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A Note from the Editor: New England Textile Mill Worker Ancestors

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey question on whether readers had New England textile mill worker ancestors was prompted by an upcoming feature in the summer issue of American Ancestors magazine. I was interested to see that the number of readers with New England textile mill worker ancestors (30%) was so high.

 

In 2009, we put out a call in The Weekly Genealogist for short articles or vignettes about ancestors who participated in the Gold Rush, for a Gold Rush-themed magazine issue. Now the staff of American Ancestors magazine would like to hear from those with ancestors who worked (or had any connections) in New England textile mills, from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century.

 

Please send a paragraph of information on your ancestor(s), outlining the details of their work or role in the mills, and briefly mentioning relevant family stories, documentation, or photographs, to magazine@nehgs.org. A few submitters with particularly interesting stories or sources will be asked to write accounts for publication in American Ancestors magazine or on AmericanAncestors.org. Paragraphs should be submitted by April 18, and responses can be expected by the end of April.


Man Solves 74-Year-Old Mystery of Lost Father

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

A Hemet, California, man and his siblings discovered that their father, who had abandoned them as young children, later had a second family.

Abigail Adams’s Secret Business Ventures: Echoes

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

Abigail Adams held strong views about women’s economic rights. She invested money she considered her own and, in her will, “she bequeathed all of her property to her granddaughters, her nieces, her daughters-in-law and her female servants.”

Family Tree’s Startling Roots

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

Research for this season’s “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” which debuted Sunday on PBS, revealed that comedian and actress Wanda Sykes “has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched.”

This Week's Survey: The 1940 census

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked whether you have ancestors who were textile mill workers. The results are:

 

66%, No, I am not aware of any of my ancestors working in a textile mill.
30%, Yes, at least one of my ancestors worked in a New England textile mill.
4%, No, but at least one of my ancestors worked in a textile mill in another region of the United States.

 

This week's survey asks about your interest in the April 2 release of the 1940 census. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: Abi

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

ABI (f) Hebrew. Mother of Hezekiah, King of Israel. In colonial America, ABI could also function as an abbreviated version of ABIGAIL or a phonetic version of that name’s nickname ABBY. Abi Birge, dau. of John [Jr.] and Esther (Peirce) Birge, b. Deerfield, Mass. 22 Aug. 1774, m. Orin Rogers 22 March 1797 at nearby Charlemont (NEHGR 161 [2007]: 137, 137n).

Spotlight: Gallaudet University Library Deaf Collections and Archives, Washington, D.C.

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Gallaudet University Library Deaf Collections and Archives, Washington, D.C.

 

Gallaudet University was first incorporated in Washington, D.C., as the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind in 1857. Its first superintendent was Edward Miner Gallaudet, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of the first school for deaf students in the United States. In 1864, Congress authorized the school to confer college degrees and Edward Gallaudet was made president. Ninety years later in 1954, through an act of Congress, the institution was renamed Gallaudet College in honor of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.

 

Deaf Library Collections and Archives


According to its mission statement “The Gallaudet University Archives is responsible for the institutional memory of the University and also strives to preserve the memory of the global Deaf Community.” The collection includes artifacts, photographs, films, papers, periodicals, books, and other items.

 

A number of the online resources may be found under Genealogy Resources on the website. Click on the Genealogy Resources link in the site’s contents list on the left side of the page to access them. The genealogy databases include the following:

 

Gallaudet University Alumni Cards


This collection comprises approximately 4,650 alumni cards for the period from 1866 through 1961. The cards include the name, class, degree, married name, and subsequent degrees for these individuals. In addition the cards may also contain information such as residence, occupation, accomplishments, and dates of marriages and deaths. Many contain a wealth of information. The database is organized alphabetically. You can search by keywords in several fields, by title, personal name, and class year. You can also browse the database. The results returned include a thumbnail image of the index card. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image.

 

Columbia Institution Statistics


There are two Columbia Institution Statistics databases on the website that cover 1857 through 1897 and 1898 through 1950. The databases include student statistics compiled by the Registrar’s Office. Click on the first letter of the student’s surname to view an alphabetical list of students with surnames beginning with that letter.

 

Faculty Staff Cards


The faculty and staff database covers the period from 1866 to 1944. The data fields include last name, first name, position, date of appointment, birth date, if known, and additional remarks. The additional remarks field includes such information as date retired, date fired, date promoted, maiden name, and so on. It appears to include all staff — dentist, cook, bookkeeper, waitress, chambermaid, and laundress as well as instructors.

