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Tips from Weekly Genealogists: Assessing Information on Death Certificates

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

With this issue of The Weekly Genealogist, we introduce a new occasional feature: “Tips from Weekly Genealogists,” which will allow us to showcase some of the collective wisdom of NEHGS members and subscribers.

 

Assessing Information on Death Certificates
by Charles Carter Morgan, West Windsor, New Jersey

 

Do you ever think twice about the information contained in a birth or death certificate? I didn’t until I began to find discrepancies.

 

I knew that my grandmother passed away while napping on her couch in Wayland, Massachusetts. Her death certificate stated that she died in Newton, Massachusetts. By asking questions, I learned that her official place of death was Newton, since her death was officially determined there.

 

When I requested the death certificate of a distant relative, I found her date of death was listed as July 17. On a subsequent research trip to that area, I examined the original records, only to find that the real date of death was July 16. Upon inquiry, the office issued a new death certificate with the correct July 16 date.

 

Another death certificate from the same jurisdiction stated that my great-grandfather’s date of birth was “April 27, 1838” and date of death was January 27, 1916. But the original record contained only the following: date of death: “Jan 27, 1916,” date of birth “April 27th" and age “78” yrs. Spaces for months and days were left blank. The person who completed the death certificate inferred the date of birth incorrectly by subtracting 78 from 1916 to arrive at the 1838 year of birth. But since my great-grandfather died in January before his April birthday, the year of birth should have been 1837. After I inquired about it, the office issued a new certificate listing the exact information shown on the original record, without inferring a date of birth.

 

These experiences taught me to be wary of the information listed on birth and death certificates. When obtaining a certificate, I now request an exact transcription without inferences. With an exact transcription, any inferences are up to me. I also check the original records whenever possible.


Disunion

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

 This New York Times series “revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period — using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.”

For the Dying, A Chance to Rewrite Life

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

An end-of-life treatment called dignity therapy encourages the creation of a formal written life narrative. The psychiatrist who developed this treatment observes that, “The stories we tell about ourselves at the end of our lives are often very different than the stories that we tell about ourselves at other points.”

Permanent Record: Untold Stories from a Stash of Depression-Era Report Cards

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Associate Editor

 After Paul Lukas found a collection of report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, he decided to try to find family members of the students — and then share the experience on his blog and on Slate.

This Week's Survey: Paying for genealogical research

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

Last week’s survey asked about the devices you use to read books electronically. The results are:

 

58%, laptop or desktop computer

36%, Amazon Kindle

15%, Tablet (including the iPad)

11%, Barnes & Noble Nook

10%, Smartphone (including the iPhone)

4%, other

3%, Sony Reader

2%, Kobo E-Reader

 

This week's survey asks whether you’ve paid for genealogical research. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: Zada

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

ZADA (f): Probably an abbreviation of SCHEHEREZADE [SHAHRAZAD], the beautiful and resourceful storyteller of The Arabian Nights; or, just possibly, of her sister DINARZADE [DUNYAZAD]. Use of the name might also have been influenced by Zayde, a two-volume “Hispano-Moorish” romance (1669–1671) by Marie Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne (1634–1693), Comtesse de La Fayette [whose husband was a distant cousin of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834)]. Zada Baldwin, b. Newtown, Conn., 3 July 1777, daughter of Clark and Phedime (Prindle) Baldwin, was an ancestor of politician Patrick Joseph “Pat” Buchanan. The parents of Shinzada or Sherezada (Roosevelt) Van Alstyne (1803–1898) came up with a new spelling for a name not easily managed.

Spotlight:Obituary and Cemetery Databases (New York, California, Florida, and Utah)

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Obituary Index, Chemung County Library District, New York

 

Chemung County is centrally located on the southern border between New York and Pennsylvania. Its county seat is Elmira. The Chemung County Library District has made an obituary index available on its website.

 

Volunteers of the library district have copied and indexed items from local area newspapers. The library is now uploading the obituary indexes to its website. At present there are two indexes that cover the period from 1900 through 1920. The data fields in the index include last name, first name, middle initial, date of death, and the date of the obituary. Instructions for searching the database have been provided, as well as a video demonstration of the search process. You can submit a research request to the library for a fee.

