Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

A Liberty Loan Primer, 1918

In Lewiston Public Library, World War I on January 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

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The forgotten ones

In Family Scrapbook, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York, Who Do You Think They Are? on January 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm

We all have those boxes of photographs…the ones that grandma left behind.   The ones that no one knows anything about.  Who are they?  We recognize faces and expressions as if they are our own and see these lost souls in our children’s eyes.

Patricia DiNieri asked if I would share her forgotten ones.  There are a few notations on the backs of her photographs but often the notations only provide more mystery.

Let us know if you recognize anyone.  She feels that most of these photographs are of people related to the Scalzo or Critelli families and many of them were probably taken in Gimigliano, Italy.  These people are most likely related to the Scalzos of Niagara Falls, New York.

And, please, send me JPEGs of your own “forgotten ones” to include on this blog.  Maybe we can finally bring them back to life.



Critelli and Cubello

Joseph Critelli and Lena Cubello?


Possibly Fred Scalzo on right, his father on left. They last lived in Akron, Ohio.


Fred Scalzo?






Qui êtes vous?

In Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Local Events on January 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm
bill and pete

William Siener and Peter Ames

Have you ever pondered those age-old questions? Where did you actually come from? Who were your ancestors? Qui êtes vous? Many people do and there are those who have made it their mission to uncover the answers to these questions. They are people like Peter Ames and William Siener, Ph.D.
On Wednesday, January 15, at 7:00pm, the Lewiston Public Library will present the American premier of the popular French-Canadian genealogy television program, Qui êtes vous? The program, quite similar to its American counterpart, Who Do You Think You Are?, chronicles various family history mysteries relating to national celebrities. This particular episode, which will be presented at the library, covers the search for answers to a family story involving Canadian television and film actress, Marina Orsini. Orsini, who is best known for her role in the television series, Lance et Compte, a hockey saga seen by English-speaking viewers in Canada as, He Shoots! He Scores!, has starred in a number of films and has received numerous awards. Her main quest in the program is to trace her family’s Scottish and Italian roots. As part of the process she wanted to find the truth behind the mysterious death of her great grandfather, Harold Edwin Young, who had lived for a time in Buffalo, New York. This is precisely when it became necessary for the program’s producers to connect with the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and to bring in local experts, Ames and Siener.
Peter Ames and William Siener, who happen to be cousins, are both deeply involved in researching the history of the area. Ames, a family history researcher, is well-known throughout the Niagara area for his work at historic Oakwood Cemetery, for organizing the preservation of local church records and for assisting people in their personal quest for genealogical answers—just to name a few of the projects he is currently working on. Incidentally, Ames’ late father, Donald Ames, was the Youngstown village historian during the 1990’s. Ames’ cousin, William Siener, is also involved with our local history. He was executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for 20 years, after serving in a similar position in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and as Curator of History at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. After retiring, he helped catalog the local history collection at the Niagara Falls Public Library.
Working together, they were able to help Orsini reconstruct the last moments of her great grandfather’s life. Young, who had originally lived in Canada, resided in Buffalo during the Prohibition years. Employed as a truck driver, his official job was to deliver ice. However, a family legend maintains that he had been involved with bootlegging and entangled in an extramarital affair—which resulted in his untimely death at the hand of the angry husband. No one was ever able to substantiate the family legend until Ames and Siener located the necessary documentation that would prove if the stories had any truth to them. After obtaining the coroner’s report from Lackawanna the verdict was pretty obvious. Ames and Siener presented their research to Orsini in the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Library and at the Saturn Club, also in Buffalo. Orsini, was very grateful for their meticulous work and for helping her to understand the circumstances of her great grandfather’s death.
The public is welcome to learn the truth of the story behind the mysterious death of Harold Edwin Young during the episode’s premier at the Lewiston Library. Please note that most of the program is in French and Italian. The sections highlighting Peter Ames and William Siener are in English.

Happy Birthday to the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library on January 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

new years

On New Year’s Day, 1901, the Lewiston Public Library was born. Under the direction of president Dr. George S. Hobbie and library committee chairman, J. Boardman Scovell, the Men’s Club held a “Grand Social Festival and Library Reception” at Moss Hall (the present day Lewiston Opera Hall location). Everyone was invited to come and to register as a member. Each person who attended was also required to donate a book. Some brought as many as 20 volumes. One particular lady from Niagara Falls donated one hundred books. It was a spectacular event. Even Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was invited. Although he was unable to attend he did send an autographed copy of his book on Oliver Cromwell. This book is now on display in the Frieda

T roosevelt         oliver cromwell       oliver cromwell book

Bourgon Local History Room alongside books written and signed by many of our presidents.

When the Lewiston Free Library officially opened in its original location at 469 Center Street later that year, things were quite different than they are today. Library hours in the library and reading room were from 2 to 5 every day and 7:30 to 9 every evening, “…Sundays and holidays excepted…” Borrowers could only draw two books and a time “…and not more than one of fiction…” for two weeks at a time.

According to the library’s first annual report, the library opened with 2, 375 books and 459 registered borrowers. The first title in the Accession book is Jo’s Boys, by Louisa May Alcott. It was most likely a donation. It is still in our collection, although in a special place behind a locked cabinet in the Local History Room.

Jo's boys                                    Jo's boys2

Along with being a place to read and borrow books, patrons were encouraged to use the building as a meeting place for friends, as well as a place to write letters. The first librarian, Miss Mary Marguerite Wright, was just a young girl when she took on the position. She went on to become a screenwriter and an activist in several causes during the early 1900’s. It was said that during her stint as head librarian she was “at all times ready and willing to advise borrowers in selecting suitable books for home reading, or to aid reference work or study.” But special attention was paid “to the children.”

first annual report

The Lewiston Public Library is proud to celebrate its 113th birthday this January.