Accessible Archives: Databases at CCLD

Get to know our databases:

Through our webpage,, users can access–for free– Accessible Archives.

Of particular interest is their collection of digitized African-American Newspapers, including “Published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, for the Dissemination of Religion, Morality, Literature and Science.” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Christian Recorder (1861–1902)
The Colored American (1837–1841)
Frederick Douglass’ Paper (1851–1855; 1859–1863)
Freedom’s Journal (1827–1829)
The National Era (1847–1860)
The North Star (1847–1851)
Provincial Freeman (1854–1857)
Weekly Advocate (1837–1837)
The Freedmen’s Record (1865-1874)
The Negro Business League Herald (1909)

The collection provides a great number of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African-American experience.


A collection of interest for people researching WWI is American Military Camp Library-YMCANewspapers. This collection provides users with unparalleled access to unique sources covering the experiences of American soldiers during the mobilization period in 1916, in the trenches in 1918 and through the occupation of Germany in 1919.

Accessible Archives also has a huge collection of American County Histories. american-counties-200w-white

These books include chapters with detailed coverage of local history, geology, geography, weather, transportation, lists of all local participants in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, government, the medical and legal professions, churches and ministers, industry and manufacturing, banking and insurance, schools and teachers, noted celebrations, fire departments and associations, cemeteries, family histories, health and vital statistics, roads and bridges, public officials and legislators, and many additional subject areas.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked to each chapter as well as to each individual illustration. The user can select a particular graphic from the List of Illustrations and proceed immediately to it by clicking on the highlighted text.

American County Histories is currently divided into nine groupings: Central, Mid-Atlantic Part 1, Mid-Atlantic Part 2, Midwest, New England Part 1, New England Part 2, Southeastern, The Southwest, and The West.

Due to the large amount of available material, New York and Pennsylvania are each further divided into regions. Each part of the entire collection contains pages of text, plates and maps from all counties.


New to the Collection: October 2017

New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection:

LOCAL AUTHORS (Circulating book):

The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail by John Spaziani.

The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail is a children’s nature book that helps kids understand the importance of preserving our environment. Follow along with tiny Johnny Thumbnail as he journeys with animal friends to find someone who can help him save the environment and natural world.


If you’d like to check this title out, we do have circulating copies here:

Life in the Treetops by Margaret Lowman

Forest canopies have been characterized as one of the last biotic frontiers on Earth: tree crowns have been difficult to study scientifically because access to them has been so challenging. During the past two decades, however, methods for canopy access have greatly improved. In this book a pioneer canopy scientist describes the mysteries of the treetops―their inhabitants, flowers and fruits, growth and mortality, patterns of diversity, and plant and animal interactions. Margaret Lowman writes about different canopy access techniques in conjunction with the scientific hypotheses she was addressing while using each one. She also portrays the life of a field biologist from a woman’s perspective: what it was like to juggle a demanding career with marriage, housewifery, motherhood, and single parenthood.
The chapters are organized chronologically, starting with Lowman’s early days with ropes in Australia and progressing to the use of a cherry picker to access the canopies of eucalypt trees while she was pregnant, research by hot-air balloon in Africa, and building treetop walkways in the temperate forests of Massachusetts and in the tropical rain forests of Belize. The book also includes a lovely array of line drawings and halftones.



YEARBOOKS (Reference):

Southside High School 1946 yearbook

Southside High School Class of 1947 50th Reunion


Local History (Reference):

Railroads Remembered by Ian G. Mackenzie

This book describes the history of almost every railroad company that ever operated between 1829 and today in western New York and western Pennsylvania.

ON THIS DAY: August 23, 1917 in Elmira NY

On this day 100 years ago, 38 local men were exempted from service, L. Gray was looking for his wife Florence, Elmirans were sick of politics in general while Mayor Hoffman was sick of being mayor specifically, and you could buy a delivery wagon for $905.  (Articles from the Elmira Star Gazette, 23 Aug 1917).




