We’re delighted to bring you the PHOIS yearbook from Poughkeepsie High School for 1934! This New York State high school was very dependable in titling their yearbooks: “Phois” it was — and this was volume 26 of the series!
We were interested in two particular items about this yearbook — and we’ve seen a whole lot of yearbooks over the years (our “Yearbooks” page on our main website will give testimony to that!) — first of all, the editors produced nice pen and ink drawings of what Poughkeepsie might have looked like in the past, and also what they felt it might look like in the future. Can we simply say that their estimate of what Poughkeepsie might look like in the future was a tad optimistic?
The other was resolution of a question that had been on our minds for a long time: during the Great Depression, did ordinary people realize that they were involved in something other than a minor business cycle fluctuation? This yearbook answered that question for us. In an ad for a secretarial school in the PHOIS yearbook from Poughkeepsie High School for 1934 appeared a line noting that this school was successful in placing graduates in good jobs “even in this depression.” So the answer to our question is “yes”.
We also wanted to note that this was the first project our new intern, Gabby Gladding, was involved in. She did a very capable job on the scanner, and, proving both that she’s a talented intern but also that she brings something else to the game, she identified and solved a problem we had been having with a strong outside light source affecting the scan quality.
If you’d like to consider buying the download of the PHOIS yearbook from Poughkeepsie High School for 1934, please CLICK HERE to go to the Dutchess County, NY page of our website.
We’re delighted to bring you yet another yearbook from Liberty Central School in Liberty, New York — the Libertas for 1967.
If you know the area — Sullivan County, NY, the Borscht Circuit, the Catskills — you can juxtapose the year and the fate that befell the area after the resort industry declined and virtually vanished. The fact that Sullivan County is now in a rapid upswing doesn’t diminish the depths to which it was to sink in the latter half of the 20th century.
Yet it’s obvious from the happy faces of this crop of graduates that none of this was even remotely on their radar at the time they graduated. Yes, the Vietnam War was ramping up; yes, there were troubles brewing, but this class looks as happy as we have seen a graduating class look.
We are very happy to report that the Genesee County Gazetteer for 1882 is once again available.
This item, originally published by A. J. Craft, is 455 pages long, and most of it is of interest to someone researching in Genesee County, New York, today. While roughly 140 pages of this directory are dedicated to the legal practices and customs in business in those days — which can be useful background information — it applies generally and isn’t specific to Genesee County. It also includes a lengthy article on James G. Garfield, the President who was assassinated in 1881 — which the text calls “…the saddest history of the American Nation”) — which is of more general interest.
The remainder (and by far the largest part of the volume) is of great interest to genealogists and historians today. Included are histories, including names of early settlers, of Genesee County (and of the Holland Patent) and its constituent towns, Genesee County business by type, and perhaps most important, a directory of individuals and businesses in the county, arranged by town.
The Post Office, occupation, and number of acres for farmers, are included. This directory section is 230 pages long.
There is also a decent amount of advertising. These items were heavily used in businesses and were rarely retained, so this is pretty much a rarity.
It was formerly included in our Genesee County Collection CD-ROM, which has been discontinued.
We are very pleased to be able to again offer the Sesquicentennial of Genesee County, NY — 1802 -1952 — this time as a download. It had previously been included (some would say “submerged) in our Genesee County Collection CD-ROM. Since we’ve discontinued that CD, this book now gets to stand on its own, and, perhaps, to get the attention it deserves.
This is a nicely done sesquicentennial book; there’s no question about that. The County clearly organized thoroughly for the celebration, and committees were devised to deal with all the various aspects of such a multi-day event. The book has a number of historical articles that are uniformly well-written and appear to be consistent with what we know of the history of the area. The list of sponsors of the Sesquicentennial runs several pages, and with the listings of the committees, one senses that a fairly high percentage of the 1952 population got their name into this book in one form or another. The pictures (black and white) are of good quality. The advertisements — as usual a useful glimpse of the local economy — are numerous and well-produced.