 

Fay Index


This database indexes a 528-page report compiled by Dr. Edward Allen Fay titled Marriages of the Deaf. As noted on the website, this report was compiled due to discussions at the third convention of the National Association of the Deaf in 1889. Its president, Edwin Hodgson, “cited the need for statistical analysis about the Deaf to either refute or confirm Alexander Graham Bell's theory that intermarriage among the Deaf led to a greater chance for a couple to have Deaf children.” This report contains a wealth of genealogical information. There are two alphabetical indexes: one to men and one to women by maiden name. Click on the first letter of the surname to view the list. The data fields include last name and first name of husband, then wife (or wife, then husband), folder code, and Fay code.

 

Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Applications, 1824–1938


The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf was a residential school in Philadelphia which operated between 1820 and 1984. This database is an alphabetical index to applications to the school. Click on the first letter of the student’s surname to view the names. The data fields include last name, first name, year, box number, and notes.

 

Vital Records


This database is an index to vital record events found in more than forty deaf community newspapers and lists published or collected between 1847 and 2001. Most of the later sources of information are from lists such as Gallaudet University Alumni Association Obituaries and the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf Death List. The index can be searched by last name, first name, and maiden name. You can limit the search by year, state, country, and source by using the drop down lists. The data fields in the search results vary by source and type of event, but they always include the source and publication date.


A Note from the Editor: More on Surname Changes

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 

Lynn Betlock
Editor

We received many responses to our recent survey and column on surname changes. Below is a sampling of reader comments.

 

Dave Cummings of Cleveland, Tennessee: One of my Irish lines is Higman, or so I thought. I hit a brick wall about 1850–1860, when I could find no Higmans anywhere. Fortunately, I found the ancestral name was actually Hickman. The Hickmans were in Northern New York in the 1840s and 1850s, and it seemed the name just became Higman. Then I practiced my best Irish brogue and found Hickman can be pronounced Higman. My second example is of a place name change, but the principle is the same. Researching my ancestor Elias Sage, who ended up in Northern New York, I read affidavits collected there testifying to his Revolutionary War service. Several said Elias had earlier lived in Saundersfield, Massachusetts. I looked at maps and could not find a town of that name. A more experienced researcher suggested that the key to the puzzle might be the Massachusetts accent, and that the town in question might be Sandisfield. She suggested I practice a Massachusetts accent to hear how the name might sound.

 

Elden J. Johnson of East Jordan, Michigan: A French-Canadian family moved to the country where I live (Antrim County, Michigan) many years ago. They spelled their name “Paradis.” The “s” was silent. Americans who didn’t pay attention to the “s” pronounced and spelled the name “Parody.” Others pronounced the “s” and it became “Paradise.” All three versions are in use today.

 

Joseph F. Thompson: Not until I became interested in genealogy did I realize that my Scottish immigrant ancestors, who came to Quincy, Massachusetts, in the late 1870s, spelled their name “Thomson.” Before I learned this, I had only researched people with the “Thompson” spelling. Learning about the surname change taught me an important lesson about being flexible and open to many possibilities when doing genealogical research.

 

T. Langford: Beware of descendants changing ancestral names! A number of relatives insisted our Hindorff ancestors name was originally "von Hindorff." Document research could find no such name. Pursuing "Hindorff" however eventually found that Nancy Vaughn, who married P.G. Hindorff, proudly referred to herself as Nancy Vaughn Hindorff and descendants wrote it down the way it sounded: Nancy von Hindorff! Well, it sounded good!

 

Coincidentally, some interesting postings about surname changes have also been taking place recently on two genealogy blogs. You can visit Marian Pierre-Louis’s blog, Marian’s Roots and Rambles, on the topic, “Ellis Island: Did They or Didn’t They?” and Judy Russell’s blog, The Legal Genealogist, under “What’s in a Name?

 

For those who would like to weigh in on this topic, please visit the NEHGS Facebook page or the NEHGS Discussion Boards to post your comment or story.


Years Later, He Brought her Passport Back

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

How a passport lost over fifty years ago made its way back to its owner.

Where Was the Bracket Born? It's a Cultural Icon, but Nobody Knows Who Invented It; E.R. Seymour Gets a Bye in Round Two

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

 An article on tournament brackets references brackets on family trees as a possible origin, and features a photo of a Spinola family tree from the NEHGS manuscript collection.

