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Monday, April 8, 2019

The Old Dutch Church (Kingston, New York)

by Denyce Cribbs

In my last post, I talked about finding The Salisbury Newsletter in our library’s surname files.  It’s a great example of family history newsletters that were printed and distributed before websites took over.  In the issue I was looking at (Summer 1996) there were several articles featuring The Old Dutch Church in Kingston, New York, which was first organized in 1659.  I found the church’s current website ( to learn more about its history:

Often referred to as “The Cathedral of Kingston,” the Old Dutch Church was a part of the Dutch Colonial village of Wiltwyck which was a trading outpost in the colony of New Netherland.  The original church structure, built on the present site in 1660, actually was one corner of the Stockade which Peter Stuyvesant ordered built as fortification.  Wiltwyck later became the village of Kingston after the British took over the colony and renamed it New York.  The original structure was largely destroyed by fire in the Esopus Indian raid of 1663.  Rebuilt and enlarged several times, the church was again burned during the American Revolution by British forces in October of 1777.

During the Revolution, the church, and its congregation, aligned itself with the rebel or patriot cause.  As a result, in November of 1782, Gen. George Washington visited the church.  A hand-written letter by Washington regarding his reception at the church is proudly on display in the Narthex of the church.  It is significant to note that during the entire eight years of the American Revolution, this was Washington’s only reference to a religious institution.

The present structure was designed by renowned architect Minard LaFever and was completed in 1852.  Constructed of massive cut, native bluestone, the imposing edifice is crowned with what was at one time the tallest steeple in New York State.  By city ordinance, no structure in Uptown Kingston can be constructed taller than the steeple of Old Dutch Church.  This has allowed for the unique historic character of Uptown Kingston to be preserved and our steeple stands a beacon which forms part of the skyline of the City of Kingston and can be seen, literally, for miles.

The church is the site of the Daughters of the American Revolution Memorial Day Ceremonies each year and is a focal point in the Annual George Clinton Recognition Day.  It also takes part in special events such as the re-enactment of the Burning of Kingston and Dutch Colonial Church Services.

In 2008, Old Dutch Church was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Federal government and in 2009 we celebrated our 350th Anniversary!  We are an active and open congregation with Sunday School and services weekly at 10:30 am.  We also have Choir, fellowship, arts series and mission & outreach to the local and global community.  We hope to continue to serve for another 350 years!

The Old Dutch Church also has a website dedicated to genealogical records (  Links lead to baptismal, marriage, and burial records, along with a Revolutionary Soldiers Burial list.  You may have ancestors tied to this church.  To aid your search, The Salisbury Newsletter I was looking at listed some of the first members of this church.  See if you are interested in any of these names:

Anthony Abrams, Nancy Abrams, Andries Bartel, Hendrick Breeze, William Buswell, Peter Dingman, Peter Fonda, Abraham Lansting, Dirick Hansen, Samuel Hitchcock, Hendrick Hollenbeck, John Holliday, Matthew Holliday, Thomas Mesick, Stephen Muller, Francis Ott, James Patten, Jacobus Salsbury, Jonathan Salsbury, Joseph Salsbury, John Schermerchon, Robert Scharp, Jeremiah Shane, Johannes Spoor, Christian Spring, Adam Tod, Benjamin Van deBerge, Cornelius Van Buren, Isaac Van der Poel, Jonathan T. Witbeck, Peter W. Witbeck, an Tobias Witbeck.

Happy Researching!!

The Salisbury Newsletter, Part I

by Denyce Cribbs

In looking through our library’s surnames files, I found many examples of family history newsletters.  Newsletters were a great way for people who had a common surname to keep in touch.  The newsletters all had similar features:  stories about ancestors, birth and death announcements, queries by readers who were trying to bust brick walls, old photos, and pedigree charts.  I pulled out one newsletter, in particular, called The Salisbury Newsletter, being published in Millville, MA, in 1996.  It caught my attention with its quotation under the family crest, “Old Genealogists Never Die, They Just Lose Their Census.”

