The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Happy SEVENTH Birthday to US
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Article: Seventh Anniversazry of Tri-County Site 
Chemung, Bradford, Tioga
Article by Joyce M. Tice
Photo by Joyce M. Tice Aug 2003
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We are very excited this month to have reached the seven year anniversary of the founding of the Tri-Counties Genealogy & History web site. It’s hard to even imagine or remember how primitive our initial efforts were. Well, you have to start somewhere and the results have been very rewarding to me and to those who have helped to make this site the massive library into which it has developed. Our motive is Preservation, Education, and Distribution. Not only do we want to collect our local artifacts or images thereof from the far corners of the country and the world where they have been carried, we want them to be seen and enjoyed. We want to preserve our local history, and equally important, we want it out there where interested people have easy access to it. Availability is the core of what we are doing in presenting and developing this library on the Internet. Communication has been the key element in bringing together the thousands of pieces that represent the entirety of the site. It has become the hub or meeting point for countless individuals connecting to their roots and to each other. The majority of those who use our site will never be able to come here to the area in which their ancestors lived, but we can give them a window to that world right from their own living room or office. We can allow them to "come home" for a visit without the expense of travel.

The most common remark I hear from people is something to the effect, " I don’t know how you keep up with it!" Well, truth is, I don’t. There is always a backlog of valuable materials to be processed for presentation on the site. Sometimes I have more submissions than I can keep up with. Never get discouraged, though, if something you have submitted is not on the site yet. On one particular day I put up three pages, two were from materials received within the previous half hour and the other was from something that had been on my hard drive for ten years, even before the site existed. Nothing is discarded. Nothing is rejected. If it comes to me in a useable format and is relevant to the site’s subject, it will see its way to the site.

We have seen many technical improvements since the site started. More and more people are learning how to use their computer equipment effectively so that we have a continually growing core of skilled volunteers. In 1996 many people did not know how to use their word processor or spreadsheet, or scan a photo, or send a file attachment. That is no longer the case. Our collective skills have increased considerably. Age is not a factor in this. While many of us have been using computer equipment at least through our employment for at least 20 years, others have not. They are starting from scratch, but an adventurous spirit and a can do attitude are the most important elements in becoming "computer literate." Many retired people in their seventies and eighties have taken to their computers like ducks to water and are doing just fine and helping us a lot. Our computing equipment has also seen many vast improvements, and the speed of Internet access has increased exponentially for many of us. For those of you still struggling along with slow and dragging phone modem connections, be reassured, it will get better. Cable or DSL access is coming your way. Keep hollering until you get it.

The Internet has changed everything about the way we connect and exchange information. No longer do we have to write letters, take long trips, or spend months waiting for an answer – (yes, there are exceptions particularly when dealing with governmental agencies.) A physical building is no longer the only repository for our treasures. We can have photographic images or transcriptions of them available at our fingertips. This is the ultimate in preservation. If the site were to cease to exist, (not in my lifetime) still the information that is preserved here has been printed out all over the country and will not be lost. When site guests visit me during their trips to this area, they show me their family books. Almost invariably, the bulk of the material in these family books has been printed from this site. Wide distribution is a key element in long term preservation. One of a kind family photos and Bible records can be seen here by all the family members and descendants. They are safe at last because of wide distribution.

Now that I have moved back to the local area, I am able to make a lot more local contacts. It is through our local volunteers that we are able to accomplish the cemetery and courthouse work. We can, therefore, take our local resources out to share with the rest of the world. Also our local people often have access to resources that are important to the site. Many of our local populace are descendants of our earlier generations and very often of our pioneer women and men. In April I did a presentation at the NY State Conference of Town Historians on how they could make a web site work for them. I spoke to the genealogy group of Bradford County last month and will be speaking to Gillett’s senior citizen’s group this month. We did a booth at the Manly-Bohlayer Farm Heritage weekend at Canton in June but were rained out. We did, however, determine that there are many local people interested in history and with Internet access who were not aware of the site. We have prepared flyers to post throughout the three counties to increase local awareness and to hopefully involve more locals in our volunteer projects. This is working. I am getting phone calls from local people who do not have computers but who have seen the flyers and have materials or knowledge that we will be interested in. We also intend to participate in more local events with a booth similar to what we did in Canton. I also attend some of the Chemung County historians meetings and am graciously welcomed by them. I hope to have greater participation by the town historians in the site development. Many of them have access to an abundance of knowledge and resources and we have a lot to gain from them.

I am very grateful to the many people who have helped and continue to help in building this site and enriching the lives of its many guests. My own primary motivation is to keep alive the memories of our predecessors in time from this area, and we are certainly accomplishing that. Happy Birthday to us and many more to come. I just can't hep looking back with great happiness at what we have done in our first seven years. The sky is the limit for the next seven.

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 03 AUG 2003
By Joyce M. Tice

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The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933