Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday – It’s Women Who Carried on the Bell-Ringing Tradition

A few years ago we drove to Coldwater, Michigan in search of my husband’s Cutter line, specifically the family of Stephen Starr Cutter. 

Our search brought us into the Buggie family as Stephen Starr Cutter’s daughter Mary Estabrook Cutter married John H. Buggie on 28 October 1880. 

Mary E. Cutter and John H. Buggie had two children: Frederick Starr Buggie (b: Nov. 1881) and Mariette Buggie (b: 20 Dec 1883; d: 5 Oct 1909).

Frederick Starr Buggie married Mary Margaret Campbell and they had one daughter, who they named Mariet (b: 1911) most probably named for Frederick’s sister, Mariette who died in 1909.  It is this Mariet that my hubby recently researched and found some very fun information.

According to a May 11, 1967 article in the Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel, Mariet Margaret Buggie Moffat was appointed the first woman to ring the Ipswick (Massachusetts) Curfew Bell in 333 years because no man wanted the job.  Apparently it was interfering with television time.

She volunteered to ring the bells, located at the Methodist Church two miles from her home, 21 times every night of the year at 9:00 p.m. in rain, snow, heat, in sickness and in health (kind of like being married!)

Being an organized woman, Mariet formed an association of bell ringers, consisting of people who lived near the church that could ring the bells when she couldn’t make it.

The practice began in 1634 when the Puritans wanted to alert the community that it was time to put out the lights and go to bed, as there was always much work to be done the next day.

And for this dedicated service, Mariet was paid $250 a year.  Thank you, Mariet, for carrying on the tradition. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sunday’s Obituary – Herbert P. Buchan

Herbert P. Buchan, 87, of Bainbridge Rd died Sunday, May 10, 1964 in Afton. He was a former resident of Ithaca and was affiliated with the poultry husbandry department at Cornell University. He was born at Seneca Castle Nov. 17, 1877.  He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ada Cipperley Buchan; a sister, Mrs. Minnie Teece of Canandaigua; several nieces and one nephew.  Funeral services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Harold Sherman Funeral Home, Bainbridge. The Rev. James Bartz of Bainbridge Methodist Church will officiate. Burial will be in Gorham. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Herbert and Emma Susan Baker Agard

I wish I had a photo of Herbert to add to his work-in-progress bio. Maybe a relative out there might have one?

Herbert F. Agard b: 18 July 1855,[1] the second son of Noah and Rebecca Agard, was born in the Town of Dix, Chemung County, New York.  Although Frederick Browning’s research as well as Herbert’s obituary in the Binghamton Press (below) states Herbert was born in Cortland, I don’t find evidence of that fact. In the 1850 and 1860 Federal census, as well as in the 1855 New York census, the Agard family resided in Dix, Chemung County, New York. The confusion may have come from the fact that his wife’s parents Thomas and Lucinda Baker, were of Harford, Cortland County, New York.

Herbert married Emma Susan Baker (b: abt 1846) of Cortland, New York in 1876.  In 1880 Herbert and Emma lived in Adams, Jefferson County, New York. He is working on a farm; she is working in a factory. I immediately wondered if it might be a cheese factory, as our favorite cheese is Adams Reserve. On further research, I think not it might be too early, sigh.  Though I am very impressed with the Adams, New York website.  I wish every small town would provide this type of information. 

On 11 May 1899 the Montour Falls Free Press reported: “Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Agard of this village have gone to Pleasantville Station, Westchester county, New York to reside. Mr. Agard having secured a position as assistant superintendent of the Farm School located there.” If this is my Herbert, his tenure there didn’t last long as the 1900 census shows Herbert and Emma living in Montour with him working as a carpenter.  I think further research is in order here.

