Many of our customers at Between the Lakes Group are primarily interested in genealogy, and they can be pardoned for occasionally wondering why we sell what we sell. Yes, occasionally we do some “original” history — history that has not been told before — but most of our business consists of republications of old and out of print material.
Amy Johnson Crow is a professional genealogist who has written an article (and created a podcast) about why genealogists need to be concerned with material that goes beyond “names and dates” — why genealogists need to put meat on the bones, so to speak. We were sufficiently impressed by her article that we wanted to refer to to you. You can find it HERE.
The podcast, in case you are into podcasts, and we know that many people are, the link to the podcast is there as well.
One point she makes in her article is the importance of finding out organizations to which your ancestor may have belonged. They can tell you a whole lot about your ancestor. For example, does your ancestor’s obit say he was in the GAR? Well, that’s an easy one — it stands for Grand Army of the Republic, and it means that even if you cannot find any other documentation of the fact, your ancestor was a Civil War veteran.
However, there are a zillion other organizations, and many are not quite as easy as the GAR. We know that because we kept track of how many people downloaded our old free list of abbreviations for organizations — how you make the jump from the initials of the organization that appear in the ancestor’s obit to the full name of the group.
Suffice it to say that this is a two part assignment. First, read Amy Johnson Crow’s article, and then consider whether you actually can identify all of those organizations your ancestors belonged to that were only identified by initials.
We modestly offer a book we prepared a couple of years ago that can help with that task. Acronyms for Organizations is a great compendium of initials for organizations, and for each there are the organizations those initials stand for, and have stood for in the past.
You can get Acronyms for Organizations via Amazon, and we think that after reading Amy Johnson Crow’s article you might decide that you actually need it.
Here are a couple of ideas if you don’t want to spend quite that much money. First, consider the Kindle version. This is one book that is probably as accessible on your portable electronic device as it is in book form, and it’s cheaper too. Furthermore, you’re more apt to have it with you the next time you’re stumped by a set of initials that stand for an organization.
There’s one more alternative that will also save you some money and quite possibly answer most of your questions about acronyms for organizations. The book pictured above is actually the second (and greatly expanded) edition of this book:
We know it’s a bit unusual to be offering two editions of the same book for sale at the same time, but we considered that What Does That Stand For? might just be sufficient for many people’s needs. It’s also at Amazon, and it also is available in a Kindle edition at a savings.
Well, that’s a long way of saying why we sell what we sell — or at least why we sell a couple of things that we sell — but we hope you find it helpful!
Included in these four downloads are two Neversink excerpts from larger publications of ours, Child’s Gazetteer of Sullivan County, and Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County. Some people have mentioned to us that these excerpts are easier to handle than the file representing the full book, and that they are happy to have them available to work with in this form. They’re short enough to print out, if you are more comfortable working from paper (as many of us secretly are!)
And, if you haven’t looked at our Neversink offerings recently, you might want to take a peek anyway — we have several items that we’ve added since the CD-ROM first came out that may be of interest to you. (Needless to say, we do hope you will check out these four Neversink downloads while you are there!)
Annals of Winchester, previously one of our best-selling CD-ROMs, had been unavailable since we discontinued our CD-ROM business to concentrate on low-cost, immediately available downloads.
However, we’ve had several requests for this classic, which, to anticipate a question we were asked many times about the CD, Annals of Winchester DOES include the history of Winsted.
If you are seeking historical information about the Town of Winchester, or Winsted, or the people who lived there and the businesses that made this an important manufacturing center, Annals of Winchester is pretty much the go-to source. It is indexed — and we have added an additional index of place names that we compiled — and, since it is in PDF format, easy to use on any computer.
There’s lots more information available on our Annals of Winchester page, so please have a look. If you considered buying the CD originally but were put off by the price tag, you will find that the download version is a small fraction of that amount — and has the advantage of being an immediate download, not something you have to wait a week or more for the Post Office to deliver.
So, CLICK HERE to go to our Annals of Winchester page.
And join us in celebrating that Annals of Winchester is back!
We are happy to bring you the Kidwell family notebook and the history of Catholicity in Kentucky.
Well, these new Kentucky downloads are not new, really. The source material is old, because we republish old material that is out of print or, as in one case here, never previously published. It’s old in another sense because we used to offer it on a CD-ROM, back in the days when getting a CD-ROM in the mail was the modern way to get genealogical or historical information.
But as downloads, these two Kentucky items, the Kidwell Family Notebook and Kentucky Catholicity, are indeed new.
