Inside the April Issue of The NYG&B Record

The April issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is out and available for NYG&B members to read online. 

The second issue of Volume 152 is packed with useful and fascinating articles. This blog will preview each article in the issue and contains the full "Editor's View" column—a wonderful introduction to each issue written by Editor of The Record, Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS. Enjoy!

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The Editor's View

As newcomers to genealogy, we are usually advised to “start at home” by asking questions and by examining documents and artifacts in family hands. Occasionally, privately held materials supply information that is unavailable elsewhere. Years ago, Helen Shaw received a family Bible record for her ancestor John Shaw. Born in Lisbon Center, New York, he married twice and died in Ohio.

For more than two decades Helen immersed herself in studying the life and records of Shaws in St. Lawrence County, New York, where Lisbon Center is located. She traveled to archives and libraries near her ancestor’s birthplace. She visited churches, cemeteries, and the offices of the county clerk and the town historian. Based on clues about military service, Helen hired a researcher to retrieve records from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. As her work progressed, she regularly corresponded with and spoke to experts and local officials to better understand the evidence and to obtain images of relevant records. Through her extensive research and analysis, Helen identified John’s parents and siblings.

John Beatty’s investigation into the origins and descendants of the brothers William and Thomas Becraft did not benefit from a document in his family’s possession, but the Québec marriage record for the brothers’ parents offered enlightening details. John traced family members through records of Canada, Connecticut, England, Massachusetts, and New York. He used sources online, in books, and in person. John’s genealogical study resolves a conflict about the name of the brothers’ paternal grandfather and documents multiple generations of the brothers’ families.

As the world enters its second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, genealogists continue to face an uncertain future. Some repositories and libraries are closed. Others are open but with restrictions on hours and access. Individuals may be hesitant to travel. Response time for mailed requests may be slower than usual due to limited staff and added inquiries. Now may be the ideal time to write about completed projects. May Helen Shaw, John Beatty, and all the authors whose work appears in this issue be your inspiration. 

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS

William Shaw of Lisbon, St. Lawrence County, New York, and His Family

By Helen A. Shaw, CG

In 1801, William Shaw became one of the first settlers of the Town of Lisbon. He married twice and his children left Lisbon throughout their lifetime, which has prompted research of William Shaw’s family. Lisbon was in Oneida County in 1801, which was then briefly incorporated into Clinton County until it became a part of St. Lawrence County in 1802. 

These shifting boundaries—common to many New York research problems—impact the local records the author had to obtain to find evidence of the Shaw’s and their relationships.  

  • Time Period: 1800s 
  • Locations: St. Lawrence County, Oneida County, Clinton County
  • Sources: Tax records, deeds, town meetings records, censuses, religious record, and court minutes (among others)

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The Origin and Families of the Brothers William and Thomas Becraft of New York’s Albany, Schoharie, Columbia, and Greene Counties 

By John D. Beatty, CG

William and Thomas Beatty were the sons of an English father, and a mother who was captured and left in Quebec during the Deerfield Raid of 1704. William and Thomas’ other siblings were captured along with their mother too. This article uses a variety of sources to document the growth of the Becraft family in New York State while analyzing the family’s English and French Canadian origins. 

  • Time Period: 1700s
  • Locations: Albany County, Schoharie County, Columbia County, Greene County
  • Sources: Wills, parish registers, baptism records, marriage records, and burial records (among others)

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Alexander Koon (About 1807-1865) of Ulster and Orange Counties, New York: His Parents, Siblings, and Children (continued)

By Joan de Vries Kelley

In 1790-1850 censuses, enslaved people and other household members were counted as tick marks.

These tick marks serve as reference points but, as the author states, “[t]ick marks are hardly conclusive evidence.” Although this evidence does not solve the problems researchers encounter in African American genealogy, a tick mark has its use in showing that African Americans were present “in a place, a time, and a household.” This information can lead to other, more substantial sources. The search for Alexander Koon and his family in the Hudson Valley exemplifies this approach, and may serve as a valuable guide for researchers investigating facing similar challenges. 

This installment is part two of a serialized article: 

A comprehensive genealogical summary is continued in this article.

  • Time Period: 1800s   
  • Locations: Ulster County, Orange County
  • Sources: Land records, probate records, town records, military records, birth, marriage and death records (among others)

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The Family of Salomon Schut of Kingston and Livingston Manor, New York (concluded)

By Michael Rudy

According to the author, there have only been mentions of Salomon and his children. One article written by Audrey Van Leuven listed Salomon Schut and his children, but only one son was carried forward in the article. Two Schut daughters who married two Schouten brothers were further discussed in a 1985 Record article titled, “Symon Schouten and His Family.” Rudy contributes to the work left by others by tracing “Salomon’s male children and their offspring.” This installment is part two of a serialized article: 

A comprehensive genealogical summary is continued in this article.

  • Time Period: 1600s, 1700s
  • Locations: Ulster County, Greene County, Columbia County
  • Sources: Baptismal and marriage records, tax lists, town records (among others) 

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Ackersons Across America: Descendants of John and Rachel (Lowe) Ackerson in New York and California(continued)

By Harold Henderson, CG

Harold Henderson researched Rachel (Lowe) Anderson whose records did not include the names of her parents. Rachel was John Ackerson’s wife and relevant evidence regarding her is limited along with those of her children and grandchildren. The author takes this article as an opportunity to address this genealogical problem. This is part three of a serialized article:

A family overview and a comprehensive genealogical summary are included in this installment.

  • Time period: 1800s  
  • Locations: New York, California, England
  • Sources: Wills, censuses, death records, baptismal records (among others)

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Who was the Jacksons’ Adopted Niece? An Original Census Record Offers a Clue (continued)

By Karlene Howell Ferguson, CG

Previous researchers found Thomas and Sarah (Wood) Jackson adopted their nephew and niece, but the adoption of Thomas Jackson Howell and Elizabeth Howell contains a sense of mystery. According to the author, only Thomas’ “informal adoption'' has reliable documentation. However, Elizabeth’s adoption does not. Building on that previous research, the author uses the Orange County copy of the 1850 census and a genealogical summary of Vincent Wood’s children and grandchildren to look for clues. This installment is part two of a serialized article:

A family overview and a comprehensive genealogical summary are included in this installment.

  • Time period: 1800s  
  • Locations: Orange County
  • Sources: Censuses, court records, probate records birth, marriage, and death records (among others)

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Deeds to the Rescue: Finding Jacob Lauck’s Descendants (continued)

By Amanda Wright Julian

Amanda Wright Julian's article expands on Henry Z Jones Jr.’s The Palatine Families of New York that identified Jacob Laucks and his family. Peter Laucks—Jacob Laucks’ son—inherited his father’s land and the records that land produces over the course of a person’s lifetime can provide important information without having to rely on baptismal and death records. These types of records were pivotal in finding Jacob Lauck’s descendants and expanding the work Jones had done on the Laucks family. This installment is part three of a serialized article: 

A comprehensive genealogical summary is included in this installment.

  • Time period: 1700s, 1800s
  • Locations: Dutchess County, Columbia County
  • Sources: Land records/deeds, mortgage documents, tax lists, death records, baptismal records (among others)

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