U.S. Gen Web (www.usgenweb.org) is a free website dedicated to genealogy. Its content is compiled by volunteers for the USGenWeb Project. The website is organized by state and county. Depending on the availability of volunteers in a given area, your particular county may or may not have as much as another county. There is an enormous amount of information waiting to be explored.
I have used this site many times, mostly for the New York Counties of Oneida, Chenango and Madison. As an example, I am going to use the Oneida County New York GenWeb page located at http://oneida.nygenweb.net. To get to your place of interest, simply click on the state you want and then choose a county.
On the left of the Oneida County homepage is a list of topics: What’s New, Search, Bibles, Bios, Births, Cemeteries, Census, Deaths, Deeds, Homepages, Indian, Lookups, Maps, Marriages, Military, Miscellaneous, Newspapers, Obituaries, Pensions, Photos, Queries, Resources, Towns and Wills.
The topic I consult the most is Cemeteries. Here you will find a list of cemeteries in the towns in Oneida County. If you click on the cemetery name, you will be shown a transcription of people buried in the cemetery along with a picture, location and a bit of history about the cemetery. There is now a search engine just for cemetery listings, a wonderful new feature. I entered “Scripture,” one of my ancestral surnames, into the search box and came up with five cemeteries that contain people with the name Scripture. In the Rome Cemetery, I found 11 hits. The information given is: Last Name, First Name, Interment Date, Lot No. and Section. This will save you quite a bit of time if you are exploring cemeteries for a particular ancestor. Of course, this information is not definitive, but it certainly is quite helpful and can lead you to more information. Because the name Scripture is so unique, most, if not all, of the Scriptures buried in Oneida County are somehow related to me. When I use one of my common surnames, like Taylor, I have to do a lot of weeding out of names.
One fun source on the Oneida GenWeb site is the Bible listings. It is strictly the luck of the draw here. You might find one of your surnames if you’re lucky. Don’t be afraid to explore surnames that don’t belong to your people as they often contain references to people who married into that line.
Another useful tool on this site is the Maps of Towns in Central New York (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycortla/cnytownm.htm). This will give you a visual of where a town was located and the adjoining towns and counties. It can ramp up the effectiveness of searching if you know alternative locations for your ancestors. For example, I see that Sherburne is near New Berlin in Chenango County. I have ancestors named Cutler who lived in Chenango County. If I put the search terms “Cutler” and “Sherburne” and “New York” into Google, I will get one set of hits. If I do the same search with “New Berlin,” I will get different results. This type of information will aid you in your Census searching also.
The Miscellaneous tab can give you unexpected and useful results. For example, I found a link to The Welsh in Oneida County, New York by Paul Demund Evans (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyunywh/oneidawelsh/page2.html). This is a fantastic resource for anyone with Welsh ancestry.
nder the Oneida County Biographies tab I found an article submitted by Nancy Hauser about WILLIAM E. SCRIPTURE, my 1st cousin 4 times removed. The article also references HIRAM SCRIPTURE, my 4th great grandfather, and ELIZABETH PARKER, my 4TH great grandmother. (oneida.nygenweb.net/bios/scripture.html)
Under “Resources” you will find the contact information for the County historian, County libraries, court houses, offices of vital statistics and historical societies.
I have only scratched the surface of the information available on the Oneida County Gen Website. If you have a moment, go to http://usgenweb.org, pick a state and a county and discover the hidden gems that just might help you broaden your tree.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, American Folk Art Designs, 2006.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Christian Symbols, 2003.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.
Oneida County New York USGenWeb Site, copyright 1999-2008 by Betty Carpenter-McCulloch (http://oneida.nygenweb.net: accessed January 19, 2013).