January 14, 2011

Unpacking history

'We're unpacked. The books are on the shelf'


KEESEVILLE — The Northern New York American-Canadian Genealogical Society will open at its new Keeseville location in April.

In the interim, its members are settling in at the 15 Vine St. building owned by Barbara Davidson.

"We're unpacked," said Julie Dowd, the society's vice president, librarian and webmaster. "The books are on the shelf. We're organizing the books the way we want them, and we're doing an inventory on them.

"We had a few bookshelves given to us by the Chateaugay Historical Association. We have those brought down the other day, so things are looking good. Those bookshelves were a godsend."


Members work every Monday starting at 10 a.m.

"We have the electricity on, but the plumbing is turned on because of the winter," Dowd said. "We have a little bit of heat going and the fan going. Everything is in one big room. Now, we can see everything. It's all on one floor, and we will have a bathroom and there will be handicap access. Jim Pratt is building a handicap ramp and stairs."


The society's new officers are Anastasia Pratt, president; Dowd, vice president; Ron and Carol Allen, secretaries; and Oril Graves, treasurer.

The approximate 1,000-square-foot building was a former restaurant known as Frenchie's, which was named after the proprietor Frenchie Mussen.

"We would like volunteers to come down and help us with the inventory," Dowd said. "People are looking after their sections. Teresa Whitaker, she's from Keeseville and in charge of the New York section. Dick Lynch from Dannemora is organizing the Quebec section. His wife, Lynn, looks after the Palatine section. Palatine are German immigrants who came to America in the middle of 1700s, and they were treated very badly. They turned into the Pennsylvania Dutch."


The society encourages people to donate their family histories.

"We don't take artifacts," she said. "That's for Anderson Falls (Heritage Society of Keeseville, N.Y.) and the Clinton County Historical Association.

"People have given us a lot of our family histories. It's turning into something nice."

The society's library contains all the cemetery records of Clinton County and some from Essex County, Quebec and Vermont.

"There's mostly Clinton County," Dowd said. "That's where we concentrate."

A grand opening will be held for the public Saturday, April 2.

"We don't have that planned out yet," Dowd said.

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