Monday, January 2, 2017

Mappy Monday: The Town of Great Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York

1869 Beers Map of Great Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York
I have written before that "Gaining knowledge about an area and its history is invaluable to being successful in family research." Indeed, in my presentation on beginning your family history, I tell people that out of the three key elements in family history research (name, date and place), place is the most important.

I want to begin a new series on the town of Great Valley. Having a reference map is a great place to start. This will help orient people to the area. Although one might feel they know the area pretty well, there is always something new to be learned. The concept of many layers of knowledge about a subject matter is something I liken to the metaphysical concepts in the theory of there being many particles and waves in the universe which change when we focus our intent on one particular aspect. There is almost no way to focus on more than one aspect at any given time but that does not mean that there are more layers overall. Time is another concept layer altogether. I will leave further philosophical discussion about the universe for another venue and others who are much more learned on the subject.

The town of Great Valley will be celebrating its bicentennial in the year 2018. Preparations are being made to gather knowledge and plan celebrations to commemorate the occasion. Cattaraugus County, in which Great Valley is a part of, was formed in 1808. The town itself was formed from Olean in April 1818 and changes occurred in 1831 (the towns of Allegany and Humphrey, then known as Burton, were set off), 1842 (the town of Carrollton was formed) and 1847 (a portion of the Indian reservation was taken off) before its present limits were established.

The principal sources of historical information on the town come from two county histories, one written in 1879 and one written in 1893. A Bicentennial History of the county was published in 2008 with contributions from each town by their respective historians. The scope of the bicentennial publication only lent itself to mainly reiterating many facts originally established in the two earlier histories. For the most part, the 2008 history provides only sparse data on later historical events. Even the 1893 publication reuses wording and facts from the 1879 history.

1856 Map of Great Valley
It is difficult to celebrate a history without going back to the beginning origins and even harder to move forward in time. Framed in another philosophical way, Søren Kierkegaard said that Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. It is often only with the passing of time that we can even begin to look back in an effort to understand where we came from and where we are going. In looking at it from the metaphysical perspective spoken of earlier, we know that focusing on just one aspect narrows our view of the big picture. Determining the exact focus of a historical concept can be a daunting task. Inevitably something will be left out. Even as we work to chronicle the past, the future marches on, making this a never-ending task. I am cognizant of the human limits that constrain the work of historical compilation. We are only one part in the stream of history. Those who came before us are gone. We will soon take our place among them, leaving the future to others. In the preface to one of my family history book publications, I wrote that I was adding “to the work that others before me,” built up “from the foundations that were first laid by the very people whose lives we attempt to chronicle.”

The sources in my chronicle of the research on my ancestor John Goode shown here at this blog post illustrate this concept. You will note that chronologicallly four sources built upon each other in the stream of time to establish the correct identity and timeline for John Goode (ca. 1780-27 August 1814):

1887: G.B. Goode
1930: F.A. Virkus (editor)
1963: William C. Stewart
1995: Dawn Westfall

1916 Map of Great Valley
Later research undertaken may have proven that the English origins of this Goode family set forth by G.B. Goode are erroneous and will undoubtedly continue to be a work in progress. It is something I will leave for other historians to build upon. 

Returning to my original topic of the history of Great Valley, I believe organization is key. Future posts on the subject will be my attempts at organizing what I know. There are others who have participated in the town's history for much longer than I who will undoubtedly have more (and perhaps better) information. They may be able to focus more in-depth on a particular topic. I can only give you what I have, add what I know and have discovered. It is my hope that it will also be a project that others will build upon in the future. Stay tuned for future posts.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thriller Thursday: What happened to Charles Backus?

Oh dear, for those of you following this story fresh, this post never got scheduled for publication until now. I truly left you with a cliff-hanger. My apologies!

When I first began researching family history years ago, I had an elderly cousin tell me that it might not be a good idea as I might find horse thieves or worse. I think I recently found one.

I spent some time trying to compile what I recently discovered in online records on the Backus family of Wyoming County, New York. I mentioned my brief version of the research cycle in the previous Wednesday's post: gather, compile, analyze, do it all over again. In compiling, I go back through the records I have gleaned and make sure I have documentation for what I think I know during the gathering phase. It also highlights for me what is missing and what I might still have to go looking for, an important step.

