Monday, May 20, 2013

Geography- A Piece of the Puzzle

I've been spending a significant amount of time researching land records for Cayuga County, NY, hoping I could uncover even the tiniest bit of new information. I have a few hypotheses on my Snow and Murray lines, and to try make a break-through, today I was marking up a copy of an old map of Aurelius, NY to show which lots where bought and sold by David Snow (suspected GGGG-grandfather) and David Murray (possible relative of GGGG-grandfather, James Murray).

As I suspected from previous census research, the deeds for lots purchased by David Snow and David Murray show they were neighbors. I also noted that a later purchase by David Snow referenced both the town of Aurelius and the village of Auburn. I wasn't quite sure how boundaries had changed over the years, so as I looked at the old map, I began to focus on Owasco Lake and rivers and streams, thinking maybe I could find the locations on a current map. 

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the farmland of my ancestors is in the heart of Auburn, NY. Then, like a bolt out of the blue, I realized a flaw in my previous geographic tracking. I'd followed Ruth in the census from Brutus, NY to Aurelius, NY, to Auburn, NY, the whole time imagining actual moves from town to town. What if Ruth hadn't really moved at all? What if boundaries of jurisdictions changed and Auburn grew up around her?

I went back to my city directory research to get the actual addresses where Ruth lived in the mid-1800s.  I plugged the address into Google Maps. I'm still shaking my head in amazement. Although, admittedly, I still need to research more to confirm the details, on the surface it looks like Ruth's residence in her later years was on the land her father purchased when the family first moved to this part of NY in the late 1790s. 

I'm excited by today's discovery and was pleasantly surprised to uncover AUBURN HISTORIC PROPERTIES very quickly this afternoon. I am looking forward to exploring this site and maybe Ruth's home will be on it someday.

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