History is built from the
raw data that surrounds us. Any historian will tell you that it is
important to weigh the value of the information you are using. A
look at most any genealogy web page or printed source will show you that
presenting only part of the data may be just fine for simple individual
or family histories but such resources just don't cut it when it comes
to doing good old in-depth historical research - especially when it is
on a community-wide investigation.
While my research often includes family genealogy and individual biographies, it is a very much larger scope than this and can involve hundreds of individuals or even hundreds of families. It is the spatial context in which those individuals and families lived that makes community history interesting and important. For a local historian every scrap of evidence is important and collecting, sorting, and analyzing this pile can be incredibly overwhelming when working in a community like Cazenovia where there are hundreds of sets of data, some of which are very large. By systematically extracting certain data from those sets and organizing them into manageable units the data becomes more accessible. I have spent many years compiling dozens of data sets, short and long, from which I have built my histories, and to which I can readily turn to show proof of the original source.
When I wrote my history of Cazenovia's taverns I did not need to go out and do a lot of new leg-work, I only needed to pull out the data that I had compiled over the past 20 years. The history of the Johnson House Tavern was compiled in less than a day using the sources that I had on hand. Hard copies of many of my larger compiled works, the Town Road Book Transcript, Cemetery Transcriptions, Newspaper Notes, Deeds Transcripts, The Pilot Index, etc., are to be found at the Cazenovia Public Library and Lorenzo and others will be sent their way when they are completed (many are still in handwritten notation and need entering on my computer).
As I sort through 20 years of computer files and other notes and papers I will post additional data sets here for everyone to use! If you have any suggestions or recommended topics, please feel free to contact me.
An Inventory and Geographical Index of Upstate New York State Tombstone Carvers. Thousands of cemeteries dot the countryside and are found scattered across out communities in Upstate New York. Their value to genealogists is well known, and a spin-off interest for many researchers has been tombstone designs and the people who carved them. I too have succumbed to the temptation and, in my quest for local cemeteries, have expanded into the study of the locally carved stones, primarily the Tombstone Carvers of Cortland County, NY. In collecting that information, from hundreds of cemeteries all across NY State I gathered all sorts of information on other tombstone carvers of the region. I have an outline of several dozen carvers with listing of the stones I have found, descriptions of the individual stones, locations where they are located, and a geographical index for locating the places where the stones were carved. Although the focus of my work has been the locally quarried shale and sandstone tombstones, most of the notes in this list pertain to marble headstones that would have been brought in to upstate New York on the Erie Canal or along other routes (many carvers are located along the canal.) I focus on the period before the Civil War, when shale stones were being produced, but many stones of the 1860s and 1870s are also included.
Descriptions of Madison County and the Towns of Cazenovia, Fenner, and Nelson, in 19th Century Gazetteers 1813-1899. The various Gazetteers of New York State hold tons of great material on what the communities of NY were like at the time they were compiled. Beginning with the fantastic 1813 Gazetteer by H.G. Spafford, and including his 1824 revision, Gordon's 1836 Gazetteer, Barber & Howe's 1841 Historical Collections, Disternell's 1842/1843 Gazetteer, the well known French's 1860 Gazetteer, and the 1872 Hough's Gazetteer, as well as Hamilton Child's 1868 Gazetteer and Business Directory of Madison County for 1868/1869, and ending with sections from John H. Smith's 1899 Our County and its People, I present the full and unabridged texts that describe Madison County and the Towns of Cazenovia, Fenner, and Nelson. Although the material presented in the various texts was obviously derived, in some cases word for word, from the earlier gazetteers, there are many updates and new sections that warrant presentation of the texts in their entirety. I made no corrections to the texts (although many are needed), except in the instance of the Madison County text in Child's 1868 work where I could not leave the erroneous record of the 1780 Walter Vrooman expedition alone without some corrective comments. I have included images of tables, and abstracts of others, and in only one case; the reiteration of the lengthy newspaper list derived from French by Child; did I summarize the text and present only the material that was different in the latest version. Some sections are missing due to the inability of some rare book rooms and manuscript repositories to follow explicit copying instructions, but I will add them and others as I obtain copies.
of the First Twenty Years of Local Photographs from the Cazenovia Republican,
1895 to 1914 (sorry no pictures). Hand-cut illustrations
were found in the first local newspaper, The Pilot, as early as
1808. Several engravers were working in Cazenovia in the 1840s, and
photography was practiced here by 1845. It was not until 1894 when
the first actual photograph appeared in the Cazenovia Republican,
but this was a stock photo from a news agency. The first actual photograph
to appear in the Cazenovia Republican was of the 1895 graduating
Class of Cazenovia Seminary (June 20, 1895). Nearly a year later
the second set of photographs, "taken by the mysterious X rays, and made
in the office of The Republican under the direction of Prof. S.C.
Hutchinson, of Cazenovia Seminary" were published. It was over a
year until the next photo was published and then more than a year later
for the next. The frequency picked up greatly after 1898.