Celina/Salina Drollet (or Drowlette,Drolet,Draulette,Drollette,etc) (b. abt 1866) and James Comstock (b. 1874) were the parents of my grandmother Mary Amelia Comstock (Mary was b. Mar 1897 Saranac, NY and she died 1997 in Ithaca,NY).

Celina was married once before she married my great grandfather, James comstock, Born April 1874 in New York. I do not know her maiden name. I have absolutely no clues what her real maiden name was. That name is the key to tracing her geneology and without it I have nothing else to go on. I tried the LDS site, ancestry.com to no avail.

I cannot find any birth, marriage or death records for Celina or even definitive evidence for how her name was actually spelled. Every census has a different birth year for her.

I would like to find her headstone to see how her first name was finally spelled.

I saw on one census that neither she nor James could read or write. She spoke French among close family members. I find her on several census records and her son Frank and daughter Emma's marriage applications but that is it.Also, I noticed that her daughter Emma was born about 7 years before she married my great grandfather, yet Emma carries the name Comstock. Is Emma from the first marriage and was Selina about 10 years older than James Comstock?

Please help me find Celina's marriage record, burial place. Who were her parents?

Also, where is her husband James Comstock buried? I cannot find his death certificate or burial place or marriage application either.

Celina died first, around 1930 in Saranac , New York area and she lived her entire life in the Saranac, NY area. James went to live with my grandmothers sister at the end of his life somewhere in NY.

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    Susan I have taken the liberty of making several edits to make your question a little easier for readers to "get into". If I have altered the meaning in any important way, you click on the line above my name (where it says "edited") to roll back those changes.
    – Fortiter
    Dec 4, 2012 at 2:42
  • Is this Salina Draulette a relative? Dec 4, 2012 at 3:52
  • Hi Susan. Can you provide some additional details about what sources you've already searched? Also, approximately when did Celina and James marry? And what are their approximate dates of death? This info will help us focus our answers to resources that will help you, as well as help keep us from doing research that you've already done. Thanks!
    – efgen
    Dec 4, 2012 at 4:45
  • Another possible source to check is this microfilm which among other things seems to have some Clinton County cemetery records on it. Dec 4, 2012 at 5:24
  • Edited to add vital-records to the tags.
    – efgen
    Dec 4, 2012 at 5:40

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure if the actual vital records might offer anything helpful. If you haven't already done so, I'd try Frank's birth certificate (NY, ca. 1894) to see if it gives you more specific information about Celina/Salina.

In fact, I'd check all vital records for the other children -- Frank, Arthur, and Irwin (and May?) -- to see if any of their paperwork offers more information.

Is Frank this one: FRANK COMSTOCK was born February 26, 1894, received a Ohio Social Security number, 274-16-3826, and died March 1967? There was a lot of mobility among people between NY and OH, so the death in OH probably isn't impossible.

A death cert (and perhaps obit) for him may be helpful, with his parents' info.

Is it possible that Salina's father was one of the Isaiah Drollettes of Saranac? (There seem to be a few contenders.) If so, his citizenship papers may be helpful, especially if he became a citizen after Salina was born.

Except that the age is too far off (b. ca. 1858), I'd wonder if Salina was "Salinda Drulette" in the 1870 census in Saranac. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8FF-66G)

If Celina/Salina always lived in or near Saranac, her marriage announcement should be in the local paper, and her wedding would have been at a local church, so I'd look at church records, especially if her father was Isaiah. That indicates a strong church background.

Another long shot is the marriage record of Emma A. Comstock (b. ca. 1887), m. 29 Oct 1919, listing her parents as James Comstock and Drowlette. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XVGF-76M )


"New York, Marriages, 1686-1980," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6S4-ZGG : accessed 04 Dec 2012), Salina Droulett in entry for Frank Comstock and Mabel Williams, 08 Jun 1913; citing reference 864409-00208, FHL microfilm 864409.

"United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M5M7-BTP : accessed 04 Dec 2012), Frank Comstock in household of James Comstock, Harrietstown, Franklin, New York; citing sheet 15B, family 43, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374951.

"New York, State Census, 1892," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MQ9P-TGH : accessed 04 Dec 2012), Isaiah Drollette, Saranac, E.D. 04.

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    Quite a nice job, especially given the limited references in the original question.
    – GeneJ
    Dec 4, 2012 at 18:51

Some counties in NY keep marriage records. Look for church records or look for the oldest area church or one near the time of their marriage. Some church's have the old records while others have sent them on to the denomination's headquarters' library or given to local historical societies to allow public use.

Does the county or town have records of marriages back that far? Check with town clerk. Is there a local historical society? Find them some members will do look ups for people also.

Try talking to older family members to see what they remember to get a basic idea of a date of marriage. Were they married in NY or before they came to NY or were they born in NY? Many women were married at 18 or even a year or so before.