 

Placer County Newspaper Death Index, California

 

Placer County is located in both the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada regions of California. Its eastern boundary is on the Nevada border. Its county seat is Auburn. The Placer County Genealogical Society has made an index to deaths found in the Placer Herald of Auburn available on its website. The alphabetical death notice index covers the period from 1852 through 1885. The data fields include last name, given name, year, and location. Family history researcher can order copies of death notices from the Society for a fee.

 

Indian River County Obituary Index, Florida

 

Indian River County is located near the center of the east coast of Florida. Its county seat is Vero Beach. The Julian W. Lowenstein Archive Center & Genealogy Department of the Indian River County Library has made an obituary index available on its website.

 

The index covers the period from 1912 to March 2011. It is divided into separate indexes as follows: 1912–2008, 2009, 2010, and January through March 2011. The information for the indexes has been drawn from some or all of the following newspapers: Vero Beach Press Journal, Sebastian Sun, Indian River Farmer, Fellsmere Farmer, and Fellsmere Tribune. The data fields include date, microfilm roll number, page, title, last name, first name, middle, suffix, age, maiden name, and nickname. The database files are in PDF format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. You may purchase copies of obituaries from the library for a fee.

 

Spanish Fork Cemetery, Utah

 

Spanish Fork, a city in Utah County, is located in north central Utah. The searchable Spanish Fork cemetery database is located on the city’s official website. You can view the list alphabetically by surname, search the site by first name and last name, limit it by birth and death dates, or search by deceased parents’ names. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, and lot location. With the alphabetical list and the search by name of the deceased, the results also, in many cases, include a photograph of the gravestone. Click on the name link to view the detailed results. Interactive and static maps of the cemetery are available on the website, which will help you locate particular plots.


Notes on Preserving Your Family Collections

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

As a wrap-up to our look at protecting and preserving family collections, we present a list of archival supply vendors, comments from readers, and a link to an article by a genealogist whose house was damaged by fire.

 

Vendors of Archival Supplies


Archival Products. 134 East Grand Ave, P.O. Box 1413, Des Moines, IA 50317. (800) 526-5640.

Archivart. 7 Caesar Place, P.O. Box 428, Moonachie, NJ 07074. (201) 804-8986.

Conservation Resources International, Inc. 8000 H. Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151. (800) 634-6932.

Gaylord: Archival storage materials and supplies. P.O. Box 4901, Syracuse, NY 13221-4901. (800) 448-6160.

Hollinger Metal Edge. 9401 Northwest Drive, P.O. Box 8360, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. (800) 634-0491 and 6340 Bandini Blvd., Commerce, CA 90040. (800) 862-2228.

Paige Company. Parker Plaza, 400 Kelby St., Fort Lee, NJ 07024. (800) 223-1901.

University Products. 517 Main Street, P.O. Box 101, Holyoke, MA 01041-0101. (800) 628-1912.


Below are a few of the responses we received on the preservation theme:

 

“I was fortunate enough to inherit a huge collection of family letters, photos, diaries, bibles, and so on, from several uncles and aunts. I also did about forty years of research on the family. No one really knew what was in the 'accumulation' so I made it my duty to identify each item as to author, receiver and date of writing. Papers go back to about 1800, with many daguerreotypes. I grew worried about fire, flood, and fungus and so donated all this stuff to the University of Utah, Special Collections, where it now occupies about 72 feet of shelf space and is gradually being scanned for the Internet. Now it not only is being well-guarded, but is being made available to all who seek it. When it was in my basement it was 'mine.' But was it really mine? Decidedly no — it belonged to the family and the future. Please, all you packrats, get your stuff to a place where it is available to all. It really doesn't belong just to you.” — Charles Walker, Sandy, Utah

 

“It is important to let others know of one's interest in family history. My husband's aunt held valuable family history back to a Revolutionary War participant, but after I married into the family and she knew of my own interest in genealogy, she began sending me copies of her notes. When a flood buried all her genealogy material stored in the basement, she spent many days wiping the mud from the items, some of them being originals of copies she had sent me. Several years later, there was another flood and she decided not to go through the rescue process again and told her husband to take it all out to the curb for trash pickup. Thankfully, I did have many copies of her originals.