New to the Collection


The Vincent family : descendants of Adrian Vincent by Vincent, Anna M. (Anna Mabbett), 1890-1954.  Adrian Vincent lived in New Amsterdam, New York between 1653 and 1674. Descendants lived in New York, New England, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere

Josiah B. Vrooman (Vroman) : his ancestors and descendants by Laura Vrooman Randall. Peter Meuse Vrooman (d.1684) immigrated from Holland to Albany, New york, and married Volkje Pieterse Stavast, widow of Gerrit Jansen Stavast, in 1675. Two brothers, Jacob Meuse Vrooman and Hendrick Meuse Vrooman, immigrated with Peter. Descendants and relatives of the three brothers lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Washington and elsewhere.

The galley : a publication of the Clan Macneil Association of America  img_5544.jpg

George and Ruth Castle : our family’s journey, 1613-2016  by Sharon Castle with the Castle Genealogy Project Work Group, 2017.  George Castle (b.1896) married Ruth Fletcher (b. 1896). This book traces their ancestors and their Quaker heritage in the New World. IMG_5545

Local Cookbooks

Nothin’ like a muffin : favorite recipes. By SHHH (Self-Help for hard of Hearing People) of Corning-Painted Post 1987


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Local Authors

Burning silk by Destiny Kinal from Waverly NY.
This is a circulating book located in our 2nd floor Local Authors Collection.
“In the sensuous and erotic lineage of Anaïs Nin, Marguerite Duras, and Carole Maso, Destiny Kinal has crafted her debut novel, Burning Silk, to transport the reader. From the first page, we plunge into the rarified and privileged atmosphere of an early-nineteenth-century French perfumerie on the Cote d’Azur, where fragrance scientists cross the threshold into the invisible world of pheromones, hoping to plumb those secrets in the person of the young silk maîtresse Catherine Duladier. A decade later, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, we witness Catherine’s disciplined but desperate attempts to keep her closely held secret from rising to the surface in the pressure cooker of her family’s new silk magnanerie, where silkworms transform mulberry into the cocoon of metamorphosis and Catherine is forced to recognize that love without truth is violence. Will Catherine be able to ward off threats to her French Huguenot family’s dreams of a successful business venture in the New World?”

New to the Genealogy Collection–August 2017



Federal Stewardship of Confederate Dead

Civil War-era national cemeteries were created to bury Union dead. But the U.S. government was also responsible for Confederate dead–most associated with prisoner-of-war camps. This cultural resource study examines 9 all-Confederate cemeteries and 9 national cemeteries containing the greatest number of Confederate graves. The 311-page book contains 245 illustrations.


Also available online as a free PDF download:


White Pennsylvania Runaways 1720-1749

“Little-known fact: in colonial America, indentured whites, comprised of convicts, vagabonds, exiles, redemptioners, the kidnapped, runaways, and the willing servants hoping for a better life by serving out a period of servitude being purchased by colonial masters than by remaining in their traditional European societies, preceded and exceeded the black slavery population in all the colonies up until the American Revolution…Mr. Boyle has compiled notices of white runaways from local newspapers of the day. None were in publication before 1720. Many newspapers were read through, some of which were The Boston Gazette, The Pennsylvania Gazette, The New-England Courant, and The New-York Evening Post, among several others. Also, a list of further reading is included for those who wish to research further.”

–Excerpt from Book Review by Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter



Cook’s world tour around Elmira; a collection of choice recipes from many lands

Published in 1950 by the International Club of the Elmira YWCA.


Holy Family Junior High Yearbooks 1993 and 1994



Researching in Newspapers


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Newspapers can be a treasure trove of information to the genealogist and the historian. Here are some online resources to consider when going online to research historic newspapers.

Of Local Interest

Local newspapers indexed (Elmira):  Try searching in Starcat for indexed local history articles and/or obituaries from local papers. For indexed obituaries, click here. Many of our local news stories pre-1996 are in-house in our card catalog of local history.

