About Vicki Masters Profitt

During a tour of Pittsford Cemetery hosted by Pittsford Town & Village Historian Audrey Johnson in May 2008, Ms. Johnson pointed out a headstone belonging to John H. Thurmon, a member of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, C.S.A.  Having always been interested in the Civil War, I decided to photograph and transcribe the graves of the Civil War soldiers buried at Pittsford Cemetery.  This little project snowballed into an obsession to find any and all information about these men that I could.  In addition to the grave photographs and transcriptions, I’ve compiled census records, military records, family trees and any other information I could find about these hometown heroes.  In 2009, my research expanded to include the Civil War soldiers of Fairport and Perinton and several other surrounding areas.

Since taking that initial cemetery tour in 2008, I have co-hosted annual tours of Pittsford Cemetery and the Pioneer Burying Ground with Audrey Johnson.  In 2013, Audrey and I collaborated on a pictorial history book entitled Pittsford, which was released as part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series on June 3, 2013.  My colleague, personal historian Suzanne Lee, and I also host tours of Fairport’s cemeteries each June.

A native of Rochester, New York, I graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Elementary Education, concentrating in History.  Since 1990, I have researched my family history.  Those skills have served me well, and are the basis on which my Civil War research is founded.  I am employed as Director of the Fairport Historical Museum and serve as Vice-President of the Perinton Historical Society.  Previously, I served on the Board of Directors of Historic Pittsford and as Historian of the now-defunct American Legion Rayson-Miller Post #899 Auxiliary.  My articles written about local history have appeared in the Perinton Historical Society’s Historigram, the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives’ Baker-Cederberg Notebook and in newsletters produced by Historic Pittsford. I also contribute cemetery transcriptions and photographs to the Find A Grave project.

I would love to hear from descendants of my Civil War soldiers and of Pittsford & Perinton’s early families, and I also welcome questions about the research process in general.  Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at vprofitt@rochester.rr.com.

33 Comments on “About Vicki Masters Profitt”

  1. Ronald V. Erwin Says:

    Thank you for your work on the Pittsford Cemetary. I have some ancestors buried there, the Woods who built the Rochester Webster Plank Road.
    I found your Blog looking for information on the Ambrose brothers. I have a Civil War cased Ambrotype of one of the Ambrose brothers and am trying to figure out which one it is. The image is of a private wearing his frock coat and kepi. There is nothing on the image to indicate his regiment. It came with a narrow strip of cloth with “Sr. Ambrose” that appears to have been sewn on something as identification. I was told that might mean he was the oldest of the brothers (the senior brother).
    Is it possible to look through the Pittsford Cemetery records to check for birth dates and anything else that might be helpful.
    Thank you for assistance you might be able to render.

    • Ronald V. Erwin Says:

      My mistake, the Woods are interred in Penfield Cemetery. I realized my error as soon as I sent my comment. OOPS.

    • Vicki Profitt Says:

      Hi Ron!

      Thanks for checking out Illuminated History. I have many questions for you regarding the Ambrose ambrotype you mentioned. I will email you directly.


  2. Steve T. Says:

    Vicky, I was hoping maybe you could email me, as I have an ancestor, m wife’s ancestor, actually, who was from a New York Cavalry regiment. Since it seems you focus on them, I thought you may be interested in what I have. He was from the 21st actually, and I believe you just recently did a blog post on the 21st.
    Anyway, email me privately, and we can discuss it. Thanks.
    Steve Thomas


  3. Brian Burkhart Says:

    Hi Vicki,
    I had to chuckle when I read how you described how your little project “snowballed” into an obsession. I have a great-great uncle who was in the 108th NYVI. During my search for information about him I came across the 108th Regiment History written/compiled by George H. Washburn. It was published in 1894 so there were still many veterans of the Regiment living in Rochester and elsewhere. This got me thinking, “Where did they all finally end up?”. So here I am in my fifth(?) year trying to get information on all the soldiers of the 108th but especially those whose final resting place remains unknown.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t know of your tour at Pittsford Cemetery because there are several soldiers of the 108th buried there. I have read your pieces on the Ambrose Brothers, the tour and even the desecration of the grave of Charles Moore.

    If it is possible, I would like to make an appointment with you to discuss the men in this regiment, what info you have available and where I might obtain more. Thank you.
    ~Brian Burkhart

    • Vicki Profitt Says:

      Hi Brian,

      I’m always happy to discuss my Civil War boys. Pittsford actually had nine men in the 108th. Besides the Ambrose boys, the 108th mustered in John Herring, who died of disease; Ezra A. Patterson, who was wounded at Antietam and died shortly thereafter; Thomas Wood; young William Zornow; Matthew P. Ewing (father of George); Charles A. Tillotson, who was mortally wounded at Antietam, and John Segert.

