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Rockland Room

Historypin and Local History Online

On July 29th at 2pm I will be offering the second of a series of classes discussing the vast and ever-increasing local history resources available to the public online.  You can view the prezi for this course online here.   We will discuss local newspapers online, photographs and postcards, Ancestry.com, and what's coming soon.  One particularly interesting site I have been working with is Historypin, this site (and the accompanying app) allows you to pin images to a Google Map.  I used it to pin a photo of each of the Historic markers in Clarkstown to a map.   Learn more on July 29th.

Memorial Day and the Civil War Resources

Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was originally known began after the Civil War as mourners decorated the graves of soldiers lost in the war.  Grand review of the great veteran armies of Grant and Sherman at Washington, on the 23d and 24th May, 1865Approximately 620,000 soliders lost their lives in the war with about 60% of the casualties from the North and 40% from the South.   David Blight tells us of the beginnings of this holiday and more in his book Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory on pages 65-70.   I recently created a guide that lists some of our best books on the American Civil War -

Fairs, Steamboats and “The Quota” : 150 years ago in Rockland County

What was happening in Rockland County 150 years ago? You can read the digitized issues of the Rockland County Messenger online at http://news.hrvh.org.  The editor of the Messenger bragged about the quality of the Steamboat service as the ships returned to service after the winter in an article entitled "Our Steamboats".  This weekly newspaper published the schedule for the steamships on the back page of each issue.

The Civil War and the Cemetery at the Palisades Mall

Mount Moor What’s that cemetery doing at the Palisades Mall?  What is the history behind it?  This is one of the common questions in the Rockland local history community which pops up from time to time.    The subject is the topic of Bill Batson’s excellent Nyack Sketch Log column today.   This segregated African American cemetery is a reminder of the bloody conflict which nearly tore our nation apart 150 years ago as there are many African American veterans of the Civil War buried there.

New Books on Local History and Culture

This is the first in a series of short audio book talks.  Click on the photo to listen.  The three books discussed are Judith Richardson's Possessions: the History aHistory booksnd Uses of Hauntings in the Hudson Valley, Terry Golway's Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Making of Modern American Politics, and

Before the Bridge Documentary

Genealogical Society of Rockland CountyOn Tuesday night February 25th at 7pm documentary filmmaker Steven Bretschneider will present his video Before the Bridge, a documentary about life in the riverfront villages before the Tappan Zee Bridge was built. Residents of the Nyacks were interviewed for the film. Thirteen residents speak about their lives growing up in a much more remote and rural environment than we know today. Topics covered include: The River, Fishing, Hiking, Ice, The Ferry, The Train, The Great Oom, School, and Moving Houses.  Afterwards, Steven will answer questions from the audience. This program is sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Rockland County.

New Local History Librarian

I am happy to join the staff here at New City Library as of MondThe New City Library Rockland Roomay January 27, 2014.   I will be taking helm of the New City Library Rockland Room which I consider to be the finest Genealogy collection at any public library in Rockland County.   I look forward to working with this collection and especially meeting patrons.   I will be looking for opportunities to add to the collection and highlight the wonderful materials already here. 

Brian Jennings
Local History Librarian
New City Library
220 N. Main Street
New City, NY 10956
(845)634-4997, ext. 127
bjennings@rcls.org

Online NY Death Records +

I recently saw an email that reminded me of a great site, New York Death Records, Indexes and Obituaries. It is listed as a Genealogy Records Guide for New York City and State. If you look at the web site, www.deathindexes.com/newyork, you will find New York counties with those records that are digitized. Records and indexes are submitted so the county listings may be spotty. For instance, Rockland County shows cemetery records and funeral homes from the collection of the Genealogy Society of Rockland County. Despite the disparity in listed records, it may be worth your while to check it out. You never know, you may find a lost relative!

Prologue

In the past I have mentioned both in writing and at library programs the rich amount of history in several of our publications found in the Rockland Room. Two of my favorites are Prologue from the National Archives and Archives from the NY State Archives. Both offer some off-beat history as well as relevant history for the publishing season. 

In the current Summer issue, Vol.44 No. 2, there is an interesting article about FDR and his creation of the National Archives in 1934. FDR referred to the agency as "It's my baby" and his interest and support continued through his life. He asked Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter that upon his death, a simple memorial be place in his name in the center of the green plot in front of the Archives Building.The block of granite is the size of his desk and only has his name and birth/death dates.

Newspaper Index

In the local history collection, we have digitized the Rockland Messenger, a 19th century newspaper. This was done with a grant from the late Senator Morahan. Since that time, a more sophisiticated software has become available allowing for line segmentation and ease in searching. We are currently in the process of this upgrade through a company called Hudson Microimaging.

Newspapers are some of the last research tools that have been recognized for their valuable information and there has been a major effort o preserve the old editions. I came across an email from a librarian in Oshkosh WI and would like to condense her reporting. Apparently the Oshkosh Public Library began indexing newspapers through WPA in 1936-1938. The indexing was done by one person who covered a variety of information. Then in the nid-1950's, a researcher became so interested in family names that he indexed 1920-1948.

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