The entry for Etna Smith Backus gives a transcript of her obituary which contains an important clue in establishing the ancestry of Rollie, namely that she was the mother of Charles Backus. I went to to look for a digital copy of the actual obituary. I was able to locate it in the Wyoming County Times and also found a brief mention of her death in the Buffalo Courier as well.

We also know from her burial records that she was the wife of Charles Backus. By the way, I found another source for the burial records online here which provided the exact place of her husband's birth, another important clue for future research. Plus doing a google search on Rev. Vradenburg yielded the tidbit that he was a pastor of the German Baptist church. This provides strength to Rollie's assertion that his family was of German origin as listed in the 1920 census data.

Anyway, I found both Charles Backus and Charles H. Backus in Arcade, Wyoming County, New York during the 1880 federal census and so can establish that Charles H. Backus was the son of Charles and Etna. Charles H.'s occupation was laborer. Charles Backus was listed as a miller in that census and specifically a grist miller in the 1870 federal census there.

Charles is accounted for in the cemetery records as is his wife and his daughter-in-law Permelia. But in compiling the data, I see I have no burial information for Charles H. What happened to him?

At this point, I have only been able to locate two more references to Charles H. Both are from the digital scans of newspapers at First, Charles H. Backus of Warsaw was one of two in the town who had been recently registered at the clerks office as veterinarians. This was according to the Thursday, October 28, 1886 edition of the Western New Yorker, a newspaper published in the village of Warsaw in Wyoming County.

But about three years later, we see that he might have used those skills in a different sort of way:

This reads in part: "...A week ago a valuable trotter was stolen from I. Sam Johnson, the ex-District Attorney of Wyoming county. The horse was taken out of a barn at Warsaw during the night. The thief is alleged to be Charles Backus, a horse trader. Backus took the animal to Buffalo. The first horse dealer he struck was Frank Murray, the Swan street liveryman. Backus told Murray that he was anxious to secure the horse and offered another horse and $35 in cash for it. Backus then went to Batavia with his new purchase and there made another trade for a horse and $2 to boot. Sheriff McGeary and Mr. Johnson came to Buffalo, suspecting that Backus was the horse thief and found him here. Mr. Johnson went back and forwarded a warrant for the arrest of Backus. He was found by Specials McCabe and Notter yesterday and arrested. He was taken to Warsaw last night."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Permelia Burno, the bride of Charles H. Backus

While this post is not exclusively on a wedding, it does focus on a bride and her family origins. I am on a roll with blogging prompts this week so I want to keep the theme. I will finalize this post series with a Thriller Thursday post as my research into this family has an interesting ending.

Online records are scarce on anyone named Charles Backus in Wyoming County, New York and I was searching for two of them. The obituary listed online at on Etna Smith Backus indicated that she was the mother of Charles Backus. Inferred in that record (though no source stated) is that she was the wife of Charles Backus (1814-1881). It also infers her maiden name as Smith. The cemetery transcript mentioned in yesterday's post helps confirm those assertions as the transcript specifically states her maiden name and that she was the wife of Charles.

I mentioned previously that Wyoming County enumerations for the New York state 1892 census are not extant. The best we get on anyone named Charles Backus for census data is from the 1880 federal census. Charles and his wife Etna are listed as age 65 as household number 105 (Arcade, Wyoming County, New York). Charles H. and his wife Pamelia A. are listed as household number 35. Charles and Pamelia have five young females (the eldest is listed as Etna, presumably named for her grandmother although other records indicate she was later known as Etta Mae). They are a typical family for that time period as each of the children are 1-3 years apart in age. I also believe the child Backus who was interred on October 31, 1874 fit in here somewhere, too (refer back to the cemetery transcript. As the youngest child listed on the census was 3 years old, we can rightfully assume that another child will be coming along soon. The indirect evidence indicates that the next child was a (perhaps long-awaited) boy whom they named Rollie George. Records on Rollie show he was born in August of 1881.

For further proof of this implied relationship, we have to further explore the mother's family. The year she became the bride of Charles H. Backus is unknown but we presume it was at least by 1870 when their daughter Etna was born. She was born in New York, but Charles was not found in either Wyoming or Cattaraugus County during that census year. His father was enumerated in Arcade, but Charles H. was not listed in that household nor was he listed in the household of his father-in-law Paul Burno's. I will make no other assumptions other than to say I have been unable to find him in the 1870 census thus far.    

