Erie PA Genealogy & Historical Goings-on Week of Oct. 12, 2014

Erie Society for Genealogical Research Monthly Meeting

The next meeting of the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR) is this Tuesday October 14, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Blasco Public Library. NOTE THE LOCATION CHANGE

Jim McQuiston will speak about Scottish research. A membership meeting will follow.

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Ghost Walks of Waterford

Judson House, Waterford
Weekends in October: Saturdays 6-9 and Sundays 6-8, and they begin behind the Judson House. Every 30 minutes a new walk begins. Cost is $5/Adult and $3/Child 2-12, under 2 Free. Refreshments are available.
Sponsored by the Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society

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Ghosts and Legends of Hope Cemetery

The Little Church on the Hill, 10410 High St., Albion
Sat, October 11, 2pm-3pm (and 8pm-9pm on October 25)

The suggested donation is $3 per person, $5 for couples. RSVP required by 7 am the day of the tour by calling 814/323-0447.

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October Erie Cemetery Tours

Sundays join Caroline Reichel for a 60 to 90 minute walking tour of the Erie Cemetery. Tours begin at 11:00am and 2:00pm at the cemetery’s main gate, 2116 Chestnut Street.

SUN Oct 12 “First Settlers”
SUN Oct 19 “Ghosts and Legends”

Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per child (12 and under).

Call Caroline at (814) 868-4423 or email caroline.reichel19@gmail.com for reservations.

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Edinboro Area Historical Society’s Public Program

Edinboro Borough Hall Wed, October 15, 7pm – 9pm

Joy Estock will present an informative program regarding her ancestors who were part of Edinboro’s first pioneers.

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Fairview Area Historical Society Public Meeting

Sturgeon House, 4302 Avonia Road (Route 98) in Fairview. Wed, October 15, 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Every month the Fairview Area Historical Society hosts a guest speaker. For more information, contact the Society at (814) 474-5855 or email fahsmail3@gmail.com.

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Elk Creek Historical Society Coffee House

The Little Church on the Hill, 16410 High Street, Albion, PA Sat, October 18, 7pm – 9pm

Are you interested in music, history, and fun? Then stop by The Little Church on the Hill’s monthly coffee house in Wellsburg, PA. The music begins at 7 pm and goes until 9 pm. There will be refreshments, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle during intermission. All donations go towards the restoration and preservation of this 156 year old historic landmark. Bring friends and family for a night of music and fun. For additional information, contact the Elk Creek Historical Society at echistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Genealogy & the Computer Users of Erie

One of our own was the featured speaker at tonight’s Erie Society for Genealogical Research’s monthly meeting.

Dave Howell spoke about the Computer Users of Erie (CUE) which has a genealogy special interest group that meets at 7:00pm on the first Tuesday of every month. The genealogy group was organized twenty years ago, by four or five CUE members who shared an interest in learning how to research their family history. They were novices, and their mission was to learn how to do online genealogy, to develop a legacy they could pass on to their children and grandchildren, and to have fun doing it.

One of their first tasks was deciding on a software program which would produce family charts and narrative histories. They chose Legacy Genealogy software, and still use it today. They also decided to invest in one search engine. They chose Ancestry and were allowed to have a group membership which allows three online sessions at one time. Some members have their own Ancestry subscription, but for those who don’t, they have the option of buying into the group subscription. The cost varies year to year, depending on how many memberships sign opt in, but it’s typically $15 to $20 each.

The group meets at members’ homes. They tackle research problems members are having, and troubleshoot members’ software problems, working collectively to find solutions. There are lots of happy discoveries and laughter, and over the years the group has developed quite a camaraderie. They have also offered classes, geared at helping others get started on their own genealogy research.

Anyone interested in joining is invited to come to one or two meetings, and if they decide to join, a membership to the CUE is $24/year. You can find more information at the group’s website: www.cuerie.com

Erie PA Genealogy and Historical Goings-On, Week of July 6, 2014

Erie Society for Genealogical Research Monthly Meeting

The next meeting of the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR) is this Tuesday July 8, 2014 at 7:00pm at the History Center on State Street.