Until recently, we had access to Gannett newsstand, which provided full text of the Elmira Star0Gazette from 1999–present day.  As of July 1, 2017, this database was no longer available to NYS library card holders, and there is some question as to whether it’s available at all. We will update this blog post as more information comes in.  One workaround to this loss is to visit the Star Gazette Archives page.    Here you can search the Star-Gazette from 1891-present day.  However, access to the articles online is hidden behind a paywall.  One could note down the date and page of the articles they want, and come into the Steele Memorial Library to copy the articles for themselves from our microfilm collection.

The CCLD website allows our patrons access to many online news and periodical article reference services.  Go to Databases and E-Resources and scroll down to click on “Periodicals (Magazines and Newspapers). Here are two newspaper databases available to our card-holders:

     1. New York Newspapers which indexes ten major newspapers published in the state of New York, including the Buffalo News, Glens Falls Post-Star, New York Times, New York Post, and Newsday.

     2. National Newspaper Index (Infotrac Newsstand) which offers over 2,000 full-text newspapers that include several New York State newspapers.

NYS Historic Newspapers : The NYS Historic Newspapers project provides free online access to a wide range of newspapers chosen to reflect New York’s unique history. To search the entire collection, use the Search Tab. Or, click on a county to search or browse geographically.

Fulton History: A searchable repository of historic newspapers published in New York State between 1795 and 2007, frequently updated. Also includes a handful of U.S. newspapers outside of NYS.


Library of Congress: Chronicling America: Search America’s historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Perhaps the most complete U.S. historical digital newspaper guide is from the University of Pennsylvania.


Wikipedia maintains a list of online newspaper archives found in the US and abroad.

The University of Illinois has an excellent subject guide to online national and international newspapers.

An extensive list of national, international, and college newspapers is available from XooxleAnswers.

ICON, the International Coalition on Newspapers, maintains an excellent guide to paid and free newspaper digitization projects.

British newspapers online, 1901-1950, lists free and paid online newspapers from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.



New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection: July 2017


New titles added in our Genealogy and Local History research collection:


African American Historic Burial Grounds and Gravesites of New England, by Glenn A. Knoblock

“This unique work covers the burial sites of African Americans–both enslaved and free–in each of the New England states, and uncovers how they came to their final resting places. The author’s examination of burial sites and grave markers reveals clues that help document the lives of black New Englanders from the 1640s to the early 1900s”– Provided by publisher.

African American Historic Burial Grounds and Gravesites of New England

The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space by Andrea E. Frohne

“‘This book is of real importance. Frohne has drawn together all of the information about the African American burial ground in one place and analyzed it within the context of the history of enslaved Africans in New York”–Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, director and Distinguished Professor, Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta; ‘A timely addition to the scant literature about a well-known but understudied aspect of African American history in early New York City”–Graham Hodges, professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies, Colgate University”–publisher’s website.



The Newsletter of the Seeley Genealogical Society 2003–2017


The Essential Civil War: A Handbook to the Battles, Armies, Navies and Commanders by Jayne E. Blair

This skillfully arranged and accessible chronology makes finding basic facts on battles, leaders, and armies easy for users with little or no knowledge of the Civil War. As author Blair says in the introduction, she was motivated by her own search for information: “I just wanted the basic information, not to be bogged down in the strategy that played out on the field. In essence, I just wanted the essential facts, plain and simple.”

Essential information is what a reader gets, the chronology being less than comprehensive. The first five chapters, which are arranged topically, provide brief overviews of the armies, the battles, the officers, the men, and the war itself. These are followed by five chapters arranged chronologically from 1861 to 1865 and providing useful, if not exhaustive, coverage of significant military actions. The average entry describes the action, victor, commanders, and casualties in 100-200 words. No analysis is done. Appendixes provide a glossary as well as lists of the U.S and Confederate armies, ships, and commanders. The short bibliography includes Internet sites.  –From BookList




Town talk : news from the Town of Elmira

town talk


Jamestown People to 1800: Landowners, Public Officials, Minorities, and Native Leaders by Martha McCartney

“A detailed look at the people associated with Jamestown from its founding in 1607 to 1800. Based on government records and private archives, it provides historical biographies of several distinct groups of people: Jamestown Island landowners, public officials, Native-American leaders, and African Americans associated with Jamestown. It also covers more than a thousand people who did not own land on Jamestown Island but whose activities brought them to Virginia’s capital city.”–Page 4 of cover.