Paul Burno is more steadily found in census records although this is a name often spelled alternately (Burna/Burns). Below are abstracts of entries for his household:

1880, Wyoming Co, Arcade, NY, household 165/67
Burna, Paul age 65, farm labor, born Canada, father born France, mother born France
 " ", Eliza, age 59, daughter, keeping house, born NY, father born Mass,, mother born Mass.
Backus, Lizzie, age 9, granddaughter, born NY, father born NY, mother born NY

1870, Wyoming Co, Arcade, NY, household 8/8
Burno, Paul, 55, works on farm, born Lower Canada
" ", Sarah, 49, keeping house, born NY
" ", Clarissa, age 19, at home, born NY
" ", Clarinda, age 14, domestic servant, born NY
" ", Caroline, age 13, attend school, born NY
" ", Roselia, age 10, attend school, born NY
" ", Lewis, age 8, attend school, born NY

1860, Wyoming Co, China, P.O. Eagle Village, household 375/365 (Arcade was once called China)
Paul Burna, 41, farmer, L. Canada
Sarah E. " ", 39, NY
Pamelia, 16, housework, NY
Elton, 16, NY
Lorenzo, 12, NY
Clarissa, 10, NY
Clarinda, 9, NY
Caroline, 5, NY
Rozella, 3, NY

1850, Wyoming Co, NY, China, household 550/558
Paul Burno, 34, farmer, Canada
Eliza ", 29, NY
Newton [? indexed as Anderson] " ", male, 8, NY
Parmilla, 6, NY
Edson, 4, NY
Lorenzo, 3, NY
Clarissa, 1, NY

Before we analyze these records further, I wanted to note that it was not until after I started compiling the data in a narrative form did I think to look back in that cemetery transcript for a reference to Burnos. That's what I love about the research cycle: gather, compile, analyze, then do it all over again.

We can see from those census records the further indirect evidence that Rollie's mother was Permelia Burno Backus. Her father's birthplace is listed as Canada in the 1880 census in her husband's household. We find Pamelia living with her father Paul, a native of Lower Canada, in the 1850 and 1860 census as well as her sister (and Rollie's aunt) Clarissa. Paul even has his young granddaughter Lizzie Backus listed in his household in 1880 (It appears she was actually enumerated twice, both here and in her parents household) which further confirms the relationship.

So Permelia, born around 1844, became the bride of Charles H. Backus sometime around 1870. She died August 15, 1892 and was buried in the Arcade Rural Cemetery along with her father- and mother-in-law and probably one of her children who died in 1874. (I also determined that her mother was buried there in 1888.) The question is: What happened to her groom?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday (without a tombstone): Charles Backus and family of Wyoming County, New York

The other clue on the Backus family I needed to follow up with was the fact that Rolla Backus, age 16, was listed as a nephew in the household of Adelbert Hitchcock and his wife Clarissa during the 1900 federal census. They lived in the town of Yorkshire. Also living with the family was a son, Carl R. Hitchcock, age 15. In what ways could Rollie be a nephew? Rollie's mother could be a sister of Adelbert or Rollie could be the nephew of Adelbert's wife. The research I was able to do online on the Hitchcock family did not yield any connections to Rollie Backus that I could see.

Adelbert Hitchcock's wife is listed as Clarissa B. in other records and a Rootsweb WorldConnect submission gives her last name as Burnham. In 1910, Clarissa's birth place is listed as New York, her father's as Canada (English) and her mother's as New York. Clarissa was born about 1851 and was the mother of three living children. Her and "Delbert" were married 37 years according to this census, putting the wedding date in the year 1873. The 1892 state census shows Adelbert and Clarissa with three children Homer F. [sic] age 18, Lenna W., age 16 and Carl R. age 7. None of this helped tie Rollie to the family definitively, so I left it for another day.

That day came on my Thanksgiving break this year. I was not even actually researching the Backus name although my mother-in-law had been here for Thanksgiving dinner. I was looking up some general information about the town of Java in a January 1980 edition of the Historical Wyoming County newsletter, a copy of which is found at In the same newsletter, I also found a transcript of the Arcade Rural Cemetery which included four entries for the surname Backus. This just happened to catch my eye because of Java being the birthplace of Rollie's son. None of these names matched what I had so far but I printed out the information to check later against what I did know.

