Searching Sideways

Scholefield Family Tree

I am certain that I have pushed back another generation with the names of Harmanus DeGraff and Susan Thomas; however, what were the names of all of their children and their parents? Earlier I found that Susan had a brother named Alonzo, so searching for information about him might lead me to a better picture of the family.

To do that, I searched “sideways” by looking for Alonzo “De Graff” in Google, I find an online index indicating that his name appears in Washington Frothingham’s History of Montgomery County on Page 30.1

Whenever I find a reference to an old book (one likely to be out of copyright) I check two places: Google Books and Internet Archive. Frothingham’s History is available and below is the (somewhat funny) computerized transcription of Alonzo’s biography (so, yes, I haven’t edited it! and there are too many errors to put [sic] in everywhere).2

blockquoteDeGraflT, Alonzo H., Amsterdam, was born in the town of Amsterdam on the 12th of Deceuiber, 1846, and was educated in the public schools and Amsterdam Academy. He enlisted twice, first on the 1st of June, 1862, in Company C, 25th N. Y. S. N. Guard, an then re-enlisted June 17, 1863, in Company M, 14th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, and was promoted to first sergeant, then to second lieutenant, and also to first lieutenant, and was discharged as captain of the same company in September, 18G5. He is by profession a civil engineer and has had charge of the construction of several important railways, and is now superintendent of the Amsterdam water works. On the loth of December, 1S75, he niariied Mary M., youngest daughter o£ Fay Smith, of Northampton, Fulton county. They have five hving children: Harry \V., Helen M, Carlton R., Mary and Alonzo H., jr. Mr. De Graff’s father, Harmonius, was born at the old home in the year ISOO, and married Susan Thomaf, the latter a native of Scotland. They had six children, three of whom are living: Helen M. Schofield, who resides in New York ; Alonzo H., and Susan D. Miller, who resides in Michigan. Tlie ancestry of the family is Dutch and Scotch. Captain De Graff has the distinction of engineering the present extensive Amsterdam water works which fully prove his skill in hydraulic apparatus. The city is thus supplied, from a distance of twenty-five miles, with an abundant sup|>ly of pure water, which is one of the most inestimable of earthly blessings.

The mispellings in the above mean that many of the search terms I would have tried would not have turned up this result! FYI, you can also view the original pages to create your own transcriptions.

However, even with mispellings, this is a great source because it gives me additional leads to follow up on!

Research Plan:

  1. Investigate information about Harmanus’s birth date (1800).
  2. Check into Helen and Alonzo’s sibling.

1. Barbara Lewis, transcriber, Names Index to 1892 History of Montgomery County, NY ( : accessed 31 Oct 2009).
2. Washington Frothingham, editor, History of Montgomery County; embracing early discoveries, the advance of civilization, the labors and triumphs of Sir William Johnson, the inception and development of manufactures, with town and local records, also military achievements of Montgomery patriots (1892), 2 parts, 2: 30; digital images and compterized transcription, Internet Archive ( : downloaded 31 Oct 2009).

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