The Families of Jefferson, Schoharie County, New York
As Documented in the Papers of Eugene Bouton
What are the Bouton Papers?
In the mid-1900s, Eugene Bouton with the help of unknown others, set out to collect information on families that had lived in Jefferson, Schoharie County, New York. His goal was to gather and arrange historical material regarding Jefferson's history and the families that lived there to "put Jefferson into the good company of many towns and communities whose histories are in public libraries." His hope was that the materials could get published but if not, "it is hoped that it can be placed in some safe place, preferable in the Town Clerk's office". Mr. Bouton's working papers and resulting genealogies have been placed in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Section of the New York State Library in Albany, New York. The Bouton Papers contain varying amounts of genealogical material on about 100 families who had lived in Jefferson from its settlement in 1794 to the mid-1900s. The papers are organized into 5 boxes of folders, with one folder for each family. Some folders contain information on 2 or more related families. Most folders contain 2 types of material. Nearly every folder contains a charming, story-like depiction of a family. It is quite likely that some of these genealogical stories were prepared by Mr. Bouton. Many others are of such varying styles that they were probably prepared by contemporary members of the family or had been passed along from ancestors. Most of the folders also contain correspondence with members of the Jefferson families scattered about the country to whom Mr. Bouton reached out in quest of information. Recreated here is a one-page "brochure" that Mr. Bouton created to spread the word of his project. Mr. Bouton achieved his goal of "publishing" the information collected. A copy of documents resulting from his work was placed in the Stamford Village Library in Stamford, Delaware County, New York. A photocopy of the Stamford Library material is also available at the Old Stone Fort Museum Library in Schoharie, Schoharie County, New York
Who was Eugene Bouton?
This question is best answered in 2 newspaper articles about Mr. Bouton. The articles were published in 1947 when, at age 96, he was notified by Yale University that he was the then oldest living Yale graduate. Those 2 articles, recreated here from photocopies, appeared in the Newark Evening News, Thursday, July 10, 1947 and the Independent Press of Bloomfield, New Jersey, July 11, 1947. Based on the dates of some of the letters in the NYSL, Mr. Bouton was working on his Jefferson project from his Bloomfield, NJ home at least as late as 1949 - at the age of 99! One of the folders contains a letter dated March 27, 1947. In it, Mr. Bouton says, "I am a third of the way through my 97th year, and have to watch my step".
What surnames appear in the Bouton Papers?some transcriptions linked from surname index
An index of the surnames in the Bouton Papers has been prepared. The index is organized by box and folder number as stored in the Manuscript and Special Collections section of the NYSL. The folders are arranged in roughly alphabetical order. Also, some surnames appear in the Stamford Library and Stone Fort Library sets that are not found in the boxes at NYSL. These surnames have been inserted into the index in alphabetical order. Each entry in the index includes: surname, NYSL Box number, NYSL Folder within Box Number, "See Also", Copies Available, and Relative Size. The latter three items need further explanation. Several of the folders at the NYSL are marked with the indication that the reader should "See Also" one or more surname folders. When a folder is so marked, the "see also" surname(s) are inserted into this column of the index. The copies available column indicates which page numbers (if any) to request from the photocopy collections at the Stamford and Stone Fort libraries. Some of the surnames in the NYSL collection do not appear in the photocopy collections and vice-versa. The relative size of each folder in the NYSL collection is indicated based on an eyeball and heft assessment of how many pages are in each folder. This was done to assist anyone who might wish to order photocopies from the NYSL sight unseen. This column gives an approximate measure of how much the NYSL photocopy request might cost.
How can I gain access to the Bouton Papers?
Certainly the best way to experience the Bouton Papers is to visit the Manuscripts and Special Collections section of the New York State Library in Albany. Anyone who has one or more families from Jefferson would enjoy the experience of seeing the various genealogies and letters for themselves. Many of the genealogies contain "overslips" of strips of paper attached to the main pages to correct or highlight the material beneath. This makes photocopying of the papers a challenge. Any request for photocopies needs to address how to handle these overslips. Varying degrees of success have been had by asking that 2 copies of any page with the attached slips be photocopied twice - once with the slips in place and once again with them folded back. This is frustrating though because even a visitor to the NYSL isn't allowed to photocopy the pages oneself. Rather, one must submit a photocopy request that will later be read and handled by a harried photocopier operator. Luckily, there are two known locations of a collection of photocopies of the most significant materials from the Bouton Papers. One photocopy collection is in the Local History Room of the Stamford (New York) Village Library. The library will do its best to honor mail requests for copies of specific pages from their copy. A duplicate of the Stamford Library copy has been placed in the Old Stone Fort Library in Schoharie, New York. The Stone Fort Library will also accept mail requests for copies. These two collections of the Bouton Papers are the most convenient and reliable way to obtain copies by mail. The problem with the overslips has already been addressed fairly successfully in these collections.
How do I request the Bouton materials at the NYSL?
The NYSL call number for the Bouton Papers is "JC12466 12-2-5".
The papers can be ordered a folder at a time, a box at a time, or all 5
boxes at once. The folders are ordered using the call number above along
with the surname of interest. The NYSL will accept completed copies of
their Requisition Form - Photoduplication
Services, by mail as well but the
difficulty in doing so is trying to specify what one wants without benefit
of seeing what is actually in the folder. If ordering photocopies by mail,
by as complete as possible in the Description portion of the requisition
form but most certainly specify the call number above along with the box
and folder number. Be as specific as you can about how many pages of information
you want copied. A good strategy might be to order copies from the Stone
Fort Library or Stamford Library first to see if your ancestors are mentioned.
You then may want to try ordering other pages from NYSL perhaps sending
along copies of what you already have asking them to not duplicate those
pages. Above all, working with the Manuscript section of NYSL requires
The NYSL photoduplication rate for photocopies from paper documents effective June 1994 is $0.25 per page with a minimum of $3.00. Their requisition form is written as though payment will be requested upon receipt of photocopies although experience indicates that pre-payment is necessary. Contact them at (518)-474-6282 or visit the NYSL Manuscript and Special Collections website if you have questions.
To request blank copies of the NYSL "Requistion Form - Photoduplication Services" or to submit a request, use the following mailing address:
The New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
Albany, New York 12230
Whether using the form or not, be sure to include the call number including the box and folder numbers as well as the surname of interest. Be as clear as possible about what you'd like copied.
How do I request copies of sections of the Bouton Papers from the Old Stone Fort Library?
Clearly label your correspondence as a request for copies of the Bouton Papers from the Genealogy and History Library. Include a list of the surnames you want copied as well as the page numbers for those surnames. The Stone Fort Library charges $0.25 per page for photocopies for non-members of the Schoharie County Historical Society and $0.15 per page for members. Address your request for photocopies and membership information to:Old Stone Fort Museum Library N. Main Street Schoharie, NY 12157
How do I request copies of sections of the Bouton Papers from the Stamford Village Library?
Clearly label your correspondence as a request for copies of the Bouton Papers from the Local History Room. Include a list of the surnames you want copied as well as the page numbers for those surnames. The Library will respond to requests as resources permit. Address your request to:Stamford Village Library 117 Main St. Stamford, N.Y. 12167
A Note to Researchers using this Web-site: As you use this site, please keep in mind the difference between primary and secondary sources and the importance of building a preponderance of evidence. Accept nothing without further checking. It is our hope that through this collection of data from many sources, you will find a piece of the puzzle that you are working on and that may lead you to further discoveries.
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