Saturday, October 17, 2009


Here is a map of the ax factory remains and remains of other mills in the hamlet of Berne in 1975, and the site of other early mills. It is from Our Heritage. I have no idea what evidence there is now of the axe factory and early mills. You can see the beginning of the old road to Knox going through Fox Creek Park. There was once a mill building that spanned the creek. That may be a possible site for a reproduction King Post Truss Bridge that could be used as a pedestrian bridge to link the north and south banks of the Foxenkill. My thought was that the ruins on the north side (if any) would be accessible from the park. If there are no ruins, then concrete corner posts could be put in place to show the size and location of the various buildings.

Perhaps a grant could be sought to help pay costs.

A couple of knowledgeable people have expressed interest in working a mill project.


I just started an antique motor vehicle page on Albany Hilltowns wiki site, and posted 26 old cars, trucks, buses, and a tractor. Any antique vehicle buffs out there who can identify them? I hope people will add more of the same, but only with antique vehicles that are in the Hilltowns. Here is a preview:

  •  Dr. Deitz's new car

    The car pictured above was owned by Dr. Wallace E. Deitz (1856-1928) who lived in the hamlet of Berne. A current image of the house in the hamlet of Berne is posted on the Then and Now page. With him is his third wife, Theodora E. Ball (1866-1920) whom he married in 1899. Don't you just love her hat? And notice the two dogs at their feet. His new car is a ...
  •  Gallup Car

    Homer Gallup and wife in their 19?? Model? Ford.

    Wood Car

    Warren and Bernice Wood in their new ....

Friday, October 16, 2009


I have added at least 4 new sets of Then and Now photos to (see main page for link). I now need more old photos to add. My goal is to someday have an inventory of all historic homes in the Town of Berne with the complete history an...d photos of each one. Someday I would like to see a plaque on each home giving the name of the family who had it built and the approximate date of construction.

Photo is of Dr. Dietz and his wife. Can anyone identify the year, make and model of the car?

There are many old cars and trucks posted on the Albany Hilltowns site. To view them all, click on Transportation in the left hand column of the site AH site. I would like a volunteer to identify the cars and year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


  • I sent out  4 ancestor reports Tuesday using the Hilltowns Genealogy at Berne Historical Project. One was 21 pages, one 33, one was 40 and one was 77 or so. UPDATE: Wednesday I did a 183 page ancestor report going back 18 generations to 15 Century Holland.
  • Albany Hilltowns history and genealogy facebook group has grown from 200 a couple of weeks ago to 215.
  • Albany Hilltowns wiki project main page has gone from 10.000 views a couple of weeks ago to over 10,500 views. That was started last December.
  • Rich Hungerford is adding 20th C. veterans. Anyone with a hilltown veteran ancestor is welcome to help or just add their name and hopefully a biography.

My icon photo is not really me as some people think, it is actually Daniel Barkman. He just looks like me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


While trying to help Barbara Thompson find information on her ancestor, Edwin L. Filkins, I did a Google search and surprisingly found something shocking that she had not known; and it was on the Albany Hilltowns wiki site. Russ Tallman, Albany Hilltowns Master of the Web, had posted the 1889 diary of his ancestor, Salem M. Tallman. In it was this entry:

"Fri. Mar 8, 1889 - Squalley and snow flies. Our folks drawed a few logs and sat around - thy fetched in two lambs in eve. MR. GEORGE FILKINS was shot in his side by his Brother EDWIN L. FILKINS."

This may explain why later that year Edwin's wife divorced him and married another man.

Sort of makes one want to search on an ancestors name. It inspired me to update all of the Hilltown sites.

Tallman Family Register of Family of Jonathan Tallman & Caroline Bouton

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The Village of Rensselaerville, photo from People Made It Happen Here
  •  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Rensselaerville Historic Society has started a pilot project to scan their genealogy and land records and put them on line at the Albany Hilltown wiki site. Janet Haseley, Senior Researcher for the RHS, is having the first book of their genealogy files photocopied at the town office; the copies will be mailed to volunteers who will scan them and upload the images to the Albany Hilltowns site. The photocopies will be mailed back to the Historical Society and kept in a separate building as a backup to the original files. Volunteers should contact Janet directly at <> giving her your snail mail address. She will provide instructions for scanning. I will be posting instructions for posting.
  • I have gotten two donations so far for the RHS pilot project to help cover hardware costs. The donors are being made Sponsors of the Albany Hilltowns wiki site, and a link is being put up to their genealogy and history web sites. 
  • If the RHS pilot records project is a success, it will become a long term project. Our next goal will be to develop a pilot records project for each of the Hilltowns Historical Societies. We are also looking for ways to raise funds to help them with costs associated with a records project and to find volunteers to help them. The wonderful thing is that volunteers don't have to be local.

Monday, October 5, 2009


  • The Rensselaerville Historical Society has 52 “Genealogy books”, 12 “Cemetery books”, and 7 “Deeds and Leases books” that are available to researchers at the old Grist Mill in Rensselaerviller during the warmer months. At their last monthly meeting I submitted a proposal that they scan these handwritten records and post them on the Albany Hilltowns site. They have agreed to have a Rensselaerville Pilot Scanning Project this winter to see how much time it takes, and how the results look on line. The Society currently has an old desk top PC at the Grist Mill that does not have the capacity to store the scanned files, so they need to buy a new one or upgrade the one they have. They also need a laptop computer. A scanner has already been donated. Please contact me if you can contribute hardware, or hard cash.

photo by Allen Deitz 2005 

photo by Allen Deitz 2005

  • Knox is having their monthly meeting Tuesday, October 6. We should all support our local Historical Societies
  • The Berne Historical Society annual meeting was held Tuesday, Sept. 28. Ralph Miller, Historian, Town of Berne, was elected President. His wife, Jan Miller, is the new Secretary. At this time I do not have the names of the other officers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


While doing research for an upcoming book on the Hilltowns particpation in the Civil War, I find that with the start of the war there was tremendous enthusiasm in Albany, and especially in Berne. In the first year Berne contributed from their taxes more than two thirds of the amount raised in Albany County. In the second year they contributed almost half. What was there that caused the folks of Berne to be such strong supporters of the Civil War? Any suggestions?

The photo is of Reuben L. Weidman who was in the 15th Cavalry during the Civil War. He was born in Berne, enlisted in the Town of Wright and was buried in Westerlo. That is what I mean by the Hilltowns are interconnected. We are all family.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


The Knox Historical Society will sponsor a "drive-in-yourself" Dutch barn tour on Saturday, October 10th. It begins at the Saddlemire Homestead in Knox (Rt. 156) where tour information can be obtained. It is free; (donations accepted at the Saddlemire Homestead - formerly the Knox Museum), and the homestead will be open from 11 am to 3 pm.  Directions are provided at the Saddlemire Homestead so if people cannot do it all that day, then another day. However, the Shultes barn will be open only on that day. The first stop will be the William Shultes Barn in West Berne. The Shultes barn was built about 1800-1810 for William Shultes, born 1762, son of Mathias Shultes, one of the earliest settlers of Berne. It has many of the original Dutch Barn features, and the current owners, Pam and Ken Malcolm, keep it in museum like condition. There will be road-side viewing of other barns. The Highlands Restaurant will offer a 20% discount to participants who show them their tour information. The tour ends at Schoolhouse #5 (restored by the Kiwanis) with refreshments over at Thatcher Park area.

The Dutch Barn Preservation Society has more information on historical importance of Dutch Barns. 

The tour was planned by my cousin and good friend Allan Deitz. Earlier this year he planned a similar tour of Dutch Barns in Guilderland that was very successful. He has also done a survey of Dutch Barns in Berne.

Two other Dutch Barns that Al has researched are:

 The photo to the right is the Mathias Shultes Barn. It was taken 2005 by Allan Deitz.