A New Window on Bay State’s Vital Records

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

The Holbrook Microfiche Collection has been purchased by Ancestry.com, and more than nine million records, over half of the collection, is now online.

This Week's Survey: Textile mill worker ancestors

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

 Last week’s survey asked whether you receive the HTML or text version of this enewsletter. (More than one answer could be selected.) The results are:

 

93%, I receive an HTML version of TWG by email.
5%, I receive a text-only version of TWG by email.
3%, I read The Daily Genealogist blog and TWG archives at the NEHGS website.
1%, I subscribe to the TWG RSS feed or have another method of reading the enewsletter or blog.

 

This week's survey asks whether you have ancestors who were textile mill workers. Take the survey now!


Spotlight: Various Newspaper Databases

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Boca Raton Historical Society, Florida

 

Boca Raton is located on the Atlantic coastline in Palm Beach County, Florida. The city was incorporated in 1925. The Boca Raton Historical Society has made several newspaper databases available on its website.

 

The historical society collection includes what they term "hometown newspapers." The titles are The Tattler (June–September 1938), The Pelican (1949–1953), and the Boca Raton News (1955–1970). The Historical Society is the only institution that holds these earlier issues of the Boca Raton News. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the issues. 

 

The site also provides a link to the Palm Beach Coast newspaper archive, which is part of the Google historic newspaper archive. This resource covers the period from 1897 through 1988. The following newspapers are included: The Palm Beach Post and Times (1916–1988), The Palm Beach Daily News (1912–1988), The Miami News/Miami Metropolis (1897–1988), The Tropical Sun (1897–1921), and The Palm Beach Independent (1929).

 

Middletown Township Public Library, New Jersey

 

Middletown Township is located in Monmouth County on the eastern coast of New Jersey. The Middletown Township Public Library has made a free newspaper database available on its website. To access the database you should first click on the Do Research link in the contents list on the homepage. Next click on the Newspapers link in the alphabetical listing and scroll down to the Red Bank Register link.

 

The Middletown Township Public Library and Red Bank Public Library have collaborated to digitize the entire run of the Red Bank Register (1878–1964) and the Daily Register (1964–1991). The database has been divided into two sections: June 27, 1878 to December 26, 1923 and January 2, 1924 to November 13, 1991 (the date of the final issue). To access the database, choose a link above the database description. The database can be browsed by date or searched by word or phrase. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the newspapers. To search the database, enter a word or phrase in the search box. Using one of the dropdown boxes you can choose to search the entire database or limit your search by groups of years. The search results include a PDF image of the newspaper and information about how many times your search term(s) appears in the issue.

 

Whittier Public Library, California

 

Whittier is located about twelve miles southeast of the city of Los Angeles in southern California. The Whittier Public Library has made two digital collections available on its website – Historical Photographs and Historical Newspapers. Click on the Whittier History Digital Collections link to access them.

 

The newspaper collection contains digitized issues of Whittier newspapers, including the Whittier Daily News, the Whittier Register, and the Whittier News, dating back to 1888. There are newspapers for nearly every year between 1888 and 1942, with a gap between 1927 and 1934. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the newspapers. The newspaper collection can be searched by keyword or browsed by year. When you click on the browse link you may find that the results state “No Records Found.” If this happens you should close the digital collections main page, reopen it from the library homepage, and start to browse by year.

 

The Whittier Historical Photograph Collection includes digitized images of Whittier from the late 1800s to the middle of the 20th century. The photo collection can be searched by keyword or browsed. When you click on the browse link you may find that the results state “No Records Found.” If this happens you should choose the Browse tab on the left side of the page and then click on the Browse all Digital Archive Documents link to access three photograph collections folders. Click on the individual folders to view the collections.


Name Origins: Amaryllis

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

AMARYLLIS (f) (B39). Amaryllis Mallory (ca. 1761–1846) m. First Cong. Church, Ripton (Huntington, now Shelton), Conn., 14 Oct. 1779 Lemuel Gilbert (ca. 1753–1833). Amaryllis Leavenworth, m. there 23 Jan. 1785 Samuel Frederick Mills. Amaryllis Humphreville m. First Cong. Church, Ripton (Huntington, now Shelton), Conn., 26 Nov. 1789 Nathan Smith. Amarilla Belknap (b. 1771), daughter of William and Anna (Burke) Belknap of Holland, Mass., m. there 30 Nov. 1797 Thomas Chapman. In later years the name became garbled to such forms as that borne by Annie Marillus Page, b. Hampton, N.H., 13 Feb. 1880, first child of John and Sarah M. Page (Hampton VRs 1:408).

