Sunday, June 4, 2017

NCCHP Archives and Genealogy Research

It has been over two years since the Archives Project kicked off in earnest. It has taken that long just to construct archives storage facilities, collect records, do a preliminary cleaning, get them organized, and re-boxed in archival containers. During that process we stumbled across some amazing documents. In the years ahead we will be reviewing the material itself in much more detail.

One of our very pleasant discoveries is the amount of material that relates to family histories, including handwritten payroll records dating from the 1880's, "Age and Schooling Certificates" required by law for underage workers, newspaper articles, and so on. We will be working to have this material digitized and made available on line.

As an example we researched the Age and Schooling Certificate for Fred Rowley:

Age and Schooling Certificate (NCCHP Archives, Genealogy Collection)
By combining information on the Certificate with information available on, we learned that Fred's father William filed a Last Will and Testament in June 1893, months after signing the form that would allow his son to go to work at the age of 14. William died in August 1893 of tuberculosis. By putting these puzzle pieces together we can make a reasonable assumption that Fred wasn't going to work in November 1892 because he was on summer break. It was because his father was ill and the family would likely depend on Fred's income to help pay bills and offset the loss of his dad's income. Suddenly the story becomes much more meaningful and provides far more insight on the circumstances of one Granville family.

We believe that every Age and Schooling Certificate (and there are many) has a story and is a valuable part of Granville's community and family histories. They are another fascinating way in which NCCHP "keeps the drumbeat of history" alive.

Stay tuned to the blog for announcements later in 2017 regarding the availability of NCCHP's genealogy collection on line.

And what became of Fred, you ask? He lived a long and happy life, eventually moving from Granville to East Longmeadow. Here he is with two of his grand-kids. Good job, Fred.