GAHWNY Conferences

The Laws That Guide Us
Historian's Laws of NYS



GAHWNY Conferences

Thank you to all our presenters, attendees, and special guests for making our
Fall 2016 Meeting held Saturday, September 24th
at the United Methodist Church in Geneseo, Livingston County

Program Agenda
8:30   A.M.  Registration and Refreshments
9:00   A.M.  Welcome
9:15   A.M.  GAHWNY Business Meeting: Election of Executive Board
10:00 A.M.  Break

10:15 A. M. Homeless female veterans find shelter and support at the Zion House.
Speaker: Rev. Kelly Ayer, Zion House Director. Zion House, located in Avon, Livingston County, is one of the first houses for female veterans in the country and the first in New York State. The home operates as a self-managed system and provides access to VA, community based services, and life-skills training. To support the house the women make a line of goat’s milk products. The Rev. Ayer, an Episcopal priest and retired Army veteran, will talk about the history of this unique place in our community.

11:00 A.M. The history of the Geneseo Migrant Center: the oldest in the U.S.
Speaker: Robert Lynch, Retired Director of the BOCES Geneseo Migrant Center
Dr. Gloria Mattera, founded the Geneseo Migrant Center in 1968 to serve the needs of farmworkers and their families. Since that time the center has expanded and received accolades its efforts to provide educational, health, arts, and other program activities for thousands of adults and children in the immediate service area and also on a statewide, regional and national level. Bob Lynch will bring us a behind the scenes view of the migrant families and how this program has significantly improved their overall quality of life.

11:45 A.M  Presentation of the Julia Reinstein Award 
Noon           Lunch – Guest Speaker: Devin Lander the newly appointed State Historian.
1:15 P.M.    Launch of the new Documentary Heritage & Preservation Services Program.
Speaker: John Diefenderfer, Archivist, Archival Advisory Services, NYS Archives. The New York State Education Department has awarded a five-year contract to the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) to provide statewide archival and preservation services for eligible archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, and other institutions that hold historical records and/or library research materials. John Diefenderfer will explain how the roll out of this program and other services targeted to the historical records community. 

2:00 P.M.    Break

2:15 P.M.    He’s been working on the railroad all the live long day: doing railroad research.
Speaker: Michael Connor, retired railroad executive and current President of the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society.
Michael Connor has held numerous high-level positions on the major rail lines in the Northeast including Penn Central, Conrail, Chicago, Central & Pacific, the Ohio Central, the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville/Western New York & Pennsylvania. He is the fourth generation in his family to serve the Erie or the Erie Lackawanna. His personal goal is to see that their stories are made available to those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing these railroads first-hand.

3:00 P.M.    Meeting wrap up.  Optional tour of the National Warplane Museum.
Thank you for attending!! 

GAHWNY 2016 Spring Conference
Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rochester Club West at Bohn's (formerly Bohn's Restaurant), Batavia, NY
Genesee County

5256 Clinton St.Rd./RT.33, Batavia, New York 14020


 8:30 A.M.  Registration and Refreshments
 9:00 A.M.  Welcome and GAHWNY Business Meeting
 9:30 A.M.  The Many Contributions of Genesee County Historians: A Brief Overview of Local History in Action. Speaker: Michael J. Eula, Genesee County Historian and Records Management Officer. The historians of Genesee County are a committed and talented group of scholars whose work embodies the ideals of local history research. They interpret and preserve the rich history of Genesee County for both contemporary audiences and those of the future. Michael will explore how some of them conduct their research - and what it means for all of us as students of local history. Michael is a Professor of History Emeritus at El Camino College (CA) and holds a doctorate in history from the University of California, Irvine. He has published widely in various areas of history, including the history of New York.10:00 A.M.  Break / Silent Auction - Let the bidding begin!
10:30 A.M.  Maintaining Our Independence as Municipal Historians - Speaker: Robert Lowell Goller, Aurora Town Historian and East Aurora Village Historian. The GAHWNY Code of Ethics requires municipal historians to maintain their independence, performing “their duties in an unbiased manner.” Robert will share his unique perspective on this topic, having served as town historian while also executive director of the Aurora Historical Society and currently as executive secretary to the Aurora Town Supervisor. This program will identify challenges and potential problems municipal historians face and offer tips on how to maintain our independence while also developing appropriate relationships with local elected leaders and historical societies.