A Note from the Editor: Ancestral Name Changes

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey question, about whether readers had stories of ancestral names changed by immigration officials, was formulated because I wanted to find out what people believed about family name changes, particularly in regard to the widely-held perception that immigration officials rather arbitrarily changed names at ports of entry.

 

I discovered that that perception is perhaps not so widely held among readers of the Weekly Genealogist, as a number of readers wrote in to say that the assumption that names were changed by immigration officials was probably not valid and that the survey question was perpetuating a myth. Glenn Sampson of Windsor, Connecticut, pointed out that a better question would have listed the number of ways in which names might have been changed (e.g., "changed by my ancestors themselves," "changed by town officials or census takers," "changed by immigration officials," or, "I don't know how it got changed").

 

Since my own surname is one that was changed, probably during the lifetime of my immigrant great-great-grandfather, I’ve long been interested in surname changes. When I discovered as a middle schooler that Betlock had once been Betlach, I was fascinated, and that discovery probably helped fuel my interest in family history. My ancestor Josef Betlach emigrated from Bohemia in the 1870s, and settled in Steele County, Minnesota. At some point he, or perhaps only his sons, adopted Betlock, presumably because that spelling reflected how the name sounded to English-speaking Americans. As far as I know, only our particular branch of the family adopted Betlock. For me as a genealogist, the difference in spelling has been a handy way to separate descendants of my great-great-grandfather from more distant kinfolk. 

 

A number of readers shared stories of their family surnames having been changed by the immigrants themselves, usually to sound more “American” or, as with my case, to have the spelling better match the name’s pronunciation. No one wrote in with a family story of how a name was changed at a port of entry, documented or undocumented. Last week’s survey asked whether readers had a family story of how an ancestor’s name was changed by an immigration official. The results show that, among the respondents, 12% have documented proof of an ancestral name change and 12% have an unverified family legend of an ancestral name change.

 

Two interesting articles explore the myths and realities of ancestral name changes: “American Names: Declaring Independence” by Marian L. Smith; and “They Changed our Name at Ellis Island” by Donna Przecha.


Google Begins to Scale Back Its Scanning of Books from University Libraries

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Assistant Editor

With more than twenty million books already digitized, Google has slowed its rate of scanning.

A Modest Revival for the Irish Language

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Assistant Editor

“As the Irish diaspora prepares for St. Patrick’s Day, the Hibernian tongue, once at the brink of extinction, is enjoying a modest revival.”

Lost At Sea: Do You Know These Civil War Sailors?

 Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Assistant Editor

The identities of two skeletons found in the Monitor, the Union ironclad warship, are unknown, but researchers are trying to change that.

This Week's Survey: Reading The Weekly Genealogist

 Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

We apologize for the delay in posting to our Daily Genealogist blog. A fire in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood disrupted services for a few days, and our Internet access was cut off.

 

Last week’s survey asked whether you have a family story of how an ancestor’s name was changed by an immigration official. The results are:

 

77%, No, I do not have an ancestral name change story.
12%, Yes, I have documented proof of an ancestral name change.
12%, Yes, I have an unverified family legend of an ancestral name change.

 

This week's survey asks how you read The Weekly Genealogist enewsletter (this description refers to the EMAIL version of TWG, not the blog: HTML email readers will see bold and italics in their enewsletters; text-only readers will see no such formatting). Take the survey now!


Name Origins: Walter Scott

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

WALTER SCOTT (m): Walter Scott Morse, b. Edgartown, Mass., in May 1849, son of Stephen and Sarah P. (Butler) Morse, the father a cooper (Edgartown VRs, pp. 50, 150), was named for the great Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832).

Spotlight: Lebanon [Indiana] Public Library

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Lebanon [Indiana] Public Library

 

The city of Lebanon, which is the county seat of Boone County, is located in central Indiana. The Lebanon Public Library has made a number of indexes available on its website through the library’s Heritage Center. The files are in PDF format. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

 

Cemetery Indexes


There are nine Boone County cemetery indexes on the website: Beck Cemetery, Bethel Cemetery, Cason Cemetery, Dover Cemetery, Moore Cemetery, Jones-Parr Cemetery, Old Eagle/Cox Cemetery, Pitzer Cemetery (also known as the Beeler Cemetery or Harmon Cemetery), and Richardson (Big Springs) Cemetery. The data fields vary from cemetery to cemetery, and include some or all of the following: last name, first name, date of birth, date of death, age at death, daughter/son of, wife/husband of, same stone, additional information, and military information. The Dover Cemetery file contains an index to the burials of veterans. The information contained in the records is as follows: full name, dates of birth and death, service information, and section/plot information.

