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Ask a Genealogist: What is the cost to order a Civil War pension from NARA?

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Question:

Can you tell me the cost to order a Civil War pension from the National Archives in Washington? 

Answer:

According to the National Archives website www.nara.gov the current price is $80.00 for the first 100 pages, and .70 cents for each additional page copied.  You may also visit the archives and bring your own flatbed scanner or digital camera and copy it for free.

Ask a Genealogist: A Census clue from 1910 and 1930.

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Question:

I attended a lecture by David Allen Lambert on the Civil War.  He mentioned a clue to determine the status of a veteran in a 20th century census - can you refresh my memory?

Answer:

The 1910 U.S. Census will tell you if your were a veteran of the U.S. or Confederate Army or Navy.  The 1930 Census asked if you were a veteran of any war up until 1930, including "WW" for the First World War.

Ask a Genealogist: Looking for ancestors in Gouldsboro, Maine.

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Question:

  Can you offer some suggestions for researching my ancestor William Whitaker in 18th century Gouldsboro, Maine?  

Answer:

The NEHGS library has a copy of Historical Researches of Gouldsboro, Maine, a book of 108 pages, published in 1904 by the Daughters of Liberty. Unfortunately the book has no index.

Gouldsboro is in Hancock County. Hancock County only came into existence in 1789 when it was carved out of Lincoln County. I would suggest searching the Lincoln County deeds (which begin in 1760) to see whether (1) William Whitaker, the original settler, ever purchased land, and (2) if so, do the records indicate where he came from? NEHGS has these on microfilm. The originals are at the Lincoln County courthouse in Wiscasset, and they are also available on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Many of the families that settled the Ellsworth area were from the southeastern Massachusetts counties of Plymouth, Bristol and Barnstable counties. It would not be a bad strategy to search for any 18th century Whitakers that lived there.

Ask a Genealogist: Nova Scotia and New Brunswick early census.

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Question:

What was the first standard census for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that was not a tax list?

Answer:

The 1851 Provincial Census for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can be considered the first for the 19th century.  There are, as you mentioned, earlier tax lists.  The 1851 Nova Scotia census only partially survived for some counties.  Unlike the 1851 New Brunswick census, the Nova Scotia census does not list any other than the head of household.  NEHGS has both of these censuses on microfilm, and also online subscription access if you visit the library.

Ask a Genealogist: Witchcraft documents from Massachusetts.

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Question:

Do you have copies of the Massachusetts State Archives records (vol. 135) for the Salem Witchcraft trials at NEHGS?

Answer:

We do not have any of the Massachusetts Archives Collection microfilms.  However you can find digitial scans from (vol. 135) online from the University of Virginia - http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/archives/MA135.xml 

Ask a Genealogist: Muster rolls of the King Philip's War.

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Question:

A published genealogy mentions my ancestor was killed during the King Philip's War in 1676. Can you recommend a good source for a muster roll of veterans?

Answer:

First you will want to examine the volume by George Madison Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War : being a critical account of that war, with a concise history of the Indian wars of New England from 1620-1677, official lists of the soldiers of Massachusetts colony serving in Philip's War, and sketches of the principal officers, copies of ancient documents and records relating to the war, also lists of the Narraganset grantees of the united colonies, Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut. This was first issued in the NEHGS Register in vols. 37-45; and originally published separately in 1892. This book by Bodge was published in 1896, and republished in 1906. And is available at NEHGS [Call # E83.67/B662/1896 or E83.67/B662/1906]. The muster rolls used to compile these volumes are available from the Massachusetts State Archives.

Ask a Genealogist: Searching the Mass. Archives Collection

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Question:

Can I find these documents online or at NEHGS? understand there are some wonderful documents in a collection called "Massachusetts Archives Collection"? I have a series of volumes and pages to search for.

Answer:

NEHGS does not have copies of the documents, or the microfilm of the items from the Massachusetts Archives Collection. These are the many volumes of scrapbooks of Massachusetts documents 1629-1799. These volumes were created in the late 19th century of the loose papers, and various legal documents, petitions, and correspondence sent to the Commonwealth. The collection is at the Massachusetts State Archives. On the Archives website there is a partial index to the collection. There is a card index by surname, subject and placename at the Archives which is very useful. This link will bring you to the partial index online: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/RevolutionarySearchContects.html

Ask a Genealogist: Vital Records for New Hampshire post 1900.

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Question:

Can you tell me what records you would have for deaths and marriages in New Hampshire for the 1920's?

Answer:

For the 20th century NEHGS has microfilm of New Hampshire marriages and deaths 1901-1937, and 1938-1947. An overview of what we have also includes: Records of births, marriages, and deaths, early to 1900. Also a "Bride's index" 1640-1900; Divorces and marriage annulments prior to 1938; applications for disinterment up to 1900. These 702 rolls of microfilm are available at the Microtext Department on the 4th Floor under call # F33.N454.

