Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"New England Ancestors" came today

The Summer 2009 issue (volume 10, number 3) of New England Ancestors, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, came today and I enjoyed reading the articles about settling western New York.

There are three articles, each with wonderful information for the researcher with ancestors that moved from New England to western New York before 1820 or so. The articles include:

1) "Retracing a Vermont Family's Migration to the Holland Purchase " by Julie Foster Van Camp. Julie has portions of Albro Foster's journal which details the daily travels of his family's journey from Middletown VT to Willink (now Concord), Erie County, NY in 1811. The article adds much historical and local detail.

2) "The Records of the Holland Land Company in Western New York" by Karen E. Livsey. This article describes the transition of the land in western New York from when it was first bought by the Holland Land Company in 1804 until 1835. The records available, and the repositories that have them, are documented in this article.

3) "Genesee Fever: The Lure of Land on the New York Frontier" by Marian Henry. This article described the history of the land in western New York from the Revolutionary War until about 1825.

The cover of the magazine has a great township map of western New York showing all of the counties and townships of the Holland Land Company, the Morris Reserve and the Phelps and Gorham Purchase.

Why do I care about this? My 4th great-grandparents, Amos and Mary (Metcalf) Underhill moved from Piermont, Grafton County, NH to Aurora, Erie County, NY in around 1810. They resided there during the War of 1812 because Amos served in the United States Army during the War.

My best guess is that they traveled much of the same roads or paths, in much the same way - walking and with an ox team pulling a wagon - as Albro Foster and his family did. They probably bought land in Aurora from the Holland Land Company and there are probably records of that purchase. Now I have a lead to follow to find those records, including some FHL microfilm numbers. There are several websites too with some of the information.

I love it when genealogy periodicals provide articles that apply to my own research and that of my colleagues! Articles like this make my membership in NEHGS very worthwhile.

The NEHGS seems to be making a concerted effort to provide more articles on upstate New York. This is logical, since many New England residents migrated to many New York counties after the Revolutionary War.

Do you have western New York ancestors from this time period? If so, you will want to read these articles when your New England Ancestors issue comes to your mailbox, or to a genealogy library near you.

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