November 28, 2012

Why County Names Can Matter: Oswego or Owego?

Town and village names can be confusing, especially if there are similar ones in the same state. At times I wondered "why bother with the county name?", but realize it can be very helpful. A county name can help you locate a small village and track movement of your family group. It can also clarify a possible mis-spelling when two different places have very similar names.

An example that I encountered in New York are OSWEGO and OWEGO.  Family tree references were found for siblings in the Beecher family being born in both places.  They are about 100 miles apart.

Oswego is the larger of the two, in a county of the same name, north along Lake Ontario. While Owego is a smaller village in Tioga County, west of Binghamton. Of course, families move, but a distance of 100 miles in the 1870s for farmers would certainly catch my attention and cause me to double check.

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