Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

The Dead Beats Society at the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Obituaries, The Dead Beats Society on March 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

It all began with a book. A most unusual book: The Dead Beat, Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of  Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson.

the dead beat book

It is much more than a history of obituary-writing.  It is a touching tale of life and what we ultimately leave behind.  Johnson says that our obituaries are our last little outposts on Earth.

The newspaper people say that the obituary writers are “working the dead beat.”  As we were starting to get our genealogy group off the ground at the Lewiston Public Library the first thing we started with was organizing the obituaries that librarians from times past had kept in binders.  Everyone must realize how important obituaries are for genealogists!   Volunteers, Dick and Ellen Niles, came up with an ingenious system of manipulating a genealogy software program, The Master Genealogist, to something in which we could store our obituaries.  Thanks to their hard work we now have a database in our local history room which contains over 14,000 Niagara area obituaries.  We also decided to call our genealogy group the Dead Beats Society.

Volunteers continue to spend countless hours inputting data into this program.  Beverly Bidak and Maureen Weber took over the reigns after Dick and Ellen Niles moved away.  Today new members offer to help out as it is a never-ending task.  Volunteer, Peggy Salada, brings in obituary clippings and the others add them into the system.  I also bring in old obituaries found after scouring through the digital newspaper website, http://www.fultonhistory.com.  I have started at the beginning (Niagara Falls Gazettes from 1854) and one day will finally meet up to the present.

Maureen Weber and Kathy O'Connor work on inputting obituaries at the Lewiston Public Library

Maureen Weber and Kathy O’Connor work on inputting obituaries at the Lewiston Public Library

Patrons can request a look-up or may check out the program themselves.

The Dead Beats Society meets once a month and works on various genealogy projects including helping people break down those brick walls.

The book, The Dead Beat, Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson, is available at the Lewiston Public Library.


If you love to read old letters…

In Blogs, Old letters on March 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

…then you must check out this beautiful blog!
Spared & Shared 2 contains hundreds of old letters along with little stories about the letters, as well as photographs of the authors if they are available.


This may also be a good place to find some primary material on your own ancestors. In fact a little search on this site brought me to some Niagara Falls mentions, including the Porter family.


The ghost of a local landmark

In If This House Could Talk, Niagara County, North Tonawanda on March 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

In September of 1982, Patricia Dinieri took some pictures of an old building on the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Nash Road. Today it is the site of a local landmark, the Sawyer Creek Hotel. These scenes from 1982 may make you think of the ghost towns of the Old West.

Sawyer Creek pics from 1982 Patricia DiNieri


Here is a link to the restaurant’s website with some local history.


Niagara River Deaths

In Dangerous Waters, Deaths, Dorothy Rolling, Niagar a River, Niagara Deaths, Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls Gazette Deaths, Town of Niagara historian on March 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm
Vintage postcard, Niagara River.

Vintage postcard, Niagara River.











Niagara River Deaths


Courtesy Town of Niagara historian, Dorothy Rolling.

Military Veterans, Town of Niagara

In Dorothy Rolling, Korean War, Military Records, Town of Niagara historian, Veterans, Vietnam, World War II on March 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

V4victory 006

Military Veterans from Town of Niagara

Courtesy Town of Niagara historian, Dorothy Rolling.

Tuscarora Cemetery, Lewiston

In Cemetery Plots, Deaths, Dorothy Rolling, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara Deaths, Town of Niagara historian, Tuscarora History on March 17, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Stereoview by George Barker, Tuscarora woman at Niagara Falls

Stereoview by George Barker, Tuscarora woman at Niagara Falls

Courtesy Town of Niagara historian, Dorothy Rolling.

The following includes burials at the Tuscarora Cemetery, Lewiston:

Tuscarora Cemetery

Buon Appetito; the families of Niagara’s early Italian culinary traditions

In Niagara County Resources, Restaurants of Niagara Falls, Saloons, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on March 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Check out our new blog concerning Niagara’s early Italian families. We welcome comments, suggestions, additional stories and photos, etc.


Online Directories for Erie County Research

In Erie County on March 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm