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Ask a Genealogist: Gathering data for a Colonial Dames application.

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Question:

Gathering information for an application to Colonial Dames of the 17th Century.

I have searched the online databases and find information on the births and marriages in Framingham & Hopkinton, MA but have not been able to find death information. Are there sources at the library with this information which have not been added to the databases online yet?

What would be the charge to have someone research sources at the library? Thanks for any help you can give!

Answer:

Reply by Lindsay Fulton, NEHGS Genealogist

According to the Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, vital records (birth, marriage, and death) for Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts were published by NEHGS in 1911. A copy of the Vital records of  Framingham,  Massachusetts, to the year 1850 is available at the NEHGS 99-101 Newbury Street location in Boston, Massachusetts. I have included a link to the catalogue here. If you are unable to visit the NEHGS library, the Vital records of  Framingham,  Massachusetts, to the year 1850, is also available at www.americanancestors.org. I have included a link to the database here.

In regards to Hopkinton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: the Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, indicates that the vital records for Hopkinton were compiled by NEHGS and published in 1911.  You may access these Vital records of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 at the NEHGS 99-101 Newbury Street location in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

If you are unable to locate an official death record for Simon Mellen/s Jr., Esther Towne Mellen/s, Abigail Ball Mellen/s in the above records, you could explore alternative databases, such as obituaries and cemetery markers that were recorded in Framingham and Hopkinton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. I have included a couple of examples of where to find these alternative records below:

 

  • Obituaries\Death Notices: There are several different sites that have large collections of digitized newspapers, such as the subscription sites, GenealogyBank, Newspaperarchive.com, or Newspapers.com. There are also free sites, like the Google News Archive and the Library of Congress' Chronicling America Collection. An obituary for Simon Mellen/s Jr., Esther Towne Mellen/s, and, Abigail Ball Mellen/s may identify his/her parents, or his/her place of death. If so, this may be accepted as proof by the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century.
  • Cemetery records/inscriptions: Several national cemetery databases offer free access to tombstone inscriptions and photographs. Generally, the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century will accept photographs of tombstones as proof of death (and sometimes marriage). If you are using a tombstone photograph as evidence, include a clear photo of the stone, as well as a broader, landscape photograph that shows the other surrounding stones. This will provide the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century with context, and demonstration the age of the tombstone. Some sites include: www.findagrave.com; http://billiongraves.com/; http://www.interment.net/; http://www.locategrave.org/           

If you cannot locate any (other) original or alternative records for Simon Mellen/s Jr., Esther Towne Mellen/s, Abigail Ball Mellen/s, you might consider submitting this as a research request to our Research Services staff by completing the online "Research for Hire" form at http://www.americanancestors.org/research-services/. You can also contact Research Services directly at research@nehgs.org.

 

 

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