Saturday, October 5, 2013

ONEIDA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Utica, New York

ince many of my ancestors lived in Oneida County, New York, I was thrilled to be there a few weeks ago. First, I dropped off several vital record requests at the City of Utica Vital Records Office (http://www.cityofutica.com/VitalStatistics/Genealogical+Services.htm). While I was waiting for the certificates to be prepared, I went to the nearby Oneida County Historical Society (http://www.oneidacountyhistory.org) located at 1608 Genesee Street, Utica, New York.  There was free parking in the back of the building, and I located the research library in the basement. I was greeted by a friendly worker who gave me a tour of the resources. There were several shelves of books, photographs, manuscripts, periodicals, computers, filing cabinets with clipping files and tables to do your research. Non-members of the society need to pay a nominal fee for use of the library. 

I started with the Oneida County Cemeteries database, in particular Green Lawn Cemetery – Town of New Hartford (a.k.a. Middle Settlement Cemetery).  I was glad to get confirmation that this cemetery was also known as Middle Settlement Cemetery, since I had read newspaper articles about Middle Settlement Cemetery and wondered whether it was an earlier name for Green Lawn. I found numerous ancestors on the list for Green Lawn.  I then went on to investigate Parke Cemetery in the Town of Camden, Grandview Cemetery in the Town of Whitestown and Deansboro Cemetery. 

One of the best discoveries at this library was the amazingly complete city directory collection for Utica. I started with the oldest city directories, which were very small compared to the later years. Using my iPad, I took pictures of relevant pages for the ancestors I have who I believe lived in the years covered by the books.  Some of the city directories were in bad shape but they were readable.  I now plan to type up and put in chart form (name, address, date, occupation, etc.) all the information I photographed. Hopefully, this will help me determine the time when my ancestors first arrived in Utica and when they were gone.  It may also help me narrow down my choices for some of the common names I am searching, such as Park, Marsh and Williams.



While I was looking through the city directories a volunteer arrived who was extremely helpful.  After a discussion of the people I am researching, she brought me several folders from the clippings files.  She also brought me precious old census books for Oneida County. I snapped pictures of what I could. I regret that I didn’t have more time.



I then browsed the stacks and perused:
  • Early Families of Herkimer County, New York by William H. Barker 
  • A Dennison Family Reunion by Joanne Dennison Langdon

Afterwards, I went upstairs and was delighted to find that they have a bookstore filled with all things Oneida County, New York and more.



I purchased a few items, of course, and then explored the adjoining museum.







As you can see, the Oneida County Historical Society has much to offer anyone interested in genealogy and/or history. Here is a link to their Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oneida-County-Historical-Society/57747637498). 


ILLUSTRATION BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.




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