 

By contrast, my grandparents had an attic with more square footage than I have seen in some houses. It was dry and insect-free and housed items from the 1700s. Most of it is in my care and I dread the scenario suggested by Ms. Betlock — that she has procrastinated processing all the information that could be shared with family members. Don't wait, folks”. — Margaret (Benedict) MacNeill, Indialantic, Florida

 


Readers also wrote about how to care for quilts and other fabrics:

 

“I quilt and have found that storing your quilt in a cotton sheet or pillowcase, then either on a shelf or in an archival box, depending on the condition or age of the quilt, works very well.” — Peggy Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

“Don't ever store any fabric of any kind in any kind of plastic bag, or box. Only use acid free cardboard boxes — or a pillow slip works great. The reason for not using plastic is that if moisture sneaks in, it never gets out again and you can end up with some really nasty mold or musty odors. Before storing the quilt, air it well in a shady place outside. Then bring it in and let it air some more. Grandmother always aired her quilts by laying them on the grass or a bush. The chlorophyll is supposed to help kill odors. A nice warm day in the shade after a heavy rain was her favorite time to do this as the bushes were washed clean of dust.” — Janice Healy, Aloha, Oregon

 


Finally, we offer a link to “A Genealogist’s Nightmare: Disaster in the Family Home,” written by William “Rod” Fleck of Forks, Washington. The article, which first ran in the Seattle Genealogical Society’s newsletter in 2000, outlines the steps to take before and after a disaster.


Biographer’s New Best Friend

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

A New York Times article examines how historical newspaper databases have changed biographical and historical research.

Colonial Williamsburg: Actors Bring to Life the Nuanced Tangle of History, Heroism and Daily Living

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

Colonial Williamsburg has evolved over the past decades, and actor-interpreters now offer thought-provoking street theatre designed to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.

This Week's Survey: Digital book readers

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

Last week’s survey asked about e-book reader usage. Complete results are:

 

67% do not own or use an e-book reader

33% own or use an e-book reader

 

This week's survey asks what devices you use if you read books electronically. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: [CHARLES] GRANDISON

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

[CHARLES] GRANDISON (m): GRANDISON, often seen in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century male naming patterns, derives from the eponymous hero of the hugely popular English novel Sir Charles Grandison (1753/4) by Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), not from family connections of the bearers! Charles Grandison Smith, b. Edgartown, Mass., 17 Feb. 1802, son of Ebenezer and Mary (Hulsart) Smith (VRs, pp. 71, 177), was the son of novel-readers; he m. Edgartown (int.) 20 Dec. 1828 Drusilla Dunham (VRs, p. 176).

Spotlight: Missouri Resources, Pike County and Smithville

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Pike County Genealogical Society

Pike County is located in northeastern Missouri. Its county seat is Bowling Green. The Pike County Genealogical Society has made a number of resources available on its website. These include the following.

 

Marriages
There are three indexes to Pike County marriage books. One is organized alphabetically by groom’s surname and another is alphabetical by bride’s surname. The third index is organized by date. Most of the marriages are from the period between 1854 and 1940. The data fields include groom, bride, miscellaneous, book and page numbers. and date. In addition, information about later marriages has been extracted from various newspapers and provided by individual submitters. These, too, have been indexed on the website. In some cases, notices have been scanned and uploaded. Click on the link to view the notice.

 

Census
The website contains indexes to the 1860 federal census for Indian Creek Township and the 1870 census for Pike County by township. In addition there are decennial census listings of the residents of the Pike County Poor Farm for the period from 1870 to 1920.

 

Obituaries
There are two indexes to obituaries of Pike County citizens. One has been organized alphabetically by surname. The data provided includes name, date of birth, date of death, and burial place. The second is organized by year, and covers the period from 1846 through 1947, plus 1818. The data provided includes year, name of newspaper, date of the obituary, and all names listed in the obituary.

 

Churches and Cemeteries
Click on the Churches link to open a page to access photographs and a short history of Pike County churches. There is a cemeteries database, which has been indexed alphabetically and by township. For many of the cemeteries, location information is all that is provided, but for others — where the cemetery name is a hyperlink — there are also burial listings.

 

There are biographies of individuals and families and other profiles on the site under Bios and Sketches.

