Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for the ‘Library Programs’ Category

An Invitation Finds its Way Home

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Old Lewiston on April 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

It has been 104 years, but thanks to Cynthia Van Ness, Director of Library & Archives, Buffalo History Museum, an invitation has come home.
Finding this item in her collection at Buffalo to be either “a duplicate or a better geographic fit” for our collection at the Lewiston Public Library, Ms. Van Ness mailed an invitation to a celebration of the 178th anniversary of George Washington’s birth back to the Lewiston Public Library today.  The commemorative event was held at the historic Frontier House on Center Street on Tuesday evening, February 22, 1910.
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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.


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.

The Beautiful Lewiston Village Cemetery

In Cemetery Plots, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Niagara Deaths, Old Lewiston on June 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm

We did something unprecedented on Saturday, October 31, 2009. About a dozen people surveyed the lovely Lewiston Village Cemetery for 24 hours.
As the sun came up, as the day wore on, as the moon and stars filled up the night sky…we we there with cameras.
We captured one day in a cemetery and here it is for you to enjoy!

Have you ever wondered about your family history?

In Genealogy Gems, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs on May 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Genealogy Genies

Have you ever wondered about your family history? Are you stuck on a particular ancestor? Now is the time to find some answers.

Lewiston’s new “Genealogy Genies” are happy to lend their expertise and to help you break down those brick walls.

Sample questions include:

Where is my great great grandfather buried?

What is my great grandmother’s maiden name?

Who are my great great great grandparents?

Who were all my grandfather’s brothers and sisters?

Where in Italy are my grandparents from?

What did my great grandmother die from?

When did my ancestors first come to America?

Did my great great great great great grandfather fight in the American Revolution?

Where did my Uncle Joe live?

And soooo much more….

Please send an email to: genealogygenies@gmail.com

One request per email. Please provide the following information for each request:

**Your name

**Your Email/Phone number

**The specific information you are requesting

**Any details (please scan documents, etc., and email to us)

**All names and any dates

There is no charge. All work will be emailed. If you require hard copies there

will be postal fees and copy fees.

Genealogia Italiana… per i curiosi with Ellie Novara

In Library Programs, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Genealogia Italiana… per i curiosi  (Italian Genealogy… for the curious)

Join Ellie Novara, Saturday, March 2, at 1:00 pm at the Lewiston Public Library  for a working meeting where you can learn about Italian records available at the Ufficio di Stato Civile (Civil Vital Records). You will need to bring information on Italian ancestors you are researching such as surnames, dates, town, province, and region.  Everyone welcome…beginners too!

And if you think of it–bring photos or other interesting pieces from your Italian family history to be scanned and added to our blog.