This issue contained The Last Will and Testament of Augustus S. Salisbury, with a query by the contributor for more information.  According to her, there were no other death of cemetery records for this ancestor.  Another article described how the papers of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Harrison E. Salisbury had been donated to Columbia University.  There was an article about how to do tombstone rubbings (remember those) and an article about the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, New York, which I’ll talk about in my next post.  Especially interesting was a blurb called, Old Sarum, which I wondered if was published in every newsletter as it told the origins of the Salisbury name:

Salisbury’s history begins at Old Sarum, a desolate and uninhabited hill two miles north of the city (London) which was, up until the thirteenth century, a thriving town.  It was first settled in 300 B.C. by Iron Age tribesmen who built extensive earth works and developed it into a hill fort.  The town had a good strategic position with views over the sparsely vegetated plains down to the river Avon, and this obviously contributed to its development.  It is situated just eight miles south of Stonehenge which would also have made it attractive to early man. 
Old Sarum became a military town (Sorviodonum) during the Roman occupation but when this collapsed its development was temporarily halted and the town was abandoned.  It was reoccupied by the native Britons at this time. 
Soon after the Norman invasion of 1066 the town was renamed Salisberie and William I ordered the strengthening of the town’s defenses as well as the building of a wooden castle on the central mound.  In 1057 a cathedral was begun to the north of the castle.  Ultimatley, this forced the foundation of the modern city of Salisbury as there was insufficient acreage for the military and the clergy to share.

Of course, I was curious to find out what Old Sarum had to do with one of my favorite dishes, Salisbury steak.  According to Wikipedia, the term “Salisbury steak” has been in use in the United States since 1897.  The dish is named after an American physician, James H. Salisbury (1823-1905).  Salisbury served as a physician during the American Civil War, and became convinced that diarrhea suffered by the troops could be controlled with a diet of coffee and lean chopped beefsteak.  So there you have it.

Although you won’t find many family history newsletters that are printed and mailed out anymore, you will find many family websites, blogs, and forums that center around particular surnames, or regions of the world where family is from.  It’s a great way to keep in touch and add to your research!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Louisa Willden Pedigree Chart

For Wordless Wednesday, here is another Pedigree Chart that has been donated to the Lake Havasu Genealogical Society. Again, these charts were found at the old McCulloch Chainsaw Factory. A strange place to find such an item. As a way to help preserve this artifact, it is being posted here.

Therefore, what you see is what we got.

Since posting the previous Wordless Wednesday, I have discovered that Louisa Willden married William Burt. Louisa's Pedigree extended out so far that an additional page was created for those three branches.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Pedigree Chart

For Wordless Wednesday, we are posting a Pedigree Chart that has been donated to the Lake Havasu Genealogical Society. We were told that these charts were found at the old McCulloch Chainsaw Factory. A strange place to find such an item. As a way to help preserve this artifact, it is being posted here.

Therefore, what you see is what we got.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Lloyd Prestwich (Part 2)

by Denyce Cribbs

My last post was about Lloyd Prestwich, and how his niece had preserved an oral history of his life and transcribed it for future generations.  A couple of questions remained.  Lloyd mentioned that his parents had nine boys and two girls, but he only ever described eight boys including himself.  Had one of the boys died as a child??  I decided to look on Ancestry to see what else I could learn about the family.

The list here is what you can quickly find on Ancestry about George Prestwich, Sr.’s children.  Each person’s data is backed up by birth, death, marriage, and military records.  Even the missing child is shown on several Ancestry trees.  He is shown as Randall Prestwich (1889-1891), so indeed the ninth boy died in childhood.  What the Ancestry records can never get at is what these people were like as individuals, and how they were remembered by their family.  Margie Prestwich’s interview with her uncle (Leslie) Lloyd Prestwich, the transcription of which was donated to our library, sheds some light on these siblings’ individual personalities.  Read below for Lloyd’s descriptions in his own words.

My older brother, George, was a small man in size more like Mother.  He was a quiet person but had a great talent for carving and painting.  He would take a board about 12-14 inches wide, carve any kind of animal one desired, wild or tame, and then paint them.  These he usually made into comb cases and sold.  If he had lived where his work could have been displayed he could have easily have become famous in himself and made considerable money.

As I recall, my brother Wesley had his talents mostly in being a good farmer and having large well-matched teams of horses.  He won many pulling contests with his teams and he loved to have the harnesses decorated with celluloid, different colored rings, and silver buttons.

My brother Mert was foreman in the sugar mill and this and his family was his interest.  He kept a neat yard and garden at his home.
Ernest was a farmer and spent his time in this.  As for my sisters, they both married and beyond knowing they were good housekeepers, wives, and mothers, I can give no more detailed information.
Clarence was a hard worker, was wounded in WWI.  When he married, lived in Delta, Utah, where he ran a transfer trucking company.  He suffered sunstroke while working in the sun which caused his death.  He left a large family but one which worked and played together.  Under the guidance of their mother, they all received a good college education through family cooperation.
Newell, just older than I, was one of my mother’s favorites.  This perhaps because he was the most helpful with the housework.  He could do any of it, knew how to cook, sort the washing and other things usually pertaining to the housekeeping.  He was a gentle man, thoughtful and considerate at home and this carried over into his married life.  His wife became very crippled with arthritis so Newell in addition to his daily work at the mill, did most of the housework.  Newell was active in church work all his life. 
Osmer was younger than I was and, as the baby, was pampered more than any of the rest of us.  I had married and had my own home while he was still a teenager.  In his mature years he became an excellent electrician.
A year after I was married I was called to serve in WWI and returned home.  I soon went to work for the mill and then after a few months I got a job in Idaho Falls and moved there.  The work there was in the Preston E. Blair Auto Company as their service manager.
My brothers’ paths and mine didn’t cross too often after my marriage.  I remember them as all being honest hard-working people.  A family their parents could be proud of.
Mr. Lloyd Prestwich himself passed away in 1982 in California.  Many thanks to him and his family for sharing these rich memories of his “ordinary family.”  I hope you’ll consider interviewing your family members and preserving the memories of your heritage.

Lloyd Prestwich

by Denyce Cribbs

In going through our library’s surname files last summer, I was looking for stories that might be interesting to our members and others.  I indexed the list of names that we had files for, with most containing genealogies and records that could easily be found online these days.  But there were some gems, and I would like to share one of those here.
I came across the transcribed tape-recording that Lloyd Prestwich did with his niece, Margie, on 14 Nov 1974.  In the nine pages of the recorded interview, Lloyd describes his childhood in Utah, his later move to Idaho, and the memories he holds of his parents, his upbringing and his siblings.  Here he describes his recollection of his father, George Prestwich, Sr.

My earliest recollection of my parents was when we lived in Lehi, Utah.  I remember my father as a rather gentle man, not very prone to correct or abuse anyone.  I remember he was working on the railroad at the time and sometimes was away overnight.  Also, that occasionally he would let me go on the train with him, which went down a branch line.  I believe they called it the San Pedro Line at that time.  Many people who were on the train would give me candy and other things to me.  It was a treat.  I can vividly remember the beautiful curly hair he had which turned snow white in his later life but he never lost it.  He also had a mustache, which he took great pains to keep waxed and curled on the ends.  He was a happy man and had a hearty laugh.  He liked people.

Lloyd goes on to describe his life without indoor plumbing, working on the sugar beet farms in Idaho, playing baseball with his brothers and sisters, going to town dances as a teenager.  He describes his life as modest, but always with good food, shelter, clothes on their backs, and parents who loved them.  His story is rich with details that you could never get from a typical genealogy record.

Margie, I don’t know if this will be of any benefit to you but our life was the life of just an ordinary family.  Unless you are an artist or writer, it is difficult to take family situations like this and make them into any great importance.  Again I stress, we were just an ordinary family.  We did as most people in those days. We associated with people of our own age and, as far as the older people were concerned, there wasn’t much partying especially among those who were on the wage level of my parents.