 

Newspaper Indexes


There are a number of newspaper indexes in this section compiled from two Lebanon newspapers. The following are from the Lebanon Reporter:

 

Index to Birth Notices: This index covers the period from 2010 to 2011. The data fields are last name, first name, birth date, newspaper date, page number, father’s name, and mother’s name.

 

Indexes to Marriage Notices: There are two marriage notice indexes. One is for the period from 1945 through 1959. It is organized into two alphabetical databases by groom’s name and by bride’s name. The data fields are groom’s full name, bride’s full name, date of newspaper, page number, type, and notes. There is a key to the abbreviations found in the type field. The second index covers the period from 2010 through 2011. The data fields are groom’s full name, bride’s full name, date of marriage, date of newspaper, and page number.

 

Index to Divorce Notices: The divorce index covers the period from 1945 through 1959. It is organized alphabetically by husband’s name. The data fields are husband’s last name, husband’s first name, wife’s last name, wife’s first name, date of newspaper, page number, and type. There is a key to the abbreviations found in the type field.

 

Index to Obituaries and Death Notices: This index covers the period from 1945 through 2011. The data fields include last name, first name, date of newspaper, page number, and maiden name. There are nearly 39,000 records in the database.

 

The following indexes are from the Lebanon Patriot and Weekly Patriot:

 

Index of Divorce Notices appearing in 1870: This database contains four divorce records that appeared in the newspaper in 1870.

 

Indexes of Marriage Notices from 1870–73: There are two marriage notice indexes, covering the period between 1870 and 1873. One database is sorted alphabetically by groom’s name, and the other is alphabetical by bride’s name. The data fields are groom’s full name, bride’s full name, type abbreviation, newspaper name, date of paper, and page/column number.

 

Index of Obituaries and Death Notices: This index covers the period from 1870 through 1873. The data fields include last name, first name, death date, age at death, newspaper title, newspaper date, page number and column, born (when and where), place of death/source, father, mother, and spouse.

 

Index of Personal and Real Estate Sale Notices: This database indexes personal and real estate sale notices that appeared in the newspapers from 1870 through 1873. The data fields include last name, first name, newspaper title, newspaper date, page number and column, date of sale, and type of sale.

 

Professional Indexes


In this section the library has uploaded an index of Boone County Teachers for 1883 to 1885. The data fields include teacher’s name, township, academic year, and district number. If a teacher taught in both school years, there will be two records for that individual. There are about 250 records in the index.

 

Social Club Indexes


This section contains an index to the Roster of Sojourning Members of the Boone County Lodge for the period from 1917 through 1925. The data fields include the name, age, lodge name, lodge number, location, address, and register date.

 

Vital Records Indexes


This database indexes Boone County divorces for the period between 1830 and 1879. The records were abstracted from the Civil Order and Judgment Docket Books, which are held by the Boone County Clerk’s Office in Lebanon. The data fields in the index include last name, first name, maiden name, children, and page number.


A Note from the Editor: Illustrated Family Records from National Archive Pension Files

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Weekly Genealogist reader Jacob Sievers of Somerville, Massachusetts, emailed me with a link to a remarkable collection of 220 illustrated family records that are part of the National Archives’ Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application files. Beginning last July, the National Archives began to contribute tens of thousands of files to Wikimedia Commons, and these images are among them. These family records were submitted as part of the documentation required for a veteran or a veteran’s family member to receive a pension, and then became permanently attached to the veteran’s file.

 

View the collection.

 

I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of these records. I saw illustrated family records, birth, baptismal, and memorial certificates — in English and German, hand-drawn and pre-printed. I looked at examples from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. And I thought about the people whose names were listed so carefully on the certificates and I wondered if they understood when they mailed them away that they weren’t going to be getting them back. Perhaps for years afterward people thought wistfully about the family papers they’d sent to Washington. But sending them to Washington also had the positive effect of preserving them and making them widely available today.


World War II Love Story: Letters help Newnan couple find soldier's family

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

This article traces the journey of a collection of letters written by a World War II soldier from Pittsburgh to his Georgia girlfriend.

How Much Is Nostalgia Worth? Putting a Price on Family Bibles

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

An examination of the value and collectability of old Bibles.

