Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Historical Societies

     The Dutchess County Historical Society has let me down twice.  I called them to ask if they might know what school my grandmother's brothers attended in the mid-late 1930's in Poughkeepsie, NY and if the records still existed where I might find them.  I know where they lived but don't know which schools were in existence back then.  The man who answered the phone told me that they didn't have those records.  I didn't ask him if they had school records.  I asked where I might find them.  He didn't know.  Am I a glutton for punishment and aggravation?  I must be because I called this historical society again a few weeks later to inquire about hospital records.  My 2nd great-grandmother was a patient at the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane in Poughkeepsie, NY according to the Special Census on Deaf Marriages.  Flora Davis was 29 years old with two young children when she was a patient.  When was she admitted?  Why was she admitted?  Will I ever find out?  I'll call the mental health department to see if they can assist with locating the records.  I had taken a genealogy class a few months ago offered by the Dutchess County Historical Society.  The woman who taught the class seemed knowledgeable yet the man who answered the phone didn't know anything.  He told me that they have pictures and the history of this hospital but no hospital records and he didn't know where I could find records if they exist.  I didn't want to call the Dutchess County Historical Society but I didn't know who else to call.  I had called two local hospitals but they couldn't help.  I never thought to call the mental health department because I made these calls from work while I was on my lunch break and didn't have much time.  Let's hope I have no need for this society anytime in the near future.
     The lovely lady who works/volunteers at the Ulster County Historical Society is wonderful.  I had called with questions about the Rock School in Rifton, NY and it's teacher.  This woman not only answered questions about the one room schoolhouse and my 2nd great-grandmother's cousin who taught in this school but she mailed me a large envelope filled with information about the school, it's history and Anna Devine, my 2nd great-grandmother's cousin who had a school named in her honor.  One of these days I'll have to visit this historical society.
     The Ohio Historical Society is another very helpful society unlike the Dutchess County Historical Society who has people answering the telephone but unable to answer my questions.  My maternal grandmother's father, Samuel was born in Ohio.  Samuel's mother was also an Ohio native but his father was originally from NY.  When I found out that my great-grandfather, Samuel Davis had attended a reform school as a young teenager I looked this school up on the internet.  I was directed to the Ohio Historical Society's website where I found a history of this school and a list of names. I called the historical society to inquire about ordering my great-grandfather's school records.  The woman I spoke to was very friendly and very helpful.  I mailed my check and received a copy of young Samuel Davis' school records and the history of the school. It was very interesting.
     I have not joined any historical/genealogical societies yet because I don't have the extra money at this time and can't attend any meetings due to my work schedule.
     One of these days I'll become a member.

*while looking up the link to the Dutchess County Historical Society I found the website for the genealogical society.  When I called the historical society that clueless young man told me it was one and the same yet I just found two different websites.  This is why I shouldn't look up telephone numbers while on break at work.

Dutchess County Genealogical Society  http://dcgs-gen.org/
Dutchess County Historical Society  http://dutchesscountyhistoricalsociety.org/
Ulster County Genealogical Society   http://ucgsny.org/index.html
Ohio Historical Society  http://www.ohiohistory.org/

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