forget sometimes about Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com), a free database of historic New York newspapers, and how fortunate you are if you have New York ancestors. Be warned, however, that it can suck up a huge amount of your time. You will be transfixed by all the wonderful tidbits you learn about your family. If your ancestor was a public figure, you will get more hits.
For example, today I decided that I wanted to know more about my great grand uncle, GEORGE ROBERT TAYLOR (1859-1935). In just one news article from 1926 (1) I learned:
- He was born on a farm near Hamilton College.
- He attended school in Clinton, New York
- He graduated from the Medical College at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1888
- He began the practice of medicine in the fall of 1888
- In August of 1888 he married Agnes Bryden.
- They lived in Oriskany, New York, until the fall of 1894 and moved to Clinton, New York, in November.
- Two children were born to them in Oriskany: BESSIE TAYLOR (Mrs. Clarence W. Chaney at the date of the article) and BAYARD TAYLOR (my 1st cousins 2X removed).
- Bayard lived in Jacksonville, Illinois, at the date the article.
- The people in the Clinton area were fond of Dr. Taylor; he worked long hours and was devoted to his patients.
- He was President of Clinton twice and Trustee four times.
- He was a member of the Board of Education for several years.
- He was Oneida County Coroner for four years.
- He was trustee of the Stone Church in Clinton.
- He belonged to the Clinton Lodge and the Stone Church.
- He was instrumental in building Hamilton College, Marvin and Chestnut Streets and Kirkland Avenue.
- The first telephone in the village was in his home, and his house was the first in the village to be wired for electricity.
- He was instrumental in building the Clinton Town Hall.
- Dr. Taylor’s home was the scene of a novel published about 1880 Helen’s Babies by John Habberton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen's_Babies). At the time the novel was written, Mr. Habberton was a resident of the house. (2)
- He retired in 1926 and planned to spend the winters in Florida.
- His practice was taken over by Dr. Arthur H. Cummings.
In addition, the article contained a nice shot of his handsome face.
As if that article did not give me enough information, I headed for more. I found a fabulous picture of Dr. Taylor and his family sitting in their brand new Paige car in the driveway of their home in Clinton in 1906. (3) I learned that he had a new Jordan sedan in 1926. (4)
An 1893 advertisement called Dr. George R. Taylor “The Rupture Specialist.” The ad claimed that one hundred cases had been cured in Utica, New York. (5)
But all was not perfect for Dr. Taylor. I read about two lawsuits where he was involved. One involved a Hamilton College student who alleged mistreatment of a broken thumb in 1907. (6) Another was a lawsuit in 1912: Mary E. Crandall vs. Dr. George Taylor. (7) The irony is that I think Mary E. Crandall is also one of my ancestors. I guess suing doctors happened in the olden days too.
And, finally, there was an article on May 16, 1935, that declared that Dr. Taylor had died at his home in Clinton on Saturday, May 11. In this article I learned that his specialty had been the treatment of hernias. In addition, I discovered that he had been a Republication in politics and he was a Presbyterian. For fun, he would spend summers at Thousand Island Park on the St. Lawrence River. At the time of his death he had one grandson, HOWARD W. CHANEY, my 2 cousin 1X removed. (8)
In an article dated October 22, 1975, I learned that the late Howard Chaney had donated $5,000 to the Village of Clinton in memory of his grandfather, Dr. George Taylor. (9)
I now have a real image of my great grand uncle. He is not just a statistic. If you have New York ancestors, I suggest that you visit Old Fulton NY Post Cards (and by the way it covers all of New York, not just Fulton). There is a FAQ Help Index on the site that will give you tips for searching. I use a variety of searches (Boolean, exact phrase and all the words). Your strategy depends on the type of information you are trying to retrieve. Common names can be a problem because you get too many hits, so add some specifics about someone’s life if you can (address, spouse’s name, etc.).
On the home page, click on VIEW FULTON HISTORICAL PHOTOS and you will see an assortment of information. One button I pressed was called “Old New York Church Records 1804 – 1950.” Another button had pictures of deeds. One contained Oswego County Probate Records. Another had cemetery records.
OldFulton NY Post Cards is a fun site. You will see that as soon as you pull it up on the Internet. You will hear piano music and see a swimming fish, who occasionally sticks his tongue out at you. Click the Enter button and get lost for hours!
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, 2003.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes, 2002.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1100 Pictorial Symbols, 2007.
(1) “Dr. George R. Taylor Retires After 40 Years,” The Clinton Courier, November 24, 1926 , p.1, Old Fulton NY Post Cards, digital image 618558 (http://fultonhistory.com/newspapers%207/Clinton%20Courier/Clinton%20NY%20Courier%201926%20-%201927%20Grayscale.pdf/Clinton%20NY%20Courier%201926%20-%201927%20Grayscale%20-%200365.pdf: accessed December 29, 2012).
“Dr. George R. Taylor Retires After 40 Years,” The Clinton Courier, November 24, 1926, p. 4, digital image 568862, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com).
(2) Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen's_Babies_(novel)), “Helen’s Babies (novel),” rev. 6 July 2012.
(3) “Family Portrait,” the Clinton Courier, April 26, 1978, p. 5, digital image 525889, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com).
(4) “Additional Personals,” The Clinton Courier, April 26, 1926, digital image 731673, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com).
(5) “Are You Ruptured: Dr. George R. Taylor, The Rupture Specialist,” Utica NY Weekly Herald, March 14, 1893, digital image 335803, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com).
(6) “Student Sues A Physician,” Utica NY Herald Dispatch, December 3, 1907, digital image 318363, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www. Fultonhistory.com).
(7) “Prisoners in Court,” Utica NY Daily Sentinel, June 10, 1912, digital image 1313374, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com).
(8) “Dr. George Taylor,” Waterville NY Times, May 16, 1935, digital image 673885, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www. fultonhistory.com).