In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

The physical archive of the Internet Archive has collected over 500,000 texts toward a goal of ten million printed volumes.

This Week's Survey: Immigration name changes

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Last week’s survey asked whether any of your ancestral surnames were changed. The results are:

 

65%, Yes, one or more of my ancestral surnames were changed.
35%, No, I am not aware of any changes in my ancestral surnames.

 

This week's survey asks whether you have a family story of how an ancestor’s name was changed by an immigration official. Take the survey now!


The Daily Genealogist: More House History Stories

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Betlock Lynn

Lynn Betlock
Editor

We received a number of additional interesting house history stories this week so we present one more look at this topic.

Bill Powers of Rutland, Vermont:
I wrote an article for the current summer issue ofRutland Magazine, "100 Summers at Lake Dunmore," which chronicles the history of my family’s 100-year old camp. The story combines a history of the camp along with a bit of family genealogy since the 1950s. 

Margaret G. Fish of Reno, Nevada:
In about 1980, my daughter and her family were transferred to New Hampshire, and they bought a house in Madbury (once part of Dover). While living with them, I started genealogy (thanks to NEHGS!) and discovered that the land on which the house was built was owned by a direct ancestor way back in 1650! This was after I had lived for seventy years in thirteen other states, from Massachusetts to Florida to California.

Jane Thompson of Scituate, Massachusetts:
I am writing a history of the First Cliff neighborhood in Scituate. I have researched the ownership of about 55 properties back to the 1600s, and I am also writing biographies of most of the homeowners. It will probably be published after about three years of research. It was NOT as difficult as I thought it would be!

Henry Karl Voigt of Newark, Delaware:
My grandmother was raised on Mystic Street in Medford, Mass., in a house previously owned by her great-grandmother, Louise Campbell Fowler Pierpont, and her second husband, John Pierpont, the fiery abolitionist writer and preacher. The home was, unfortunately, taken down in 1951 to make room for six postwar "tract" houses, which would normally render a house history moot. However, my grandmother's father — Boston architect Lyman Sise — had fortuitously built a scale model of the house back in the 1930s, and the model survives to this day.

Jeff Hecht of Auburndale, Massachusetts:
A few years ago, I got a call from a lawyer trying to pin down title to a house previously owned by my grandmother in Saratoga Springs, New York. I knew family ownership went back to at least her grandfather, who had built, bought, or expanded it in the 1840s. (She claimed that the house was built about 1828, but city records only date to the 1840s.) My late father sold the house in 1978 or 1979, after my grandmother's death. (When I checked the house’s title then, we found — to our amazement — that the owner was still listed as my great-grandfather, who had died in 1932.) The current owner was having title problems because of ambiguities in a 1935 will. I explained enough of the tangle to satisfy the lawyer, and in the process learned some things I had not known — starting with the fact that the house was the oldest surviving one in town. Genealogists should check title records of family homes, which might reveal some surprises. No one had ever mentioned that my grandmother had lost title to the house in the late 1940s, for nonpayment of taxes, and had somehow gotten it back.

Margaret B. MacNeill of Indialantic, Florida: 
House history researchers should remember that many cities and towns have either renamed or renumbered streets, and all those carefully notated labels on snapshots, letters, and other records may not be applicable anymore.

Janet Doerr of Augusta, Maine:
I am lucky that my research on my family's properties has been easy: they've been in the family since 1789. My brother's house was built by our great-great-great-great grandfather, George Reed, in 1789, and has been in the family ever since. I own the property next to his, the oldest unaltered residence in Augusta, built by a cousin in 1789. Only four families have lived my house, which was passed from the original builder, Asa Williams, to his son to another cousin and on to my parents. I inherited the property from them. I don't know how unusual this "familial chain of title" is, but it makes for easy research and a very lengthy family history; I'm working on the stories!


Name Origins: Elphlede

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

ELPHLEDE (f): Elphlede (Lyon) Janes (1749-1792) of Woodstock, Conn., who m. ca. 1768 Eliphalet “Uncle Liff” Janes (1743-1835) of Sturbridge, Mass., was a daughter of Moses Lyon (Yale 1735) and his wife Grace Child. Eliphalet and Elphlede were ancestors of American painter Norman Perceval Rockwell (1894-1978) (NEHGS NEXUS 11 [1994]: 62-63; Gary Boyd Roberts, Notable Kin, Volume 2 [1999], p. 28). In 1749 use of this rare Anglo-Saxon name was a sure sign of antiquarian tastes. Elphlede’s father probably took her name from writings of the Venerable Bede (ca. 672/73-735) or other Anglo-Saxon writers, about St. Ælflæda of Whitby (653-714) [sister of Oswy, King of Northumbria]; several later Anglo-Saxon princesses of the ninth and tenth centuries bore the name, or close variants.