What luck I had with this one! Sometimes I really believe the ancestors nudge us along. Truly there was really nothing to suggest that this Backus family buried in Arcade Rural Cemetery was the right family. Just juxtaposed to information about the town of Java made me think about it, although the areas are within proximity.

The information from the cemetery transcript is as follows:

Charles Backus, July 15, 1814 - Oct. 6, 1881. (Son of John)
Etta Smith, wife, died May 1889, -- Yrs.
Permelia Backus, wife, Charles, and
Dau. Paul and Sarah E. Burno, died Aug 15, 1892, -- Yrs.
Child Backus, interred Oct. 31, 1874

Still really nothing to go on, but I went back to looking at online records on the Hitchcock family to see if I could figure out if Clarissa B. Hitchcock was the family link for Rollie. For the record, the child listed as Homer F. Hitchcock in 1892 appears to actually be Herbert E. Hitchcock born 1874. Herbert died in 1933 and is buried in the Delevan Cemetery in Delevan, Cattaraugus County, New York. It is a record on the son Carl Hitchcock, though, that yielded a bingo winning in the game of family connections here.

From, I retrieved a marriage record of Carl R. Hitchcock age 25 and Evelyn M. Dornan in Cattaraugus County. Carl's parents are listed as Adelbert Hitchcock and Clarissa Burno. Aha! A probable connection to Permelia Burno Backus listed in the cemetery transcript. Time to look further at this Backus family. It was a tombstone kind of search as further information was gleaned from Much of it confirmed what was listed in the cemetery transcription. Click on the names below as they are linked to the entry for each.
Image from

Charles Backus
Etna Smith Backus
Permelia Burno Backus

Interestingly enough the entries on indicate that the burial information for each of these was from the Wyoming County Historian's office but no gravestones were found. The Historical Wyoming Newsletter did not include information regarding when the transcript was originally completed, but the date of the newsletter was January 1980. This issue began the transcript, though it was not completed in that issue. I believe the remainder of the transcript ran in subsequent issues after that.

Even without a tombstone, I was able to confirm the connections with further research into the Burno family, but I will save the details of that information for another post.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Matrilineal Monday: An Update on Jennie Hayes, wife of Rollie Backus

In January 2014, I wrote a post summarizing what I had so far on the ancestors of my mother-in-law, Ruth. I was stopped on Rollie George Backus who was born 15 August 1881 in New York. Rollie had a son named Herman who was born in the town of Java on 1 March 1905. One step in a potential research plan was to obtain a birth certificate on Herman but I have never done so.

Another action on my list was to explore any Hayes enumerated in Cattaraugus or Wyoming County during the 1900 census to try and find the parents of Jennie who married Rollie. I suspected that Jennie's maiden name was Hayes based on a newspaper entry found at stating under the heading of Lime Lake that "Miss Iva Hayes returned from a month's visit with her sister, Mrs. Rollie Backus at Curriers Corners."

I went back over those newspaper entries recently. I was able to pinpoint that this entry was dated July 15, 1903. I also went back to the original announcement of the birth of a son to Mr. and Mrs. Rollie Backus in the town of Java. Underneath that entry it stated that "Mrs. Hayes of Machias is caring for her daughter, Mrs. Backus."  This further confirms that Jennie's maiden name was Hayes.

Using those clues, I still have had a hard time trying to come up with a matching Hayes family in either county during the 1900 federal census or the 1892 New York state census. (I did determine that the 1892 enumeration for Wyoming County is not extant which is good to know for further research). Lime Lake is just a small hamlet of Machias which are both in Cattaraugus County but I was still not having much luck identifying the Hayes family I needed.

I did find a sweet newspaper entry for Jennie and Iva Hayes showing how they did in school:

Image from

I found a couple more entries for Iva Hayes: In May of 1904 she was visited by the Misses Gertrude and Bessie Phillips. In May of 1907 under the area heading "Elton" it was noted that "Miss Iva Hayes of the Lake road is spending some time at Mrs. Hills." There were no other entries for Jennie Hayes but under the same heading wherein Iva was listed as visiting her sister in 1903 (but in the second column of the newspaper), Frank Lafferty and family were visiting George Hayes of Lime Lake as well.

I typed in George Hayes residing in Cattaraugus County for the years 1892-1910 at In the 1900 federal census, I found George B. Hayes, age 27, born December of 1873, in the household of his parents, Erwin and Mandania Hayes in the town of Yorkshire. This was the same town Rollie was living that year with his uncle Adelbert Hitchcock. Even better, George had two sisters listed, one named Nancy (age 12, born August 1887) and one named Jennie. Perfect, right?

