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HistoryForge Volunteer Application


Welcome to HistoryForge! HistoryForge provides a new, powerful and exciting set of tools for exploring the history of Ithaca, New York.

HistoryForge allows you to see the population of Ithaca from 1900 to 1930 by providing extensive records for each individual inhabitant. HistoryForge locates them in buildings and neighborhoods on a mosaic of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City Engineering Maps and others.

HistoryForge encourages you to create history through informed historical narrative. Here's how:


Look at the people who lived in Ithaca in 1910. You can just jump in and or tiptoe in by looking at the results for these searches:

Compare the African American community in 1900 with the same community in 1910

Another possible search:

Widows (female) in Ithaca

Widows as Heads of Household who owned their own homes

and another:

Households where the head of the household was born within the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1910


Mapping your results. When you click "Map It" your search results will appear on a modern Google Map. To see the same results on historical maps, pull down Top Map menu and choose a map layer. Many of these are still under construction or are restricted to certain areas. The 1910  Sanborn is complete. You can add a second layer (for example the City Engineering Maps) by adding a "Bottom Map" and use the opacity slider to explore several of the map layers at once. You can also get Google's satellite view from the tab in the upper left corner. It makes a dramatic base layer for the markers.

We have an amazing group of transcribers who have entered almost 45,000 records --the complete censuses of Ithaca for 1900 and 1910, and partial censuses for 1920 (30%) and 1930 (55%). With more volunteers we can make even better progress and extend our coverage to 1890/92 and 1940. Please consider volunteering.

 Searching the built environment:

This search looks for blocks numbered on the Sanborn Maps beginning with "13." Blacksmiths in Ithaca in 1900 displayed on the 1898 City Engineer's Map.

It displays much of the Southside community. "Map It," zoom in and explore the neighborhood by clicking on the markers.

Another way to search the built environment is to search for, e.g., all buildings constructed of brick.



 Work places (Industries):

Salt Works, In 1910 there was a large salt works, a brine well, in operation at the end of Third St. Many Austro-Hungarian immigrants came to work at this salt works and the salt mine in Lansing.

Cornell University. By 1910 Cornell was a major employer.

Industry and profession searches are challenging because the census did not use a standard thesaurus for the terms. "Railroad" has been entered six different ways, Similarly for Cornell. There are 200 people working at the "University" and 164 at the "College."  (This meant the Agricultural College in 1910--not Ithaca College. Normalization of the vocabulary will be a future enhancement.










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