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Confederate Submarine HUNLEY crew members.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I am trying to determine if a near cousin of my third great-grandfather perished on the Confederate Submarine HUNLEY in 1864.  Can you help me get me a listing of the known crew members?

 

Answer: On February 17, 1864 the Confederate submarine H.L. HUNLEY sunk, and in August of 2000 she was raised.  Commander George E. Dixon, Arnold Becker, C. F. Carlsen, Frank Collins, C. Lumpkin, Agustus Miller,  Joseph F. Ridgaway and James A. Wicks.The remains of the crew were buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, S.C. in 2004.  Profiles of the crew members can be found on the website for conservation of the HUNLEY online at: http://www.hunley.org/main_index.asp?CONTENT=CREWB_PROFILES


Cemeteries of Cavendish, Vermont.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: Recently I have found I have a possible ancestor buried in Cavendish, Vermont.  Obviously the winter season will make finding the stone a little difficult.   Short of a show shovel do you have any suggestions?

 

Answer:  I would imagine a road trip to Cavendish this spring will be a good choice. Because you never know what gravestones are lying flat, and could be potentially buried under snow.  At NEHGS we do have a book that may aide you in your search.  Mary Churchill compiled the following book on Cemeteries of Cavendish, Vermont (Springfield, Vt.: Hurd's Offset Print, 1976) [NEHGS Call # F59/C33/C48/1976].


A Christmas law passed in Massachusetts in 1659.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  During Christmas dinner I was told once that in the 17th century Massachusetts outlawed celebrating Christmas?  Was this in fact something that occurred in Colonial America in Massachusetts?

 

Answer: You are correct in your Christmas dinner story.  The law was enacted by Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1659.  It was published in Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, M.D. Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Printed by order of the Legislature. This volume is available at NEHGS for your review.

“For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon such accounts as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the country.”  This remained on the books for twenty-years.  Christmas would ultimately be made a legal holiday in Massachusetts in the mid-19th century.


Winter Blizzards from New England's Past.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: In light of recent weather in Massachusetts I am reminded of hearing of big storms in the 18th and 19th century.  Can you tell me the years of some of these other blizzards that troubled our ancestors here in New England?

 

Answer:  One of the earliest recorded storms leaving up to four feet in snow was recorded in 1717.  However there are a variety of great winter storms from 1717-1898 and later are chronicled online at: http://nsidc.org/snow/blizzard/storms.html

My grandmother mentioned in detail her parents speaking of the great blizzard of March 1888, as vivid as I will remember the blizzard of 1978.


How to correctly identify old Brockton, Massachusetts.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  Can you explain how I should correctly divide up ancestors who are now buried in Brockton, Massachusetts?  The problem is they died in the 1770's and 1830's and I do not believe it was called Brockton then.

 

Answer: The region now know as Brockton was not called that until 1874.  Before that time the region had been incorporated as the town of North Bridgewater since 1821.  Before that time it was the North Parish of the town of Bridgewater, Mass. which had settlement since the 17th century.  What I do in these cases is the following example - John Doe, died at North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Massachusetts 5 November 1832.  He is buried in the Melrose Cemetery currently in the town of Brockton, Massachusetts (formerly North Bridgewater). 


Resources for genealogists from the Society of Architectural Historians

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I am searching for a series of distant cousins of my great-grandmother.  One of whom I understand was an architect named Francis R. Allen, I know simply he was a child in the 1850's from correspondence from Boston.

 

Answer:  You are correct Francis R. Allen was a Boston born architect.  A good resources from the Society of Architectural Historians can be found online at: http://www.sah.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=BiographiesArchitectsA&category=Resources    This link will bring you to the page where Mr. Allen is listed alphabetically.


Records for births in Dogtown, Massachusetts?

(Massachusetts) Permanent link
 
David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I am research a family who lived in Dog Town, Massachusetts in the 1700's.  Is this community still existing, I live in Colorado and have never been to Massachusetts before to seek out my ancestral lands, etc.  Can you also tell me where the birth records in the 18th century are for this community?

 

Answer:  Dogtown is an abandoned settlement in Essex County, Massachusetts.  The location is between Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts.  The settlement began in the 1690's and continued until ca. 1830, when the last resident died. Though it is located between the two towns mentioned. The community of Rockport at that time had not ncorporated as a seperate town until 1840. Dogtown is a curious place now dotted with large glacial boulders inscribed in the 19th century by stone cutters.  There are also plenty of marked cellar holes.  You can easily search the vital records for Gloucester, Massachusetts online at http://www.americanancestors.org/search.aspx


A gravestone with a broken wheel carved upon it.

(Cemeteries) Permanent link
 

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: This autumn I was walking through an old cemetery in my home town.  I saw an emblem on a gravestone that was of a broken wheel?  I was wondering if this meant the individual was a wheelwright by occupation.  I wish I had taken a photo of it to send.

 

Answer:  At first I thought you might have a gravestone with the emblem a Rotary organization, and it might have had some damage the way you described it.  According to Douglas Keister’s book Stories in Stone – A field guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. (New York, N.Y., 2004) it is actually something quite different.  The “wheel” represents both progress and eternity. Therefore a broken wheel in this case represents the end of the life of that person.


The wreck of the S.S. CENTRAL AMERICA in 1857.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

QUESTION: I have discovered that a person I am researching went to the California gold fields in 1849 as a part of the Hartford (CT) Mining & Trading company.  The only further information I can discover is that he "drowned in Central America in 1856".  That information is included in his widow's application to collect their deceased son's Civil War pension. What are my chances of finding any further information about this death in Central America, and where should I start?