Each NY county has a gen web site that has some records. New Horizons Genealogy has lots of records by state including censuses on line. Was she or he born in that town or did they go there after they married from someplace else?

Always think out of the box. Think back to stories that you heard. People moved quite a bit for the times. They rented farms often and then maybe moved west. Be creative in your thinking.


What an interesting name and possibly a very interesting genealogy.

Developing a research plan for this case will involve an area of/time in New York state that is not for the faint of heart. From briefly poking a search here and there, I'm confident this research spans probably three generations, two different countries, likely two different US states and certainly no fewer than four different New York counties. Were I in your shoes, I'd want a really smart research plan.

I don't know where you live, nor your access to resources. In that vacuum, I'm going to add to what others have written by suggesting you consider hiring a professional genealogist. A professional will retrace the important parts of what you think you know, add other resources and/or direct you further on where to go from there.

You might get some further advice on this from professional genealogist Michael John Neill, as he has researched his wife's Drollette ancestors of Saranac. [See the articles and entries indexed in "Nazaire Drollette in the 1850-1900 Census for Clinton County, New York," 2002.]

If you decide to forge ahead on your own, then some generic suggestions:

  1. The much wanted "vital record" you seek about Selina's birth quite likely does not exist. Even if you find a birth record, it might be difficult to prove that record is indeed about your ancestor. You need to be thinking about notions of proof (it was almost certainly or probably thus ...because ...) which is entirely different than information (from a source; subject to error), and also different than a conflict or a hypothesis (this is confused, or what if/maybe this ...).
  2. Keeping notions of proof, information and conflict/hypothesis distinguished from one another takes a little work on your part. Making a careful record of each source, even if you don't use a formal citation style, is a first step. I recommend using a research log, and writing (narrating) about proof and conflicts. At the end of the day, it is not so much about what we know as how we know it!
  3. Conduct broad searches in specific record collections. Content providers bring us so very many wonderful digitized collections; they allow us to search specifically (name, date, place, etc) in broadly compiled (humongous) electronic databases. Finding a full range of information about an ancestor, however, often requires broad searches in specific databases/finding aids. (For example, scanning through all names that begin with "D" in a certain towns census index or tax list; reading an entire town census or years and years of entries in a church baptismal ledger.) This includes searching finding aids and record collections that are not online.
  4. Pick a point on Selina's time line where you have solid and documented information, then research in both directions from that point. You want to locate information that helps you "inchworm" along the time line, rather than "leap frog" between major events (like birth, marriage, death).
  5. All records are subject to error, but we think of more timely information as being more valuable. However, there was often more record keeping as we move forward in time. This means that you may find more records about children than about parents; maybe even more records about children born later than children born earlier. Since we learn about the parents from the children (and vice versa), try to research the full family group.

I did spot a couple of items for your file:

  1. In looking over the 1900 and 1910 U.S. census about this family, it seemed one of the twin sons might have died between the two census. Were I in your shoes, I would be interested to discover if there had been death reporting, news items and/or cemetery information about the missing twin.
  2. In the 1910 U.S. census (I viewed the image at Ancestry.com), the family of James and Salina Comstock at Harrietstown (Franklin County, New York), was living one door down from a James Drulette, ae 29, b. NY, NY, NY; he had been married 7 years (so ca1903) to Della; they had children ages 2 mos to 5 years.

If you haven't already looked there, the New York Genealogical and Biography Society is the second oldest genealogical society in the US and claims to have more NY state information than anywhere else.

Another place to check is the New England Historical Genealogical Society which also includes NY info even though it's not in New England.

A third place to look is in newspapers such as:


In addition to the excellent answers already posted, I recommend some general research about the town of Saranac itself and the surrounding area. Map out a timeline of events which you have, and then try to discover what records might have been created during that time, what might still exist, and what repositories may hold them. Look for case histories like the one written by Michael John Neill which GeneJ found and linked to, but don't just look for similar surnames -- look for any case history for people who lived in Saranac, since that might give you a clue for resources you didn't know about.

Fulton History / Old Fulton Post Cards has old newspapers published in New York State, between 1795 and 2007. A search for "Saranac" gets 5000 hits; looking at the titles of which newspapers come up in the search results show which newspapers covered the area.

When a person's name is not consistently spelled, you can't depend on searching for that specific person by name. It can pay off to collect information about friends, neighbors, and associates (what Elizabeth Shown Mills calls the FAN; other genealogists refer to it as the 'cluster'). I have found 'missing' obituaries while searching for their children (e.g. married daughters with different surnames) or funeral notices when searching for other people in the community who were listed as one of the bearers.

Another strategy is to do a brute-force method and to collect all the Drollette families in the Saranac area, assume that they are not connected to your Celina Drollette, and then try to prove it. If there are no connections, then you can rule them out, but looking for their records might lead you to something which is related to the family you seek.

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