DAVE HOWELL will speak about the Computer Users Group of Erie, which has a sub group for genealogy. A membership meeting will follow. Doors open at 6:40 and will be locked at 7:10.

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Hands-On History at Corry Area Historical Society

945 Mead Avenue, Corry
Sat, July 12, 11am – 4pm

Families of all ages are welcome. Activities and games will focus on the 1920-1969 era, and will include a WWII reenactment hosted by local reenactors, an appearance by Elvis Presley, coin and stamp displays, a period grocery store and demonstrations.

There is no charge for the event, but a donation of $2 per person or $5 per family will be greatly appreciated. The first 500 students to fill out an activity card will receive a vintage stamp.

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“Erieites by Occupation” Cemetery Tour

Sun, July 13, 11:00am – 12:30pm, join Caroline Reichel for a 60 to 90 minute walking tour of the Erie Cemetery. Tours begin at 11:00am and 2:00pm at the cemetery’s main gate, 2116 Chestnut Street.

Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per child (12 and under).

Call Caroline at (814) 868-4423 or email caroline.reichel19@gmail.com for reservations.

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Lagoons by Pontoon (Daily)

Presque Isle

Discover the natural history and beauty of the park’s interior lagoons in this one-hour interpretive pontoon tour. Sign-up starts 10 am on a first-come, first-served basis at the Lagoons Launch. Run daily.

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Next rainy day, check out:

Big Green Screen Theater, Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Erie PA

Daily Shows all summer
Mysteries of the Unseen World: 11 am, 1 pm or 3 pm.
Titans of the Ice Age: 12 pm, 4 pm.
Mysteries of the Great Lakes: 2 pm, 5 pm.

$7.50/adults; $5.50/ages 3-12; $6/ages 65 and up.
$4 double feature (same day).
Afternoon Daily Movie Special: 2 tickets for $10 at 3 pm, 4 pm or 5 pm.
Monday Special: $5 tickets and $1 regular popcorn all day!
Wednesdays are Seniors Days: $5/ages 65 and up.

Subject to change. Call 814-838-4123 for up to date information.

Looking for a death in Erie County, Pennsylvania?

(This article was previously published in Keystone Kuzzins, Vol. 42, no. 2, the quarterly bulletin of the Erie Society for Genealogical Research.)

In 2011, Pennsylvania State Senate Bill 361 was approved, amending the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, thereby granting public access to birth certificates for people born at least 105 years ago, and death certificates for anyone dead at least 50 years. Birth and death indices are published on the PA Department of Health Website and certified copies can be ordered from the Department of Vital Records in New Castle. However, effective 1 July 2013, non–certified copies, including those for genealogical purposes, are only available through the PA State Archives, and the turnaround time can be quite lengthy. Fortunately, Ancestry is endeavoring to digitize all of the public death records, and has recently published the images in a searchable database which, at present, covers the period of 1906–1924. Thank you Ancestry! The database, entitled appropriately enough “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates 1906–1924,” is projected to be complete through 1963 by the end of this year. Although Ancestry is a subscription site, Erie County public library patrons have free access to the site, and Pennsylvania residents can access Ancestry’s database via a free Pennsylvania account, which can be set up here.

Erie City newspapers, dating back to around 1822, have been microfilmed and can be viewed in the Heritage Room at the Blasco Public Library. An online index to the obituaries is searchable on the library’s website. As of today (May 9th) the index is current through 31 January 2014. Although the index is online, the obituaries themselves are not. That requires a visit to the library or, for a small fee, the library’s staff will send you an image of the published obituary.

Obituaries published in the Erie Times News can also be found online at Legacy.com here. The date range for Legacy’s archive is 30 January 2002 through present day.

Although rarely accessible online, other types of death records which shouldn’t be overlooked include: probate and other court records, church and cemetery records, coroner and police reports, funeral home records (often, when a funeral home closed, their records were transferred to another company, and may still be available), nursing home, asylum, and state hospital records (although many of these are restricted by privacy laws), and the periodicals and other publications of fraternal orders and organizations.

