may 21, 2010

This past week our new AmeriCorps summer employee, Erin Bacon started work at our Richland facility. We are very pleased that AmeriCorps accepted our application to become an accredited work site, and we are delighted that Erin Bacon was selected. As some readers may recall, Erin volunteered at our facility from the time she was 15. She has assisted us through the years with the county fair, dinner theatre events, organizing our holdings and editing of written publications. Erin is a graduate of Loyola of Maryland, Class of 2009 and will begin her graduate studies in history this fall at Notre Dame.

Erin’s initial tasks will focus on a collaborative cemetery survey project in Richland with the Pulaski School History Club. Last year the history club (SHIP) began a photographic and mapping project of Brookside cemetery in Richland. Erin will lead the renewed efforts to finish this project this summer. Besides the work with SHIP Erin will work with visitors and volunteers alike at Half-Shire, assisting in preparations for the 2010 Oswego County Fair Heritage exhibit.

Erin joins Paula Sachel on staff with Experience Works. Paula will continue her work from the Richland historian’s office in the H. Douglas Barclay Court House, 2nd floor suite over DMV. Paula can be reached through the week Monday-Thursday there from 9am until 1 pm. Many of the family files at Half-Shire are being duplicated for reference in the Richland historian’s office. An important new collection at both sites is the Rancier family histories, a four volume set of detailed, annotated histories of eastern Lake Ontario families compiled by Esther Rancier, formally of Mexico, NY. These files were first assembled this spring as part of a Snow Foundation scholarship project completed by Chelsea Savastano of Pulaski. Paula has added additional files Esther had compiled, and which are also in the books. All tolled there are over 160 family names covered.

One of Paula’s projects also recently completed was the canvassing and inventory of the existing Half-Shire family files. This new inventory now can be searched from either location in Microsoft access. The index covers over 800 individual family files located primarily in Richland at our headquarters. It is our goal this summer to have copies at both locations so we are not moving them seasonally as we are now. The inventory list will also be shared with neighboring historians to better assist in referrals.

Our lawns at Richland are looking pretty good, this thanks to $200 worth of “weed and feed” and the lawn mowing assistance provided by neighbor Kermit Paro of Richland. Kermit has been a great help in the past few years in his watching over the building as well as with his lawn and property maintenance. Thanks Kermit!

As Memorial Day approaches Half-Shire will be assisting the American Legion and VFW again in the placement of American Flags in all our cemeteries on the graves of servicemen past. Erin Bacon and volunteers Shawn Doyle, Andrew Balcom and Christian Klarner will also be working on this as the national day of remembrance approaches.

The heritage hall, annual county fair planning meeting will be held on Saturday May 22, 2010 at 1 pm. This will be preceded by a lunch served at noon. This meeting is the annual joint meeting of the Oswego County Genealogical Society and Half-Shire. A brief (15 minute) business meeting will be held to move a couple of crucial items through the Half-Shire board, followed by the annual discussion and explanation of the weeks events at the Fair. The Oswego County Fair will be held in Sandy Creek July 1-5, 20010 with “Special Times” on June 30. Half-Shire will also host an opening reception on June 30, at 6 pm at the Fair Heritage building. Greg Monette and Shawn Doyle will again serve as co-chairs of Heritage Hall.

Also on the 22nd, the newly formed Friends of the Agricultural Society of Oswego County organization will hold its first meeting at 11:30am. This group is open to the public, and will be applying for non-profit tax status to assist the fair in fund-raising for events and infrastructure improvements. The group obtained an IRS tax number and now begins the first steps in the 501 process. This initial meeting will be at Half-Shire immediately prior to the luncheon.

The Society is saddened to learn of the death of John Fowler of Redfield. John was a long time member and supporter of the organization and will be missed. Our best regards go out to the family.

The Society is pleased with the response of members to the dues solicitation. Raffle tickets on the two spectacular afghans have also moved quite well. The drawing for the afghans will be held July 4, 2010 at the Fair at 1 pm. Thanks go out to Ian Lowery, Alyssa Ashley and Andrew Balcom for assistance on the work at the County Fair buildings of late.

Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48 in Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at We are a few weeks backed up in research answers due to an overwhelming batch of work that has come in over the net. We currently are working on two dozen requests with a need for a “Day in the office” growing.

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