Harold Hal Miller : My inspiration was that I was born on a farm in the small town of Berne in upstate New York. At our central school I guessed I might be related to at least a quarter of my Senior class of 50. In my Sunday School class of 8 I was related to everyone.
Since it is a small town, when my brother Ralph was named town historian he rummaged through the genealogy files he had inherited from the previous historian and entered every name in a genealogy software program. He also added names from census, cemetery and church records, plus genealogies from other family researchers. Entering them into a common data base allowed him to tie the various families together. … more at the following websites


www.ALBANYHILLTOWNS.com – Promoting the towns of Berne, Knox, Westerlo, and Rensselaerville.
ALBANY HILLTOWNS BLOG – updates on postings on AlbanyHilltown.com
www.BERNEHISTORY.org – featuring the Hilltowns Genealogy



When he retired and started traveling, he let me take over. I used the Internet to find ancestors of the earliest settlers. Since in small towns, neighbors married neighbors – and cousins – we had to include all of the surrounding towns. In studying the earliest settlers, I realized that the early history of the town was filled with errors. I decided I had to write an updated history to correct the errors.

By that time I was in correspondence with numerous fellow researchers studying their ancestors from the same towns. We decided to pool our knowledge and post the results on the Internet on BerneHistory.org. We gathered and transcribed information and gave it to our webmasters for posting.

Last year Jim Duggins asked me to be his friend on Facebook. I joined with much trepidation. Why I was wasting my time on such nonsense. I immediately realized that Facebook was a good way to exchange information rapidly with fellow researchers interested in their ancestors living in Berne and the adjoining towns. I created a Facebook group called Albany Hilltowns History and Genealogy. Then I realized we had to have a project if the group was going to do something productive.

With the help a couple of more Internet savy friends we set up AlbanyHilltowns.com wiki where anyone who had something to post about their town’s history or ancestors could do so without going through me or a webmaster.

Now I have convinced the four hilltown historians to post images of their records on the site so that they will be available to everyone without their traveling to upstate NY and going through the file cabinets. Next, I will use the Facebook group to recruit volunteers to transcribe and post the records at the same time adding links between the genealogy, land and cemetery records.

We are making history available to everyone to get everyone interested in history.

AlbanyHilltowns.com is my baby, and like all parent’s I believe my baby is unique. There is no other genealogy and history web site that studies one place and allows anyone with knowledge about the place and people to update it.


  1. Amazing Article , I considered it exceedingly great

    I look forward to more innovative postings like this one. Do you have a subscription I can subscribe to for anymore information from you?

    • Hola, I have fwd your comments to Mr. Miller (Hal). Thank you. I know he’ll be glad to hear your remarks. Hal has put an enormous amount of work in his sites. Thank you, Alan Goodin (The Jaguar)

  2. The best way to keep up to date is to sign up as a follower to the Albany Hilltowns blog at: http://albanyhilltowns.blogspot.com/

    I am now pushing Ecotourism in our hill towns to bring in low impact tourists, money to the local rural economy, and preserve open space and historic hamlets. Trying to create a trail system. So many exciting projects.

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