Erie, PA, Genealogical & Historical Goings-On, Week of June 16, 2014

“Former Residents of West 6th Street” Cemetery Tour

This Sunday, June 22, 11:00am, and 2:00pm, join Caroline Reichel for a 90 minute walking tour of the Erie Cemetery. Tours begin at the cemetery’s main gate, 2116 Chestnut Street.

Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per child (12 and under).

Call Caroline at (814) 868-4423 or email caroline.reichel19@gmail.com for reservations.

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Night at the Railroad Museum

Saturday June 21, midnight, to Sunday June 22, 4pm

Lake Shore Railway Museum
31 Wall St
North East, PA 16428

Special Saturday events, speeder rides, and more. Night photo shoot at 10:00 p.m. The event runs all night so you can get those great night time photos of the museum’s rolling stock and the historic New York Central Railroad passenger depot serving as the museum headquarters.

Event begins at 12PM on the 21st and continues right through the night until 4PM on the 22nd.

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Lagoons by Pontoon (Daily)

Presque Isle

Discover the natural history and beauty of the park’s interior lagoons in this one-hour interpretive pontoon tour. Sign-up starts 10 am on a first-come, first-served basis at the Lagoons Launch. Run daily.

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Waldameer Amusement Park

As Erie’s summer season (finally) unfolds, take a look back at Waldameer through the decades on Debbi Lyon’s blog, Old Time Erie. You’ll find a collection of old images and interesting facts here

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Next rainy day, check out:

Big Green Screen Theater, Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Erie PA

Daily Shows all summer
Mysteries of the Unseen World: 11 am, 1 pm or 3 pm.
Titans of the Ice Age: 12 pm, 4 pm.
Mysteries of the Great Lakes: 2 pm, 5 pm.

$7.50/adults; $5.50/ages 3-12; $6/ages 65 and up.
$4 double feature (same day).
Afternoon Daily Movie Special: 2 tickets for $10 at 3 pm, 4 pm or 5 pm.
Monday Special: $5 tickets and $1 regular popcorn all day!
Wednesdays are Seniors Days: $5/ages 65 and up.

Subject to change. Call 814-838-4123 for up to date information.

Erie, PA, Genealogical Goings-On for the week of June 9th, 2014

Erie Society for Genealogical Research Monthly Meeting

The next meeting of the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR) is this Tuesday June 10, 2014 at 7:00pm at the History Center on State Street.

ANDREW ADAMUS, from the Maritime Museum,  will speak about the history of the Wolverine. A membership meeting will follow. Doors open at 6:40 and will be locked at 7:10.

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“Meaning of Tombstones” Cemetery Tour

This Sunday, June 8, 11:00am, 2:00pm, join Caroline Reichel for a 60 to 90 minute walking tour of the Erie Cemetery. Tours begin at the cemetery’s main gate, 2116 Chestnut Street.

Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per child (12 and under).

Call Caroline at (814) 868-4423 or email caroline.reichel19@gmail.com for reservations.

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Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War Exhibit Opening

Mercyhurst University, Cummings Art Gallery opening reception: Thu, June 12, 7pm – 9pm

Mercyhurst University’s Cummings Art Gallery has a new show opening on Thursday, June 12th. It will run through August 13th, 2014. Erie Yesterday’s events calendar describes the exhibit thusly:

a traveling exhibit from the George Eastman House commemorating the 150th anniversary of “Mr. Lincoln’s War.” The traveling exhibit presents a selection of facsimile photographs of historical Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner.

Mounted as a traditional exhibition, Between the States is divided into sections that address points of interest from photographic history and civil war events. These sections include Gardner’s Sketchbook, Brady’s Album Gallery, Civil War Personalities, Portraits of Soldiers, The CSS Alabama, and The Lincoln Conspiracy.

Cummings Gallery Summer Hours: Monday- Friday, 11am-4pm
For more information call (814) 824-2092.

