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Ask a Genealogist: Diary of the Coffin Family of New Hampshire at NEHGS.

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Question: I am trying to determine if you have any diaries for the Coffin family from New Hampshire?  I am interested in seeing what exists around New England for this family.

Answer: NEHGS has the diary of Thomas Coffin of Boscawen, New Hampshire.  This diary was kept between 1825-1835.  As a member of NEHGS you can request to see this from our Archives when you visit.  The call # is Mss C 3253.


Ask a Genealogist: Posting old photographs online.

(New Hampshire) Permanent link

Question: I have a batch of old photographs without names or photographers listed on the back.  I only know that they once belonged to the Miller family of New Hampshire.  Can you recommend a place online I can post these to share?  It is my hope someone may recognize them from the Miller family.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Answer:  I would suggest scanning a set of the photographs and posting them online at   This website allows you to put details about the photograph, or none at all.

Ask a Genealogist: Searching for a doctor in the Revolutionary War.

(Military Records) Permanent link

Question:  Can you refer me to a source at NEHGS to determine whether a family legend is true?  My ancestor's brother was a Humphrey Fullerton was a doctor from Viriginia.  It is rumored that served in the Revolutionary War.

Answer:  This is true according to Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of the Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution. (Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982).  His listing in Heitman states the following: Humphrey Fullerton (Virginia).  Surgeon of Hospital Department in Virginia, 1776 to 1781.

Ask a Genealogist: Colonial Head tax.

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Question: I am looking at Felix Powell in Medfield, Massachusetts. I believe a reference I located is referring to taxes. The headings are Heads, Real and Persons/Estate. The only number I see listed is a "5" under Heads. Could you tell me if that is referring to how much he is taxed or how many are in the household?

Answer: This refers to the amount of tax paid. In this case they would have paid 5 shillings.




Ask a Genealogist: Portsmouth, N.H. Family Research.

(Vital Records, New Hampshire) Permanent link

Question: Do you have any suggestions for researching my 18th century ancestors in Portsmouth, New Hampshire?

Answer: NEHGS offers published histories of Portsmouth on the 5th floor. For primary sources you can examine Portsmouth vital records on microfilm, and you may want to examine Rockingham County Probates and Deeds for Portsmouth pre-1771. At NEHGS we also have a typescript collection by Agnes Bartlett on microfilm. This collection is simply called Portsmouth Family Records. It is on three rolls of 35mm microfilm located on the 4th floor at NEHGS. The call number for this collection is F44.P8 P67.

Ask a Genealogist: Which William White is mine?

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Question: I was told we were related to William White of the Mayflower.  However my research points to Essex County not Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  Can you advise on a resource for both places for a William White family?

Answer: William White who arrived on the Mayflower died at Plymouth, Mass.  I would suggest the Mayflower Families through Five Generations - Family of William White (Plymouth, Mass., The Generatl Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2006); Robert C. Anderson, The Pilgrim Migration.  Immigrants to Plymouth Colony 1620-1633. (Boston, Mass., NEHGS, 2004).  For the treatment on William White of Ipswich, Mass. who died in 1684 you should consult Robert C. Anderson, The Great Migration.  Immigrants to New England 1634-1635. (Boston, Mass., NEHGS, 2011).  All of these titles are available to purchase from NEHGS.

Ask a Genealogist:: Ordnance Survey Maps in England.

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Question:  At a lecture yougave a few years ago you showed a website on English OrdnanceSurvey maps.  It had a nice overlay of old maps with currentgazetteer maps.  Can you remind me of the website?

Answer: I strongly believe you arereferring to Old Maps U.K. website.  They have maps forEngland, Scotland and Wales.  Online this website has theOrdnance Survey maps starting in the mid-19th centurythrough late 20th century National Grid maps.  Itis a quick way to pinpoint old and new locations from churchyardsto homes.  The website and search engine can be used onlineat:


Ask a Genealogist: Where to conserve moldy papers?

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Question:  I recently inherited a lot of my Uncle’s family papers that have mold.  Can you recommend a place to contact near Maine?      

Answer: When documents are in a moldy condition, try not to separate them, as they may tear or get further damage.  Also, do not store near any documents that are free of mold.  I would suggest contacting the highly recommended Northeast Document Conservation Center -

They can be reached via the website above or by telephone: (978)470-1010.


Ask a Genealogist: What was a nightwalker in 1847?

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Question: I saw that my ancestors on his English death record was listed as a “night walker”.  I am not sure what that was, can you advise?

Answer: A Night walker is another name for a night watchman.  It can also be referred to a night bellman, and on occasion the bellman of a hotel at night.

Ask a Genealogist: Researching Mexican War pensions.

(Military Records) Permanent link



Question: Is there a resource to determine whether ancestor got a pension from the Mexican War?

Answer: The National Archives in Washington,D.C. has the pension files for United Statesveterans of the Mexican War.  The indexfor this series is NARA Microfilm publication T317.  The Family Search website has indexed andplaced this scanned index online: 


Ask a Genealogist: Looking for a cemetery in Middlefield, Mass.

(Cemeteries) Permanent link
David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Chief Genealogist

Question: Can you direct me to the location and sources of acemetery in Middlefield, Massachusetts?  I believe it wascalled the Clark Wright Burying Ground.

Answer: The Clark Wright Cemetery dates back to the year1816.  It is located at 100 Clark Wright Road inMiddlefield.  The Vital Records of Middlefield, Massachusettsto the year 1850 include gravestone data.  If you find adeath, or a birth date with a reference in this book as G.R.4 it isthe Clark Wright Cemetery.  Also NEHGS has a manuscript of theinscriptions from this cemetery - Call # MS70/MID/11.


Ask a Genealogist: Looking for a Sister of St. Joseph.

(Massachusetts) Permanent link
David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Chief Genealogist

Question: How do I locate a nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Massachusetts? She served from 1900 through 1943 and I cannot find her in any United States census .  Thank you!


Answer: The Archives for the Massachusetts Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph's can be reached online at

Archivist , Boston CSJ Archives, 637 Cambridge Street, Brighton , MA 02135 -2801

Telephone: (617) 746-2117, FAX: (617) 783-8246 , e-mail:

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

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