Well, there appears to a discrepancy, though. Jennie's age is given as 9 and her birth month and year as June of 1890. I'd be inclined to dismiss it and probably did before but I found Iva with the same family in 1905. William E. Hayes age 61 and wife Mandana 52 are listed with Iva Hayes age 14 during the 1905 New York state census. (Luckily his wife has a distinctive name.) Besides the husband and wife still listed in Yorkshire for the 1910 census (Mandania was listed as the mother of 5 living out of 10 children), nothing else comes up for William E. Hayes or Erwin Hayes in I did a quick google search and found an index for the name Mary Mandania Pettengell but could not locate anything further.

The final thing for now that I have found is an old photograph of Erwin Hayes of Yorkshire in a 1976 edition of the Olean Times Herald. He was a war veteran and is listed here with others of his post:

Image from;
Erwin Hayes is front row, sixth from the left, with arms crossed

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rescued From Obscurity, Part 5: Family Ties

This post will complete our series on the research regarding this old nineteenth century photo album pictured at left. We have determined that the album was probably originally owned by George Vernum Killmore and his wife Amelia (nee Wright). 

The photograph below of a young man taken in Adrian, Michigan might have something to do with one of G. Vernum's brothers, Daniel or Schuyler, since they were both employed with Michigan Central RR. This paper cdv was paired in the album with the ferrotype of two younger boys that bear some resemblance to the young man. Perhaps the ferrotype is an earlier picture of the same young man and a brother?

Left #19A paper cdv, unknown. Right #19B ferrotype encased in paper frame, unknown.

Left #19A verso: "J.A. Foster, photographer, rooms opposite his old gallery over Park's Dry Goods Store,
Maumee St, Adrian, Mich." Right #19B verso of ferrotype. No markings. 

Since Amelia and G. Vernam were married in Aztalan, Jefferson County, Wisconsin in 1853, are these two photographs below of significance? They are placed first in the album. The second one of the gentleman was taken in Fort Atkinson (also in Jefferson County, Wisconsin). Might it even be photos of the original owners?

Left #1A paper cdv unknown. Right #1B paper cdv unknown.

Left #1A verso: "Goodwin photographer, 60 South Salina Street, Syracuse NY,
gallery up one short flight of stairs".
Right #1B verso: "Mrs. H.E. Raimheld, Artist, Ft. Atkinson, Wis."

The Kilmer family history states that Vernum's brother Luke married Fanny Gillham in St. Mary's, Sydney on 31 July 1852 and that he died in Australia. Could the family group photograph below be a picture of his wife and children?

Left #23A: paper cdv of an unknown woman and four children. Right #23B: paper cdv unknown subject.

Left #23A verso: "Advance Australia, Bray, photographer, 487 George St, Sydney, N.S.W."
Right #23B verso: "N.C. Sanborn, 50 Merrimack Street, Lowell, Mass." 

If the reference on the photographer's imprint (see image on right below) is to St. Louis, Missouri, could the photograph on the left be of Josephine S. Rego, wife of Vernum's brother William Deloss Kilmore, whom he married in Missouri on 18 February 1872?

#41: paper cdv, unknown subject.
#41 verso: "Outley's Photographic Palace of Art,
39 Fourth St, St. Louis, opposite Planters House"

Finally, how might the album have made its way to Cattaraugus County, New York?

G. Vernum is said to have worked for the NYC RR for twenty years and then went to the state of Washington.

We do find him listed with his brother William B. (sic) Killmore in Seattle, Washington for the year 1910. His age was listed as 87, he had no occupation and his marital status was widowed.

We can find in where G. U. Killmore, son of Luke, died in Sedro-Woolley, Kittitas County, Washington in 1916 aged 95. Luke R. Killmore died in Kittitas County in 1913. There was also more on the William B. Killmore family who lived in Seattle, Washington, but nothing on Amelia. Where was she?

At this point, the last we see of Amelia, she is closest to the area where the photograph album ended up. In 1900, Amelia J. Killmore born October 1832, was listed as a boarder in the home of Charles Briggs age 56 born July 1844 and his wife Mary E. born August 1853. Amelia was listed as married for 47 years and the mother of two children. Mary had no children. She and Charles had been married for 18 years according to this census data (ca. 1882). They lived in the city of Bradford, McKean County, Pennsylvania. Bradford is just over 20 miles from where the album was found. By 1910, Mary Briggs was living alone with her 17-year-old niece, Ethel Slate in Bradford.* 

From there we lose the trail. Nothing has been found for Amelia after that time and is where we have to leave the story for now.~

*A Charles Wallace Briggs, born July 1844 and died 1907 was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He had a sister Jennie who married Edgar Slade. Their daughter Ethel May Slade married Rupert Arnold in the town of Perry, New York in 1914.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rescued From Obscurity, Part 4: The Killmore Family of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York

While searching for online records in Syracuse about the George V. and Amelia Killmore family, others of that same surname kept popping up but I put the research aside for awhile.

Serendipitously, I later ran across some family group sheet information on a Kilmore family in Syracuse from a member of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society. The information is mainly focused on a Rathbone family but included information on Luke Kilmore, son of Henry Kilmore, who married Achsah Rathbone. The source for the Kilmore information was cited as History of the Kilmer Family in America, edited by Charles H. Kilmer. Page 88. This book was not available in its entirety online at the time of this writing but I am including below information taken from the Rathbone compilation regarding the Kilmore line:

History of the Kilmer Family in America, edited by Charles H. Kilmer. Page 88.
Children of Luke 3 [Henry 2, Heinrich 1.]
CATHERINE. Maried Ezra Cowner of Syracuse, NY
DANIEL BRADLEY. Married Miss Marguerita Matty. Her father was a cousin of Marshall B. Soult, one of Napoleon’s grand marshalls.
    Daniel was captain of a packet from Syracuse to Buffalo. In 1863 he became ticket agent for the Michigan Central RR. After this kept a wood yard seven years. Accumulated enough resources to live a retired life, and died in 1887.
SCHUYLER V. Married Miss Mary Matty, a sister of his brother Daniel B.’s wife. 
    He has been captain of a packet boat, seven years traveling ticket agent for the Michigan Souther RR, and twenty years superintendent of the American Dairy Salt Company. Residence, 220 Seymour street, Syracuse, NY.
CORWIN. Died 1849 and no family.
VERNUM.Married Amelia Wright. Went to sea in 1845. After leaving sea life went to California. Returned to Syracuse, NY, and was employed by the New York Central RR, which position he retained twenty years. Then went to state of Washington.
KATURAH. Married Enos Fields. He is dea, and she is living at Waterloo, NY.
LUKE. Married either a Gilman or Gilmore. He was a sea captain. His family are supposed to be in Australia. 
DELOSS. In state of Washington.
ROSELTHA. Married George Bragdon.
JAQUELINA. Married Hiram Seeley. He is dead. She at Little Falls NY.

And from the family group sheets:

Family of Achsah Rathbone (59861) & Luke Kilmore
61864. Katherine Kilmore.
On 1 Jan 1839 Katherine married Ezra Pierce Downer in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.
61865. Emery Kilmore.
61866. George B. Kilmore.
61867. Daniel Bradley Kilmore. Born ca 1818 in New York.
Daniel Bradley married Margaret V.. Born in 1830.
61868. Schuyler V. Kilmore. Born in Mar 1820 in New York.
Schuyler V. married Mary. Born ca 1829. Mary died bef 1900.
61869. Corwin G. Kilmore. Born on 7 Jul 1822 in New York. Corwin G. died aft 1900.
61870. G. Vernam Kilmore. Born on 24 Aug 1824 in Salina, Onondaga County, New York.
On 7 Dec 1853 when G. Vernam was 29, he married Amelia J. Wright, daughter of John Russell Wright (21 Apr 1802-19 Nov 1880) & Luna Williams (10 Nov 1805-22 Aug 1840), in Aztalan, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Born on 30 Oct 1831 in Watervale, Onondaga County, New York.
61871. Luke Kilmore. Born ca 1829 in New York. Luke died in Austrialia.
On 31 Jul 1852 Luke married Fanny Gillham in St. Mary’s, Sydney.
61872. William D. Kilmore. Born on 15 Oct 1832 in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.
On 18 Feb 1872 when William D. was 39, he married Josephine S. Rego in Missouri. Born in Indiana.
61873. Rosetta Kilmore. Born ca 1837 in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.
Rosetta married a Mr Bragdon.
61874. Jacqueline Kilmore. Born ca 1840 in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.
Jacqueline married Hyrem Seeley.