 

 

Erie Cemetery Association’s Online Interment Database

The Erie Cemetery Association manages three separate cemeteries in Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania:

  • Erie Cemetery, 2116 Chestnut Street, Erie
  • Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery, 2601 Norcross Road, Erie
  • Laurel Hill Cemetery, 4523 Love Road, Erie

The plan for a private, non-denominational cemetery in Erie was hatched in 1846, when a handful of residents offered to, at their own expense, purchase an appropriately sized piece of land; however, it did not officially get underway until December 1849, when a larger group of local citizens agreed to purchase seventy–five acres for $7,500. [1]

Those acquainted with Erie’s early history will no doubt recognize the names of some of the area’s earliest and best known pioneer families among the list of thirty–one subscribers who contributed financially to the project:

$100 each
C.M. REED
George A. ELIOT
William HIMROD
H.CALDWELL
George A. LYON
Elisha BABBITT
A.W. BREWSTER
J.A. TRACY
J.C. SPENCER
Joseph M. STERRETT
J.H.WILLIAMS
M. COURTRIGHT
Irvin CAMP
C.M. TIBBALS
William NICHOLSON
William A. BROWN
J.C. MARSHALL
B.B. VINCENT
T. G. COLT
P. ARBUCKLE
James SKINNER
S. JACKSON
P. METCALF
John HUGHES

$50 each
John GALBRAITH
P.E. BARTON
William KELLEY
F. SCHNEIDER
William W. REED
M.W. CAUGHEY
Walter CHESTER

Some additional contributors:
Mrs. R.S. REED, $50
John EVANS, $50
M.B. LOWRY, $50
J.C. BEEBE, $25
Thomas H. SILL, $25
John P. VINCENT, $25
John MOORE, $25
Andrew SCOTT, $10

On 29 January 1850, the cemetery was incorporated, and shortly thereafter the incorporators elected a board of seven managers: Charles M. REED, George A. ELIOT, William KELLEY, John GALBRAITH, Elisha BABBITT, William HIMROD, and A.W. BREWSTER. That seven in turn elected officers: George A. ELIOT, President, William A. BROWN, Secretary, and J.C. SPENCER, Treasurer. The group was granted deed on the land with a down payment of $1,500 and the understanding that the remaining $6,000 balance owed would be raised through the sale of burial lots.

H. Daniels was hired to design the grounds and the cemetery opened for business 20 May 1851.

Map of the Erie Cemetery Lots

Reprinted with the kind permission of Erie Cemetery Association

Reprinted with the kind permission of Erie Cemetery Association

The association’s website has some interesting information about the history of the cemetery, and biographies of some of its more famous residents. There is a searchable index of interments, although the burial records themselves are not accessible online.

To illustrate the detail available on the cemetery association’s website, I searched the interment index for records related to the Nicholson family, one of the earliest to settle in West Millcreek and Fairview. A sampling of information the search produced:

 

Name

Lot

Additional Details

Birth

Death

Nicholson Dr. John

17

H

09/02/1830

08/01/1862

Nicholson Eliza Jane

17

H

4.5′ W of NE cor Hd N

03/23/1894

Nicholson George

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds 3/25/1852

01/24/1834

Nicholson George Sheldon

1

H

03/29/1854

10/26/1856

Nicholson Henry C.

1

H

Inner circle, E line, Hd E

11/25/1903

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds 3/27/1852

12/07/1847

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Reint fr Assoc Reform Grounds 6/22/1854

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Inner crcl abt 4.5′ W of Alex’s stone, Hd SW

01/13/1899

Nicholson Jane Ball

1

H

12/10/1850

08/16/1853

Nicholson John

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds

04/26/1845

Nicholson John E.

17

H

12/23/1797

01/01/1864

Note: Some of the NICHOLSONs listed above died before the cemetery was established. The family, quite affluent in their community, purchased a large lot and had the remains exhumed from their original resting places and re-interred in the family lot. I suspect they were not the only family to do so.

[1] Samuel P. Bates, History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: containing a history of the county, its townships, towns, villages, schools, churches, industries, etc., portraits of early settlers and prominent men, biographies, history of Pennsylvania, statistical and miscellaneous matter, etc., etc.. (Chicago: Warner & Beers, 1884), 605-6.