Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for the ‘Niagara County’ Category

Stories from Niagara’s rich ethnic past told in “Melting Pot”

In Coming to America, Irish Americans, Niagara County, Niagara Falls, Polish Genealogy, Recipes, The African Americans of Niagara Falls, The Armenians of Niagara Falls, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York, The Polish of Niagara Falls, Tradtional Ethnic Costumes, Uncategorized on July 18, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Melting Pot; Niagara’s rich ethnic heritage

By Michelle Ann Kratts, Lewiston Public Library

BookCoverPreview (2)

I will always see Niagara Falls as a delicious melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions. In fact, just last summer, I found myself at an international crossroads while sitting on a bench at the State Park. It seemed the world passed me by as I snacked on an ice cream cone. Women strolled by wearing colorful Indian saris or Middle Eastern hijabs. Men presented themselves with Hasidic tendrils or donning Sikh turbans. My ears discerned voices speaking every manner of language imaginable. I could even smell the traditional spices of the world’s cuisines mix and mash with the rising mist as these men and women marveled at the brink of the great cataract.  Some things never change.

Niagara Falls is a great American story. Throughout the years we have nurtured a sacred tradition in which we have welcomed and embraced people from every corner of the world. Our history includes the stories of brave refugees of war, genocide and famine. So many came to Niagara Falls to make a new start. At the dawn of the past century and for many decades afterwards, the factories and the railroads brought in thousands of much-needed workers and their families. They came from the cotton fields of the Deep South, from depression-ravaged towns. Some came from exotic countries– utterly desperate souls– and occasionally with only false papers, as they would never have been allowed in the lawful way. They crowded onto sea vessels with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They said their last farewells to their loved ones and to their homelands—and most often, never again stepped foot on the land of their ancestors. Niagara Falls was the last hope for so many.

BLONEVA

Our new book, Melting Pot; Niagara’s rich ethnic heritage, published by the Lewiston Public Library, is a celebration of these people and their stories. Over the past few years, as the local history librarian, I have collected the stories of our immigrant ancestors for the purpose of sharing their struggles, as well as their triumphs. As you read through the narratives, you will see that oftentimes great hardships precipitated remarkable achievements. Despite differences in ethnicity, these Niagarans shared common housing, jobs, and churches and even married into each other’s families. They shared meals with one another and learned bits and pieces of each other’s languages and traditions. They crafted businesses out of what they did best and introduced our area to unique foods, music and customs. They also valiantly fought prejudice and bigotry whenever it arose—from the violent threats of the Ku Klux Klan to racist intimidations from unkind neighbors.

front cover one

Novak Family at Ellis Island 

Some of the personal stories mentioned include insightful histories of African Americans in Niagara Falls. Exquisitely written by Dr. Michael Boston, assistant professor of African American Studies at Brockport, and a trailblazer and researcher of Western New York African American history, these chapters highlight the importance of “family” as well as leadership in the African American community at Niagara Falls.  Our friend, Bill Bradberry, a Niagara Falls Gazette columnist and the chair of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Corporation, as well as the winner of the Civil Rights Achievement Award in January of 2017, opens the book with a poignant and nostalgic look back in time at the multiculturalism present in individual neighborhoods throughout Niagara Falls.

Other stories in Melting Pot include: the brave and invincible Armenians, heroes and heroines, who defied all odds before coming to our city; the industrious Germans, who dominated local industry and business; the story of coalmining Italians who ventured into Niagara Falls from a dismal life in Pennsylvania; Polish tales of hardship at Ellis Island, and lost connections with the Old Country; the children of Spanish immigrants who had worn the customary clothes of Spain to American schools; the ancient Ukrainian tradition of the painted Easter eggs, or pysanky; and recipes from a war bride from Wales. Many of our Irish stories were submitted by the local chapter of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Another Irish chapter, written by Niagara Gazette columnist, Don Glynn, reveals a modern day friendship with ties to the Lynch and Buttery families. Yet another tells the story of St. Mary’s Church.  Melting Pot also contains precious family recipes, collected and written with great care, family photos and nostalgic news clippings.

Sdao children (3)

Sdao Family      

The front cover of Melting Pot proudly displays the marriage of Lithuanian born Zygmont Puisys and Ursula Anna Zugzda at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in 1912.  Ursula, an orphan, had been raised in a church rectory in Igliauka, Mirijampole, Lithuania.  It was said that Zygmont had “escaped” his homeland under a hail of gunfire. Their story is representative of how many of our Niagara Falls stories begin…with despair and gunfire.

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                                                              Puisys-Zugzda Wedding 

Melting Pot; Niagara’s rich ethnic heritage will be available at the Book Corner, located at 1801 Main Street in Niagara Falls,    and through Amazon.com. We welcome any new family stories for future volumes.

 

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Holy Ghost Cemetery

In Bergholz, Cemetery Plots, Niagara County, Niagara Deaths, Town of Niagara historian on June 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm
Photo Courtesy Findagrave

Photo Courtesy Findagrave

 

Holy Ghost Cemetery

The following includes burials at Holy Ghost Cemetery, Bergholz, Niagara County.

