For inquisitive residents of any state, it is often interesting to gain a better understanding of the historical background of a state and its people. As the third most populous state in the nation, New York is most famous for the global hub of New York City, which is itself the most populated city in the US with 8.1 million residents. New York, like other large Northeastern states, has historically been a hot spot for employment, inspiration, change and growth. Skyscrapers create a distinctive skyline in the cities, while the rural areas of the state produce a large portion of the nation's agricultural products including apples, vegetables and dairy products. It is no wonder that the history, genealogy and cultural background of New York State are so interesting to so many people. Use the following resources to help you get a better grasp of this amazing Northeastern state, or to assist you in establishing your New York roots.

From Les Clefs d'Or USA

There is an interesting etymology to the word concierge. The Latin root is conservus, or fellow slave. Les Clefs d'Or members, however, prefer the Old French derivation that can be traced back to feudal times: the comte des cierges, or keeper of the candles, was the person in charge of catering to every whim and desire of a palace's visiting nobility.

In ancient times, the concierge was a person who took care of caravans at various outposts throughout the desert. The profession eventually spread to Europe during the Middle Ages, where concierges became "keepers of the keys" at noted government buildings and castles. There is even a famous prison in Paris named The Conciergerie in honor of the warden who kept the keys and assigned cells to the inmates.

In the 1800s, with the increase in rail and steamship travel, the tourism industry boomed and the modern hotel concierge was born.

On October 6, 1929, eleven concierges from amongst the Grand Hotels of Paris formed a "society" that would allow them to exchange service tips and ideas. They found that, together, they could more effectively network and enhance guest services throughout their city. Other countries in Europe began forming similar societies.

On April 25, 1952, delegates from nine European nations traveled to Cannes to hold the first ever "Congress" and create the Union Europeene des Portiers des Grands Hotels (UEPGH). Ferdinand Gillet (then concierge at the Hotel Scribe, Paris) masterminded this effort and is considered the "father of Les Clefs d'Or."

In 1970, UEPGH became UIPGH (Union Internationale des Portiers des Grands Hotels) signifying that not just Europe, but countries from around the globe, were joining forces. In 1994, UIPGH changed its name yet again to become what it is today: UICO, or Union Internationale Les Clefs d'Or.

The creation of Les Clefs d'Or U.S.A., Ltd., followed a similar path in its development and, on November 21, 1978, at the international Congress in Vienna, the U.S.A. was accepted as the 19th member country of UICO.

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