There's a lot of information here and it is very telling in terms of this photograph album.

First off, now we know George also went by his middle name of Vernum or Vernam. Then we know it was to him that the photograph in the album shown below was given “by a friend” (reference the writing on the back):

Left Photo 28A, paper cdv, unknown. Right Photo 28B paper cdv, unknown. 

Left image 28A verso, photographer imprint: H. Lazler, Syracuse & Oswego, NY. Wording in pencil "To Vernum by A Friend"
Right image 28B verso, no photographer imprint or writing. Blue two-cent revenue stamp from civil war era.

It was noted in an earlier post that according to the 1875 state census Vernum was employed by the NY Central RR which is also mentioned in the above excerpt from the Kilmer family history. The history also states that his brothers Daniel and Schuyler worked as ticket agents for the Michigan Central RR. Railroad history with its multiple consolidation and mergers is more confusing than family trees, but generally for our purposes it helps to know the following from Wikipedia:

The New York Central Railroad (NYC) was a railroad operating in the Northeastern United States. Headquartered in New York City, the railroad served most of the Northeast, including extensive rail lines in the states of New YorkPennsylvania,OhioMichiganIndianaIllinois and Massachusetts, plus additional lines in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec. Its primary connections included Chicago and Boston 

1926 Map of New York Central Railroad

I am guessing that the locations of some of the other photographs may at least have something to do with the movement of these brothers in their employment. For instance, in initial online research at for A. Parke in New York, New York during the years 1850-1880, we find 46-year-old Archibald Parke, a Vermont native, listed in the 2nd district, 14th ward of the city of New York during the 1860 U.S. federal census. His occupation was listed as “fancy goods” with his sixteen-year-old son listed as a clerk.

Left Photo 22A: paper cdv, Mr. A. Parke (see verso), photographer imprint "W. Kurtz, 872 B'way, NY".
Right Photo 22B: paper cdv, unknown.

Left image 22A: photographer imprint with logo image "W. Kurtz, New York. Six first premiums. First class gold medal Paris" Right image 22B: photographer imprint of ornate design "Melander Bros. Photographers, 88 N. Clark St, Chicago" 

The last photograph with writing in the album shows a name and address first tentatively transcribed as such: “Sid Ballow, 15 W Van Anden, Entire E Bck yd, Feb 12”. 
Left 38A: paper cdv, unknown. Right 38B: paper cdv. Sid Ballow (see verso).

Left 38A: photographer imprint "M. E. Morris, Floral Gallery, 75 Genesee St, Auburn, NY"
Right 38B: photographer imprint "W. N[?] Tubbs, Photographer, Newark Valley, NY";
writing "Sid Ballow, 15 W Van Anden, Entire E Bck yd, Feb 12"

A google search with this address turns up an 1857 directory for the town of Auburn, NewYork just west of Syracuse (note Auburn is the town listed in the imprint of the photo next to this one). Newark Valley, New York is in Tioga County, south of Cayuga County and closer to the town of Ithaca.

A search for Sid Ballow in New York for the years 1850-1880 in turns up the following list:

Sydney Ballow   1865     Ward 4, Auburn, Cayuga Co, NY          father Joseph, spouse Catherine
Sidney Ballou     1870     Auburn, Cayuga Co, NY                       Catherine
Sidney Ballou     1875     Ithaca, Tompkins Co, NY                      spouse Catherine, child Joseph
Sidney Ballou     1855     Ward 8, Syracuse, Onondaga Co, NY   father Joseph, mother Susan

In 1855, both 20-year-old Sidney and his father Joseph were listed as “pavers.” Joseph, aged 76, was a native of Rhode Island. Sidney and his older 37-year-old brother Spencer (a teamster) were born in Oneida Co, NY while his next youngest brother, 17-year-old Silas and the rest of the younger siblings were born in Onondaga County, NY.

The search had to be manipulated further to find Sidney in 1860 using just the first name, 1860 and Syracuse, NY. He was indexed as “Sidney Ballon” for that year. in the 8th ward of Syracuse. His brother William was living with him then and they were both listed as “street pavers.” Joseph was found also under “Ballon.” Though he was 80 years old, he was still listed with the occupation of “street paver,” too.

So now we know of more family acquaintances and friends, but can we learn anything from the album about those in the family?