Law.  In 1920, she was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In 2000 Eastman was inducted in the (American) National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.

Thank you, Crystal Eastman, for all the work you did from which we still benefit.  What work could we do today that would benefit people alive on May 18, 2115?

Works Consulted:

Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 28, No. 4 [1994], Art. 6, p. 1306. http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1919&context=vulr (Retrieved 18 May 2015).

Vassar encyclopedia: Distinguished Alumnae.  https://vcencyclopedia.vassar.edu/alumni/crystal-eastman.html (Retrieved 18 May 2015).

Crystal Eastman, National Women’s History Museum.  http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/crystal-eastman/ (Retrieved 18 May 2015).


Free Genealogy help sites of local interest April 22, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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Here are a few free sites with helpful information of local research interest available online.  Do you have any favorites you don’t see here?  Let us know!

1. Fultonhistory.com:

Search over 29,140,000 Historical Newspaper Pages from the USA & Canada. Click on FAQ_HELP_INDEX at the top of the page to orient yourself to the site, and for a link to a browsable index of papers.


2. NYS Historic Newspapers

The NYS Historic Newspapers project provides free online access to a wide range of newspapers chosen to reflect New York’s unique history.


3. New York State Military Museum & Veterans Research Center

The mission of the museum and research center is to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State’s military forces and veterans.


4. The Pennsylvania State Archives

 PA archives has this military info online:

  • PA National Guard Veteran’s Card File, 1867-1921
  • Civil War Veterans’ Card File
  • Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File
  • World War I Service Medal Application Cards
  • Spanish American War Veterans’ Card File of United States Volunteers
  • Mexican Border Campaign Veterans’ Card File
  • Militia Officers’ Index Cards, 1775-1800


View genealogical records from all over the world right in downtown Elmira. April 13, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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The Steele Memorial Library is excited to announce that we are now a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. The new designation means library patrons will have greater and more convenient access to the wealth of genealogical resources available through FamilySearch.
Family Search is the world’s largest repository of free genealogical records and manages the famous Family History library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has amassed billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land and court records of genealogical significance from over 130 countries.
FamilySearch is extending access to its collections by circulating microfilms of the historic records though select public libraries. The Steele Memorial Library is now one of these libraries. It is a priceless treasure for local residents interested in discovering their family tree.
“Less than 5% of the world’s genealogical records are available online, and most family history researchers cannot afford to travel to an archive nationally or worldwide to find historic records they are seeking,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch Public Affairs manager. “If FamilySearch has filmed the records they need, then as far as they will need to travel to view them is the Steele Memorial Library.”
FamilySearch has over 200 camera teams filming historic records in 45 countries on any given day. These records are then circulated to public patrons through FamilySearch centers worldwide, like the Steele Memorial Library. For example, FamilySearch has filmed over 60% of the Civil Registration (birth, marriage and death records) of Italy. If you have Italian ancestry, chances are you will be able to extend your Italian research by conveniently using the FamilySearch films through the Steele Memorial Library.
There is a nominal fee of $7.50 to order a microfilm. Once the film arrives, patrons use the microfilm readers at the Steele Memorial Library to peruse it. The library staff can help patrons see what films are available, lead them through the process of placing orders, and answer research questions. Patrons can also search the Family History Library catalog online at FamilySearch.org to see what records Family Search has available to order through the library.

Patrons must have their own, free, FamilySearch account to place a microfilm order.  Following please find two simple tutorials to introduce the process of searching, finding, and ordering microfilm through the Family History Library.  Librarians at the Steele Memorial Library are on hand to assist you with any questions you may have.

No Sound Tutorial: http://www.screencast.com/t/UcC07hPRlLN

Tutorial with Sound: http://www.screencast.com/t/y4aM1Vln3

We are very excited about this new partnership with FamilySearch.  We hope you find it valuable to your research needs.

All the Best,

Maggie Young

Genealogy Librarian

“Winter Wedding” by Cleora Lovell February 12, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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Local poet, Cleora Lovell (1918-1997), included this verse in her 1973 book, “Unicorn in the Wilderness,” found in our local authors collection at the Steele Memorial Library.

Winter Wedding

Earth is wearing a wedding gown
Of angel feathers that floated down;
Sunlight reflects from her happy face
Framed by a veil of chantilly lace.
A showy trousseau designed for her,
Lavishly edged with ermine fur,
Is twice as soft as a kitten’s purr.

Gifts of crystal and silver gleam;
The wedding cake is a gourmet’s dream;
Fountains of flowers spill everywhere;
Snowflake confetti fills the air.
The nuptial rites, highly magnified,
Prove a Heavenly Father’s pride
When his daughter, Earth, becomes a bride.

tburg winter

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