Lloyd relates what happens to each of his siblings, and notes that he is the last one living at the time.  He stresses that he had a life well-lived.  Consider recording an interview with one of your relatives.  Their memories can provide a wealth of information that could be lost to time.  Tape recorders and tapes aren’t required anymore.  Affordable, small digital recording devices can be purchased which will hold the entire interview, so you can preserve both your loved one’s memories and voice.  It’s easy!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Early Christmas for Genealogy Society

Christmas came early for the Lake Havasu Genealogical society - but the gift did not come in a sleigh from the North Pole. It took a moving van from Arkansas to deliver the early Christmas Present.

Over 800 pounds of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and papers were unloaded from the moving van.

The donation of genealogy material came from Willie Lee Jones, 79, a seven-year resident of Lake Havasu City. Mrs. Jones is the widow of Edward Warren Jones who died October 5, this year (1996). Mrs. Jones donated the personal genealogy library of her sister, Jessye Ann (Welch) High, deceased, of Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Photo contributed by S Maurer, Dec 2004 to Jeanette Perrin Coaly, Coaly Orchard a Book written by Jessye Aggansas "Jessye Ann" Welch High.

a microfilm reader and several rolls of film were included in the shipment, along with over 200 hard cover reference books, files, manuscripts, loose papers and 21 large family history portfolios representing "work-in-process" materials.

When asked to place a value on the donation, society president Nelson "Woody" Woodell said it would be several months before everything is inventoried and we know what we have. "It is a gift worth several thousands of dollars," Woodell said.

Members of the society unpacked the shipment in the garage of Dale and Corinne Wise next to the location of the society's public genealogy library. Members sorting the materials would find an interesting book, sit down an start reading. "It took a long time to get things unpacked," said Corinne Wise. "I would look around and everyone was sitting down and reading - the unpacking and sorting became a very slow process," she said.

Willie Lee Jones made the donation to the local society in honor of her sister as a memorial, and Mrs. Jones said she wanted her sister's genealogy materials put to a good use.

Willie Lee Jones and Jessye Ann High are daughters of David Delbert Clinton Welch and Nancy Younger Oldham. The Welch family are descendants of President Thomas Jefferson.

Jessye Ann High had accumulated the genealogy materials and personal library as a life-lone serious genealogist. Her accumulation includes thousands of letters and vital record documents, stacks of notes, and loose sheets of paper. One of the items found in the shipment was a hand written copy of the 1890 census on lined three-ring notebook paper, over 4 inches thick.

Included in the microfilm are three rolls of the 1790 census, one roll of the 1810 North Carolina census and a rare Rowan County, North Carolina county court Docket Book for 1773-1800. Goodspeed's History of Pennsylvania is complete on three rolls of film. A roll of film on the 1890 special Census of Oklahoma and Indian Territories, and five rolls on the 1910 Oklahoma census were in the donation.

While many states are represented by the vital records books, most of the reference books are for Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Family surnames in the "work-in-process" portfolios include Bishop, Danney, Darwin, Heath, Jefferson, Markham, Maxey, McCallum/McCollum, Oldham, Shults/Shultz, Smith, Sullivan, Vickry, Walker, Widler/Wyler and Younger.

Librarian Gloria Harrington has the task of classifying the books and entering them in the card catalog file. The society operates its library on the Dewey Decimal system and the books will be numbered for location on the shelves. "Preserving and making the loose papers and materials available for researchers will be the biggest challenge," Mrs. Harrington said. "We need to organize this material so people can use it." she said.

"There was so much material - all packed in boxes - on the moving van, we don't know what we have" librarian Harrington said. Society members helping unload the 800 pound shipment were overwhelmed with the size and extent of this personal genealogy library.

The society is working with Willie Lee Jones on a suitable memorial for her sister. In addition to marking the donated books with a memorial book plate, the local society will be planning some other type of memorial for Jessye Ann High in its public library.

At the time of this article, the Genealogy Public Library was located in the Home of Dale and Corinne Wise's home at 2283 Holly. It's current location is 2126 N McCulloch Blvd, Suite 17 located in the Shambles Village of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.