Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County package

Several years ago, we re-published a real classic,

Sullivan County, New York

Since then, free downloads of that volume have become available.  We we could see that there wasn’t much point of keeping the CD-ROM in our catalog, and that it might be a disservice to our customers to ask them to pay for something that they could have had for free elsewhere.  Hence, we discontinued the CD-ROM.  (If you would like to find a free version — and Quinlan is absolutely THE go-to source on early Sullivan County — here’s a good place to download it for free.)(You’ll find the image quality of the free version isn’t as good as ours, but free is free!)

There is one big problem with Quinlan’s History regardless of what version you use.  It has no index.  Of course, creating indexes was as difficult and time-consuming back when Quinlan wrote his history as it is today (maybe more so — we at least can use a computer in our indexing process), so we cannot fault him for omitting it  However, its absence is a lasting defect.  We decided that we could add value, so we put everything else aside and indexed it ourselves.  If you’d like, you can buy a copy of our index for $2.50 — CLICK HERE to go to our website.

HOWEVER, we didn’t stop there.

We decided that we could even improve on that.

When we used Quinlan, we discovered that it was difficult to correlate what was going on in one township with what was happening in other townships and the larger world outside.  To help deal with this, we prepared a detailed timeline from Quinlan.  We’ve included it, and we hope you find it as useful as we have.

And, sometimes, it’s nice to have some pictures to look at when you’re reading about an area.  While there are very few if any Sullivan County photos available of a time before Quinlan wrote his book (circa 1872) and rather few for the next few years.  So we did throw in a few postcards from the turn of the century, just for fun.  We hope you enjoy them!

So, here’s the package deal:

get (1) the full text of Quinlan (our high resolution scans), with appendix, advertisements, etc., AND (2) our complete index, AND (3) the timeline, AND (4) the pictures, all for $5.00 — and you can download it in PDF format right now!

If you’re interested in Sullivan County, New York, and our Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County package sounds like a reasonably attractive proposition, visit our website and download it!



New Milford downloads

We’re happy to announce two New Milford downloads!

A few months ago we announced that we had discontinued our “New Milford: 230 Years” CD-ROM.

A 1907 panorama map of New Milford

Now, we’re happy to say that we’ve followed through on our commitment to bring you the important material from that CD in the form of downloadable files.  You benefit because (1) it’s less expensive for us to deliver material to you by downloads than by making and shipping CDs — so we pass the savings along to you, and (2) you get the material you want immediately (or as fast as the file can download) without waiting for us to pack and ship the CD and the Post Office to deliver it to you.

Without further ado, here are the two books that are once again available as downloads:

Two Centuries of New Milford:  1707 – 1907

The New Milford High School yearbook for 1937

Both of these include indexes we prepared especially for them, and both are in PDF format — readable on your computer, whether a PC or Mac.

While the CD-ROM cost $20 plus postage, these downloads are available for $5 for the Two Centuries book, and $4 for the 1937 yearbook.

Take a look at the New Milford page of our website for more information!

The New Milford seal as it appeared on the front of the original book

Or, have a look at our catalog!

Child’s Gazetteer of Sullivan County, NY

Child’s Gazetteer of Sullivan County, NY is one of only a few printed sources of Sullivan County, NY historical data contemporaneous with the time it was published.  It’s generally considered essential if you’re doing anything serious with the history or genealogy of the New York county that went on, 75 years later, to become “The Borscht Circuit”.

The book includes both historical material about each township in the county, as well as the expected tables of households replete with the name of the head of household, the business they are in, and, for farmers (which most people did at least as a sideline back then) the number of acres they held.  The advertisements sprinkled throughout the volume are a study in themselves.   Realizing that someone’s name can appear many places in the volume, we compiled our own index of the book, something we felt was lacking and something we needed for our own purposes.

For more than a decade we have offered our scanned version of that important book on a CD-ROM, including the index we compiled of that book, for $20.  As we have been phasing out our CD-ROM line, replacing it with downloads, Child’s Gazetteer came up for republication, and we’re happy to say that it’s now available as a download at a huge saving over the CD-ROM price.  The download is only $4.50.

You may be wondering why we chose to republish this as a download when there are free versions of the book available online already.   Here are the reasons:

  1. Our version is high resolution page images, and you can read it easily.  The free versions, sadly, are low resolution and portions are actually illegible.
  2. Our version includes our index.  The free versions lack an index.
  3. A key part of the original book was a large fold-out map.  Ours is reproduced so that it’s actually usable.  Legibility is a real problem with the free versions.

(By the way, we’ve done a recent post on why we elect to republish things that are already available for free — Click HERE to read it, if you’re interested.)

