Genealogy art

Sharon Kerridge, a pioneer of online genealogy research, helped create the Orleans County GenWeb site

Published on September 5, 2022 at 08:22

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 31

Sharon Kerridge

Sharon Kerridge, who was recognized as an Orleans County Legendary Local in 2011, died at her home in Ocala, Florida on July 14, 2022. The list of Legendary Locals was compiled by Hollis Canham and Andrew Canham .

Although her name may not be familiar, Sharon was a true unsung hero, a pioneer in the field of online genealogy research. She has spent countless hours behind the scenes entering, verifying and organizing cemetery listings for the Orleans County GenWeb site.

Sharon’s interest in cemetery records began in the early 1990s when she assisted her sister, Donna, with a family research project that involved diligently deciphering headstones in the city of Gaines cemeteries. and the town of Carlton. His interest coincided with the advent of online technology.

The USGenWeb project was created in 1996 by a group of genealogists who wanted to provide free online resources for research. Online access to cemetery records and census information has generated enormous interest in family research.

The Orleans County GenWeb site went live in June 1997 and quickly became the envy of many researchers in other areas who did not have access to such a resource. It was maintained by unadvertised volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to input content and update information. Sharon was involved from the start and continued in her role as coordinator even after moving to Florida.

“At first, Sharon spent many hours photographing headstones,” said her sister, Donna Miller Gordon. “She put in countless hours working on the website, it was her passion. She wasn’t looking for accolades or recognition. She had a kind heart and felt empathy for the families of those whose information she entered, especially for the families of those who died at a young age.

The home page at www.orleans.nygenweb.net is familiar to anyone who has researched information about deceased Orleans County residents. It’s a portal to an absolute treasure trove of information: census records from 1830 to 1930, military records, family histories.

It also provides access to cemetery listings for Orleans County cemeteries – pure gold for any family seeker. As a bonus, the site does not require registration, login or passwords.

Using information provided by cemetery staff and local funeral homes, Sharon continued to update cemetery listings until shortly before her death. A colleague, Jim Friday, indicated that the site will be prosecuted. We hope so.