 

ANSWER: Thank you for your note.  I believe that your relative did not drown in Central America in 1856, but rather drowned aboard the S.S. CENTRAL AMERICA,  in September 1857. 

 

S.S. CENTRAL AMERICA wrecked September 1857.

 

The Civil War pension file you quoted does give 1856, however  the date could be off slightly. The connection to the gold fields of California and this vessel is very strong due to her cargo. I am not certain if a passenger list survives for this vessel, however it was a very important shipwreck with the gold treasure discovered in the 1980s.  You may discover more about the vessel and the fateful voyage online at: http://www.shipofgold.com/journey.html


Passenger lists from Massachusetts in the 19th century

(Boston) Permanent link
 
David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: I understand there was a volunteer effort done to index the Massachusetts Passenger lists a few years ago?  Can you direct me to this database, and tell me about the years it covers for the port of Boston?

 

Answer: A volunteer effort for some time now has been underway to index the passenger list cards at the Massachusetts State Archives.  This free database covers the Boston passenger arrival cards from 1848-1891.  This is a database and is not linked to any manifests.  The current database is being updated on a monthly basis online at: chttp://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/PassengerManifestSearchContents.html


Edmund Hawes Royal Line to the King of Scotland

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I have heard that my ancestor Edmund Hawes (d. 1693) of Yarmouth, Massachusetts has a royal line?  Can you tell me if this is true or not?

 

Answer:  Your theory is true on his royal ancestry according to the book by Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies of the United States (Baltimore, 2004).  On pages 422-3 it outlines his descent from King William I of Scotland (d. 1214).


Researching Civil War pension files (Mother's Pension)

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I was puzzled by the term "Mother's Pension" when I searched for some Civil War pensions recently.  Usually I see a widow or an invalild pension in the index, but what was a Mother's pension?

 

Answer:  Actually you may even  find a Mother's, Father's, or Minor childs pension in the index as well.  A parent could apply for the pension for their deceased son(s) who died during the Civil War. These pensions are quite moving in content with the correspondence enclosed within.  The parent had to supply a copy of the letter's from their son that made mention of "sending money home".  The parents needed to prove the loss of their son would now be causing a financial hardship.  The letter's were sadly never returned, but remain a part of the case files for the soldier's pension at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  NEHGS will be making a research trip to the National Archives, Library of Congress and the D.A.R. Library in Washington this coming March 2011 - http://www.americanancestors.org/Event.aspx?id=21106


1851 Census for New Brunswick

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: Can you advise me how I can search the earliest census for all of New Brunswick from home?  I am unable to get into NEHGS anymore because of my health.

 

Answer:  The earliest census with coverage for New Brunswick is the 1851 Census.  This census can be searched for New Brunswick online for free at http://www.automatedgenealogy.com/censusnb51/

This census has the added advantage to tell you when an individual arrived in the Province.  My ancestor who arrived in 1816 from Ireland, and this clue helped match him with his Crown Land Grant.


Where was the location of Suncook in Massachusetts?

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: Can you tell me if there ever was a place in Massachusetts called Suncook? And if this is trie , what is it known as today?

Answer:

Suncook has never been a Massachusetts place name according to the book by the Secretary of Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities, and Towns in Massachusetts (Boston: NEHGS, 1997).  I would like to add that the town of Pembroke, Merrimack Co., New Hampshire settled in 1728 has the aliases Lovewell's Town, Buckstreet and Suncook.


In search of a World War I veteran from Massachusetts.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I am trying to research for a male cousin of my grandmother born ca. 1886 or 1887.  He was born in North Adams, Massachusetts but they have no record, nor does the Commonwealth.  I was wondering if there is any place I can write to determine if his name was that of a World War I soldier?  I believe I heard that he was a victim of a mustard gas attack.

 

Answer:

If you are searching for a Massachusetts veteran from World War I you will want to contact the following department of the National Guard.  Supply them with his name the year you suspect he was born, and where he resided.

 

Massachusetts National Guard Museum and Archives

440 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 021609

Attn: Col. Leonid E. Kondratiuk

Tel: 508-797-0334

 

This archvies hold many pre-World War II records for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In regard to his birth not being recorded, you may wish to examine our late registration index for births at Microtext Department at 99 Newbury Street in Boston.


Orphanage in Worcester, Massachusetts.

(Massachusetts) Permanent link
 
David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist


The original records of the First Church of Newbury, Massachusetts.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  Where are the original church records for Newbury, Massachusetts from the 17th century?

 

Answer: The records are lost according to Dr. Harold Field Worthley in his work An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregations) Church of Massachusetts Gathered 1620-1805. (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1970). He states the following findings "The church records antedating 1674 were reported lost in the Essex North Association's Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of Essex History (Boston, 1865), pp. 340-345.  The manual published at Newbury in 1896 under the title Covenant, Articles of Faith Rules of the First Church in Newbury, with a Catalogue of its Members and an Accountof its Pastors, reported the records from 1674 then in existence.  Today, however, no records can be found antedating 1943, other than vital statistics extracted from histories and manuals of the church".


Charlestown Prison Records on microfilm at NEHGS.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: I found that my great-grandfather was in the Massachusetts Census of 1910 in Prison.  Specifically he was at the State Prison in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  Where was the location of this facility, and where can I find the records.

 

Answer:  The old State Prison is on the site of the current Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, Mass.  The records can be searched at NEHGS on microfilm for inmates covering 1805-1930.  For more information on this holding click here: http://library.nehgs.org/search~S0?/Xcharlestown+1805&SORT=D/Xcharlestown+1805&SORT=D&SUBKEY=charlestown%201805/1%2C12%2C12%2CB/frameset&FF=Xcharlestown+1805&SORT=D&1%2C1%2C


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