Accessible Archives Floods Light Into Old Counties at

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by Amanda Forson,
Accessible Archives, one of’s newest databases, is a beacon of hope to those with ancestors in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic states. Counties are categorized by area. An example would be for Pennsylvania, the Northwest counties include: Butler, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forrest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Tioga, Venango, and Warren Counties.This is only one example of the many counties that are available on these archives for areas where information is scarce and where many Americans have ancestry.A general search for the Northwest for the Kinner (surname mentioned in other GenTips) produced six matches in three counties. There need not be a huge amount of matches so long as the match is for the right place during the right time. From previous research, I knew that relatives of the Kinner line came from Orange County, New York, and migrated northward towards various central Pennsylvania counties near the state line with New York. One of the results proved to be of particular interest for me:”L.C. KINNER, general merchant, Shinglehouse, was born in Tioga county, Penn., September 23, 1840, a son of James and Julia (Curran) Kinner, formerly of Orange county, N.Y., and early settlers of Tioga county, Penn. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native county until seventeen years of age. In 1857 he entered the employ of William McDougall, of Oswayo, this county, acting in the capacity of clerk until the spring of 1858. He then entered the employ of C.H. Simmons, of the same place, with whom he was engaged until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion. He enlisted, in May, 1861, in Company H, Seventy-first New York Volunteers, and participated in the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He lost his left leg at the latter engagement, July 2, 1863, and was honorably discharged from the service in June, 1864. He then returned to Oswayo, and resumed his former position of clerk in the store of C.H. Simmons, remaining with him until 1873, when he embarked in. business for himself, on a small scale, at Shinglehouse. Here he built up a large and successful business, and has occupied his present commodius quarters since 1878. Mr. Kinner is one of the leading and prominent merchants of Shinglehouse. He has served one term as justice of the peace, is a member of the G.A.R., and is a Democrat.

This information was completely new to me outside of the known connection between New York and Pennsylvania for this branch of the family. Further research into Orange County may disprove any relationship between this fellow and myself, but knowing that James Kinner’s family was at one time located in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, from whence my particular Kinner lines descend breeds new life into this trail of “ancestral breadcrumbs.”

If a subscriber is unable to find information on their particular relative, looking up county information gives context that is easily searchable. Using county information in conjunction with reference works like the Handybook for Genealogists gives surety that a county is correct for the time frame. This site is easy to search and will be shown in a step-by-step process for the column, Genealogy in 15 Minutes a Day.

“L.C. Kinner,” History of the Counties of McKean, Elk, Cameron & Potter, 1890, pp. 1179-1197. Italics used for emphasis.

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