If you have a historical or family interest in Genesee County, you will probably want to have the Sesquicentennial of Genesee County NY to refer to. You can read more about it (and about our other Genesee County offerings) on the Genesee County page of our main website.
As we continue our process of migrating information from our discontinued CD-ROMs to availability as downloads, we are very happy to announce the availability of two Grange directories from Genesee County NY in the 1930s.
While the Grange still exists in some rural areas of the United States, the “Patrons of Husbandry” has been in a long decline since the 19th century in the United States. An organization that fulfilled several functions for rural farm families — it was a social organization, an organization for young people, a unified voice in speaking to legislatures, a charitable organization — in an age before telephones, radio, television, and the internet, it was vital. We think that these directories represented a resurgence of the local Granges due to the Great Depression, so they are social documents.
Because they list members and officers, as well as businesses catering to the agricultural sector, the Grange directories from Genesee County NY will be useful to genealogists tracing families in Genesee County, of course. Those interested in cultural history and social history will appreciate the clear view of agrarian life in upstate New York in the 1930s these represent.
Of a few Grange directories we’ve encountered, these are by some measure the most complete and likely represent a good picture of much of Genesee County at these points in time. The two that we have are the ones for 1934 and 1938. They previously appeared on our Genesee County Collection CD-ROM, which we have discontinued.
Genesee County, NY has been one of our favorites for a long time. Long-time customers will recall that we issued a CD-ROM called the “Genesee County Collection” some years ago. Even before that, we enjoyed collaborating with some of the folks in the Genesee County Genealogical Society when we republished an important book about the history of Western New York State.
Well, when we made the difficult decision to leave the CD-ROM business (today it’s really old technology) and take advantage of the ability to deliver files instantly via the internet, we had a lot of content on CDs that we needed to make available. Genesee County, NY, for some of the reasons listed above, was one of the earlier CDs we began converting.
So far, we’ve made two pieces of the CD-ROM available as downloads. Here they are:
The O-AT-KAN yearbook from 1953 at LeRoy Central School
The Genesee County chapter from French’s Gazetteer of the State of New York (1860)
Take a moment to glance as our Genesee County page on our main website for these two, and for other Genesee County material we have available as downloads. And check back soon, because we’ll be making more material from the CD-ROM available as downloads very soon.
Replacing our CDs has shown up a benefit we hadn’t really anticipated.
Here’s what happens. As our customers know, our CDs usually contained more than one item. However, we tended to title the CD with the name of the most important (our call) item on the CD.
However, when we replace our CDs with downloads, each publication on the CD becomes a product unto itself. In that way, it gets its own listing in our catalog and on the various geographic and special interest pages of our website.
Here’s an example. Recently we retired our CD-ROM about the History of the Minisink Region of New York State (and Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). The featured component of that CD was Stickney’s 1867 History of the Minisink Region. However, there were two other publications on that CD: Twin River Valley, the 1834 yearbook of Port Jervis High school, and a particularly scarce 1922 Directory of Port Jervis (which included neighboring locations).
The CD never sold as well as we thought it would; we suspect the reason was that if people already had access to the Stickney book, they went no further and never discovered the Port Jervis Directory or the Port Jervis High School yearbook on the same CD.
Well, now that we’re reissued the three as individual downloads, we think more people will be seeing these additional publications — that were actually there all along.
Twin River Valley, the Port Jervis High School yearbook — click HERE
That elusive 1922 Port Jervis Directory — click HERE
Of course, our main catalog is HERE, so why not have a look at it, too?
Bottom line: we think that replacing our CDs will help you find things you never suspected we had just as much as it helps us streamline our processes and deliver quality content to you faster and more economically.
Several years ago, we re-published a real classic,
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!
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:
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.
Our version includes our index. The free versions lack an index.
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) 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.
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!