11:15 A.M.  Digitization 101 for Historians: How and Why – Speaker: Larry Naukam, retired Director of Historical Services, Central Library of
Rochester and Monroe County.  Since retiring Larry has been active in the Rochester Genealogical Society Church Records Preservation Committee, catalogs materials for NY Heritage and The Digital Public Library of America, and writes for various online publications. Larry will demystify digital technology with basic tips of the trade and discuss why digitizing is an essential element in promoting local history projects. 
12:00 P.M.   Lunch  - Recognition Ceremony for Historians with 30 years of service
1:15 P.M.   Research methods, Controversies, and Scandals surrounding the Warren G. Harding  Papers - Speaker: Dr. Phillip G. Payne, History
Department Chair, St. Bonaventure University. Introduction to Public History and Culture Wars: The Politics of Memory are among the courses Professor Payne teaches at St. Bonaventure that explore the diverse array of historical research methodologies. For this program he will illustrate the dos and don'ts of historical research while sharing his experience working with interesting and very colorful Harding Papers.  Phillip G. Payne is the author of several books including his most recent, Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy (Ohio University Press, 2009).  
2:15 P.M.   Break – Silent Chance Auction Concludes.
2:30 P.M.  Symbols in the Wilderness: Discovering Early Masonic Treasures in the Upstate Region – Speaker: Joscelyn Godwin, Professor of Music at Colgate University. The masonic lodges of many Upstate towns harbor a little-known treasure of large symbolic paintings, murals, and decorated objects dating from the early nineteenth century, before the Morgan affair and the Anti-Masonic movement almost extinguished Masonry for twenty years. Joscelyn Godwin will give an illustrated talk about the discoveries that he and Christian Goodwillie (Director and Curator of Special Collections, Hamilton College Library) have made in the past year, to be published in their book Symbols in the Wilderness. Professor Godwin is author of Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New York State (State University Press, 2015) and many other books on esoteric and musical subjects.
3:30 P.M.   Silent Auction winners announced and Spring meeting concludes

Directions to Rochester Club West @BOHN’S Batavia
5256 Clinton Street Road     Batavia, NY 14020     (585) 344-1543
From NY State Thruway from Buffalo: Take exit 48 (Batavia), turn left on Rt.98 South (go 1.1miles), turn left on RT. 5 East ( go 1.4 miles), turn left on RT. 33 East (go 1.7 miles), BOHN'S will  be on your right.

From Rochester and East: Take RT. 490 West, take exit 2 (Bergen), take RT..33 West (go 11 miles), BOHN'S will be on your left.


GAHWNY 2015 Fall Conference
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Houghton College
Allegany County

Several SUNY Brockport History Students attended the Fall Meeting at Houghton College. L to R above: Wilkes Jordan, Emily Marge, Robert Bretz, Elizabeth Taylor, April Smith and Mathew Akyuz. The students are pictured with Brendan Heaney (Moses VanCampen interpreter), Carol Coburn (Spencerport Town Historian),and SUNY Brockport History Professor, Bruce Leslie. 

Download the Conference Registration Packet


Program Schedule

  • 8:30 A.M. Registration and Refreshments – Center for the Arts Recital Hall

  • 9:00 A.M. Welcome – Dr. Shirley Mullen, President Houghton College

  • 9:15 A.M GAHWNY Business Meeting

  • 10:00 A.M Break

  • 10:15 A.M. Zen and the Art of Local History. Speaker: Carol Kammen, Tompkins County Historian, Cornell University teacher, and prominent author of numerous books on doing local history. Carol will discuss her new book, Zen and the Art of Local History an engaging, interactive conversation that conveys the exciting nature of local history. Divided into six major themes of being a local historian, topics and sources, staying relevant, getting it right, writing history, and history organizations, the book covers the scope and breadth of local history.

  • 11:30 A.M. Presentation of the Julia Reinstein Career
    Achievement Award

  • 12:00 P.M. Lunch – served in the Campus Center

  • 1:15 P.M. The Creation of Memory: The Theory and Practice of Local History. Speaker: Michael J. Eula, Genesee County Historian and Records Management Officer. Michael has served as County Historian and RMO since August of 2014, when he succeeded the long-serving Sue Conklin. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Irvine, along with law degrees from Newport University School of Law and Regent University School of Law. He is a Professor Emeritus of History at El Camino College in California, where he served on the faculty for twenty-three years prior to retirement in 2012.

