- New York State Society of the Cincinnati: Biographies of Original Members and Other Continental Officers
Second Lieutenant Jonas Addoms and Captain Guy Young are at opposite ends of the 475 biographical sketches that Francis J. Sypher, Jr., revised with the assistance of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati Publications Committee from John Schuyler's Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati . . . (New York: 1886). The expansion from 234 biographies to those of 475 original members, eligible members who never joined and members who transferred membership from other states to the New York society is an enormously useful source for Revolutionary War era historians, New York State local historians, and genealogists.
Sypher does not claim to be "definitive" for every sketch. However, users will appreciate the identification of represented members, both wartime and postwar publications by the person being sketched, archives and library manuscript sources, secondary sources, and the location of identified portraits. In no other reference source will you find this amount of accurate and documented biographical material about regimental to company grade army as well as naval officers. A number of previous works confused, merged, and lumped together men with similar names and positions and this has led to faulty information being continued into later publications. This source should be added as a checklist for readers, researchers, and historians of local history, state history, and military history of late nineteenth-century America.
Besides military and postwar career information, researchers will appreciate information about bounty lands, pensions, and county line changes. Helpful information regarding military terms, variant name spellings of the times and the problems of the "Old Style" and "New Style" calendar terms as a result of the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar are explained.
I would recommend for future revision the use of the national and international Niles Register (1811-49) for obituaries of prominent members. William M. MacBean's compiled Roster of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York with Biographical Data, 4 vols. (New York: Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, 1911) is an overlooked source that identifies prominent Revolutionary era New Yorkers. A check of local history publications like the Orange County Historical Journal (New York) for recent sketches of officers is also a good approach for researchers. However, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, the National Archives New York Regional Office, the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, Washington D.C. sources, and Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript library contributed their skills and resources to make this publication a stand out source. The privately printed book's high cost will limit the work to institutions, members, and specialists but it will be welcomed that the New York State Society of the Cincinnati carried out the project.
West Point, New York