 

Elfleda Janes (1804-post 1860), daughter of Almarin and Polly (Fay) Janes and granddaughter of Eliphalet and Elfleda (Lyon) Janes, later married a Peter Wormwood (Frederic Janes, The Janes Family: A Genealogy and Brief History of the Descendants of William Janes, the Emigrant Ancestor of 1637 [New York: J.H. Dingman, 1868], p. 197); as “Alphida” she was living with him and their family at Manlius, N.Y., in 1850, and as “Alphleda” in 1860 (1850 U.S. Census, Onondaga Co., N.Y., Town of Manlius, Series M432, Roll 567, p. 67, #1018-1048, lines 22-28; 1860 U.S. Census, same place, Series M653, Roll 829, p. 171, #207-208, lines 29-34). Elfleda (Powell) Rogers (no dates in Janes, pp. 141-42, or VT VRs) was a daughter of Rowland and Mary (Janes) Powell of Richford, Vt.; her mother (1753-1813) was a sister of Eliphalet Janes above. Elfleda (Gibbs) Chamberlain (b. 1792), daughter of Zephaniah and Lucinda (Janes) Gibbs of Sturbridge, Mass., was named for her grandmother, Mrs. Janes above (Rev. Martin Lovering, History of the Town of Holland, Massachusetts [Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing Co., 1915]., p. 550; Janes, p. 192).


Elfleda (Elfreda?) Belknap (b. 1773), daughter of William and Anna (Burke) Belknap of Holland, Mass., m. there 7 Nov. 1793 David Anderson (1744-1817). I have found no obvious relation to the Janes family, but perhaps her parents admired the name. And “Elfledya” Blashfield was born at Brimfield, Mass., 30 March 1774, daughter of William and Lois (Lumbard) Blashfield; as “Alphleda” Blashfield, she married 23 Dec. 1798 John Bishop, at Brimfield (Brimfield VRs, pp. 19, 163).

 

Two more bearers of this name were first cousins Elfleda (Sherman) Trask (1797-1858), wife of Azel Trask of Wales, Mass. (next to Brimfield), and Willington, Conn., daughter of Daniel and Sarah “Sally” (Dimick) Sherman; and Elfleda “Fleta” (Dimick) Pendleton (1804-1858), daughter of James and Anna (Charles) Dimick, and wife of Lyman Pendleton of Wales (she appears as “Alfleday” in her marriage record). Both were granddaughters of Gideon and Sarah (Davis) Dimick of Brimfield and Wales, Mass. (One of the true joys of tracing their sometimes very obscure families was using Absalom Gardner’s scurrilous history of Wales, Mass., in the Corbin Collection at NEHGS; Mr. Gardner thought Azel Trask an annoying idiot [“was rather lazy withal” seems the kindest he can manage], and despised James Dimick.)


Spotlight: Various Funeral Home Records

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Funeral home records can contain a wealth of information for genealogists. There are a number of funeral home records databases online and onsite. Many cover time periods into the mid-twentieth century. The databases may be found on a number of different types of websites. The following is a sampling of what is available.

 

Marshall County Funeral Home Records, Tennessee


The Marshall County Funeral Home Records database is one of the resources available on the Marshall County Genweb website. The county is located in the central part of the state. The information in this database has been abstracted from the records of the London Funeral Home, which is in Lewisburg, the county seat. The records are for deaths that occurred from 1938 to 1941. They are organized alphabetically by surname, then given name. Click on the first letter of the surname to open the page containing the records. The information provided for each individual includes last name, first name, sex, race, date of birth, place of birth, age, date of death, place of death, place of burial, marital status, spouse, father, mother, informant, and funeral home name.

 

Rich Funeral Home, Indiana


This funeral home database is on the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library website. Howard County is located in central Indiana. Kokomo is its county seat. This database is an index to the records of the Rich Funeral Home, a family business, which was in operation from June 1893 through October 1956. The index was created from photocopies of the company’s records. The data fields in the alphabetical index include name of the deceased, record number, place of death, and notes. The notes field includes age at death, and abbreviations for the cemetery in which the deceased is buried. There is a chart at the end of the introduction page that provides a listing of burial dates and corresponding record numbers. There is also a key to the abbreviations used in the database. The original records for the Rich Funeral Home are in the possession of the Stout Funeral Home in Russiaville, Indiana.