First off, there’s some extraordinary genealogy. We were very fortunate to inherit Stella Mulholland Bogner’s Kidwell family notebook. The intrepid Mrs. Bogner documented this large family from its origins in St. Mary’s County, Maryland and its migration to Kentucky as part of the Roman Catholic diaspora that followed the Revolutionary War. It’s first publication ever was on our discontinued CD-ROM, but continued requests made it essential that we make it available as a download. We’ve indexed it, and added a collection of Kidwells who appear in the 1850 US Census of Kentucky.
CLICK HERE to go to the page on our main website about the Kidwell family notebook.
Secondly, there’s the Hon. Ben. J. Webb’s “The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky” .
We’re not overstating the case when we say that this book is essential to understanding the migration of Maryland (and Virginia) Catholics to Kentucky in the years following the Revolutionary War, and in understanding the foundations of Roman Catholicism in Kentucky and the rest of the Midwest.
The copy of Catholicity in Kentucky that we scanned to produce this project is unique: it was owned by one I. A. Spalding — and we assume that the owner’s name was Ignatius A. Spalding. The footnote on page 109 of the book mentions three descendants of Benedict Spalding with this name. These were the Ignatius A. Spalding who married Ann Pottinger, and his son and grandson. One of these men — and we are not likely to ever know which one — annotated this particular copy of Catholicity in Kentucky, making a number of corrections and additions in names and places. All his annotations are legible in the scanned copy.
You can find this one available for free download elsewhere on the web, but we think that if you’re serious about this topic we’ve got some compelling reasons why you’ll want our download.
CLICK HERE to go to the page on our main website about Catholicity in Kentucky.
So, we invite you to learn more about the Kidwell Family and Kentucky Catholicity by going to this page about both.
We’ve undertaken the process of republishing the contents of our discontinued CD-ROM “Rhode Island Collection #1” with the re-issuance of Early Records of Warwick, Rhode Island as a download.
This is quite a remarkable document (all 362 pages of it). Probably originally recorded in his own shorthand by the Honorable Rev. Samuel Gorton, the first governor of that specific colony, it is a comprehensive compendium of the minutiae that the local council dealt with, ranging from disputes over land to the ear-marks that distinguished each citizen’s cattle.
It’s not an easy read due to the meticulous accuracy the compiler devoted to it — she is faithful to original spellings and what today we would consider grammatical errors — but if you have ancestors from that area in the period just following 1640, this is pretty much a “most have”. There are no fewer than four indices included in the book.
One note: there are free versions of Early Records of Warwick, Rhode Island available online, and we encourage you to examine them to see if they meet your needs. Our scans are ultra high resolution, and the PDF format is superior to many e-book formats, however, so we’re not embarrassed to ask $3.50 for our download.
To learn more about this important document, and to follow our progress converting our earlier CD-ROM to downloads, please click HERE to go to the appropriate page of our main website. If you are interested in our Rhode Island material in general, please check our main Rhode Island page HERE.
Introduction to Gertrude Barber’s Records of Sullivan County, NY
By Geoffrey Brown, Between the Lakes Group LLC
Astonishingly few records exist today of people who lived in Sullivan County in the old days. Consequently, genealogical and historical research has been difficult at best — and impossible at worst — in all of Sullivan County. Gertrude Barber was, almost single-handedly, responsible for much of what we do have today.
Many factors – too many to discuss here – contributed (some still contribute) to this lack of record keeping and record retention. However, due to the shortage of records, those of us who seek to research in Sullivan County are frequently driven to accept not what we would want or expect, but what is available, regardless of deficiencies.
Enter Gertrude Barber
We really do not know what motivations inspired Gertrude Barber, nor do we actually know much about the woman, who died in Brooklyn in 1974. The staff of the Department of Genealogy and Local History of the New York Public Library described her as a Brooklyn resident, who began around 1929 to collect cemetery inscriptions and church records in Sullivan County, and who continued from there to collect elsewhere in New York State.
During the summers, Ms. Barber would travel to her current locale of choice, visit the graveyards and record what she could make out of gravestone inscriptions. Soon, she expanded her project to include capturing such church records and records of wills as she was able to locate and gain access to.
It appears that she collected within Sullivan County mainly for two summers, those of 1929 and 1930. During the following winters she typed up her notes, in six carbons, in her home in Brooklyn, bringing a copy to the librarians at the New York Public Library and disseminating the other copies to other libraries that indicated an interest in them. One of the older librarians at the New York Public described to this writer her wintertime visits bringing her typescripts for them.
