New to the Collection: February 2018

Christ Lutheran Church, Murrysville, Westmoreland County; a.k.a. Hankey’s Church; parish records 1796-1884 part I

St. John’s Reformed Cemetery, Harrolds, Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, 1890-1999

Westmoreland County history : from a Mt. Pleasant Township perspective

The student guide with the Indian supplement for the Richard’s atlas of New York State.

The descendants of Andrew Eisaman (1768-1884) [sic] and Catherine Schuck (1778-1868)

First Reformed Church, United Church of Christ; Greensburg, Westmoreland County, parish records, part 1, 1819-1876

Notices by German and Swiss settlers seeking information of members of their families, kindred, or friends : inserted between the years 1742 and 1761 in the Pennsylvanische Berichte, and between the years 1762 and 1779 in the Pennsylvanische Staatsbote

A short history of Westmoreland county : the first county west of the Appalachians

The German immigrant in America : F.W. Bogen’s guidebook

Woman’s roots : the history of women in Tompkins County

Ithaca : a brief history

The Germans in colonial times

True stories of Elmira, New York, Volume 2

St. John’s Reformed Church : (now St. John’s United Church of Christ), Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, parish records, 1821-1960

Zion Lutheran Church, Germano, German Township, Harrison County, Ohio : parish records, 1805-1945

Church records of the Upper Milford Reformed Congregation now the Zion’s Reformed Church at Zionsville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania (1757-1809) from the library of Dr. and Mrs. Glenn P. Schwalm

Historical publications of William Arter Zundel, 1878-1949 : articles concerning the history of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, with particular attention to the Sewickley Settlements, centering at Harrolds in Hempfield Township, begun in 1760

Indiana County, PA cemeteries : plus History of Brush Valley Lutheran Church

The journal of Pastor Gabriel Adam Reichert : for the years 1822 through 1837 as the Lutheran pastor in Indiana and Armstrong counties, and missionary in Clarion, Mercer, Clearfield, Crawford, Jefferson, Venango and Huntington counties in western Pennsylvania


Venango County, Pennsylvania, cemetery records and early church histories


[Martin and Carstarphen : family histories]

[Stickler family history]

[Tallon family history]

[LaForte family history]

[Robbins/Robins family history]

[Vincent family]

Elmira pamphlets and clippings


New to the Collection

New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection: another local cookbook (publication date unknown) and the latest from James Hare and Diane Janowski!

Irish Birth Records online


Citizens Information:

The Citizens Information Board is the statutory body which supports the provision of information, advice and advocacy on a broad range of public and social services.

It is a legal requirement in Ireland that a record be kept of each birth, marriage and death that occurs in the State. Up to 5 December 2005, these events were recorded locally in the district where they occurred. Since that date they can be recorded in any Registrar’s District. Records of all births, marriages and deaths are held nationally in the General Register Office, the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Deaths and Marriages in Ireland.

The Civil Registration Act 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a birth or death. These changes took effect from 5 December 2005. They took effect for marriages from 5 November 2007

Irish Genealogy: is a website dedicated to helping people search for family history records for past generations. The website is now home to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the General Register Office. These records join the Indexes to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths that were already available on the website.

At present, the genealogy landscape can seem confusing so the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has concentrated on the development of some additional search functionality for by way of providing a portal or search facility for digital genealogy records.

Visitors will be able to search records from a number of on-line sources including the historic Registers and Indexes to the Civil Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths, the Church Records already available on, and others such as the 1901 and 1911 Census and Soldiers wills, to name but a few.

Further information on how to research family history in Ireland is contained in the section Research in Ireland.


Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI:

In 1949, Dr Edward MacLysaght, Chief Herald of Ireland and Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library of Ireland, approached the Bishop of Limerick offering the NLI’s services to help in the permanent preservation of the genealogical information contained within the Catholic Church’s collection of parish registers. The NLI’s offer to microfilm parochial registers was taken up by every member of the Hierarchy. Although civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1864, records were not accurately kept for a number of years, so a cut-off date of 1880 was applied for the microfilming of registers.

Church registers of marriage and baptism are considered to be the single most important source for family history researchers prior to the 1901 census. In many cases, the registers contain the only surviving record of particular individuals and families. It is a testament to the role and work of the Catholic Church in Ireland that so many registers were created and maintained during some of the most turbulent times in Irish history.

With growing numbers of people engaged in family history research and limited on-site facilities at the NLI in Dublin, the decision was taken in 2010 to digitize the parish register microfilms. Following a tender process, the contract for digitiz


ation was awarded to AEL Data who converted 550 microfilm reels, containing over 3500 registers into approximately 373,000 digital images. These images correspond to a page or two-page opening within a register volume.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New to the Collection January 2018

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New to the Genealogy and Local History Collection

Bradford County Area Key: a guide to the genealogical records of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, including maps, charts, histories and other helpful materials

The Mountain Roars: Written as a supplement to early histories of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, this work covers “dwellings and personalities of a later period, gleaned from old-timers” knowledgeable in the history of the Armenia Mountain region of Pennsylvania

Caton’s Sesquicentennial 1840-1990

The Fleming Family

By Reason of Strength: Tales of Long Ago: Local History and Genealogy of Bradford and Tioga Counties in PA.

Fifty Years on the Frontier with the Dutch Congregation at Maghaghkamik (Port Jervis, N.Y.)




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


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


, ,

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.