Elmira Newspapers now digitized


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Thanks to our amazing friends at Northern New York Library Network and thanks to a grant from SCRLC, we now can say that Elmira newspapers as early as 1835 (the earliest we have in the library) are digitized and available freely online!

But, don’t take our word for it! See for yourself!



Erie Canal Exhibit at the Steele Memorial Library


February 2019 at the Steele Memorial Library: Erie Canal Bicentennial Exhibition

“Two Hundred Years on the Erie Canal” was developed by the Western New York Library Resources Council, with grant funding from Humanities New York, to celebrate the Bicentennial groundbreaking of the Erie Canal in New York State.

The DPLA has a digital companion exhibit located online via this link:


Elmira was connected to the Erie Canal through the Chemung Canal, which is now Route 14. This canal operated from 1833 through the 1870s.  For more on the Chemung Canal, click here: http://thechemungcanal.com/


View of the old Erie Canal at Lockport, Niagara County, showing the two tiers of five locks under construction, with a towpath on the right. The locks take the canal off the Allegheny Plateau down to the Ontario Lake Plain. Collection of NYS Archives, available online at DPLA: https://dp.la/item/3bcb82a0d9a627b97954a18b12179554?q=erie%20canal





Elmira through the ages: A Pictorial Review





Elmira, 1840.                                                                                                       http://cdm16003.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll4/id/1437


elmira 1862

Elmira from East Hill, 1862. A nice view of the Chemung Canal and canal boats. Image courtesy of Chemung County Historical Society.


elmira 1873

Elmira 1873 by Bailey, H. H. (Howard Heston), 1836-1878. Library of Congress. Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/99447822



1882:  artist: Burleigh. lithographer: JH Kirby. Image Courtesy of Chemung County Historical Society.




Elmira 1884 by John Moray and printed by Mensing & Stechep (Rochester, NY). Image courtesy of NY Historical Society.



Elmira NY 1901. Perspective map not drawn to scale. Bird’s-eye-view. LC Panoramic maps (2nd ed.), 559 Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes illus., directory, and view of “Elmira Heights, N.Y. 1901.” AACR2
LCCN Permalink


From the CCLD Collection:

dates unknown:

aerial view of elmira ny

aerial view of elmira ny circa mid 20th century


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New to the Collection: Register of EFA Alumni 1859–1909


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The volume finally gives us information about EFA graduates in Elmira before 1909. Check out some of the images below for a sample of what this volume has to offer. Do you recognize any names?

New to the Local History/Family History Collection Winter 2018


The Fleming family of Bradford County PA and Chemung County NY:. Also allied families Gordon and Shoemaker

The Fleming family photographs



My Mark Twain by William Dean Howells

Foretasting heaven : talking to Twain at Quarry Farm

Quarry Farm papers : an occasional publication of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm



Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware : from the colonial period to 1810

Free African Americans of Maryland 1832

The slave years, 1760-1764 : Names and surprising details

The slave years, 1750-1759 : Names and surprising details

Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina : from the colonial period to about 1820



Onions, tomahawks and spoons : interesting glimpses into the local history of Canastota, Oneida, Sherrill, Vernon and the surrounding region

History of Brulé’s discoveries and explorations, 1610-1626, being a narrative of the discovery, by Stephen Brulé, of lakes Huron, Ontario and Superior; and of his explorations (the first made by civilized man) of Pennsylvania and western New York, also of the Province of Ontario, Canada; with a biographical notice of the discoverer and explorer, who was killed and eaten by savages



Surname index, 1800 census, Westchester County, New York

New York biographical dictionary

Proceedings of the Elmira Academy of Sciences

A bird’s eye view of New York : views and viewmakers of New York State, 1836-1892

Historical sources for Jewish heritage in Elmira : collected from the archives of the Chemung County Historical Society and Congregation Kol Ami



Naval records for genealogists

The Norman people and their existing descendants in the British dominions and the United States of America





Online research for Elmira Newspapers


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Here is a step by step guide to finding years available online for Chemung County Newspapers on NYS Historic Newspapers.  I have also included some other search strategies for local newspapers.

We currently have 1891-1907 of the Elmira Gazette online through NYS Historic Newspapers.

Here is a link to their homepage: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/
To view a full list of Chemung County papers online, please click on Chemung County in the NYS map.
To the right of the page, you will see the titles and the years the title was in publication. Question marks are often used if it is unclear when the paper ceased publication.
This is due to many assorted reasons.  If you would like to see a list of the issues digitized and available online right now, please follow these steps:
First, from the Chemung County Page, click on the title you would like to see.
In this case, we are selecting “The Elmira Gazette.”
On the right of the page, you will see a thumbnail image of a newspaper and a little calendar icon with a prompt that says “Browse: calendar view.”
The “Calendar View” prompt is clickable.. Please click on it. That will take you here: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83030949/issues/

On the left side of the page, you will see “Issues For: [YEAR}.
The year for the Elmira Gazette starts at 1891.
You can click on the year and a drop-down box will appear which shows you all the years online that are available.
In this instance, you will see that the years available digitally for this title go up to 1907.

For researching the Star-Gazette online, the Star-Gazette website has an archives function. This is a personal subscription page that does cost money to view the full articles. However, one can still lookup things on the site and get thumbnails of articles complete with date and page number without paying to subscribe.
To find the Star-Gazette Archives feature, go to their home page, https://www.stargazette.com/  and click on “Archives.” This will take you here:  https://stargazette.newspapers.com/?xid=983

The Star-Gazette is also available online through a paid personal subscription through newspapers.com.
Institutional subscriptions that include digital access to this title are available through ProQuest, but run upwards of $4,000 per year for access.
This proves to be unsustainably cost-prohibitive for the Genealogy Department to offer to patrons.

We offer full-text of the Star-Gazette on microfilm to patrons who come in to research.
They can procure dates and pages numbers from the Star-Gazette archives site, or from searching the newspaper index through the library StarCat catalog.
To search for local history articles on the StarCat catalog:
1. Go to the StarCat page: http://starcat.stls.org/client/en_US/default
2. Type in keywords, or the [LastName, FirstName] of the person you are searching for.
3. I typed in elmira airport.  I got to this link with all the newspaper results for the airport:

4. To limit your search to just newspaper articles, click on “Newspaper” under “Material Type” in the left-hand column.

We also offer a distance research service to out-of town researchers.  The directions on how to do this can be found here: http://ccld.lib.ny.us/submit-a-research-query/

NYSHNPlease do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on this or any other matter.

All the Very Best,

Maggie Young

Genealogy and Local History Librarian

Steele Memorial Library
Chemung County Library District
101 E. Church St.
Elmira NY 14901
P: (607)733-8603
F: (607)733-9176
E: youngm@stls.org

Problems with Ancestry Library Edition


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Click on the link for a slideshow on how to find related records in Ancestry Library Edition.

Problems with ancestry library edition

Another problem on the search function–the algorithm seems to be ignoring location info. For example, if I put in a specific city I may get 20 matches from other states before the one for my search, though all have the same name. It seems to be forgetting to prioritize my results by location. This seems to be a recent, but pervasive, change.

If you see strange results in your searches, please copy the URL of the page and send it to me and I can notify the good folks at Ancestry.  (youngm@stls.org)

Workarounds in Ancestry Library Editio!