Thursday, October 10, 2019

Genealogy Day 2019

Join us on October 19, 9am-4pm, for Genealogy Day at Grems-Doolittle Library!

We have three speakers lined up to educate you on a variety of genealogy topics and the library will be open extended hours for research. Tickets are $8 for the day and free for members. See the schedule below for more details:

Maps can be great supplements to genealogy research, especially when using land records.

9-10:15am: “Complex Evidence: Untangling Multiple, Same-Name Individuals” presented by Judith Herbert

It’s pretty common for names to be reused in families, but it can be frustrating to track your genealogy when it seems everyone is named John, Jacob, and Mary. Judith Herbert, certified genealogist, will present strategies for untangling the confusion caused by same-name individuals within your family tree.

10:15-11:30am: “Patching Families Together Through Land Records” presented by Tina Post

When genealogists hit brick walls it’s not fun. Land records can provide the clues necessary to put stymied research on track again. This presentation will provide examples of how relationships can be gleaned using deeds, bounty lands and land grants. In addition, platting will be discussed as a means of creating more leads to investigate.

11:30-12:45pm: “Gravestone Conservation for the Genealogist” presented by Christopher White

Have you ever seen that unreadable gravestone or that toppled monument and wondered what can I do to address its condition? There is a correct way and a wrong way to remedy that gravestone. Christopher White, a genealogist, historian, and gravestone conservator, will present a program on gravestone conservation including cleaning, repair, what to do, what not to do, when to do nothing, and when to seek a professional conservator.

12:45-4pm: Research in the Library

Learn to care for gravestones and memorials at this year's Genealogy Day.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Apples of my eye

If you visited the Mabee Farm Facebook page or talked to John Ackner, SCHS Facilities Manager, in the last few weeks, you know it is harvest time at Mabee Farm! The apples and pears in the orchard are abundant this year. John and our volunteers started picking the Wolf River apples and Bartlett pears this week. Wolf River apples are a heritage variety usually used in cooking (rather than eaten raw or processed into cider). These apples are large, often weighing about a pound, with a lovely red and yellow speckled skin. They are mildly sweet and hold their shape when cooked.Wolf River apples are perfect for apple butter.

A gorgeous Wolf River apple picked at Mabee Farm this week, thanks to John and our volunteers!

While most of our produce will be used in the upcoming Mabee Farm to Fork dinner, you can find Wolf River apples and other heritage fruits at farms and markets around the county. Visit the Grems-Doolittle Library for recipe inspiration from the historical cookbooks in our collection. Below are two recipes that I'd love to try, written and collected by women in Schenectady.

Pages 76 and 77 from the 1903 First Reformed Church Cook Book by Ladies' Aid Society

DELICATE APPLES: Fill the place where the core has been removed from apples to be baked, with a raisin, a bit of lemon, cinnamon and as much sugar as possible. When baked, add a spoonful of sherry to each apple (from the 1903 First Reformed Church Cook Book by Ladies' Aid Society)

Page 103 from the 1890 Schenectady Cook Book by Ladies of the First Reformed (Dutch) Church

FROSTED APPLE PIE: Peel and slice tart apples enough for a pie, steam until tender, stir into this the yolks of two eggs well beaten, sugar to taste, one tablespoonful of butter, flavor with lemon and bake; take the whites and frost the top the same as for lemon pie (written by Mrs. H.J. Clute in the 1890 Schenectady Cook Book by Ladies of the First Reformed (Dutch) Church)

Bartlett pear picked (and eaten) at Mabee Farm
Happy cooking and eating!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Hello from the new librarian!

A walk along the lake, Central Park, Schenectady, NY. 1919 C.W. Hughes and Company, Mechanicville, NY (Wayne Tucker Postcard Collection at Grems-Doolittle Library). Like many of you, I enjoy postcards and collect them personally. This one caught my attention because one of my favorite activities is walking my dog in the park.

I’m thrilled to join the staff of the Schenectady County Historical Society as the librarian. I’ve been involved with historical societies and local history museums for most of my life, but my professional experience thus far has been in higher education. Most recently, I was the archivist at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH. 

I grew up in Harrisburg, PA, in a family of teachers. When I started as a history major at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, most of my family expected me to follow in their footsteps, but I fell in love with processing archives and special collections. I started as an assistant in the University Archives and sought volunteer and intern positions in a variety of archives and museums.  One of my favorite internships involved cataloging souvenirs and books in the USS Constitution Museum collection. I earned a masters degree in history from Northeastern and a masters of library science from the University of Pittsburgh. My first job out of college was as a library circulation assistant at Harrisburg Area Community College, but my passion for archives and history drove me to establish the college’s archives and serve as the first archives and reference specialist. I moved to Cleveland a little over three years ago to take the archivist position at Cuyahoga Community College. My work as the archivist there focused on collaborating with faculty to bring the collection into the classroom and increasing the discoverability of the collection through finding aids and other descriptions. Currently, my goals as the SCHS librarian include learning where everything in the collection is located and getting to know the SCHS community, especially our excellent volunteers! Looking forward, I plan to encourage the community’s engagement with the collection through increased access and discoverability, grow and preserve the collection, and use the materials in a variety of programs and outreach activities.

As a new resident of the Schenectady area, I have a lot to learn about the history as well as figuring out my new job and the library collections. All of the staff, volunteers, and researchers have been generous with sharing their knowledge and teaching me what I need to know. I have a long reading list and I’m excited to explore the county. If you have suggestions for books to read, places to visit, or people to meet, please share! I hope you’ll stop by the library to say hello and tell me about your research, family, and memories of Schenectady. 

Erie Canal crossing the Mohawk River at the Aqueduct in Schenectady, New York. 1907 Robson & Adee, Publishers, Schenectady, NY (Wayne Tucker Postcard Collection at Grems-Doolittle Library). I learned about Ohio's perspective on the Erie Canal while living in Cleveland, and I'm starting to learn about its impact on Schenectady.
Marietta Carr