THE EDITORS’ VIEW
Genealogists treasure relics of the past—artifacts and documents that help us envision our ancestors in their time and place. As beginners, we’re told that research should begin with the mementos and papers in our homes—items saved by us, our parents, our grandparents, and our extended family. Some of us will find very little, but others will be richly rewarded. This issue of The Record features articles created around letters, memoirs, Bibles, and clipping collections saved by families who valued their own stories enough to preserve the details of their lives.
James Snowden (1805–1869) was “an inveterate saver” of family memorabilia. His descendants were similarly inclined, leaving author Ron Hill with a treasure trove of letters, receipts, deeds, and account books. James’s and his wife’s letters provide insight into their daily life, their movements, and James’s never ending search for his next job. Like most workmen, James left few records. Without the letters, details of his life would be sparse indeed, and few clues would exist to his origin. With the letters, Hill could know his ancestor as a real person, as well as extend his ancestral line back to 1550 in England.
Dr. Elizabeth Kennard has contributed valuable information recorded by her Kennard ancestors. Men in three successive generations meticulously noted births, deaths, and marriages in their family Bibles. The man who inherited the most recent of the three Bibles expanded the family record with newspaper clippings of marriage and death notices, as well as annotations elucidating relationships; and shortly before his own death he penned a retrospect of his life in nineteenth-century New York City.
Researchers of Col. John Moore have a wealth of original material at their disposal. Terri O’Neill tracked down and researched family papers scattered across manuscript collections in several repositories, piecing together several generations of the Moore family. The collections include personal letters between parents and children, siblings, aunts and nieces, uncles and nephews. One of Col. Moore’s grandsons—also named John Moore—recorded several versions of his memoirs. His personal account of New York City and its environs during the American Revolution provides a vivid backdrop for the detailed information he recorded about Col. Moore’s children and grandchildren.
While these collections are most prized by descendants fortunate enough to find them, they are valuable to unrelated researchers as well. Snowden’s letters, for example, provide a glimpse into the lives of working-class families in early nineteenth-century New York. We may never be lucky enough to find letters, memoirs, or other personal accounts relating to our own families. But reading those left by people experiencing similar events in the same time period helps us visualize our ancestors in their world and see that world through their eyes.
Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG
Karen Mauer Green, CG
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The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record
VOLUME 143 NUMBER 3 - JULY 2012
JAMES SNOWDEN, STONECUTTER ON THE ERIE CANAL: PART 1—THE SNOWDEN LETTERS
contributed by Ronald A. Hill, PHD, CG, FASG
THE QUIT RENT ACTS OF 1786 AND 1787: A SAMPLE CERTIFICATE OF EXEMPTION
by Ken D. Johnson
COL. JOHN2 MOORE (1686–1749) OF NEW YORK CITY: MERCHANT, PUBLIC SERVANT, AND CHURCHMAN
by Terri Bradshaw O’Neill
SIR JOHN JOHNSON TO JELLIS FONDA: ACCOUNT OF EXPENSES FOR SURVEYING “LAND NEAR SCHOHARRY,” 1769–1772
contributed by Charles W. Wendell, PHD
KENNARD FAMILY BIBLES: KENNARDS IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, 1769–1952
contributed by Elizabeth Kennard, MD
STEFFEN ECKERS AND STYNTJE JANS SNEDEKER, PROGENITORS OF THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY ECKER/ACKER FAMILY, AND A RELATIONSHIP TO JOCHEM WOUTERS VAN WEERT
by Carolyn Nash, MS (concluded )
GERTRUDE BARBER, MINNIE COWEN, AND RAY SAWYER: THE SISTERS WHO INDEXED NEW YORK (concluded )
by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FASG, FGBS, FUGA
Leclerc. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, 5th edition.
Reviewed by Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, CG
Sykes. DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America.
Reviewed by Anita A. Lustenberger, CG, FGBS