Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Summer Issue Of "New York Archives" Magazine Has Appeared !


As many of you know, since 2005, I’ve been writing the “Genealogy” section for the quarterly magazine published by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust called New York Archives.  

Last night, I counted up those articles I’ve written; I figured I’ve appeared in 31 of the 45 published issues.

I sent off my article for the Fall issue a few weeks ago, and, wondrous to say, my author’s copies of the current [Summer] issue arrived a few days later, just like clockwork.

So, what’s in the current issue?  

In a word, it’s a tasty summer buffet of New York history, with a little something for everyone and all with an archives connection.

For starters, there’s my “Genealogy” section.  This issue’s topic is Revisiting Those ‘Cold Case’ Files, wherein I discuss some of the research resources to be found on the NYS Archives website that can be useful in breaking down long-standing brick walls.

(And, no, I never discuss or reveal the topic of the next issue until it appears in print.  Suffice it to say, it will involve archives, New York State and genealogy.)

Then there’s Bob Arnold’s excellent article on the 74 previously unpublished letters of Civil War General Emory Upton. The letters were donated by a descendant of Upton to the Holland Purchase Historical Society in Batavia, NY – where Upton grew up - and have now been transcribed by volunteers. Bob was the first director of the Albany City-County Archives and Hall of Records before he went to the State Archives, and has a real sense of what’s “research-important”, so to speak.

Plus, the NYS State Archives’ own Kathleen Roe describes the new partnership between the NYS Archives and Ancestry.  The partnership makes the NYS Archives records now on Ancestry available to NYS residents without charge through a special account called “Ancestry New York”.  (No, not all of the Ancestry website is free – just the records that come from the NYS Archives and other selected New York archival repositories.  Note: the NYS- Ancestry collection will grow over time.)

For those with New York City German roots, there’s a gripping article about the “General Slocum” disaster in June 1904.  The “General Slocum”, a paddlewheel steamboat, had been hired by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan’s “Little Germany” for a special outing.  1,358 passengers – all members of the German church community – were on board when a fire broke out on board.  1,021 people died, making it the largest loss-of-life disaster in New York City until September 11, 2001.  “Little Germany” was never the same after the “Slocum” fire.

Need something revolutionary?  There’s Joseph Cummins’ article on the Sons of Liberty and New York Tea Party of 1774.  Then there’s David Goddard’s article titled No Day at the Beach that chronicles the tensions between the wealthy “summer folks” and the year-round farmer-residents of Long Island’s Southampton in the late 19th century.  For gardeners, there’s a nice piece on the restoration of the garden at Bellefield on the former estate of State Senator Thomas Jefferson Newbold and his wife Sarah Lawrence (Coolidge) Newbold in Hyde Park. Bellefield is a National Park Service property next to the FDR Presidential Library.

David DeKok’s article on the typhoid epidemic of 1903 in Ithaca, New York will be of special interest to those with interest in Cornell, the regulation of public and private water systems and epidemiology. Then, last but certainly not least, is Shane White’s fascinating study of the “policy and clearing house” gambling rackets in 19th century New York City.  Who knew what great treasure could be found in the New York District Attorney Indictment Papers in the Municipal Archives?

A short piece on New York’s World War II license plates and another on the Saratoga Drink Hall (mineral spring water) complete the issue, all neatly edited into 36 well-illustrated pages.

New York Archives magazine is sent without charge four times a year to all members of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.  Membership is $35.00 a year.  Membership has other privileges as well, all of which are spelled out on the Trust’s website.

So, if you are interested in New York history, enjoy getting discounts on books and admissions and also believe in supporting public archives – which are woefully underfunded by their governments all over North America – you should check out the website at:




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