New to the Collection: “Bald Hill: the Lost Community.”



We are very thankful for author and master gardener, Wayne Myers, for providing the Steele Memorial Library with a copy of “Bald Hill: The Lost Community.”

Thank you!

“Bald Hill” is an eight-year research project Myers and friends completed  about the area familiar to those in Danby, Spencer, and Van-Etten known as Bald Hill.  It explores the families that lived there.  Surnames include Parshall, Sears, Dorn, Turk, Loomis, Dawes, Van Etten, Cortright, Grover, Briggs.

Sally Marx writes in an article on the book,

The book is filled with the stories of births, deaths, fires, animals, and a simpler time. It is both easy and fascinating reading with lots of pictures and maps and genealogies. Today Bald Hill is a state forest and only the old, crumbling stone foundations mark where a thriving, industrious community of farmers and their families once lived.

 The book grew out of an interest Myers has had in the Bald Hill area since he was a child. His home is the last house on Michigan Hollow Road before the road bends and begins to wind through the state forest. Just around that corner Bald Hill begins. Before the area became a state forest, that entire section of Michigan Hollow and up its hillsides was farmed by hardy settlers. Myers has lived in a house near Bald Hill since he was nine years old. His grandfather, David Seamon, used to tell him stories of Bald Hill families and his uncle, Roy Parshall, actually grew up on Bald Hill. Monroe House, whose great grandparents built Myers’ home – the first of four House generations to farm that piece of land, also told Myers stories of Bald Hill doings. (House died in 2004 at age 93, so his memories went back quite a ways.)*

This book will surely be a great resource to anyone doing genealogy research in this area.  According to, a catalog of the world’s libraries, the only other library to carry this book is Cornell University. Come on down to the Steele Memorial Library Genealogy and Local History Department to see this new volume (Call # 974.771 MYE).

Click the link for a spreadsheet of other print resources we have at the Steele Memorial Library that address people in the Spencer, Van-Etten, and Danby areas:

spencer van etten danby finding aid





*The Lost Community: Neighbors Piece Together History of Danby’s Bald Hill. By Sally Marx, Oct 18, 2014.  []

S-VE Town Talk: New book tells story of Bald Hill. Ithaca Journal Sally Marx. Oct. 6, 2014.

History of Bald Hill Explored. Aryeal Jackson. Nov 9, 2015 []


New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection, May 2017

New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection:

Encyclopedia of American LaFrance by Robert Marvin

“The American LaFrance Fire Engine Company was one of the oldest fire apparatus manufacturers in the United States. With roots that go back to approximately 1832, the companies that went on to become American LaFrance built hand-drawn, horse-drawn, and steam-powered fire engines. Founded in 1873 by Truckson LaFrance and his partners, including Alexander S. Diven as the LaFrance Manufacturing Company selling hand powered equipment. The International Fire Engine Company, corporate predecessor of American LaFrance, built some steam power fire engines between 1903 and 1907. Apparatus built by International included horse drawn steamers, hose wagons, and hook & ladders to chemical engines, water towers and combinations. The American LaFrance Fire Engine Company was formed in 1903. Its corporate offices and manufacturing plant were in Elmira, New York. It also operated a Canadian plant in Toronto, Ontario, where it sold apparatus under the name Lafrance-Foamite, until 1971. ALF delivered its first motorized fire engine in 1907. Over the years, American LaFrance built thousands of fire trucks including chemical engines, combination pumpers, aerial ladder trucks, Aero Chief snorkel trucks, and airport crash trucks. The classical style of the American LaFrance apparatus is easily recognized. Some of the company’s innovations led to changes in the industry, most notably the cab forward style cab.” *

