Half-Shire Historical Society
September 19, 2008

The 36th Annual meeting of the Society was held on Saturday September 13, 2008. Following a chicken casserole meal served by Erma Schroeder and Nancy Meeks, the meeting was conducted with nearly two dozen members present. The slate of officers presented for the 2009-10 term was approved by a voice vote. Reelected were President Shawn Doyle, Vice President Greg Monette, Secretary George Widrig and Treasurer Mary Yerdon. Four trustee seats were also up for election with current officers succeeding themselves viz.: Florence Gardner, Albion; Ed Lescenski, Amboy; Rita Rombach, Boylston and Charlene Cole, trustee at large.
Newly updated bylaws were read for the third time and enacted also by voice vote. President Doyle thanked all of the officers and Trustees present for their time and dedication throughout the summer months at various events. Richland Trustee Erma Schroeder was singled out for her expert preparation of meals during monthly meetings, as well as at the various events that have taken place at the Richland facility throughout the summer.
The next meeting of the society will be on Saturday October 18, followed by a musical program. Research hours at Richland will continue through November 14, each Friday from 12-4pm. Other times are available by appointment. From November 21, through March 2009 the Richland building will be closed to conserve on heat, with family files and other materials relocated to the Richland Historians office, 2nd floor of the west wing of the H. Douglas Barclay Court House in Pulaski, where Friday research will be conducted from 12-4pm.
The Society was saddened to learn of the passing of Geraldine “Boots” Hall of Orwell. “Boots” was born in Redfield the daughter of Everett & Viola Simpson Balcom and lived her life in the Tug Hill region. She was married to the late Harley Hall of Osceola. She is survived by Surviving are three daughters and sons-in-law, Arlie and Howard Corday, of Charlton, MA, Sarah and Tom Clerkin, of Syracuse, IN, and Kate and Paul Bartlett, of Redfield; four sons and three daughters-in-law, Carney and Virginia Hall, of Florence, Daniel and Christine Hall, of Redfield, Jon and Theresa Hall, of Norwich, and Bill Hall, of Marathon, NY; a brother and sister-in-law, Gerald and Elaine Balcom, of Nashua, NH; fifteen grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. “Boots” was a past member of Half-Shire and had helped us identify photos in the past, as well as assist with the Redfield books we wrote on area veterans. Our sincere sympathy goes out to the family.
On Friday September 12, Jim Butler of Oswego visited with us, bringing out seven very early family bibles with scores of entries on members of the Comstock, Plumb, French and Frost families of whom he descends. Most of these bibles belong to siblings of Butler, who graciously loaned them to him for our scanning. We have scanned each of these into our database, and will soon have enhanced copies of each available for public research. Each of these families were very early settlers in the Williamstown area. Ichabod Comstock scion of one of the families enumerated in a bible was a War of 1812 veteran, and the son of a Revolutionary War vet who himself died in Rhode Island.
Half-Shire encourages people who possess old family bibles with records within to allow us to make copies. Family bibles are often times the only records for some of our early settlers. Bible records are generally admissible as proof in DAR and SAR applications, as well as other genealogical organizations.
A recent communication that this writer received from a cousin may be of interest. DNA research to determine or prove a family line is a growing field of interest. The price for a DNA test report has come down considerably over the years, and now for as low as a couple hundred dollars a decent test can be done. Recently, a maternal cousin had a tests done to determine if our Seeley family line in fact comes down from Captain Robert Seeley (1602-68) of England and later Connecticut Colony—or not. The results proved conclusive that in fact our line of Seeleys does descend directly from Captain Seeley, through his son Nathaniel. We have not been able to get our descent back before the birth of a grandfather Samuel Seeley in the 1770s, but the determination that Samuel was in fact descended from Captain Robert Seeley narrows down our research.
DNA research has also been successfully used in many criminal cases and is an amazing wonder of the modern age. Price Phillip of Great Britain participated in a DNA test several years ago that helped to identify bones found in Russia that are now believed to be the remains of the last imperial family—cousins to Prince Phillip
Half-Shire can be reached at halfshire@hotmail.com as well as our web site www.halfshire.com. Our facility is open each Friday afternoon and is located at 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144

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