Courtesy Town of Niagara historian, Dorothy Rolling.

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.

http://sawyercreek.net/history_page.html

First Presbyterian Church, Niagara Falls, New York

In Baptisms, Churches, Niagara County, Niagara Falls on February 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Church-Members

Baptisms-1826-1836

Baptisms

Account-of-Donations

Lewiston, New York, Deaths 1882-1898

In Deaths, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara County, Niagara Deaths on February 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Buried-at-Bergholz

Buried-at-Budd

Buried-at-Cambria-Center

Buried-at-Chestnut-Ridge

Buried-Dickersonville

Buried-Dysinger

Buried-Filmore-Chapel

Buried-Glenwood

Buried-Hosmer

Buried-at-Martinsville

Buried-Newfane

Buried-Niagara-University

Buried-North-Ridge

Buried-Pekin

Buried-at-Ransomville

Buried-at-Royalton

Buried-at-Shawnee

Burial-at-Walmore-1882-1898

Buried-Walmore-II

Buried-at-Wrights-Corner

Burial-Not-Stated

Tuscarora-Deaths-1882-1898

 

 

 

Microfilm Available at the Lewiston Public Library

In Deaths, Irish Americans, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Microfilm, Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Niagara Deaths, Niagara Falls, Official Records of Niagara County, Polish Genealogy, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York, The Polish of Niagara Falls, Town of Lockport on February 5, 2014 at 12:41 am

Microfilm at Lewiston Public Library

Yearbooks are always fun….

In Amherst, LaSalle, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Niagara Falls, School Days, Yearbooks, Youngstown on June 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

LaSalle yearbook

Over the past few years the Jon F. Popkey Genealogy Room at the Lewiston Public Library has amassed dozens of vintage yearbooks. As all good genealogists know, a yearbook is a treasure to behold. Along with photographs, we can get a little glimpse into the everyday lives of the area in which our ancestors lived. There are histories of the schools and pieces about individual students and faculty members. Sometimes we get lucky and find even more. We hope you will consider donating yours (or thinking of us when you find them at yard sales). Thank you to Amy Wall for donating the LaSalle Junior and Senior High School yearbook from 1946. It is our first yearbook from LaSalle!

Below is a list of the yearbooks (and one alumni directory) we have on hand in the Genealogy Room:

Albright College (Pennsylvania) Alumni Directory: 1998
Amherst Central High School: 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1940
Bishop Duffy (Niagara Falls): 1963, 1964, 1965
DeVeaux School (Niagara Falls) : 1953
LaSalle Junior and Senior High School (Niagara Falls): 1946
Lewiston Union School: 1947-1950
Lewiston Porter: 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986,1988, 1992, 1995, 1998
Niagara Catholic (Niagara Falls); 1984
Niagara Falls High School: 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940
Niagara University: 1963, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1999
North Junior High School (Niagara Falls): 1927, 1928
St. Bonaventure University (Allegany, New York): 1969

Come and check them out or contact us for lookups at:
genealogygenies@gmail.com

New York State Genealogical Research Index

In Digital Collections, Genealogy Websites, Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Niagara Deaths, Official Records of Niagara County on June 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

For New York State Deaths, 1957-1963, look no further than the New York State Genealogical Research Index, 1957-1963.
Please note that this does not include New York City.
https://health.data.ny.gov/Health/Genealogical-Research-Death-Index/vafa-pf2s

Other New York Online Death Indexes may be found at the following website:
http://deathindexes.com/newyork/index.html

Obtaining Genealogical Records in the State of New York

In Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Official Records of Niagara County on May 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

If you are interested in obtaining birth, marriage or death records in the state of New York for Genealogical purposes you must follow the procedures, rules and regulations described in:

“Title 10 of the Health Commissioner Rules and Regulations, Title: Section 35.5-Genealogical research; method of disclosure; searches”

NY State Regulations

For Births–You may only request records on file for 75 years following a person’s death
“No information shall be released from a record of birth unless the record has been on file for at least 75 years and the person to whom the record relates is known to the applicant to be deceased”

For Deaths–You may only request records that have been on file for at least 50 years
“No information shall be released from a record of death unless the record has been on file for at least 50 years…”

For Marriages–You may only request a marriage record that has been on file for at least 50 years and both parties are known to be deceased
“No information shall be released from a record of marriage unless the record has been on file for at least 50 years and the parties to the marriage are known to the applicatnts to be deceased”

For New York State genealogy records and resources check out the following:
http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/genealogy.htm

Fill out this application:
http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/forms/doh-4384.pdf

Mail your completed application to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section
Genealogy Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Village of Youngstown–Official Records of Niagara County

In Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Official Records of Niagara County, Youngstown on May 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Vital records are available for the village of Youngstown for the following years:

Birth–1847 to present
Marriage–1847 to present
Death–1847 to present
(Note: “One book of birth, death and marriage. Then there was a fire and we start again in 1886-present.”)

Address:
240 Lockport Street
P.O. Box 168
Youngstown, NY 14174

Website:
http://youngstownnewyork.us/departments/village-office

Email:
bjc@youngstownnewyork.us

Phone:
(716) 745-7721