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Michael Hait on Necrologies in Old County Histories

The word necrology comes from the Greek words meaning, literally, “words of the dead.” These lists of those citizens who had died began to appear in many of the county histories published in the nineteenth century. In the days before vital registration took hold in many states, these necrologies provide evidence of the dates of death of many citizens—both prominent and common.

Necrologies appear in multiple forms in these county histories.

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Henry Hait and the Baptist Church in Thompson, New York

I knew that Henry Hait lived his early life in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and that he ended up in the village of Coram, Suffolk County, New York. His headstone in Coram reads as much. Yet his headstone does not reveal much else about his journey from Stamford to Coram.

Enter the American County Histories Collection.

Searching for “Henry Hait,” I discovered that he appears in the History of Sullivan County, Embracing an account of its geology, climate, aborigines, early settlement, organization; the formation of its towns, with biographical sketches of prominent residents, Etc., Etc., by James Eldridge Quinlan (W.T. Morgans & Co., 1873).
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