 

Dolph Funeral Home Records, Michigan


The Dolph Funeral Home Records database is on the website of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. Dolph Funeral Home was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ann Arbor is in the southeastern part of the state. It is the county seat of Washtenaw County. The records in the database cover the period from June 1937 to September 1952, when the funeral home closed. You can browse the index by last name or by date of death. The data provided includes full name, residence, and death date. If you would like a copy of the full record you may contact the library via email to request it. Because the original records are fragile, the library will transcribe the information from the original records to a photocopy of the original form found in the record book.

 

Skaurud Funeral Home Index, Norman County, Minnesota


The Norman County Genealogy Society prepared and made available the Skaurud Funeral Home Index. Norman County is located in northwestern Minnesota. The city of Ada is the county seat. The Skaurud Funeral Home was located in Ada. The database covers the period from 1913 through 1945. It is in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the files. The records are grouped into seven files: 1923–1929; 1930–1935; 1936–1938; 1939–1941; 1942; and 1943–1945. Each file contains an alphabetical listing. The data fields in the files include name/residence (where the deceased lived), age, date of birth, date of death, place of death, location of the funeral/clergy involved, and cemetery name.


Name Origins: Abednego

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

ABEDNEGO (m): At least one set of children was named for the men in the Biblical Fiery Furnace (Daniel, chapters 1–3): Meschach, Shadrack, and Abednego Rust were born at Wolfeboro, N.H., 20 Aug. 1796, sons of William and Hannah (Marble) Rust. Shadrack died young, but Meshach and Abednego survived to marry and leave descendants (Rev. Albert Dexter Rust, Record of the Rust Family, Embracing the Descendants of Henry Rust... [1891], pp. 235-36).

A Note from the Editor: Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Student Records Online

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Increasingly, biographical information about students who attended educational institutions of higher learning is being made available online. A colleague recently alerted me to an important new database on the Litchfield [Connecticut] Historical Society website: The Ledger.

 

The Ledger is a comprehensive online searchable database that presents the stories of two nationally significant educational institutions, the Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy. The Law School, founded by Tapping Reeve in 1784, was the first of its kind in the country and attracted over 1,200 students from thirteen states and territories. Sarah Pierce founded the Female Academy in 1792 which drew an estimated 3,000 girls to Litchfield over the school’s forty-one year history.

 

"The words, artwork and personal belongings of the students together with biographical and genealogical information will now be available at a user’s fingertips. The Ledger links materials held in private collections and by various public institutions together, providing users with as much information as possible on each individual student.”

 

Genealogists should particularly note the following request: “If you have any additional information on an existing student or feel that you may know of a student who attended one of the schools and is not included in the database please contact the Curator of Collections at 860-567-4501 or curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.”

 

The Litchfield Historical Society owns the Reeve House and Law School, open to visitors from mid-April to November. For more information, visit http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org/lawschool/index.php.

 

Colonial Collegians, a database on AmericanAncestors.org, features 5,477 biographies of students who attended American colleges before the American Revolution. The colleges include Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), The College of William and Mary, Dartmouth College, King's College (now Columbia University), Rhode Island College (now Brown University), and Queen's College (now Rutgers University), the medical schools at King's College and the College of Philadelphia, and the Reverend William Tennent's "Log College" in Pennsylvania for prospective Presbyterian clergymen.

 

Another school database is available on the NEHGS website. Pupils and Teachers of Mrs. Rowson's Academy, 1797-1822, was complied by Jane C. Nylander. The database contains the names of 658 pupils and teachers known to have attended Mrs. Rowson’s Academy, a school for young ladies, in Boston, Massachusetts.


351-Year-Old Will Sparks Bitter Dispute

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

A case concerning a 1661 bequest by an Ipswich, Massachusetts, resident that benefited the town’s public schools is going to the Massachusetts Appeals Court later this week.

Playing Kitchen Detective: Home Cooks Try to Recreate Family Recipes; What Did Grandma Put in her Kugel?

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor


“There's a new obsession at the intersection of genealogy and foodie culture —reconstructing beloved, long-lost family recipes.”

Fugates of Kentucky: Skin Bluer than Lake Louise

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Powers Jean

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

“In an unusual story that involves both genetics and geography, an entire family from isolated Appalachia was tinged blue.”

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