(Revamping the blog. Please excuse the odd headings. Working on it!)

Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.


We have a rather controversial issue going on in the village where I live. I have done extensive research on this project both as part of my job as well as on my personal time. Due to this situation I feel it is important to relay to the public what my qualifications are in the areas of abstracting and historical research.

I have been a government appointed historian since 1997, the first ten years as the historian for the town of Alabama in Genesee County, NY. During my time there I provided genealogical assistance to the public, researched historic properties, and claimed back for the town a cemetery that had previously been undocumented since the stones had long ago been removed. This information can be found on my old website for town’s history here. I also published an updated town history, and assisted the town through my research to find the original 1910 sewer system in Alabama Center whose old lines were causing flooding of residents’ properties. I also walked and documented every burial in every cemetery on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation which abuts the town of Alabama. This is on the same website here.   

Since 2007, I have been the Assistant County Historian for Wyoming County, NY. Aside from assisting the pubic with their own projects, part of my job under New York State law, is to research and document historic properties. Our office has also produced a quarterly publication since 1947 and I have researched and written several articles for it. I have created and maintain the website for the Government Appointed Historians of Western New York. You can find the Wyoming County page, (as well as contact information for any historian in western New York) here.

I have been asked to do presentations for several historical groups on many topics, the most popular being How to Think Like an Abstractor: Researching the History of your Home. Among the groups I have spoken before are:
The Boys Scouts of America
The Government Appointed Historians of Western New York
The Association of Public Historians of New York State
The Western New York Landmark Society
  as well as many local historical societies.


Most often the work I do in Wyoming County is part of my job as Assistant Historian. Work I do that does not pertain to Wyoming County often comes from outside sources that I either do voluntarily or for hire.   

I have been a freelance abstractor since 1997. I have done title work for abstract companies, attorneys, those seeking historic landmark designation, several abandoned cemetery issues, and other properties of historical significance. It is not uncommon for me to do a 200 year abstract of title on a piece of property using primary documents and surveys filed in county clerk’s offices, and accurately plot out the land in all its stages by the measurements cited in the deeds.

I have done historical research and abstracts of title in every county in New York west of the Genesee River, as well as counties in northern New York State along the St. Lawrence River when doing the chain of title for the St. Regis Indian Reservation back to 1796. I have had Chiefs from the Men’s Council travel from Akwesasne in northern New York to speak to me concerning my research on their land rights, which I was more than willing to share with them. I have also done title work in the state of Vermont, and helped a Native American woman in Alaska (where all their indexes to land records are online) prove her chain of title in order to keep the last five acres of her land from being taken by the Bureau of Land Management.

I was a weekly columnist for 2 1/2 years for a Native American newspaper called the Akwesasne Phoenix Sundays. Since I had completed extensive research in the clerk’s offices of Clinton, Franklin, and St. Lawrence counties in regards to the St. Regis reservation I often wrote about their land rights, as well as Native American history. I wrote under the pen name of HistorySleuth which I still use today. Because my land research in this area was so vast I have compiled it into book form, and at the moment it is under consideration by a publisher.

I have done background research for two documentary films:
A Warrior in Two Worlds (2004) on the life of the famous Seneca Indian, Eli Parker produced by the Rochester Museum for PBS. It is a very good film which you can watch online for free here.
Mysteries of the Freemasons (2006) by Powderhouse Productions for the History Channel.

I have been hired by two separate law films to do historical research for class action lawsuits pertaining to asbestos. The first case was a class action lawsuit for workers suffering from silicosis. This involved several weeks delving in to the lives of the workers in the Gypsum plants in Oakfield, NY as well as the original records to the court cases from the 1940s. The other case involved asbestos caused by the production of asbestos brakes and various manufacturers during the 1940s-60s.

I’m a published author. I am very fond of historical true crime and often research and write about it. My first book was published in 2001 with a friend of mine, Ellen Bachorski, called Bread & Butter the Murders of Polly Frisch. It is the true story of a woman who poisoned her family with arsenic in the 1850s, and the five trials it took to convict her. We have sold hundreds over the years and it was time to bring Polly into the new world of publishing. We published a second edition in April of 2014. It is available on Amazon worldwide in paperback and Kindle formats, at Barnes & Noble for Nook, and in Canada for Kobo. It is doing extremely well since its re-release.


I’m sure I can add to this list as I think of more. I do not apply for these other jobs, people find me because I have a reputation for detailed and accurate work. In other words, I’m good at what I do and my reputation extends far beyond the rural village in which I live.


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