Herbert and Emma had no children. In 1920 they were living in Jacksonville, Ulysses, New York, just down the road from the Enos and Laura Hardenbrook family.  According to Maude Hardenbrook Agard, Herbert, “was a carpenter who had lost an arm.” [2]  

Herbert and Emma died in 1926, he about 27 February 1926. They are buried in the Highland Cemetery, Schuyler County, NY.[3] 

Herbert’s obituary from the Binghamton Press, Wednesday Evening, March 3, 1926 reads:

“Herbert F. Agard, formerly of Cortland, died at his home near Odessa on Saturday. He was born in this city 69 years ago. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Emma Agard, two brothers, John of Willow Creek and Eaton J. of Elmira and a sister, Miss Lizzie Agard of Cortland. The funeral was held on Tuesday. Burial was in Trumansburg cemetery.”[4]

Although Cortland is mentioned again, at the time of his death, I believe he still lived next door to Merritt and Maude Agard on White Schoolhouse Road, Jacksonville, Ulysses, New York according to the 1925 New York Census.

[1] Agard, Frederick Browning, Agards in America, New Orleans. Polyanthos, 1976, p. 44.
[2] Conversation with Maude Emma Agard, late 1980s.
[3], Virtual Cemetery, digital images, for Herbert Agard; accessed 19 May 2013.
[4] “Emma Agard,” obituary for Herbert Agard, The Binghamton Press, 3 March 1926, p. 9, col. 1 [ accessed 19 May 2013].

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Rural Schools in Newfield, New York early 1900s

Rural Schools in Newfield, New York
Class of 1939 Annual

Samuel and Mary Hibbard Agard

Samuel Agard

Last Saturday I attended a Family Search website training session.  Because my husband volunteers at the local Family History Center, over the winter I was able to beta test and build my family tree on this site. The site has evolved and we can now add individual photos as well as many other options that I won't get into here.  We were shown how to easily capture source citations, build a source box, and about the Research Wiki that provides free family history research advice.

As soon as we arrived home I began adding photos to the folks that were on my tree. In that process I realized I had not touched the Agard side of my family for many, many years. When I originally researched that side of my mother’s paternal line I hugged the tree closely, not venturing out onto the branches. Consequently when I started to add people, I realized I didn't have even basic information on some of these folks.  

I decided to start with the children of Noah b: 1823 and Rebecca (Fletcher) Agard b: 1824.  Noah and Rebecca lived in the Town of Dix, then the Town of Hector, Schuyler County, New York. They had six children, the first, Samuel, was born 13 September 1853.

Samuel Agard married Mary E. Hibbard (b: September 1851) in 1880. That year their nephew Carl Hibbard b: 1877 lived with them. By 1900 the couple lived in Colorado Springs, El Pasco County, Colorado. Samuel worked as a carpenter; Carl is listed as their "adopted son," with Carl's occupation listed as “soldier.”[1] 

I don’t know what prompted Samuel and Mary to relocate to the newly formed town of Riverside, California (founded 1870). Possibly they were drawn by the availability of carpenter work for Samuel. Riverside is located on the Santa Ana River and is home of the historic Mission Inn.  

Mary H. Agard died in 1907 at the age of 56; Samuel died 10 November 1908 at the age of 55. They are buried in Loc 27-6 of the Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, Riverside, California.[2]  Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery has an interesting history. You may want to check it out. 

[1] Information on Samuel, Mary H. Agard and Carl Hibbard in the section from following the U.S. Federal Census 1860 through 1900.
[2] Agard, Frederick Browning, Agards in America, New Orleans. Polyanthos, 1976, p. 44.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sunday’s Obituary – Florence C. Rowe

Mrs. Florence Curry Rowe of 400 Triphammer Road (Ithaca, NY) died Sunday, May 10, 1964 in St. Vincent Hospital, New York City. She was a member of the Country Club of Ithaca and was women’s golf champion five times. She is survived by her husband, Thomas Fred Rowe; two sisters, the Misses Agnes and Kate Curry and a brother, Benjamin Curry, all of Staten Island. Private funeral services will be held Wednesday on Staten Island. Burial will be there. The McGinley Funeral Home of Stapleton is in charge of arrangements. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Newfield, NY Chapter Future Farmers of America 1939

Photo from the Newfield, NY Central School 1939 Annual

Tuesday’s Tip – Understanding Genetic Genealogy

I better understand genetic testing thanks to an excellent presentation last Saturday on DNA by Shannon Combs Bennett.  If you read Shannon’s recent blog you will note she confesses she was nervous, but from an audience point of view Shannon was nothing less than a experienced, polished, professional sharing her scientific knowledge at a level that novices could easily understand.

