Frequently Asked Questions

About NNY Genealogy

Who and What is Northern New York Genealogy?

Northern New York Genealogy is a small attempt to preserve the history of the portion of Northern New York encompassed by Jefferson and Lewis Counties. It has grown from a site on one of the "free" web hosts in 1998 to what it is today. Our goal is to provide the research and genealogy community with a source of historical data on the Northern New York area. Although our primary focus has been on Jefferson County, we are slowly expanding our efforts to include Lewis County. This site is free in the true sense of the word. There is no charge for access, we don't collect your email address, and never send unsolicited emails. Also we do not place cookies on your computer.

Are you able to do specific research requests?

Yes! Please recognize that this effort is supported by only 2 people (my wife and I). As we both have 'real' jobs our time is limited. However we sincerely feel that each request is important and try, given the constraints of time, to respond to each request. Unfortunately we are not always able to recover the original documentation as we may no longer have ready access to it.

Is this data copyrighted?

Yes. Individual records are not however the compilation is. Also some of the data, as noted on individual pages, is copyrighted by other individuals/organizations and is published with permission.

Can I receive a copy of the databases used on this site?

Unfortunately not at this time. It isn't that we don't want to share the data, it's just that the task of separating out the proprietary data is very time consuming and in some cases nearly impossible.

Will you change the data based on my input?

Yes with qualification. We do require documentation before we make any changes. This is done to protect the integrity of the information. Each request for change is treated individually so please contact us.

Why are my ancestors not in your database?

Our in-house database currently has over 300,000 records. The database is derived from cemetery records, tombstone readings, articles in periodicals, church records, etc. Few if any of these sources are 100% complete. Also it's entirely possible that your ancestor never made it into one of the sources that we have available. However do check back since we are constantly searching and acquiring new sources of information.

Why don't the cemetery names match what is on other sites?

When at all possible, we use the name of a cemetery as listed in the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) database. This is done for two reasons. First it allows the user to locate the cemetery on current maps. All map producers use the BGN database in the creation of maps, it's a national standard. Also it is the only way to provide a 'standard' point of reference. We do attempt to cross reference the BGN with local names where at all possible. Currently the BGN database lists 101 of the approximate 240 cemeteries that are believed to exist in Jefferson County. At some point in the future we hope to get the 'unnamed' cemeteries listed in the BGN. Until such time as they are listed, we use those names that we can find on historical maps or references.

How accurate are the locations of cemeteries?

Numerous factors influence the accuracy of locations for both the coordinates and the map location descriptions. Most of the location information is based on coordinates, in format, derived using a handheld GPS. The handheld GPS we use only provides an accuracy of approximately 10 meters (30'). As some cemeteries are located in heavily wooded areas, readings are taken from the closest point where we can get blue sky. Then we use regular road maps to develop driving directions. Most mapping systems require the coordinates in decimal format (ddd.mmmmmm), therefore the coordinates are converted using a program developed by the FCC. This conversion provides us with a generalized location in the proper format. Using satellite imagery (Google Maps, Microsoft Live Maps, and NASA World Wind), we then attempt to refine the location data. Generally the location is plotted using the center of the cemetery; however, in some instances it is easier and more appropriate to plot the location at the entrance. For those cemeteries where the land owner has requested not to have the exact location published, the location marker is generally plotted within the boundaries of the lot as defined by the tax map. In most cases the written description and associated map will get you to the cemetery. In all cases it should get you close. Please bear in mind that we do make mistakes, typically typing errors. Consequently do consult maps, etc. prior to attempting to locate a cemetery based on the location information we provide. If in doubt feel free to contact us.

Why don't you have a hit counter?

This has been played with on several occasions with the same results. Its nearly impossible to determine what you're counting: hits, unique visitors or search engine robots. It is almost impossible to sort all that out so the numbers can be greatly exaggerated. Since it does slow down site performance to some extent we've elected not to have one. If you're interested, the site averages over 40,000 page views per month.