Saturday, April 23, 2011

Genealogy Field Trip - Day 3

All good things must come to an end...and this field trip is no different. As I sit here writing, I'm back at home and already back into my role as "ma! mom!" and "mommy!" But my mind...although tired from a day of research and driving...my mind is still in Steuben County, NY.

There was no rush to jump into things today. The library I was planning on going to didn't open until noon. Added to that - it was pouring rain when I woke up, so any cemetery excursions were going to be put on hold until I could tell if the weather would co-operate with my plans. For one last morning I got to be lazy...lying in bed watching a movie, and doing a little more "pre-research" via the internet. Eventually,the weather finally broke and I checked out of my home-away-from-home...it was time to head out to South Dansville and check in on my ancestors.

I have yet to go to my ancestor's cemeteries the same way twice. It's not that I don't know where they are, I've just always come from different directions...and I only got lost one of those times (although I will never publically admit that to anyone.) Oddly enough, I know the area well enough that I have a pretty decent sense of direction, and today was no different. I popped over a hillside, and as I was admiring the open view in front of me...I looked up on a hilltop a few miles over and yelled out loud, "I SEE YOU!" There was the white picket fence that surrounded "my" cemetery!

(The white picket fence for my cemetery is visible just above the one green grassy area in this photo.)


Stopping at cemetery #1, taking the few photographs that I needed, and then I was quickly on my way to my next stop which was only down the road a few miles...or rather, down...then up....then down...then back up...turn the corner...and up a little more. There was my cemetery. I've written about this place, I won't bore you with the same details. But I do have two sets of 5th great-grandparents buried up there, and it's my favorite place in the world to go and sit, and have a good-ol'-fashioned talkin' to with them. (No, I do NOT make a habit of talking to dead people, just a few beloved ancestors.)

Time was ticking away, and I still hadn't made it to the library! But I decided to make one more stop. Stony Brook State Park. I'd never been there, it's a smaller park as far as state parks go, and why not take a few extra blissful quiet moments enjoying a little hike... Enough sight-seeing, I had research to do! I finally made it to the Dansville library and was able to spend a few hours looking at newspapers from the early 19th century, finding references to my family and the activites of their lifetime.

Before leaving Dansville, there was one more thing that I wanted to do, and I asked the librarian if she could give me directions to the old Dansville Sanitorium. I'd heard about this massive building built on the hillside, long ago abandoned, but I wanted to see it myself...

(Can you see it peeking through the trees?...)

(Peeking out over the tops of the trees...)

** NOTE: I said "SanitOrium" not "SanitArium". No, I was not researching my future after the monkey children drive me batty. For those who may be interested, you can read the interesting history of this building here (and see it in it's original glory), and you can also enjoy some add'l photos of it's current state here. (Personally, I chose to obey the "No Trespassing" and didn't wander up past the roped off trail. Even I was a bit creeped out by the sight of this old building.)

So ends my genealogy field trip for this year. I love looking back on weekends like this one and it just makes me smile to think on.

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