Berne, New York is a small town with a lot of history. The Berne Historical Project has created a great web site that captures much of that history online, making it available to descendants of Berne residents and others worldwide. This site could serve as a model of "how to do it right" for other town historical projects.
First of all, the Berne Genealogy is a database in progress with plans for it to become a comprehensive genealogy of all Berne families, from the earliest settler through those living there today. Where it is known, the genealogy lists the ancestors of Berne families. It is intended that when a family or individual left Berne, the records should show where the individual or family went and when they died. It does not attempt to follow all ancestors of Berne families beyond the first generation leaving the town.
The goal is to have every Berne family represented completely and accurately. As the Berne Historical Project develops more information, it will be added to the Berne Genealogy. All individuals mentioned in Berne church, cemetery, and census records will someday be in the Berne Genealogy. Eventually the information from deeds, military, tax, and town records will also be used to assure the completeness of the Berne Genealogy.
The Berne Cemetery Project plans to catalog each cemetery in Berne and then post the information online. The Cemetery Project members will locate each cemetery and provide the following information:
- The name, address, descriptive location, GPS coordinates, known history and current condition of the cemetery.
- The name, dates, transcription, GPS coordinates, and other information for each headstone.
- A photograph of each headstone.
Census Project: The Berne Historical Project also has a group of dedicated volunteers who are painstakingly transcribing the various census records available for the Town of Berne. They are attempting to reproduce the original format as much as possible. Once a census is complete, it is processed to allow the content or data to be imported into the online database and the original file is also posted online for download.
The Berne Historical Project also has the history of all the churches in town, including pictures of all the churches still in existence today. Lists of all local men who served in various wars are also being compiled.
Finally, the Beers Map of Berne has been placed online, along with an index to every person listed on the map.
The next time someone asks what your local historic or genealogical society could do for a project, point that person to the Berne Historical Project at http://www.bernehistory.org.
My thanks to Laura Kidd for letting me know about the Berne Historical Project's web site.