  • 2:15 P.M. Break

  • 2:30 P.M. Portrayal of the life of Moses VanCampen: behind the scenes. Interpreter and Speaker: Brendan Heaney, teacher at Fillmore Central School. Brendan brings this brave and fearless local Indian captive and Revolutionary War hero back to life in short excerpts from a program he wrote and developed. He will then discuss the extensive research and organization that goes into producing an authentic and appealing educational live experience for audiences of all ages.

  • 3:30 P.M. Program concludes.

Won't you join us? Historians and general public are welcome to attend.

Download conference information here.


GAHWNY 2015 Spring Conference

April 18, 2015
Bohn's Restaurant
Batavia, NY

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

  • The History of the Historian in New York State.
    Presented by Amie Alden, GAHWNY Executive Chair

  • What’s in your tool kit?”
    Presented by Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County Historian.

  • GAHWNY Business Meeting
    - Honoring GAHWNY 1st Student History Award recipients
    - Recognition Ceremony for Historians with 30 years of service


  • Town Historian’s Panel: The challenges of dealing with government boards–
    How town historians have dealt with expectations and sticky situations.

  • The Challenges of Historical Research and Verifying Information.
    Presented by Wayne Mahood


GAHWNY 2014 Fall Conference at Biggest Loser

This past September 27th the Government Appointed Historians of Western New York held their fall conference at the Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY. It is also the home of the World's Biggest Loser Niagara, ranked the #2 spa in North America. We had a beautiful day for our event!

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

Since we were in the great outdoors it seemed only fitting that the theme of this conference would be on the environment and agriculture. Our first speaker was Paul Pacheco, Associate Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Geneseo. He spoke on The Origins and Spread of Farming in Western New York. It was quite fascinating to find how much food tells about a culture.

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

Paul Pacheco, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Next up was Stephen J. Tulowiecki, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo who gave a very informative talk titled, Oak Plains and Gunter’s Chains: Utilizing Original Land Survey Records to Understand Pre-European Forests. Descriptions of the surroundings in these early record almost paints a picture of how the landscape used to look, as you can see by the wording in the slide below.

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

Stephen J. Tulowiecki, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography

During lunch, GAHWNY presented the Julia Reinstein Career Achievement Award to two worthy historians. Leo N. McCarthy (Sardinia historian until his passing in 2013), was granted posthumously to his two daughters. The other recipient was Laurence Haseley, Lockport historian (no photo).

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

Left to right: Ted Wiedemann, current Sardinia historian;
daughters of Leo McCarthy; Jeffrey C. Mason, Arcade Historian


After lunch our program that began with the agriculture of early inhabitants continued to progress into more modern times when John Thomas Slater, Historian and founding member Lake Erie Grape Belt Resource Network, Trustee Historical Society of the Tonawandas presented, Before There Was Grape Juice: The Grape Belt Table Grape Shipping Industry 1870-1940.

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

John Thomas Slater, Historian and founding member Lake Erie
Grape Belt Resource Network


Our final speaker, Joan Sinclair Petzen, Agriculture Program Leader, Farm Business Management Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County rounded out the day's event bringing us full circle with her presentation, WNY Agriculture Yesterday & Today - by the Numbers & Community Landscapes.

GAHWNY Fall Conference at Biggest Loser Niagara

Joan Sinclair Petzen, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County

Thank you so much to all our wonderful speakers and for Beaver Hollow for having us. See you in the spring everyone!



Join us at Bohn's Restaurant in Batavia, NY on Saturday, April 12, 2014 for our annual spring conference. Even if you are not an historian, you are welcome to attend. You can download the conference information here.

In the spring we like to focus on tools you can use to assist you in your duties as historian. We like to refer to it as "Spring Training." Here is what is on the agenda:

8:30 am - Registration & Refreshments

9:00 am - Welcome: GAHWHY Executive Chair

9:15 am - The Barn Quilt Trail: Combining history, tourism, agriculture, and art. Presented by Lynn Belluscio, Town & Village of Leroy historian.

10:15 am - Local History Meets 21st Century Technology: Reaching a larger audience with Oncell Audio Tours. Presented by Amie Alden, Livingston County historian and GAHWNY Executive Chair.