Ask a Genealogist: Civil War Pensions from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

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Question:

Can you explain where I can find a Civil War pension file that is reported to be at the VA?

Answer:

The pension application file with a "C" or an "XC"is generally at the Department of Veterans Affairs. ToTo obtain a copy you need to write a letter to the VA Freedom of Information Officers.  To obtain instructions go to www.va.gov/foia/.  You will need to be willing to pay for the fees associated with copying the file.  Send your request to: FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Veterans Benefits Administration (20M33), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20420.

Ask a Genealogist: - The Earle Report of Indians of Massachsuetts

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Question:

Can you tell me where I might find a "free" copy of the Earle Report for Indians in Massachusetts?

Answer:

The report to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by Indian Commissioner was begun in 1859 and was published in 1861.  You can download it as an eBook from Google Play, or use the following link to find a text version to search: http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~history/grafton2/Nipmunk%20Trib%20Listing.txt

Ask a Genealogist - Researching a Quebec ancestor with a New England connection.

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Question:

My sixth great-grandfather, John Paine b.21 Jul 1706 Salem, Mass. d. 22 May 1758 in St Roch Des Aulnaies, Lislet, Quebec, Canada. m. 3 Feb 1732 in Quebec, Canada to Marie Joseph Brisson, b. 1708 in Riviere Ouelle, Quebec, Canada. d. 4 Nov 1744 in St Roch Des Aulnaies, Lislet, Quebec, Canada. He is sometimes referred to as L'anglois, because he was from Salem, but his birth name was John Paine. His Parents were John Paine and Abigail Harvey/Harney, of Salem/Ipswich. What would prompt a man, abt 25 yrs old, born and living in Salem, Mass. until abt. 1730, to move to Quebec, adopt French version of his name, marry there and adopt the French culture of Quebec?

Answer:


In trying to answer this question, I did take a look at themarriage record for Jean Baptiste Pain and Marie Josephe Brisson tosee if he indicated a unique occupation or something else thatmight have easily explained his migration to Quebec, but it did notappear to have anything to do with a job. Before we get into thewhy he may have moved, lets first address the "adoption" of aFrench version of his name. He perhaps did not intentionally adoptthe French version. Like most people who move, their name reflectstheir movement when they move to an area where a different languagein predominant. As immigrants came to the United States, they often"Anglicized" their names to feel more like they belonged in theirnew land. This could be a similar reason for John. However, itcould have simply been that those creating the records wrote hisname phonetically and it became Jean Pain as opposed to John Paine.After all, those who were creating the records in Quebec wereprimarily French-speaking people, so it would be natural for themto record his name in the French manner.

In looking at the record from Sainte-Anne-de-La-Pocatière italso appears that John Paine was Catholic. I do not see anything inthe record that indicates that he was not Catholic. This couldexplain his migration to Quebec.  After all, at the time ofhis birth, Salem was just a few years out from the embarrassment ofthe Salem Witch Hysteria, but they were probably still not asaccepting of non-Congregational (aka Puritan) religions at thispoint. He may have converted or felt that he didn't agree with thereligion of his area. If he was introduced to Catholicism in Salem,he may have met someone from Quebec who encouraged his migration toa more Catholic area. He may also have migrated simply for thechance to get land. In this period, land was wealth. He may havenot seen any immediate opportunities for the purchase of land inMassachusetts and perhaps had heard of opportunities in theCanadian provinces. Once there, he may then have converted toCatholicism.

If land was his impetus, then you will want to turn yourattention to the early land records. Because your ancestor arrivesin Quebec prior to the period when it was taken over by England,you will want to look for the some of the records that are known asSeigneurial Records - the name of the semi-feudal system used inNew France. In the early 1600s, there were grants issued to certainindividuals by the King of France. The seigneuries are asfollows:

·         1623 -Louis Hébert received a grant to the seigneury of Sault auMatlot

·         1624 -Guillaume de Caën received the seigneur y of Cap Tourmente

·         10 Mar1626 - "Reverend Fathers of the Society and Company of Jesus"received the seigneury of Notre Dame des Anges

·         Manyyears the Company of the West Indies had the right to make grants(relinquished in 1666)

·         10 Jan1668 - Maurice Poulin received the seigneury of Sieur del laFontaine

·         20 June1668 - Sieur de Tilly received the seigneury of St. Michel

·         Augumn,1668 - Sieur Jean Le Moyne received a seignery near TroisRivieres

 

From these initial grants, colonists would receive grants fromthe Seigneur and these land grants usually supply information asfollows: name of the colonist; maiden name of his wife or widow;name of the siegneury and its boundaries; names of the immediateneighbors; and obligations the colonist accepted or price paid.