The room was packed indicating DNA/Genetic Genealogy is an area of great interest.  Thanks to Shannon, we all went home with a much better understanding of the tests available, what each test accomplishes, the unique qualities of the companies that do testing, and genetic related blogs and books available. 

She emphasized that DNA testing is only a tool; it will not give you definitive answers.  You should couple your DNA test results with your paper genealogy research.

A timeline of genetic history and useful terminology were then provided. I am thankful she provided us with eight pages of backup for her talk!

There are three types of testing:

Autosomal DNA is open to everyone. This test will give you ancestral results back to seven generations.  Since each generation loses some of the genetic material from past generations, this test is best combined with your paper research.

Y-DNA is the sex chromosome and is passed from father to son only. You can use this to find your haplotype that may give you origins of ancient male ancestors.  When viewing results, there needs to be as few mutations as possible.  Shannon had excellent examples of these tests using her own family’s results. These examples provided the ah-ha moment of understanding.  She also explained there is a surname study for men that you may want to check out.

mtDNA is a test to trace maternal ancestors.  Since mutations in mitochondria are relatively rare, this test is used for deep ancestry research.  Researchers believe that everyone is related to “mitochondrial Eve.”

There are four companies doing genetic testing:

FTDNA – Family Tree DNA offers complete genetic testing for genealogy, and we believe at this time they keep the results.

23and Me – This California company does testing for medical history purposes.

AncestryDNA – Primarily autosomal testing, they allow uploads of information from other companies.  Their policies are in flux, and as of now they destroy the information soon after.  It is a good idea to thoroughly check out any company you are considering for their particular policies.

National Geographic Genographic Project – This multi-year anthropologic genetic study is doing only Y-DNA at this time.  Again, projects change so it is your responsibility to do due diligence research.

To assist with your test decision-making Shannon recommended utilizing Tim Janzen’s Autosomal DNA Test Comparison Chart.

This blog lightly skims over Shannon’s presentation.  For more information also check out the In-Depth Genealogy website (   Shannon writes the tech section of this online genealogy magazine. There are also articles explaining DNA testing.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sunday’s Obituary – Nathalie Frothingham Baker

Mrs. Nathalie Frothingham Baker, 77, of 518 Highland Road died in Tompkins County Hospital Sunday, May 10, 1964. She was the widow of James McFarlan Baker and member of the First Unitarian Church.

She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Katherine B. Cooke of Ottawa, Canada and Mrs. Margaret McFarlan Kahin of Ithaca; five grandchildren, Nathalie, James and Stephen Cooke, Brian and Sharon Kahin; several nieces and nephews.

Private memorial and burial services will be held at the convenience of the family. Wagner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Society Saturday – Journey to Germanna – 56th Historical and Genealogical Conference and Reunion

The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc. will be sponsoring their 56th annual conference and reunion at Germanna Community College, Culpepper, Virginia July 19-21, 2013.

The genealogy sessions will be held on Saturday, July 20 and will feature presentations by John Blankenbaker, Doug Harnsberger, Marc Wheat, Nancy Kraus, Katharine Brown, Harold Woodward, Barbara Price and Ann Miller. If you have German ancestors that settled in Virginia this would be a worthwhile conference to attend.

Please check the Germanna Foundation website for further information. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heritage Center Fredericksburg, Virginia

A universal truth is that you can always learn something at genealogy meetings.  So when we packed up our notebooks last night and headed to the monthly genealogy club meeting my husband turned to me and said, “You won’t have to take any notes tonight.”  The reason was that he was giving the presentation, “Making Sense of the Census,” a presentation I had heard many times before.  I am glad I didn’t heed that advice, because one always learns something at genealogy meetings.

During the business meeting one gentleman presented a conundrum. He had recently met with an older woman who had a large trunk full of family papers.  Her main concern was getting some money for them.  He brought this situation to the club hoping for some alternative propositions.  Unfortunately the only one he had told her, donate the family papers to the Heritage Center, was the only and best option the club could suggest.

Heritage Center. We have been here a year and I had never heard of this organization. 

The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is located in downtown Fredericksburg and its mission is to preserve historical papers and photographs for the following counties: Caroline, Stafford, King George, Spotsylvania and the City of Fredericksburg.  It is the largest regional archives in the state of Virginia.

You can bet my next stop is the Heritage Center to see what they have and maybe check out their volunteer opportunities. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tuesday’s Tip – In a New York State of Mind

“New York gets a bad rap,” stated Laura DeGrazia as she began her session, but in fact New York State has many resources available for genealogical research.

Our last day at NERGC consisted of three consecutive sessions on researching in New York State.  The first session, “But She Died in Upstate NY in the 1850s- How Can I identify her Parents?” was presented by David Quimette, CG.

By applying sound research principles, David was successful in identifying his relative’s maiden name, even though the area was considered “frontier” and had few vital, church, or government records.

He had to work collateral lines, researching siblings and their descendants, keeping track of naming patterns, tracking neighbors (sometimes a man would marry the girl “next door,”), transcribing records fully, and reading and rereading those documents searching for clues he may have missed.  This is especially difficult when the married woman dies young, her husband remarries, and they are poor.

It helps to study the local history, customs, naming patterns and work with the local historical society for any information they may have.  Sometimes you have to research neighboring localities as boundary lines changed and people moved back and forth. This particular family David was searching went back and forth from New York to Vermont, to Canada. Because of this he had to take into account name variations (as well as dit names) that might have been used in each locality. And don’t overlook the obvious – cemeteries.  

The second session, “Spanning the Great New York Abyss: Connecting Generations When No Vital Records Exist,” was presented by Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG. 

Laura reminded the audience that New York State vital records began in June 1880 for deaths, and in 1881 for marriages and births, although she admitted early compliance was poor.  With that in mind, she suggested building a bridge to your ancestor by using alternative sources and indirect evidence.  A timeline of indirect evidence information might prove helpful.
Some suggestions:
  • NYS Census.  These were taken from 1855 to 1925.  A good way to track people between the Federal Census years. 
  • Estate, wills, administration, probate.  If filed in 1830 or later, check petition for probate or petition of letters. has many online. 
  • Church Records. Baptism and marriage show parent names. An article I found on this might be helpful.
  • Cemetery office.  They might have a maiden name in their records.
  • Newspapers.  The Fulton History website was mentioned as an important source. This site began with small town newspapers from Upstate New York, but has since included newspapers from New York City and Fairfield County, Connecticut.
  • City directories. Sometimes gives previous address; moved, widow of information.
  • Bible Records; check PERSI for “[name] bible;” the DAR has an ongoing project at their library in Washington. 
  • Immigrant Savings Bank.
  • Land records. Some spell out relationships.

For Upstate New York records, contact the New York State Library in Albany; for New York City records, the Municipal Archives on Chambers Street in Manhattan.

Laura recommended a Family History Library video “Inferential Genealogy” presented by Tom Jones.  Not always does Less equal More, consequently the new Family History web page does not make finding this video easy.  Here is what you need to do:

On the front page, in the upper right corner click on “Get Help.”
At bottom left click on “Help Center.”
Far right, “Learning Center.”
Click on “Take a Course.”
In the box type in “Inferential Genealogy.”   Good luck!!

The third session was “Weaving Together New York’s Metro Area,” presented by Linda McMeniman, PhD and Jill E. Martin, JD.

Being an “Upstate” person I really appreciated the New York City history introduction provided in this session. I learned that 1898 was the watershed year for the city’s boundary changes. A researcher needs to keep that date in mind when searching for records. 

The three neighboring suburban counties of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk are important as family members moved back and forth.

By 1851 burials were banned in Manhattan. Large city cemeteries are Greenwood and Evergreen.  During Q&A they confirmed that the stamp “City Cemetery” on Katherine Nunn’s death certificate probably meant Hart Island.  Katherine died at the Manhattan State Hospital in May 1917, and was the mother of the Nunn children (including my grandfather) that were sent to St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill in June 1900.

Many NYC vital records for early 1900s are on the website.

 The Brooklyn Public Library is in the process of digitizing the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, with about half the project completed at this time. 

These three sessions gave me lots of helpful insights into tracing my own New York State ancestors.