I've fallen into a very large research rabbit hole and have no wish to climb out. It will take something powerfully persuasive - leeches or snakes in the puddles at my feet or promises of sunshine and warm desert breezes waiting me above ground - to lure me out.
Several weeks ago I spent days searching early and mid 20th c. copies of the Binghamton (NY) Press at Old Fulton NY Post Cards for mention of my family. It was time well spent. Yesterday I returned to search for information about one of my grandmother's dearest friends. I discovered that she lived next door to a probably-related family from my grandmother's village when she was a girl which explained when and how they met.
Then I got distracted, as is my want, by other articles. One recorded the gruesome accidental death of a boarder living at the house next door. I wondered about the house. Who else had lived there? What else happened?
One of the joys of using the Old Fulton NY Post Cards site is that searches are limited only by one's imagination. I have searched by surname, by cemetery name, by church name, and yesterday, by street address. I could search by disease (several stories about typhoid appeared on the pages I reviewed), by business name, by keywords like prohibition or socialist. I have clipped hundreds of pages with information I want to abstract; information that will give me a much richer picture of the community where my grandparents lived in the 1920s, '30s and 40s.
But what really sent me falling all the way down that hole was when I realized I could search by name or street address in the U.S. Cities Directories (Beta) database at Ancestry.com. I'll be mining this database until those leeches push or breezes pull me out.
Big find #1 was when my grandfather changed his surname from Papp to Popp. I knew it wasn't at Ellis Island, but didn't know how or when it happened. Now I do. Below are the index listings from Ancestry.com for my grandparents in the Binghamton, NY directories from 1923 when they married to 1940.
|Anna Papp||1923||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1924||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1925||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1926||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1928||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1929||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1930||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1931||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna Papp||1932||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Papp|
|Anna POPP||1934||Binghamton, New York||Stephen POPP|
|Anna Popp||1935||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Popp|
|Anna Popp||1939||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Popp|
|Anna Popp||1940||Binghamton, New York||Stephen Popp|
Do you know what happened on 2 January 1934? My grandfather became a United States citizen - under the surname Popp. It's amazing what makes me happy. This has been a very, very good day.
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