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Do you know your roots?

My ancestral links to Rush families

Little did I know when I moved to Rush 30 years ago that I had a history here.

It shouldn’t be surprising since my mother’s family has been in Western New York since the 1840s. Her paternal grandfather was living in Avon in 1873 when he married Catherine Lyons. I need to do more research to determine if this is the Catherine Lyons who lived in Rush and then moved to Avon or if she is the Catherine J. Lyons that was born in New Hampshire in the same town where my great grandfather was born.

After we moved here, my aunt told me that early in her career in late 1950s and early 1960s she taught at the Monica B. Leary Elementary School. Both of our children were students there in the 2000s. How fun for them to know that those were the halls that their great aunt had once walked.

I started researching my family history after my uncle gave me a box full of the research that he had done through the Ellis Island foundation, family correspondence and personal travels. I found through another relative that there was a great deal of information about my mother’s family. All of that research had been done by hand. This was not an easy task since this was long before the internet. Most records were on microfilm and could only be viewed at the Rochester Public Library Genealogy Department. This information was then entered into a family tree of their own making on a computer. This is still available on the internet and contains over a thousand family members’ information. By using, I have been able to gather information on 640 people. Some of them dating back to Colonial times.

There are several genealogy websites that have made research quite easy. Some come at a cost while others are free. I suggest you download as much information as possible so that you have it permanently without having to maintain a subscription. By having just a few pieces of information about one individual, you can find out a vast amount of information about many generations of a family thanks to the research of other people. I had the benefit of unique details about my relatives that allowed me to distinguish them from the sometimes hundreds, if not thousands, of other people with the same name. I wish I had started my research earlier, because I found out too late that living in Rush was one of my grandmother Harriet's cousins, O. Frances Allen Pratt. She was living in Rush at the time of her death in 2003. O. Frances was one of eight surviving daughters of Alice Cornielia Judd Allen, my great grand aunt.

By researching the Allen family name, I found other members of the family lived in Lima and Lakeville. many members of this family are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery. It would have been wonderful to speak with them and hear their family stories.

Did you receive a DNA ancestral research gift for Christmas? Would you like help to trace your roots? The Rochester Rundel Library is home to the Local History and Genealogy Division. The resources are amazingly broad. Also, staff and volunteers are there to help you in your search. The Rush Public Library offers a Genealogy Tutor. Information in available on the Rush Library website. Cemetery records offer a wealth of information. There are public free websites as well as search engines maintained by individual cemeteries. These include Pine Hill cemetery and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

If you would like to share your family history, we would love to share it on our website. You may send your document and any photos to

You can find useful links on our website under our Explore tab. You will find links to the Rush Historian, Rush Public Library and the Rochester Public Library.

More about the Allen Family

Alice Cornielia Judd was born in Rochester to a family originally from Auburn,

New York. She was one of nine children.

Alva Smith Allen was born in Pennsylvania.

He began as a farm laborer and at one time was a teamster working in the lumber industry. Alva and Alice were married in 1906 in Big Flats, New York. They moved many times and the last home that Alva and Alice shared was in Newark, New York. They had 10 daughters, 8 lived to adulthood. Also one son John Allen who died as a infant. Unfortunately, Alice died relatively young at the age of 49. After her death, Alva moved with his daughters to a farm in Rush. A family story has it that he never had a drivers license, that he always rode a horse up until his death in 1953. He is buried in Pine Hill Cemetery.


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