      My research into the Civil War soldiers of Perinton has illuminated many who also served in the 108th.

      I’d love to hear more about your great-great uncle. I will email you directly.

      Thanks for your interest in Illuminated History!


    • Diane Ham Says:

      Hi Brian,
      I am the Mendon (Monroe Co, NY) Historian and we have many soldiers who were in the 108th. I can send you a list of them if you are interested. I have more info on many of them besides just names.

      • Brian Burkhart Says:

        Hello Diane, I don’t know if I replied to your offer, but thank you. It would be great to have more information on soldiers of the 108th. Every little bit fills in more of the puzzle as to who these guys were and what they did. Thank you..

    • Andrew Dangelas Says:

      Brian and Vicki:

      I have a book I believe may have once been owned by George H Washburn of the 108th. Do you know where I might find a sample of his signature that I might compare with the signature in my book? Also, the book is from “Fannie” and was given to George Nov 12, 1871. Would you know who Fannie was?

      I haven’t been able to track down a living descendant of George, to ask these questions. If you know a descendant, could you either forward my questions to that person or provide me with contact information that I might do the same?

      Thanks for any help.

      Andrew Dangelas
      Contoocook, NH

      • Thanks for your email, Andrew. I’m checking with Brian to see if he may have an example of George’s signature.

        There are no known direct descendants of George H. Washburn. He had one son, Percy, who died young. Percy had two daughters – Lillian died unmarried and Margaret died as an infant.

        I don’t see anyone named Fannie in George’s family tree, so I’m not sure who she was.

        I’ll let you know when we locate a signature. How exciting!


  4. Terry Yount Says:

    Vicki, I am an avid civil war buff living in the Rochester area. I just found out about your site from David Minor a friend of mine. I hope to attend one of your upcoming tours. I also research local soldiers much as you do using genealogy techniques. I have several CDV’s of local soldiers and some discharge papers. I do not think any of them are from cemeteries you are interested in.

    • Vicki Profitt Says:

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for stopping by Illuminated History! I’m always happy to hear about other Rochester-area researchers. David Minor’s Crooked Lake Review blog and EaglesByte historical site are great resources for researchers.

      I’ll email you privately. I’m very interested to hear about your soldier CDVs.


  5. Ray Says:

    Hey there!

    I was back in town in the Pittsford Barnes & Noble the other day, and I could’ve sworn I saw you in there.

    We’re still in Buffalo, going on five years after leaving Linden Oaks, and our daughter is about to graduate from high school and head off to RIT. How’s by you and yours?

  6. Vicki: This site is an inspiration. Thank you for the important work you are doing, highlighting the experience of the men and women affected by the Civil War. Best regards from Canada,
    Debbie Marshall

  7. What a great blog! Just wanted to stop in and say hello. I found you when I searched ‘Civil War Nurses.’


    – Corra

    The Victorian Heroine

  8. Charles Lenhart Says:

    I am descended from the Sutherland family that John B Bacon married into (Audrey Johnson is familiar with my name) I noticed you have his tombstone as an image on your website. I had not really investigated too much on him and wondered if we could share information (and hopefully sources of info)
    that we have on John B Bacon and I believe, his brother, George S. Bacon.
    By the way, I have considerable genealogical research on Western New York abolitionists. The Civil War would not have likely started without their involvement(although not the intent of many of the Quaker members).
    John B, Bacon’s sister-in-law, Gulielma Maria Wilbur Sutherland (Mrs. Isaac H. Sutherland) was the daughter of Quakers who were involved in many abolitionist conventions, as well as her mother participated at the Seneca Falls (first) Woman’s Rights Convention the year prior to their move to Pittsford in 1849 from Macedon, N.Y.

    Charles Lenhart

    • Vicki Profitt Says:

      Hi Charles,

      I would love to share information about John Buckley Bacon! I’ll email you directly and we can exchange info.

      Best wishes,

    • Gary L. Heinmiller Says:


      There was a George S. Bacon who lived in Pittsford who was in the Civil War. His brief biography may be seen at http://mcnygenealogy.com/bios/biographies013.htm

      Would you have any more info on George S. Bacon, his family, or where he is buried?

      Gary L. Heinmiller
      Liverpool, NY

      • Hi Gary,

        The name in the Landmarks of Monroe County book was incorrect. “George S.” Bacon is actually John Buckley Bacon, who is buried at Pittsford Cemetery. If you are interested in John Buckley Bacon, I do have a lot of information about him.

