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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 47
    Whole #662
    November 20, 2013
    Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions provided.

    NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.

    * NEHGS Holiday Closures
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at the Online Learning Center
    * Irish Genealogy Study Group
    * A Note from the Editor: Thanksgiving-related Family History
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Wilton, Connecticut, Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Bookstore Chart Sale
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS Holiday Closures

    Our offices and research library will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27, and will be closed on Thursday, November 28, for Thanksgiving Day. The research library will be open regular hours on Friday, November 29, and Saturday, November 30. The Society’s administrative offices will be open with minimal staff on Friday, November 29.

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    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Christopher Carter, Digital Collections Coordinator

    New Hampshire Vital Records to 1901

    This database contains records of births, marriages, and deaths filed with the state of New Hampshire through 1901. These records are currently held by the New Hampshire Division of Vital Records Administration. The collection includes more than 475,000 birth records, more than 500,000 marriage records, and more than 300,000 death records. Names of parents and spouses have also been indexed, when available.

    The records held in this collection refer to the statewide index of vital records maintained by the Division of Vital Records Administration. Town clerks were required to send copies of vital records to the state beginning in 1866, although participation was limited until the Bureau of Vital Records was established in 1905. The town clerks then extracted historical vital record information to update the files at the state level, although some records were never reported. The original vital records are still held at the town level. It may be possible to obtain a copy of the original record by contacting the corresponding town clerk’s office.

    We will be adding records of marriages and deaths to 1947 in the upcoming calendar year. Copies of more recent vital records can be requested from the Division of Vital Records Administration. Births between 1900 and 1911, as well as marriages, divorces, and deaths to 1961, are publicly accessible. Researchers must demonstrate a direct interest in the requested material to obtain copies of records from later years.

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    English Genealogy Subject Guide

    Learn to trace your English ancestry with this new subject guide by NEHGS expert David Curtis Dearborn. Whether your ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or immigrated during the nineteenth century to work in New England’s mill towns, you can benefit from the information provided. The subject guide highlights key records and resources available at NEHGS, online, and beyond. It also provides how-to tips and contextual information to help jump-start your research.

    Our growing Online Learning Center offers subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, how-to videos, webinars, online courses, and more. Stay tuned for more resources in the coming weeks and months! If you have questions or feedback, please contact Online Education Coordinator Ginevra Morse at

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    Irish Genealogy Study Group

    The Irish Genealogy Study Group will meet on Saturday, November 23, 2013, between 9:30 a.m. and noon in the second floor Education Center at NEHGS. The study group gathers to talk about research problems and share solutions. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, and people can attend part or all of the session. The NEHGS Library is open for research from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact Mary Ellen Grogan at for more information.

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    A Note from the Editor: Thanksgiving-related Family History
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we share two holiday-themed contributions from Weekly Genealogist readers.

    Carol Ubosi of Silver Spring, Maryland, sent a copy of the 1897 Thanksgiving Day diary entry penned by her grandmother, Mary Miller Bell of Harrison, New York. Mary Bell (b. 1878) was the daughter of Samuel Bell, a member of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment who died in 1883. Mary Bell celebrated the holiday with her mother, Elmira Bell, her grandmother, and her two sisters: Thanksgiving Day. We observed this day in a quiet way. No one except our own family took dinner but we had a good dinner and we all were in good health so we enjoyed it. The dinner consisted of Roast chicken, pickled beets, sweet potatoes (boiled), turnips, white potatoes, pickled peaches, sweet cider and pumpkin pie. No callers.

    Deborah Sweet of New City, New York, wrote about her family’s unusual Thanksgiving centerpiece: We descend from seven Mayflower passengers via the Mullins, Fuller, and Alden families, so at least some mention is always made of the Pilgrim celebration and a special (some might say peculiar) object takes center stage on our table. While many have elaborate floral arrangements, the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving table is a humble brick.

    I had attended an Alden Family reunion in Duxbury, Massachusetts, several years ago. One of the highlights was a walk through the woods behind the Alden House, to the recently discovered site of the original Duxbury home of John and Priscilla Alden. The site had been excavated, studied, and reburied. During the dig, some of the original house bricks had been removed from the site and retained by the Alden Kindred of America. Over the course of the reunion, a silent auction was held and I won one of the bricks!  

    And that is how a simple brick, quite probably made by the hands of my 10th great-grandfather John Alden nearly 400 years ago, graces our Thanksgiving table and reminds us of our heritage. I hope that this ordinary object with such an extraordinary past will continue to be cherished by future generations of our family.