We first became aware of her transcriptions at the New York Public Library, and it is to them – and, of course, to Ms. Barber — that we owe a massive debt of gratitude that we have the information she transcribed in an easily accessible form today.
You can read more about Gertrude Barber and get a sense of the other New York State locations she visited and transcribed in this article about her HERE.
As grateful as we are to Gertrude Barber today for her huge contribution to genealogy in Upstate New York, there were a few deficiencies in her work that deserve mention simply to avoid raising false hopes.
First, Ms. Barber’s survey was not comprehensive. As an example, she collected the old section (the oldest, but probably the smallest section today) of the Liberty, NY cemetery, but did not do the newer portions. (To our knowledge, those much larger newer sections have not yet been collected by anyone, sadly.) She certainly overlooked other cemeteries, particularly the very small ones that one occasionally saw around the county fifty years ago that are now gone completely. In Liberty, she covered the church records to which she had access, but notably these did NOT include the principal “downtown” churches of Liberty at that time: Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Episcopal. Finally, she either did not locate, could not gain access to, or could not read any records of what was already becoming the substantial Jewish population of the Town of Liberty, nor did she record any of the Jewish cemeteries in the county. Likely she did not know Hebrew, in which many of the stones are written, so the task would have verged on the impossible for her.
The second defect is in the records themselves and her transcription of them. First off, gravestone inscriptions can be very difficult to read if the stone has been eroded or if moss and lichens have grown over it. Of course, if the stone is broken off or buried or defaced or stolen, the data is simply missed. She mentions problems with some stones in most of the cemeteries she collected. Second, with the church records, many of the pastors or church clerks who originally recorded them had little interest in spelling. For the most part, surnames had stabilized in terms of spelling by the time the earliest of these records were originally set down, but spelling of surnames in some of the records is creative at best. Handwriting was also likely a factor here; we have not seen the original record books, so we do not really know what kind of legibility problems Ms. Barber faced.
Ms. Barber also was not a Sullivan County native — at least as far as we know she was not. Hence, she had no familiarity with the family names typical of area, and doubtless made uninformed assumptions about spellings when transcribing. Some of the German family names in the western portion of the County seem to have really given her fits.
Her technology, while typical of the era in which she worked, was not what one might have wished for. Any time you are dealing with multiple carbon copies, typed on a manual typewriter, legibility inevitably suffers. Today we easily forget just how hard it was to make corrections on six carbons when typing. The consequences today are that the characters are sometimes blurred, there are overstrikes that make letters – and occasionally strings of letters – unintelligible.
Another defect was with Ms. Barber’s indexing skills. Fortunately, this is one defect that we can do something about. While she did index some of the records for Sullivan County, we surmise that her methodology was not the greatest, and since they are not up to the standard of her data collection, in our reprints of her work we have chosen to omit her indices. Instead of including them, we have indexed many of her records in this section, and where we have done so, our index appears with our republications. When using our indexes, please be aware that we suffered with the same problems of legibility that Ms. Barber no doubt did when collecting the records. What we saw was what we indexed.
One might say from these notes that we are being very critical, perhaps even unfair to Ms. Barber, but that is not our intent. Given the limitations at hand, she did an admirable job. More important, she was the ONLY PERSON WHO APPEARS TO HAVE DONE THE JOB AT ALL!
Even with the limitations of her records, we, seventy five years after she collected this material, say “THANK YOU” to Gertrude Barber for her dedication, patience, and generosity in spending a few years creating this rare compendium of Sullivan County records for us to use today.
What we offer
We offer in download form most of the Sullivan County records that Mrs. Barber transcribed and produced in typescript form — at least those that found their way to the New York Public Library.
Back in the years preceding and following the dawn of the 20th century, the larger Sullivan County, NY, villages, such as Liberty and Monticello, had their own Methodist Episcopal (what the Methodists used to be called) churches with full-time clergy. However, the smaller villages and hamlets might have had a church building, but the clergy was shared between several villages. If you’ve heard the term “circuit rider” that’s what these clergy were. They carried the records of each of the churches with them as they rode the circuit.
In the Town of Liberty, in Sullivan County, NY, there was a circuit that served White Sulphur Springs (then called Robertsonville), Swan Lake (then called Stevensville), and Harris (then known as Strongtown). A succession of ministers served that circuit, and their compiled records are available to us, thanks to the diligence of Gertrude Barber back in 1929.
About church records
Church records, with variations depending upon denomination, tend to have records of liturgical events: baptisms, confirmations (“joining the church”), marriages, and funerals, with occasional lists of all the members of a particular church at a particular point in time. In an area that did not have state-mandated capture of birth, marriage, and death statistics until rather late (and then it was not infrequently neglected), church records can be the most important source of such data, surpassing even family Bibles due to their concentration of information about a locality.
Methodist Church Records: Town of Liberty, NY Circuit
We had previously included this compilation on one of our Memories of Liberty CD-ROMs, but now that we have discontinued our CD line, this one gets to stand on its own. For anyone with ancestors in the more rural parts of the Town of Liberty, or someone interested in the history of these areas, this collection is very important. We’ve also compiled our own index of the records.
Please CLICK HERE to see more information and to download this collection.
Our second publication of Southern History in the last month is this important volume listing the occupations and addresses of more than 1000 graduates of Emory College (now Emory University) in Georgia.
The volume includes some history of the college and other supporting documents, but most important is the information provided about the graduates themselves. Here’s the table of contents:
More information is available at our main website, where you can also download this document.
Here’s a genealogy, done some time ago by Between the Lakes Group partner Judith Sherman, that’s been hiding in plain sight for a number of years. We had planned to publish it years ago, but the manuscript got buried, and time passed, and we just uncovered it yesterday!
Here’s the sales blurb:
Gabriel Jackson of Polk County, North Carolina: one line of descent
by Judith Moore Sherman (Brown) (1987)
We think that this work, by one of the partners of Between the Lakes Group, will be helpful for two reasons (beyond the careful scholarship that went into its preparation).
First, genealogy in the mountains of western North Carolina is outright difficult to research. The area was too transient for too long, and largely with people for whom the written word may have historically been more of an enemy than a friend. The extent to which government in the form of records of vital statistics was present was at best limited. That religious communities in the area were continually in flux for many reasons, but in large measure because of a lack of well-educated clergy, largely eliminated the other usual source of genealogical source material. The area, while not subject to depredations during the Civil War, had a disadvantage nonetheless: division of loyalties between the north and the south. That this family produced a southern lieutenant while many or most of the names in the book are more closely associated with northern sympathizers serves to illustrate the point
Second, Jackson is a very common name. While the difficulty attending research of names like Brown and Smith and Jones and Johnson are well known, the Jackson surname has certainly been among the 10 most common in the United States, and it was especially true at this time.
The document is available as a downloaded PDF file. It’s 80 pages long and includes ancestry charts and an index of names. We offer it for $7.50. Please click the “Buy Now” button to download the document to your computer.
…and here’s what we’re trying!
Normally, when we sell something here on our blog, we refer people to our main website. That seems like the usual practice, but it occurred to us that we don’t really need to cause you the extra work.
So, we decided to see how it might work if we offered the possibility of buying this download right here! The price is the same ($7.50) but it’s a little more efficient, we think.
If the genealogy is of interest, try the easy way of getting it. Just click the “Buy Now” button and get the download immediately.
Of course, we’re also delighted if you visit our main website too.
Virtually all local history material is of value to genealogists and historians. Only in the past year or two, however, have the large genealogy companies (ancestry.com, for example) hit on the quantity and quality of genealogical and historical material contained in high school and college yearbooks and annuals. And, they have begun to offer copies of some of these on their websites.
We’re happy to say that we were more than a decade ahead of the giants in recognizing the importance of yearbooks and in beginning their re-publication here at Between the Lakes Group.
Because of all the recent attention directed to yearbooks, we decided to list all of the yearbooks available from us, in the order of the year the yearbook was originally published, all on a single page. There you’ll also find links to the location on our site you can find more information about them. You can see that list on our Yearbooks page — just CLICK HERE to review it.
We’ll have a few posts on the subject of yearbooks — particularly high school yearbooks — and how you can use them. For what? Well, for starters, to fill out the lives of people you may be researching, to learn more about the communities you’re interested in, and even to establish an elusive connection to a family member. Those posts will come as we write them in the next few days and weeks, so check back here for them.
The occasion that really prompted this page was our republication of the Port Jervis, NY High School yearbook for 1938, “Senior Memoirs”. A pretty hefty yearbook (as they go) at 138 pages, with a few rarities in it (such as senior horoscopes to supplement the more standard Last Will and Testament section, and, hearkening back to yearbooks of two or three decades earlier, prize stories and poems), it is one of several Port Jervis High School yearbooks that we have republished. It can be found on our Orange County, NY page.
(You’ll also see there the very first appearance of our snappy new “buy now” button!)