If our republication of Child’s Gazetteer of Sullivan County, NY for 1872-73 is of interest to you, why not have a look at our main website.  HERE’s the link directly to the page with more descriptive material and the download.


Here’s a new Q&A (Question and Answer)

Here’s a new Q&A (Question and Answer) we’ve written for our website.  We thought it was important enough to publish on our blog as well.  We invite your thoughts and comments!

Here’s the question:

You sell downloads of books that I can read for free online.  Why should I pay you money to download a book I can read for free?

Here’s our answer:

Thanks for asking!

First off, there are many cases when you should definitely read the book as a free online rather than paying us (or someone else) for a download, or even buying a printed book!  Here are a few examples:

Is the book historical fiction about the area you’re interested in?  Then, definitely read the freebie.  Likely you’re reading it for pleasure, but even if you’re reading it in connection with an area you’re interested in, you’re most likely looking for a sense of what things were like back then in that locale, and there’s nothing like good historical fiction to give you that sense.

Are you a little unsure whether the book is actually going to contain useful information?  There are plenty of examples of this, but here’s one:  you spot a genealogy with the same surname you’re seeking – but it’s not a particularly rare name.  Use the free download to confirm it.

Is your interest in this particularly area not quite focused yet?  Here’s an example:  many families migrated westward in steps; one generation in one locale, and the next a few hundred miles west.  If you can find local history material that you can download for free about the locales where they stopped (and also where they passed through but didn’t settle) you can pick up a lot of information at no cost.

So, then, why should I buy a download instead of (or in addition to) using a freebie?  Well, here are some factors to consider:

–Perhaps we’re offering something more than just the book itself.  For example, perhaps we indexed the book we republished.  The originals lacked an index, and we new one would add value, so we compiled one.  Indexes can be terribly useful.

–Some free (and some paid) downloads offer a PDF search.  You key in the term you’re after, and you’re presented with 100% matches.  Well, we don’t care for PDF searches, because they’re too sensitive to seemingly inconsequential differences.  They tend not to realize that “M’Cutcheon” is the same as “McCutcheon” or that Hodgkin, Hodke, Hotchkiss, Hotchkin, Hodkins, Hotchkins, Hochkin, and a variety of others are all the same family in different places at different times.  PDF search for “Hotchkin” and you won’t get matches on “Hochkin” and vice versa.  With an index to check, you’ve got a fighting chance of picking up those minor differences.  And, with a PDF search, such a minor daily occurrence in old time print shops as a damaged letter being used in setting a paragraph of type can result in a missed match.

–If you happen to be downloading files on your phone or your iPad, or somewhere else where you’re subject to a data plan, downloading the same file repeatedly can chew up your monthly data allocation pretty rapidly.

–Depending on where you download your free download from, there may be difficulties in copying or printing selections from the download.  In most cases these are designed to be difficult to copy.  We design our downloads so you can copy or print just as much of it as you want.

–This is a big one, particularly if you’re planning on publishing your work and need accurate footnotes or bibliographic citations – or if you’re applying to a hereditary society and need to be able to direct the genealogist to the specific mention in a larger book.  Most e-books, and many other publishing forms used for online books for download do not retain page numbers.  (Some, of course, do.)  Our downloads are page images, including not only original page numbers but even marginal doodling (or notes someone may have made in the copy we scanned).

–Realistically, people don’t expect ultra high quality images in downloads.  After all, you’re unlikely to want to frame an image from a download and hang it on the wall!  However, it is worth noting that the image quality in most free downloads is pretty bad.  Sufficiently so that it can be hard to tell what a person looks like.  Ours are not gallery quality, but we think they’re pretty good representations of what’s in the book.  Also, if you’ve looked at many free downloads, you’ll notice occasionally a page gets folded over in the scanning process.  What you see is what you get.  Because we hand-scan all of our material, you simply don’t have that problem with our downloads.

–In our day of government austerity, when state and Federal budget shortfalls seem to be covered by cuts in museums, libraries, archives, and that sort of thing, it’s not hard to imagine that given a choice between paying the staff and keeping a set of free downloads available online, the free downloads are apt to go first.  Remember that no matter who provides it, it does cost someone money to provide downloads, whether free or not.  Once you’ve purchased one of our downloads, you own it and you can access it whenever you want.

Bottom Line

Hotchkin's History of Western New York State
Hotchkin’s History of Western New York State

It’s always a good idea to see if you can save a little money on incidental purchases, so by all means do check to see if you can locate a free download of a book or other document you want to read.  But please consider what trade-off you’re making.

By the way, we’ve recently republished an important book about the history of the settlement of western New York State as a download (previously we sold it as a CD-ROM).  It’s Hotchkin’s History of Western New York.   It’s pretty good!  Have a look!