Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Discovering Oscar thru Twitter

I spend a fair amount of time on the computer every day. I am a member of the New England Historical Genealogical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Clarence New York Historical Society. I also have memberships to Ancestry.com, Fold3.com and other web sites. I have been to Ireland to search the national library and various other places along the way. Trying to find information on my wife Nancy's great grandfather, Oscar Langford, was the most puzzling thing I have had to do.
Oscar shows up in the 1850 census as a 13 year old living with a family named Griswold. By the next census he is in Seneca, New York and he is easy find after that in census records and city directories. But there is no record of who his parents are or if he had any brothers or sisters. I had tried any place that I could think of until I stumbled into a lot of information.
Being on the computer, I have a Twitter account and follow my favorite people some of whom are other genealogists, amateur and professional. One of them tweeted about a website that they thought was worth a try, Geni.com. So I gave it a try and entered the name Oscar Langford to search records. I was surprised when I had a match with a 1925 newspaper article from the Fredonia Censor. Oscar had written a letter to the editor of his boyhood home town newspaper in his old age reminiscing about his youth.
Knowing where he lived helped me locate the local Library in Fredonia New York and I emailed the library director. She forwarded my email to a genealogy volunteer who advised that Oscar had sent a series of letters to the Censor and would send me copies.
I could not wait, so I found the website where the Censor had been digitized in 2009 and looked through hundreds of pages of newsprint to find the complete series of letters he wrote. They are the postings that follow, Oscar's youth in his own words.

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