        Best wishes,

  9. we always keep track of our family tree because it is exciting to know the family tree ‘*,

  10. camps ados Says:

    Because of reading your blog, I decided to write my own. I had never been interested in keeping a blog until I saw how helpful yours was, then I was inspired!

  11. Crystal (Light) Borgman Says:

    I’ll take a copy of that book!! 🙂 What a great work you are doing! Keep it up!

  12. Ray Says:

    Heya Vicky:)

    I still get comments sent to me about your blog from a post I did ages ago, and it’s funny that one just came through, because I got another blast from the Adair past earlier today.

    I was in town for a deposition at Brett Dawson’s office (nothing new there- I see them all the time), but I picked up last week’s City Paper, and there was this article in it:


    She might’ve been before your time, but the chef in that piece was one of our many and varied crazy receptionists back at Corporate Woods. Bright girl, but a little, umm, what’s the word? Nah, say nice things, Ray….

    Hope you’re well. Emily’s halfway through her first year at RIT and is doing great. Life’s good here, too:)

  13. camps ados Says:

    I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  14. Sally Grutsch Says:

    I don’t think you’d be particularly interested in my greatgreatgrand uncle, but he was in the 108th. His name was Danford Patten. He died at Antietem. We don’t know where he is buried. He was born in Chili, New York. Any info appreciated. Glad you have this forum. Thank you!!

    • Hi Sally,

      I’m always thrilled to hear the stories of any Civil War soldiers. I’ve done a little research on Danford, and have not located him in any of the usual places – Find A Grave, cemetery transcriptions or on the Nationwide Gravesite Locator. Interestingly, I found his father, Alexander, on a cemetery transcription in Chili, but his mother and siblings were not there. Do you know where they are buried? I will contact you directly and perhaps together we can think of a way to locate Danford. Thanks for checking out Illuminated History!


      • sally Says:

        Sorry I never got back to you. Sort of hit a wall on the research. Danford died at Antietam of a gunshot wound either the 17th or 18th( National Archives entry has both). According to the Battle map, he was wounded near Bloody Lane(Visits to Antietam, and helpful Gettysburg guides. Yep, you read that right!). He was just 18 and I am suspicious of the bones that were found a few years back. According to the statistics on the casualties there are 25-50 possible candidates (Union, young, killed in battle). Those odds are pretty good, if I (We?) can’t find his grave.I really really really think his brothers would have come for him. They were milkmen, and had wagons. I also have found graves a challenge with my Patten relatives. Alexander was my GGGGrandfather, the little boy in the next grave, George Danford, was his grandson. My GGGrandmother (Alexander’s only daughter) is buried in Antrim County, Michigan (Amanda Brooks).There is a very large cemetery in Monroe County, NY called Riverside which is not indexed. The consensus appears to be that it is too large an undertaking due to it’s size. I have searched individual names with some success.Thank you so much for your interest!

  15. Steve Alvito Says:

    Hi Vicki,
    I am your dad’s cousin (my mother Janet is the last surviving sibling of your Gandpa Tony). I saw your story in the “Our Towns” magazine and am very much interested in seeing the Masters’ family history. Please share my email address with Vic and Dolly. Thanks, Steve Alvito

  16. Deb Root Howie Says:

    Hi Vicki,
    I am researching our family Civil War Soldier, Lyman Root. He was born and raised in Mendon but traveled to Rochester and joined the 140th H company. I even found his name in the footnotes of Mr. Bennett’s book, ‘Sons’ of ‘Ol Monroe’. That was a treasured find! He was captured at a battle near North Anna River and sent to Andersonville for 6 months. I even have documents from National Archives about his medical reports and mustor rolls. Even while recovering from an illness that eventually took his life, he wanted to get back to camp to do his part. I believe it showed his loyalty and determination to do what he thought was right. In my research I have found all his children and even some living relatives of his 2nd wife. I have been building a book about my family dating back to John Roote, the Puritan. All this from a hint my dad told me through my life growing up that his dad told him….”We have a soldier who fought in a famous war, but I dont know the war or the name of the soldier.” I am almost finished with Lyman’s story except for a few things. I am wondering if there would be a picture of Lyman in his uniform somewhere in Rochester, especially that he joined and trained there? And for anyone in Minnesota, I have a photo request posted for an image of his stone! I thank you ahead of time for anything you might be able to help me out with!! Thank You!!

    • Thanks for stopping by Illuminated History, Deb. I love hearing stories about Civil War soldiers. It sounds as if you have some amazing information about Lyman Root. I’ll email you directly for some additional sources about the 140th.

  17. […] Feeter (my cousin) say yes. I'm leaning toward yes. Last time I talked to Vicki Profitt she wasn't sure. There is no […]

Leave a Reply to Ray Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: