The Grape Belt began publication at Brocton NY in January 1893, moved to Dunkirk after the first year, and continued publication unti11960. For this book, we have extracted information from the beginning through December 1899. Our Evening Observer indexes begin with January 1900. We suggest that the genealogical researcher consult both these publications and also check our two books of extractions from the Fredonia Censor. Used together, these publications of the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society can provide considerable information on families who lived in the northern part of Chautauqua County in the past hundred years.
The entries are arranged alphabetically. Following the name that heads an entry, a key letter: D for death, M for marriage, B for birth, R for family reunions or relationships, and X for other items that were of interest to the person doing the extraction. The third item at the head of each entry indicates the date or time reference of the event. Next is the village, city, or geographic location where the event took place. The last item, at the right side of the heading, is the date of The Grape Belt from which the item was extracted. Using this information, the researcher can find the original article to check information or to get more information. The Grape belt is available on microfilm at Dunkirk Free Library in Dunkirk NY, and in Special Collections at Reed Library on the campus of New York State University College at Fredonia NY.
The researcher should be aware that the Grape Belt relied on non-professional correspondents in the many four-corners locations for news. Some incidents reported simply did not happen, and those that did may have a name or fact wrong. When a correction was given, this was incorporated into our extraction, but there is no doubt that an event (especially a marriage) was reported that did not happen. When the same incident was reported with more than one version of name or fact, we included the difference. We did our best at name spellings, corrected the ones for which we had personal knowledge, but in most cases used the spelling that appeared in the paper. On the other hand, many births, deaths, and marriages happened throughout the area during these eight years that did not make the pare, therefore could not be included in this book. There were many items that had to be left out because we didn\’t know how to list them in our format, such as this birth notice from 12 May 1896: on May fourth two boys were born to two families who live in the same house at 229 E Front St. [no names].
Grape Belts were missing for the following dates:
Tuesday 30 May 1896 Tuesday 29 March 1898
First issue for January 1897 Tuesday 5 April 1898
Front pages for Saturday 13 February 1897 Saturday 30 April 1898
Tuesday 2 March 1897 Tuesday 31 May 1898
Tuesday 14 December 1897 Saturday 11 June 1898
Tuesday 1 February 1898 Saturday 03 Sept 1898 illegible due to ink bleed-through
Saturday 5 March 1898 Tuesday 3 January 1899
Starting on page 277 is an Index of Collateral Names. This is NOT an every-name index, but a guide to point the way to surnames other than the one at the head of the entry .Only the first of a surname in an entry different than the alphabetized name is indexed. A researcher should check every entry of a surname in which there is an interest, even though the given name sought is not the one in the index.
Lois Barris, May 1994