11:00 am - Navigating the New Era of Self-publishing: New ways to publish your books. Presented by Cindy Amrhein, Asst. Wyoming County Historian and GAHWNY webmaster.

11:45 am - GAHWNY Business Meeting.

12:15 pm - Lunch. Service recognition for historians with 30 years of service as historian.

1:15 pm - Town Historians Panel: New and Tried & True project ideas. Panel members are: Candace Broughton, Otto Town Historian, Cattaraugus County; Joe Cassidy, Alabama Town Historian, Genesee County; Valerie Griffing, Nunda Town Historian, Livingston County.

2:30 pm - Promoting NYS History with Digital Collection Projects. Presented by Barbara Ciambor, Outreach Librarian, Rochester Regional Library.

3:30 pm - Spring Meeting Concludes.


GAHWNY 2013 Fall Conference
5 Year Anniversary

Has it really been five years already? Yes it has! We are happy to say our organization is solvent, so much so that we are able to offer up to $1000 for GAHWNY's Student History Award. We have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Michelle Henry made us a beautiful cake for our conference meeting.

It even has our mascot, Crystal, in the bottom corner.


To celebrate our five year milestone, it seemed only fitting to hold the 2013 fall conference in the town of Aurora where we first decided to form a new organization. In honor of our history award this conference focused on historians, education and how we can provide assistance to teachers. Now, on to our program.

Dr. Preston Pierce, Ontario County Historian and Regional Archivist for the Documentary Heritage Program, gave a presentation on opportunities for historians to participate in National History Day.

He was very informative on how the program works, picking a topic, and the difference between primary and secondary sources.

Click here if you would like more information on National History Day.

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Michelle Henry (Chautauqua County Historian) and Pamela Brown (Town of Harmony & Village of Panama Historian) gave a presentation on using the Library of Congress' digital sources combined with local primary sources. The goal is to aid teachers with incorporating local history into their lesson plans. You can find more information about the grant available from the Library of Congress by going to Teaching With Primary Sources.

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Pamela Brown

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Michelle Henry

Sue Conklin, Genesee County Historian, was this year's winner of the Julia Reinstein Career Achievement Award.

Congratulations Sue!

Amie Alden (left), Sue Conklin (right)

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Chris Burke (right) tells how high school senior students approached Robert Goller (left), Aurora Town Historian, for help with a senior student documentary film project on the Town of Aurora.

This project was part of East Aurora High School's Aurora Film Academy.

We were fortunate to see films by three students. Katie Kinsella's film was a documentary about the Aurora Theatre, Kayla Cunningham's film was a modern version of a silent film which starred her cat, and Alec Sebastian's film was an example of a commercial using Spaghetti Os—all three were different types of film production. And speaking of commercials—if you would like to see the trailer for the June 2013 film festival, where the above talented students participated, you can view it here on YouTube.

On our break it was time for dessert. Pictured here, our current board is getting ready to cut our celebration cake.

From left to right: Executive Council Chair, Amie Alden; Treasurer, Doris Bannister; Executive Vice-Chair, Michelle Henry; Secretary, Candace Broughton; and Past Executive Chair, Sue Conklin

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary
GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

Mr. Nole, enrichment specialist for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, speaks on the Gifted and Talented program, Arts In Education, and competitions. He also encouraged historians to become involved in Odyssey of the Mind—a program that provides creative opportunities that encourage students to problem solve by thinking outside the box.

After the conference we had an opportunity to tour the new Aurora Town Hall. These pictures show the museum and the new office and research room of Aurora historian, Robert Goller.

GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary
GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary GAHWNY 5 Year Anniversary

All in all, another successful conference!






- Allegany County
- Cattaraugus County
- Chautauqua County
- Erie County
- Genesee County
- Livingston County
- Monroe County
- Niagara County
- Ontario County
- Orleans County
- Wyoming County

- Officers
- By-Laws (pdf)
- Code of Ethics (pdf)
- GAHWNY Membership Form (pdf)
- Minutes & Treasurer's Reports

- Allegany Co. Books
- Cattaraugus Co. Books
- Chautauqua Co. Books
- Erie Co. Books
- Genesee Co. Books
- Livingston Co. Books
- Monroe Co. Books
- Niagara Co. Books
- Ontario Co. Books
- Orleans County Books
- Wyoming Co. Books
- Book Form





- Background & College Links
- Application (pdf)


Follow us on Facebook