Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Research Fantasy Trips

Lots of people will be hitting the roads this summer for family vacations but, unfortunately, I won't be one of them.  So to kick off the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I've created a fantasy road trip.  


I'd start in Emporium, PA because both my parents are from Emporium.  I'd be looking for information on the the DOLL, GASKILL, GORTNER, GREENALCH, HINDS, KLEES, MORRIS, MURRAY, SCHWAB, and STEWART families.  In the area, I'd visit the Cameron County Historical Society, the local library, courthouse and cemeteries.  I know I'd take some photos of at least my grandparents' house (I don't even know if it's still standing) and an uncle's house.  Oh, yeah, I might encounter some live relatives, too. 

From there, I'd head over to Lycoming County for research at the historical society in Williamsport, PA.  I'd be looking for information on the  BEEBER (and variations), GORTNER (and variaions), HALL, KLEES, MARSH and NUNN families.  I know I'd have to swing down to Muncy because so many of the families lived there.  Plus, I need to find out which Gortner owned the Gortner House that has been on Muncy home tours.  I know cemeteries and churches would be high on my list of priorities.  And a trip to the courthouse, depending on what I find out elsewhere.

On to Owego, NY for some research on the DITMARS, GASKILL, and HINDS families.  A visit to the local historical society and anywhere else that might turn up information on my great-great-grandparents, James Gaskill and his wife, Elizabeth.  I have some information on them, but not nearly enough.  Also, although I'm not related to Wilder Gaskill's first wife, Lucy, I'd like to know more about her, too.  And naturally, since it's nearby, I'd have to stop in Gaskill's Corners.  Just to take a picture of a sign.

The final stop of the trip would be Auburn, NY and some research on the MURRAY and STUDWELL families at the Cayuga County Historical Society.  I'd also make a trip to the Auburn Prison because my great-great-grandfather, Erastus Murray, was a guard there for a short time.  Also, I'd see if the original buildings of the Cayuga Home for Destitute Children are still standing.  It's where my great-grandfather and his brothers were taken when the family fell on hard times.  I'm sure I'd spend some time with archived newspapers from 1862-1863 to see if there were any stories about what might have happened to the family.  I'd definitely stop by my great-great-grandmother's grave in Throop Rural Cemetery.  A member of the Find-a-Grave community was kind enough to post a photo on the website, but I'd still like to see it in person.  But really, my ultimate goal would be to find out who Erastus' parents were and where they were from.  A girl can dream.

Eventually, I'd return home and I'd have enough material to keep me busy for a long time, recording and blogging about everything.


(UPDATE 10:35 PM-  As my last search of the day, after writing this, I was in the mood to make another stab at finding more info on Erastus.  Imagine my SHOCK in discovering a NY State Archive record from the Civil War with his birth date, birthplace, AND both his father's and mother's names--James Murray and Ruth Snow!!  Life is good.)
View Family Research Fantasy Trip #1 in a larger map


  1. Gaskill's corners? Is that the 2nd to last stop marked on your fantasy research trip? Ironically, my actual vacation and research trip is going to make a small "X" across yours (from Hazleton, PA to Scranton to Elmira, NY).

    I can't promise much because I'll have my 10 and 5 year old with me, but the older one is starting to enjoy cemeteries if you know of any you need pictures in. I can stop on my way to or back from my day trip to Elmira. Let me know. I'll try to find that Gaskill Corner's sign for you as well (I imagine it's highly visible!)

    Send me an email if there's anything specific (cemetery name, etc) at

  2. Ah, someone else who loves to dream about fantasy research trips! This sounds like a good one, too.

  3. Cheryl- BTW, referencing your last email--the Spousal Genealogical Prohibition Edict should not be confused with the Progeny Genealogical Protestation which often can be contained by the lifting the Parental Ice Cream Embargo.

    Greta-I get envious reading about all the trips everyone make. I always imagine I'll uncover the most amazing info!