    Please note that at the present time, none of these records are available online.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you or your ancestors served in major American conflicts from 1775 through 1975. More than one answer could be selected. 4,856 people answered the survey. The results are:

    • 83%, The American Revolution (1775–1783)
    • 54%, War of 1812 (1812–1815)
    • 10%, Mexican War (1846–1848)
    • 79%, Civil War (1861–1865)
    • 18%, Spanish-American War (1898)
    • 55%, World War I (1914–1918)
    • 73%, World War II (1939–1945)
    • 27%, Korean War (1950–1953)
    • 28%, Vietnam War (1959–1975)
    • 1%, None of my ancestors nor I served in any of the conflicts listed above.
    • 1%, I don’t know if any of my ancestors served in any of the conflicts listed above.

    This week’s survey asks if you have any ancestors who were Mayflower passengers. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Wilton, Connecticut, Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Wilton’s Cemeteries

    The town of Wilton is located in Fairfield County in southwestern Connecticut. The twelve cemetery databases on this website draw from files in the Wilton Public Library History Room. Locate the search box in the center of the page, enter a name in last name/first name order, then click search. This will open a new page with links to corresponding cemeteries.

    You can also browse cemetery burial lists. Click on the cemetery name link to open a new page containing a brief description of the cemetery, its location, links to the burial databases and, in many cases, explanations of lot locations. Click on the green rectangle to open a database. Click on the Home button to return to the site’s homepage.

    You will also find a link that will take you to a new page with links to three Ridgefield, Connecticut, cemetery databases on the Find A Grave website.

    Wilton Library Obituary Index

    This index to obituaries published in the Wilton Bulletin from January 1937 through September 2005 can be searched by date and/or by name (last name/first name). Results include full name, date of publication, and page number. If you would like to view the complete list of individuals whose obituaries appeared in the newspaper during a particular year, enter the last two digits of the year in the search box.

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    Stories of Interest

    Traveling to Find Your Roots
    The data on genealogical websites “is prodding many to research their family tree and then travel to wherever the branches may lead.”

    America’s Deadly Early Days
    On Point, an NPR radio program produced by WBUR-Boston, recently featured an interview with historian Bernard Bailyn on his new book, The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America--The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675. Bailyn looks at the extreme hardships of the early years in Plymouth, Jamestown, and New Amsterdam. The program link contains a recommended reading list and a book excerpt.

    150 Years Later, Newspaper Prints a Gettysburg Redress
    The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., apologizes—150 years later—for panning Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

    Facebook Helps Reunited Tornado Victims With Lost Momentos
    In the aftermath of the tornadoes that recently struck Illinois, Becky Siegal-Harty of Seneca, Illinois, “started a Facebook page connecting people from all over Illinois who found photos and other items, to the owners who lost them.” Here and Now, a radio program on WBUR-Boston, aired an interview with Siegal-Harty. An audio link, a transcript of the story, and a slideshow are available on the show’s website.

    Mystery of a 257-Year Old Cannon Lingers
    A Revolutionary War cannon used by the British and then by the Americans that disappeared in about 1961 from the Saratoga National Historical Park has been returned.

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    NEHGS Bookstore Chart Sale

    The NEHGS Bookstore is offering 15% off our most popular blank genealogical charts:

    3-Generation Maternal chart, 17″ × 22″, Normally $5.99, Now $5.09
    3-Generation Paternal chart, 17″ × 22″, Normally $5.99, Now $5.09
    7-Generation American Country Style, 17″ × 25″, Normally $5.99, Now $5.09
    7-Generation Pennsylvania Dutch Style 17″ × 22″, Normally $5.99, Now $5.09
    9-Generation fan chart on parchment paper***, 23″ × 34″, Normally $9.99, Now $8.49
    15-Generation descendant chart. 8.5″ × 11″ (fold out), $4.99, Now $4.24
    23-Generation ahnentafel chart***, 28″ × 40″, Normally $7.95, Now $6.76
    38-Generation ahnentafel chart***, 28″ × 40″, Normally $7.95, Now $6.76

    To get your 15% discount on these charts, please enter the coupon code CHART1113 into the coupon field (or mention it when ordering at 1-888-296-3447). Discount good through November 29, while supplies last.

    Discount cannot be combined with any other offer, including the 10% NEHGS member discount.The starred (***) charts are sent in a special tube. We can ship up to three charts in one tube. This will often result in an overpayment of shipping charges, as our system charges by each item. If there is an overpayment of the shipping charges on an order, we will issue the appropriate refund before the charts are mailed out. All charts are mailed via USPS 1st Class mail. Massachusetts residents add 6.25% sales tax.

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    Weekend Research Getaway

    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston
    February 27–March 1, 2014

    Spend a weekend at NEHGS delving into research, meeting with staff genealogists, learning from lectures, and enjoying the company of a group of like-minded researchers. Explore the rich offerings of the NEHGS Research Library and benefit from the knowledge of experts.

    More information and registration

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    Copyright 2013, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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