Friday, June 22, 2018

Jacksonville M.E. Church History – Help Wanted

During our week in the Ithaca, New York area for my book tour, I was encouraged to continue transcribing my great-grandmother’s handwritten history of the Jacksonville M.E. Community Church. I was told that there are new people attending the church and they are interested in its history.

The hamlet of Jacksonville, New York had fallen on hard times about fifty years ago when the Mobile gas station at the center of the hamlet leaked huge amounts of gasoline into the groundwater destroying the town’s water supply. People left, and Mobile was forced to buy up the properties. Many houses were torn down.

Residents saved the old Methodist church from demolition. The building was moved in about 1897 from its location on Route 96 to 5020 Jacksonville Road. A graduate of Cornell’s School of Architecture recently purchased the old church building, and he plans to renovate it for living space and community use. To see the old church and the history surrounding it read the article here.

This is where I need help. When transcribing my great-grandmother’s church history I realized there is twenty-seven critical years missing from that document. It ends in 1888 and picks up again in 1915. There has to be documentation of discussions about moving the old church – a substantial building- off the site to its present location and then building the “new” church. So far the only information I’ve been able to find was on An article in the Farmer Review December 3, 1898 tells of the dedication of the new church. In 1905 there are several articles in The Ithaca Daily News about the congregation suing David W. Lewis of Elmira for improper construction. The congregation won the case, and the new church was built without incurring any debt.

The Jacksonville M.E. Church has been and still is an important part of the hamlet. I believe the church’s history, transcribed and indexed, will also be important as the community is revitalized.

If any readers have information or know of anyone who had ancestors who attended this church and might have diaries, journals, or newspaper clippings, please let me know. I have more people and organizations to contact, but so far the history of Jacksonville, New York seems to be mostly non-existent.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Old St. Peter's Cemetery Danbury, Connecticut Irish Tombstone Transcription Project

After I did the St. Rose Cemetery Irish Tombstone Transcription project I learned there were similar stones in Old St. Peter's Cemetery in Danbury. This time Harlan Jessup and my hubby accompanied me to help find these elusive stones. 

After this project was completed and and article published in Connecticut Ancestry, Harlan suggested to that group that the rest of Fairfield County, CT cemeteries be done for Irish tombstones - and it was. 

I have some original databases for both St. Rose and Old St. Peter's Cemetery from the project. If anyone has a question about a burial in either of these two cemeteries, send me a note and I will see if I have the information in my files.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Irish Tombstones in St. Rose Cemetery Newtown, Connecticut

In 2005 I was persuaded by Newtown's professional genealogist, Harlan Jessup, to develop a database of the Irish tombstones located in the St. Rose Cemetery located in Sandy Hook, CT. Specifically he wanted only the stones that recorded native parish and county of origin. When finished, I wrote an article about the database that appeared in Connecticut Ancestry. From there I went on to do the same for Old St. Peter's Cemetery in Danbury, Connecticut. My Irish tombstone database was also placed on the Genealogy Club of Newtown's website.

Unfortunately, Ancestry has decided to abandon the hundreds (if not thousands) of small genealogy clubs and historical societies by taking down the free Rootsweb website where the Genealogy Club of Newtown's site was hosted.

I've decided to post some of the material I did for the club's website here on my blog. Already there is the 1890 Census Substitute for Newtown, CT on this site. To find those blog posts, scroll down to the list of tags and they will be at the top. My husband and I consulted a number of sources to compile this 1890 Census Substitute with the hope that it would help those searching ancestors in this difficult time period when the Federal Census is not available.

Although we have moved from Newtown, I still monitor the Random Acts emails. So if anyone has a question about Newtown ancestors, use the email in the above article.