Daniel S. Dickinson
As Tom is Guilford Town Historian we get a lot of requests for genealogy information of past residents of the Township of Guilford. Many folks do not realize how large the township really is and sometimes confused with the change in names. Guilford was once part of Oxford until 1817. It was once called Fayette and Eastern. So, if family history mentions these names it is still the Town of Guilford, Chenango County. The other problem occurs with the 8 hamlets within the township; Mt. Upton, Rockdale, Rockwell Mills, Yaleville, Latham’s Corners, East and North Guilford, and Guilford. Mt. Upton, Rockwell Mills, Rockdale, Latham Corners and East Guilford are the river hamlets. Located by the Unadilla River these hamlets ,usually referred to as in the Town of Guilford, can sometimes be confusing as the hamlets extended across the river. Once across the river, depending which hamlet you were in could be the Town of Butternuts, Otsego County or the Town of Unadilla. But, folks back in the early days didn’t have the boundaries marked out as today.
Our biggest problem associated with research of the early residents is that, as in most of New York State, town records of birth, death and marriages began 1883. So, resources before that year rely on early church records, deeds, maps, wills and books such as Smith’s History. We now have created a database that we are inputting information as we find it to be able to eek out some of the information of the early settlers. Cemetery data bases have also been created, another source. The GHS has read all of the stones of the 22 cemeteries of Guilford and are publishing books of the data bases with early history and some photos of the folks buried there. At a later date I will list what has been published and include photos of some of the cemeteries and our early residents.
The GHS has worked really hard at researching and preserving our history. Obituary books have been created for each cemetery to go along with the data bases. 15 scrapbooks have been donated or copied and indexed. Church records are still being sought. We also have over 30 genealogies donated by various individuals that we have helped “dig up” their roots. We have a computer library of photos of many early residents, including the river hamlets and are still adding to it. Our biggest project is collecting photos of the early houses and businesses of Guilford. Preserving the Root’s Corners School is also a major project establishing our dedication to the preservation of the history of the Town of Guilford.