Thursday, September 24, 2009

East Fishkill Community Day

Join us Saturday September 26th under the community tent at East Fishkill Community Day. We have contributed a $60 Membership Subscription to the main raffle and will be holding a 50-50 raffle at the table. Members automatically have a free ticket for the 50-50 Raffle. For those of you who cannot make it we are also selling raffle tickets on line at the HTDC Store.

We will have on display some sample pages from the magazine launch issue. We will also be soliciting ideas for individual township article subjects. If you have something about your town that you would like to learn more about, or that you think others would be interested in reading, please let us know.

At this point it appears I will be manning the table alone. I would appreciate meeting any members in the area, and if hands are available to sit and chat a bit, that would be most welcome!

The map shows the recreation fields as the green area near the bottom of the map. The entrance from 376 is right next to the Wachovia Bank sign with the time and temperature display. It is about a half block south from the intersection of 82 and 376. If you get to the library and town hall, you went too far.

Live: Native Americans and Henry Hudson

Don Thompson in character as Henry Hudson and Evan Pritchard, author and director of the Center for Algonquin Culture, will debate European and native notions of land ownership, law and culture. Activity for children, house and grounds tour and more. Admission fee.

$10 adult; $8 senior & Mount Gulian member; $6 child.

This event is made possible with a generous contribution from the Quadricentennial Commission.

Sunday, October 11
12:30 to 3:14 p.m.

For more information call (845) 831-8172 or

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hudson River Valley Institute's Quad Conference Sept 25-26

Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Conference:
America's First River, The Hudson

Friday September 25 from 12 Noon to 8 PM
FDR Presidential Library and Historic Site
Hyde Park, NY
Keynote Speaker at 7 PM: Pulitzer Prize recipient Dr. David Hackett Fischer

Saturday September 26 from 9 AM to 5 PM

Marist Student Center at Marist College
Poughkeepsie, NY

RSVP Today! Call 845.575.3052

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quad Event at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery

This promises to be a great event as the Historical Poughkeepsie Waterfall Plaque will be unveiled, Sunday, September 20th at 1:00 PM. There will also be a guided walking tour of the cemetery and crematory, followed by a question and answer period.

Please call to confirm your attendance: 845.454.6020

Friday, September 18, 2009

Archivists, Historians and Genealogists

One of the comments this week on the petition for appointing a County Historian got me thinking about the relationship of the disciplines of archivist, historian and genealogist and these disciplines' relationship to the records themselves. The signer expressed that "We need someone who knows the difference between being a genealogist and someone who can care for the historical archives of DC." The records are important to historians and genealogists alike, and these disciplines are not mutually exclusive. The true genealogist must be adept at studying history, especially of new places, and of evaluating the role that history played in individual lives. Without this knowledge it is very easy to confuse individuals of similar names, or to fail to discover links between generations. Depending on the area of interest, an individual historian may or may not be concerned with genealogy, but it is doubtful that their work will not be of some service to genealogists. A historian can also be a genealogist and visa versa, though such is not always the case. Both should have some understanding of the role of archivist, though neither might have expertise in this discipline.

The archivist assesses, collects, organizes, preserves and assists in providing access to collections of historical value. Clearly some knowledge of both history and genealogy would be helpful for this profession. The Dutchess County Historian, by law, appoints an Archivist to care for the historical records. Organizing and providing access to the record collections does imply the ability to judge the correct placement for types of records, and determine their relationship to those who may seek them out, and this would require both historical and genealogical knowledge, but not necessarily proficiency.

Are individual records ever more valuable to history or genealogy? Records pertaining to Smith Thompson who was born in Amenia 17 January 1768 and died Poughkeepsie 18 December 1843 provide a case in point. As Secretary of the Navy his story contributes to military history. As candidate for both presidential nomination and New York governor he relates to political history. As Supreme Court Justice who ruled not to turn over the Amistad captives to President Van Buren one might argue that he provided a forum for abolitionists to publicize their cause, giving his records an even wider scope of historic importance. Genealogically his records can certainly flesh out the stories for both the Thompson and Livingston families.

Records of those who did not become famous perhaps are not so important historically, except in their aggregate, but these records are critical genealogically. Those who are not recorded in history may have only one or two records that might identify to a descendant the link between families. As such these records are extremely valuable. Furthermore, it is not possible to assess from a single document its genealogical value. A will may provide the only documentation of the children of a couple. Looking at the will alone, however, we have no way of knowing that. For all we know the children may also be listed in a family Bible, town history, church baptismal records. The will is still important either way, but much more so if it provides the only record.

The genealogist and historian interpret the records for related and sometimes indistinct purposes. Both rely on the integrity of those records, and therefore on the archivist to preserve them and provide access.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation: The Stoutenburgh Connection

If you have been researching several families for more than a few years, you likely have discovered, as I have, that we are all more closely related than we might imagine. A while back Gil Leach, a fellow researcher and board member at DCGS, sent me an idea for a series of genealogy articles for the magazine concerning links between related lines, complete with a draft of the first one - "The Stoutenburgh Connection".

A few weeks later I was copied on an email written by a fellow board member of another society, the National Association of Leavitt Families. She was writing from New Hampshire, to one of her family associations, advising them to write to the Leavitt and Folsom family researchers for ideas because they were considering putting their genealogies into a database and publishing it. She copied me as a Leavitt researcher, working on updating those books. What was that family surname society? None other than the Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Association!

Currently the Stoutenburgh genealogies are recorded on three large circular charts--a somewhat unwieldy format for sharing. Next month when I go to New Hampshire for the NALF board meeting, Stoutenburgh descendant Frances Wooden will pass me her copy of the circle charts to bring back to New York. We will see what we can do with them!

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