Monday, December 31, 2012


Have you visited the historical societies where your ancestors lived?  You will be surprised at all the resources you will find. For example, I visited the Clinton Historical Society in Clinton, New York (, a few years ago and was able to break through one of my brick walls as a result.

Clinton Historical Society
Among its many holdings, the Clinton Historical Society has interment records for Sunset Hill Cemetery ( since its opening in 1854. There is a binder that contains more recent records as well as a bound book that contains older records.  The older book has much more information (Date, Name of Deceased, Place of Birth, Late Residence, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Marital Status, Date of Interment, Disease, Parents’ Names, Where Interred, Name of Undertaker).  I imagine that privacy laws is the reason for the lack of detail for the more recent deaths.

As with any source, it is not definitive; however, it is a great starting point.

Because I have at least 50 ancestors buried in this cemetery, these interment books were my dream come true. I knew my third great grandfather, GEORGE BOWLES, was born in England, but I did not know the identity of his parents.  Below you will see the entry for George Bowles in the Interment Book.


George Bowles was born in Kent, England; his last residence was Westmoreland, New York; and he was born on December 2, 1801.

The image below is page 2 of the record:


Here I learned that George was buried on May 31, 1891; he died of an abscess; his parents were Phineas and Dinah; he is buried in Plot D No. 17; and the undertaker was M. Tumock.

So Phineas and Dinah were his parents. Hmmm…  I took those names and performed a Google search. (“Phineas and Dinah Bowles Kent England”). Not long afterwards I found Phineas and  Dinah Bowles on the 1841 England Census. They were living with their daughter Eliza. Discovering Phineas and Dinah opened an entire new line of research for my Bowles’ line.

Even if you can’t make the trip to a historical society, be sure to check out their website. Many have a wealth of material online. For example, the Clinton Historical Society has copies of their newsletters from 2007-2012 ( on their website, along with photographs of historic buildings (

You can also contact historical societies for assistance. Membership fees are usually nominal. Some charge for research, but some do not.

So, don’t forget historical societies as a source in your research. 


(1) Sunset Hill Burial Book, Clinton Historical Society, Clinton, Oneida County, New York.

(2) Ibid.

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