Curiosities of Elmira by Kelli Huggins

Long known as the “Queen City” of New York’s Southern Tier, Elmira has a colorful history to live up to that name. Strange events and offbeat characters populate the city’s past. Eldridge Park once had a violent bear pit. The mysterious extinction of the Labrador Duck still baffles researchers today. Inventor Henry Clum, forgotten in time, was a pioneer of meteorology. From the bright lights of the city’s lost vaudeville stages to the dark corners of the criminal underworld, Elmirans have found fame and infamy. Author Kelli Huggins takes readers on an immersive journey into the curious and unique past of Elmira


The Lurie Legacy: The House of Davidic Royal Descent by Dr. Neil Rosenstein

The author of The Unbroken Chain has just written another major work, this time about one of the most distinguished Jewish families: Lurie/Luria. It is a very ancient family, tracing its roots back through Rashi and Hillel to King David. The family is known throughout history for its extraordinary achievements in science, philosophy, theology and the arts. The book is a comprehensive study of the Lurie/Luria family that includes 45 pages of family trees showing the relationship of the Lurie family to such other families as Epstein, Eskeles, Heilprin, Isserles, Katzenellenbogen, Margolit, Meisel, Mendelssohn, Pereira, Weidenfeld and Wulff. The text portion of the book is filled with the history of the Lurie family, critical analysis of previous works about the family and legends by family members penned in the 19th century. More than 60 documents of the Lurie family illustrate the book, the earliest dating to the 16th century.

The Genealogy of Some Descendants of Captain Matthew Fuller by William Hyslop Fuller

Related Subjects:

  • Fuller, Matthew, — 1603?-1678.
  • Fuller.
  • Jackson.
  • Murdoch.
  • Percival.
  • Rawson.


Polish-Americans in the City of New York: An outline of Socioeconomic and Cultural Needs

Related Subjects:

  • Polish Americans — New York (State) — New York — Social conditions.
  • Polish Americans — New York (State) — New York — Economic conditions.
  • Polish Americans — Economic conditions.
  • Polish Americans — Social conditions.
  • New York (State) — New York.



No freedom shrieker : the Civil War letters of Union soldier Charles Freeman Biddlecom, 147th Regiment, New York State Volunteer Infantry

Among the piles of obsolete farm and household implements, haystacks, dust, and debris abandoned in her historic barn, Katie Aldridge discovered a box containing the Civil War letters of Charles Freeman Biddlecom. Painstakingly transcribing and lightly editing more than 100 letters written by the soldier to his wife during his service, Ms. Aldridge resurrected the voice of the Civil War combat soldier. The tone and character of “Charlie’s” detailed accounts of the war compelled Ms. Aldridge to find out more.

From letters written throughout Grant’s Overland Campaign the reader gains an insider’s view of the war: fear, hunger, sickness, longing, and concern for those left behind as well as detailed insights about the political climate. Writing from the perspective shaped in an Upstate New York community closely linked to the abolitionist cause, woman’s suffrage, and the Quaker philosophy, the reader will learn how Charlie’s background shaped his actions and view of the war.


Inspired: Genealogy Matters

Here are some links mentioned in the Genealogy Matters talk given at CCC on 3/22/2017.

Please visit our Library Genealogy Page for some local research options:

NYS Historic Newspapers:

Fulton History (NY newspapers):

Picture1Genealogy of Pedronilla and Juliana. A pictorial genealogy of four generations. 1576″The Aztecs and the Making of Colonial Mexico: The Persistence of Nahua Culture”


Kongo Gumi: Oldest Continuously Operating Company survives 1,400 Years before Crash.


hoshi Ryokan: Since 718–Hospitality passed down by forty-six generations of owners.

The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes

315 years. 20,528 voyages. Millions of lives.

Slate_Atlantic Slave Trade Animation


Race in the Census Over the Years:


Spencer Wells: A Family Tree for Humanity



Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America


Emmitt Smith’s Genealogy:

“You must go do this yourself,” he says. “It’s extremely important. It’s critical. It will help shape your vision in terms of how you go forward. It will also help you appreciate your past.

Another Clip from Emmitt Smith’s Epsidoe of “Who do you think you are?” (Season 1 episode 2):


Maya Angelou’s conversation with Tupac Shakur:

Full Episode: