A Walk Around Staten Island

I highly recommend A Walk Around Staten Island,  a PBS video tour “exploring the diversity, rich history, and cultural attractions of New York’s greenest borough, Staten Island”.  There’s much here of genealogical interest. You can watch the entire program free, online.  But it’s worth the cost of the donation to get your own copy of the DVD!

You may also want to check out this Staten Island video from the Office of the Borough President.

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Moravian Cemetery

If you have ancestors buried in Moravian Cemetery – and believe me, you do if your family was on the island for any length of time – make plans now to reserve your space in special walking tours offered by historian Richard L. Simpson.  Simpson, whom my cousin and I met by accident during a graveside visit two years ago,  is a veritable fount of knowledge about Moravian and the people buried there.  This year, his tours celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor by visiting the resting places of early Dutch, French and English settlers.

Moravian is now offering genealogy look up services, as well, and I can personally testify that the service is quick and informative!

Where In the World Is Your Surname?

Although this is not specifically a Staten Island tool, I am impressed with the PublicProfiler World Names project. Enter a surname, and a Javascript map of the world displays the relative frequency of a name compared to the overall population in an area. This data is compiled from records from 2000 on, so it won’t help with ancestors, but might help with long lost cousins. You can also enter a specific geographic area to search and the tool displays the ten most common names living in that area today.

This tool, developed as an academic research project, analyzes common patterns of names from 28 countries. The OnoMAP classification covers over 500,000 forenames and 1 million surnames, and most exhibit distinctive geographic patterning.