There is a book by Roland Martin, Les PremiersSeigneurs de Saint-Anne-de-la-Pocatière (LaPocatière, Québec: Société Historique de la Côte-du-Sud, 1973) thatincludes the biographies of the first seigneurs forSainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. If John Paine purchased or was grantedland in this area, then it would likely have come from one of theseoriginal seigneurs.

Additionally, you will want to search notarial records. Theeasiest way to explain the notarial records is to think of them ascourt records. Notaries handled probate, land, marriage contracts,and more. The area of La Pocatière did not have its own notaryuntil the 1900s. It is likely that they would have sought theservices of the notary of Kamouraska in the early 1700s. The notaryfor the years 1691-1743 was Etienne Janneau. His records are onmicrofilm through the Bibliothèque Archives du Nationales duQuébec. You can visit their web site <www.banq.qc.ca>.Additionally, we have Etienne Janneau's records here at the NEHGSResearch Center on microfilm. If you cannot get access to them inanother way, you may wish to consider hiring our Research Servicesdepartment to investigate potential records of your ancestor.

 

Ask a Genealogists; Boston City Directory searches 1957-1960.

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Question:

I am looking for copies of the Boston city directory showing the surname "Carney" for 1957-1960.

Answer:

While the Society library has microfiche editions of the Boston City Directories for 1789 through 1980 in its fourth floor Microtext area, Ancestry.com has digitized editions of the Boston City Directories from 1821 through 1981 in its "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta)" database collection.  Many public libraries around the U.S. have a subscription to Ancestry.com for patron use. When accessing the Ancestry.com webpage, this direct link to the collection's search page can be substituted by copy-and-pasting for the main URL:  http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2469   Within this search form, input the surname of interest as the Last Name, and city of interest as the 'Lived in' location, and the specific year as the Any Event year.  The Browse Collection sidebar on the right can be checked to determine if the collection includes the desired city.  The search results will list alphabetically by first name all the Carneys in the year inputted. Clicking on the View Record icon on the right side of the results list will bring up the digitized image of the first directory page containing Carney entries.  Subsequent pages can be viewed by advancing image by image through the image numbers located in the upper right section of the image viewer.

 

Ask a Genealogist: Divorces in the 1790's in New Jersey.

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Question:

It appears my ancestor's marriage ended by divorce in New Jersey in the 1790's.  Could you offer a suggestion as to where the records are, and if there is an index?

Answer:

The New Jersey State Archives has the surviving divorce petitions pre-1850.  For an index you will want to refer to Beth Jones-Reichman's Divorces by Legislative Acts,1778-1844The Genealogical Magazine ofNew Jersey 53 (January 1978), pgs. 1-10.  This magazine can be found at NEHGS on the Fifth Floor [Call # F131.G32].  The New Jersey State Archives website is: http://www.nj.gov/state/archives/index.html

Ask a Genealogist: Searching for Merchant Marine Records for WWII.

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Question:

My father served with the Merchant Marines during World War II. I need help tracking down where these records might be located.

Answer:

To obtain these records you will need to send a request that includes: the full name of the veteran; his date of birth; a copy of his death certificate (if deceased).  Also, a Social Security number, and  or Service number.
Send your request to:
Commanding Officer
USCG-National Maritime Center (NMC-421)
ATTN: Correspondence Section
100 Forbes Drive
Martinsburg, WV 25404

Ask a Genealogist: What was a Spittleman?

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Question:

In the 1871 Census in London my ancestor had a lodger who was a Spittleman.  Can you advise me what that was?

Answer:

A spittleman was another name for an attendant or assistant at a hospital.  You see this term not so much in the United States but in England.

Ask a Genealogist: Korean War Veteran records from New Hampshire

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Question:

My late uncle was a New Hampshire U.S. Army veteran during the Korean War.  He died in 1985, and has no children.  I understand the state may have records, as the Personnel Records were destroyed in a fire in the 1970's.

Answer:

In 1973 the facility in St. Louis, Missouri burned which destroyed the personnel files of the Army, including the Korean War era.  If you contact the Adjutant General's Office in New Hampshire you should be able to obtain his discharge paper.  Explain that you are one of his only living relatives, you may need to produce a copy of his death record.  The following link should assist you in getting the documents you are searching for - http://www.nh.gov/nhveterans/how/discharge.htm

Ask a Genealogist: Post 1915 Death Index for Massachusetts.

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Question:

What does NEHGS have for a death index after 1915 for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?

Answer:

We have a printed set of indexes that cover 1916-1980 for Massachusetts, and online access to an index for 1970-2003. Both of these can be used at our research library in Boston.  I would suggest obtaining the records from the city or town, and NEHGS can supply you with the contact information you need.

Ask a Genealogist: Records of the Charles Street Jail in Boston.

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Question:

The old Charles Street Jail was in operation into the 20th century.  Do you know where the records are located?

Answer:

The Charles Street Jail records are located at the Boston City Archives.  A finding guide to these records is online here as a PDF.
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