Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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August 22, 2005


The Davenport Historical Society entered the computer age a number of years ago when it began to copy and store its historical documents on computer files. Recently it has taken a further step that has proved popular and has caught the attention of other historical societies and local historians. The Society has published a town history, from glacier days to the present (with even a glimpse into the future), both as a lively history book ("Davenport, Fact and Fancy" by Mary S. Briggs) and as a CD-ROM. The CD accompanies the book and contains not only all text and photos in the book but a great deal of additional material.

"One advantage of the CD-ROM approach," said Sally Beams, Davenport Town Historian, "is that we can include history of importance but possibly limited interest that would otherwise only increase the cost of the published volume. Examples are lists of war veterans, town officers and post office officials, detailed maps, genealogical charts, larger versions of small pictures from the book, the complete agricultural census for 1865, copies of recent newspaper articles as well as much older newspaper pages, reproductions of historical documents, and even a research paper or two."

"For example," continued Mrs. Beams, "John Davenport, for whom the town was named, is a distant relative of presidents Bush and Taft. We include those relationship charts on our CD-ROM. John Davenport also had but a single child, John Jr., whose mother was not Mrs. Anna Davenport but rather a servant in the Davenport household. This came to light, or at least to history's attention, when Mrs. Davenport contested the will in which John Sr. had left three-fourths of his quite comfortable estate to his son. She won her case and had the will thrown out on grounds of her late husband's 'unsoundness' of mind and memory. One of our contributors, Jeffrey Griswold of Oneonta, has uncovered this old town scandal and has included many of the substantiating Probate Court documents on the CD-ROM."

Alan Strout, editor of the published book, adds that having the book on a CD permits corrections, changes, and additions to be made at very low cost. A new CD version has just been released that contains corrections, new material and many user-friendly arrangements of existing material. The CD now contains, for instance, a list of all photos and other illustrations, each of which can be brought up rapidly with the click of a computer mouse. "One can now 'thumb' through all 275 images from the book and the CD, each displayed in full-screen size (with a few recent ones in color), in just a matter of minutes," reports Strout. The original, 2004 CD may be exchanged for updated version without charge (except for $1 packaging and postage costs if mailed). The Society will also sell copies of the CD-ROM with price credited later to a book purchase if desired. (Leave a message at 607-278-5149 if interested.)

What is next for the Davenport Historical Society in the Computer Age? "Well," says Historian Beams, "we're already well along towards entering all town birth and death records into our computers. These are of course available to any visiting researcher or genealogist. What might we release publicly on a CD in the future? How about short biographies of as many past residents of the town as we can collect? Or a new selection with captions of some of the many thousands of photographs we have already scanned into our computers? There could even be another scandal or two waiting to be uncovered."

Welcome Page of the Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site . . . | . . . Table of Contents Page . . . | . . . Contact Site Manager

a service of the Delaware County Historical Association located at 46549 State Highway 10, Delhi, NY 13753

Online since 1996 - created and managed by Joyce Riedinger