How or where does one find records prior to 1838 for Franklin & St. Lawrence County, NY?

Hiram Wheeler Barlow (28 Sep 1820-27 Aug 1876) and his ancestry (parents).

  • It is believed he was born in upstate New York, USA. State Census records record St. Lawrence County, military records say Malone, Franklin County.
  • Both genealogical societies report they have no records of him or his parents.

I can trace him after he and his family settled in Oswego, Oswego Co., New York, but not before than, except for his participation in the Battle of the Windmill in 1838.

It is believed he married Mary CUMMINS/COMMINS of Augusta, Grenville, Ontario, Canada daugther of James CUMMINS and Charity ROOD/ROODE/RUDE. It is there in Canada where they had there first three children, Harriet, Henryett, and Hervey. The other two are believed to have been born in Oswego, NY, Aseneth, and Hiram Jr. after which Mary died.

He married second to Mary Frances SANTEE-MORROW. Two additional children were born to this second marriage, Ziplha, and Hettie.

I have been told that his parents where Noah Barlow and Mary Dempsey Adams, also his mother was actually a Wheeler. So far to date I've found no records or documentation on either.

Would love to learn more about Hiram Wheeler Barlow and his ancestry (parents) and also that of his first wife Mary CUMMINS. Also, would love to document Their marriage and the birth of their children.

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange. It sounds as though you have an interesting family history project underway and I am certain that the expertise available on this site will be of help to you. BUT any question that begins "I am looking for any information on .. " is unlikely to do much good. People here will not do your research for you. They will assist you to deal with specific questions. Can you edit what you have written to isolate one thing that you need help with? My guess is that will concern "How do I find the parents of ...?"
    – Fortiter
    Nov 26, 2012 at 4:16
  • @JayStone, I created some breaks in the body of your question. I hope it helps keep the information and the two wives a bit more clear. If you aren't pleased with the change, you can view the history and roll it back.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 30, 2012 at 1:02
  • @PolyGeo I have changed the tags and removed "Canada" and added "New York State". The question title and the question at the top of the main question, and all the previous answers, address the problem of finding records for these two counties in New York State. If this question had been from an active member of the community, we could have encouraged a second question to explore the options for Canadian records, but I don't see the point in having this question tagged Canada for a passing reference.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 1, 2015 at 17:15
  • I agree @JanMurphy - good pick up.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 1, 2015 at 20:03

4 Answers 4


Before I post some ideas, it would be good to remind everyone that, at least at some point, New York state was one of those places genealogists referred to as a "black hole?"

Here are some suggestions for resources:

I'm sure the above list could be improved upon (newspapers, maps, church records jump out at me). While it is not on the list, I would contact a library in each of the towns where my ancestor lived. Often times there are special collections or special indexes that are available.

  1. If you don't use a research log, I would encourage you to start one. I wrote about research logs on Genealogy.SE. See my answer on "What details should I be recording ...."
  2. Document all the information you believe you know about your family. Even if you don't use a formal citation style, keep track of all the sources. It is important to know exactly how you came to learn each bit of information. If you have different, conflicting facts about dates and locations--record them all and source each one.
  3. Try to research at the family group level--meaning that you conduct cradle to grave research about each of Hiram's wives and all of his children. This kind of research not only uncovers more clues about Hiram, but it will help you establish a really good timeline--where he most likely was at specific time periods. (This very much helps you figure out which records to search.)
  4. Try to search broadly, but in specific resources; make notes/keep a list of "interesting names" that you find in each resources.

My biggest break throughs haven't come from vital records (other than marriage records, vital records don't exist about my family from a little after 1800 until well into the 20th century). My break throughs have been made working with deeds, probate files, court records and maps. More recently, one came from really ugly looking church record written in old German script.

Good luck.

P.S. When I was pulling the database titles from the American Ancestors site, I did a random search for the name "Wheeler Barlow" in "Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in NY State, 1787 - 1835" (part of the database group, "Court Land and Probate Records"). There was a hit; indexed as Joseph Wheeler Barlow; 1803, Stamford, Delaware County, New York. Searching all of American Ancestors databases for just the surname "Barlow," limited only to "New York," resulted in almost 800 returns; 172 of which were in "Court, Land and Probate Records."


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society might be a place to look.

Its website claims:

"The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is the oldest genealogical society in New York State and the second oldest in the nation. ... The NYG&B is the most authoritative source for research on New York families and families with New York connections. Founded in 1869, it is the largest genealogical society in New York and the only one that is state-wide."


Since the other answers were posted, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has published a massive research guide:

I agree with the suggestion to ask about indexes and guides to special collections in libraries and archives -- in any library or archive, but especially in local ones.

Other guides to New York State resources:

Historical Newspaper Resources include:

It can also help to use a Genealogical Source Checklist -- for an example, see this list from the Capital Area Genealogical Society (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). They also have a handout on Overcoming Brick Walls and Dead Ends and other useful materials. Similar forms and guides can be downloaded from many sites -- see the FamilySearch Research Wiki articles Solving Tough Research Problems and United States | How to Find Genealogy Records.


You may want to try to reach out to the Genealogical Research team at the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society in Malone, NY. Email: [email protected] Website: www.franklinhistory.org

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