UPDATE: Not only do I get emails like this one from “JC” (also scroll down to see “Recent Comments” on the right side of this page) but there were several negative comments on the FRHN online site about Ms. Koorey. People posted that she was not liked, had caused some grief to friends of people in Fall River, and was all about “look at me! Look at me!” in her unabashed self promotion. I’ve found out Ms. Koorey demanded the FRHN remove those comments. Clearly she’s frantic to protect a reputation that is already tarnished. Here’s “JC’s” comment with the IP address partially deleted by me:
From: JC [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, June 20, 2009 1:12 PM
Subject: [Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden] Comment: “Ownership of the House Next Door to “Maplecroft””
New comment on your post #2512 “Ownership of the House Next Door to “Maplecroft””
Author : JC (IP: 71.2211.clsp.qwest.net)
“What a great listing for researching Fall River online. Thanks for the links.
btw, sk is not received well here in FR.”
Stefani Koorey posted on her blog, “Mondo Lizzie”, about a grass roots project which attempts to put people in touch with the history of the houses they live or lived in to foster pride in their community. Below is the video posted in the Fall River Herald News of 6/18/09.
A separate article explains the project further and provides the link to the project home page and it can be read HERE.
It confused me when Stefani referred to “my house”, implying ownership of 328 French Street – the house next door to “Maplecroft” (where Lizzie Borden resided for the entire second half of her life). Stefani has incorporated this property with its ownership history into the project as if it were her own house.
At the project home page given in the second article, a nifty comprehensive listing is provided of public access sites for researching data on properties, such as deeds, mortgages, grantor/grantee, etc. I used many of these over the years and thanks to the digital age, over the past several years access can be done “remotely”. Using these public records sites for property research is easy.
For example, if you don’t know who the owner of a property is you can find out through the public access records of PATRIOT PROPERTIES which is very easy to use. This fairly new public records online site gives information on sale price, assessed value, deeds, mortgages, any liens, etc., etc. Pretty cool, huh? Just type in the Fall River Street name and scroll down to the property address and click to get the information. By typing in the street name of “French” and scrolling down to the address of 328, you get the name of the owner - and it isn’t Ms. Koorey.
The BRISTOL REGISTRY OF DEEDS online public access is fairly new, i.e., the past year. By typing in the name of the person or business who owns the property and clicking Search, you get information on Deeds and Mortgages, date of sale, etc. (I used to have to wait until my visits to Fall River and spend hours inside the Registry of Deeds on Rock Street to get this type of data).
If you’ve already tried these two resource sites you’ll see how easy it was to verify true ownership of 328 French Street. One has to wonder why a person would convey a false impression as to their status as a property owner, especially when that person makes it known they quit their tenured teaching job as a junior college theater history professor to move to Fall River primarily to live next door to “Maplecroft” and chase the Lizzie Borden legend. Sadly, when Ms. Koorey was on WSAR Radio this week helping to promote the Lizzie Borden Live! play, she asked the radio host, Mike Herren, to mention on air that she was still looking for a job. He did and I was quite embarrassed for her. I wondered if she chose to give an impression of being a Fall River property owner to lend more credibility to her project which is targeted for Fall River property owners? Perhaps that impression was better than merely stating she was a transplanted Floridian to Fall River of just one year.
Meanwhile, and more importantly, for those wanting to do further research, here are the public records resources:
- Deeds and Abstracts list land owners. These are found at the Bristol County Registry of Deeds, 441 North Main Street.
- Maps and Atlases show the city from the past. These can be found at three locations: The Fall River Public Library in the Fall River Room, the Bristol County Registry of Deeds, and the Fall River Historical Society.
- City Directories tell us who lived at what address and what their occupation was. City Directories can be found in Microfilm at the Fall River Public Library, in an incomplete set at the Bristol County Registry of Deeds, and at the Fall River Historical Society.
- Published histories about the City of Fall River are available at the Fall River Public Library, and online at the Keeley Library.
- Old copies of the Fall River Daily Globe [1889-1929], the Evening Herald [1905-1928], the Daily Evening News [1868-1926], and the Fall River Herald News [1929-present] can be found on Microfilm at the Fall River Public Library. There are also reels of microfilm with other early Fall River newspapers, a few dating from before the Civil War. Recent issues of the Herald News are available in print. Old newspapers can be a valuable source of information as well as providing a portrait of daily life in different time periods; unfortunately, they are not indexed and often lack a table of contents, so researchers should be prepared to spend some time, especially with 19th century materials. Also note that newspaper obituaries were not standard until around the 1920s; ancestors who died in the 19th or early 20th century may not have had a printed obituary.
- US Census Records are on Microfiche at the Fall River Public Library, and online through AncestryPlus.com (use this source for free with a Fall River Public Library card) at the Fall River Public Library. Census Records are available for the years 1850, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930.
- Water Permits indicate when water mains and/or meters were installed, which can then be used to verify the date of construction of a building. You can find this information by calling the Fall River Water Department at 508-324-2720.
- Survey of Historic Properties are forms that were completed when the city was applying for historic status from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. These pages contain valuable data and information regarding properties all over the city of Fall River. You can find this information at the Fall River Historical Society.
- The Obituary Index can be used to research people and relatives who lived in your house. The index is online at the Fall River Public Library.
- The Fall River Collection at the Fall River Public Library has materials relating to the people and history of Fall River. The collection includes vintage postcards, maps, vital records, city documents, church records, family histories and books. Here you will find information on immigrant groups, businesses, mills, the Fall River Line, schools, churches, historic buildings and the history of Fall River.
- Other sources at the Fall River Public Library include: Vital Records – Various city demographic records, such as births, marriage intentions and deaths, are available in microfiche for the years 1803-1889. These are not indexed and are arranged by date, not name, so searching can be a challenge. Draft Registration Cards – World War I draft registration cards are available on microfiche. Local Histories and Genealogies – Many books of Fall River, Massachusetts and New England history are available in the Fall River Room. There are also genealogical and biographical works, including some individual family histories. Church Records – A limited number of church records have been transcribed and are available in the Fall River Room.
- Fall River Property Assessment Data is now online at Patriot Properties.
- Local Fall River History Slides are online.
- Durfee High School Yearbooks are online for selected years.