 

Smithville Historical Society, Missouri

Smithville is a city in Clay and Platte counties in Missouri. It is located in northwestern Missouri, along the Platte River. The Smithville Historical Society has made a number of resources available on its website. You will find a brief history of Smithville, an image archive, and a document archive.

 

The Image Archive contains five photo galleries covering various aspects of life in Smithville, plus a gallery with miscellaneous photographs. The Document Archive contains transcriptions of articles about people and life in Smithville. There are articles about Smithville history, its people, the schools, and the history of the Temperance Lodge, as well as brief history of the Smithville Historical Society.


A Note from NEHGS: Preserving Your Family Collections

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Judith Lucey

Judy Lucey
NEHGS Archivist

Congratulations to Lynn Betlock and many of you who rescued your family collections from basements in the wake of Hurricane Irene! You have taken the first step toward safe-guarding your family treasures. As archivist of the NEHGS Special Collections, I see everyday the damage done to family collections when improperly stored. Basements, attics, garages, and barns are not the places to store your family materials. Not only are these locations vulnerable during natural disaster, they are also prone to extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity which can cause long term damage to materials.

 

I like to think of preserving one’s family treasures as a series of steps. Removing them from harm’s way is the first. The next is placing them in a clean, dry, insect free area. Often an interior room in your home that does not experience large fluctuations in temperature is your best bet. Make sure you keep the materials away from any heat or water source. Light is also damaging to materials and can accelerate deterioration. If you like to display family photographs or documents, you may want to consider displaying copies instead of originals. If you do choose to display originals, place them in a hallway or another area of the house away from light sources.

 

Before purchasing archival supplies, your next step should be to identify what you have, assess the condition, and begin to organize your materials. As you review your papers, do you notice rust from old paper clips or other metal fasteners? If so, remove these carefully as rust can spread and damage documents. Remove items such as elastic bands and pins. Unfold and store flat letters and paper documents as they can begin to separate along the folds. Do you see any signs of mold or insect damage? You may want to consult a professional conservator for more serious damage. Not sure how to organize your family research? Well, you could do what an archivist does. Start by organizing your papers by surname and, within each family, keep documents created by or about an individual together. Organize letters by recipient and place them in chronological order. Keep your family charts, group sheets, and compiled genealogies at the beginning of each family group.

 

When you are ready to purchase archival supplies, buy from vendors specializing in archival supplies — and beware of the term “acid-free.” If an item is “acid-free” but makes no mention of containing a buffering agent (a chemical which neutralizes acid) its long term preservation is uncertain. It will become acidic over time. The materials you want to purchase should be “lignin-free” or “acid-free with a buffering agent.” Items handled frequently should be placed in enclosures made of Mylar or polypropylene, not plastic! Don’t forget to label your folders and boxes using a soft lead pencil.

 

By taking the right steps today you will ensure long term preservation of your materials for you and for future generations.

 

 

 

Next week, we’ll wrap up the “protection and preservation” theme with a list of archival supply vendors and reader comments. — LB


Wayward Relatives a Presidential Tradition; Obama’s Uncle May Be Latest Example

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

NEHGS’s Gary Boyd Roberts was quoted in a Washington Post article on presidential relatives who have received negative publicity.

Mystery Surrounds Loss of Records, Art on 9/11

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

“Besides ending nearly 3,000 lives, destroying planes and reducing buildings to tons of rubble and ash, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks destroyed tens of thousands of records, irreplaceable historical documents and art.”

A Database of Names to Trace Slave Ancestry

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

The preliminary results of a Virginia Historical Society study, which will examine eight million documents dating back to the 17th century to extract the names of slaves, have been released as “Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.”

This Week's Survey: E-book reader usage

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

Last week’s survey asked what companies you’ve used for DNA testing. 66% of respondents have used FamilyTreeDNA and 2% have used GeneTree. Complete results are:

 

66%, FamilyTreeDNA

21%, National Geographic

17%, Sorenson Molecular Genealogical Foundation

15%, Ancestry [formerly Relative Genetics]

7%, 23andme

7%, Other

3%, Oxford Ancestors

2%, GeneTree

 

This week's survey asks about e-book reader usage. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: Scotto/Scottoway

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

SCOTTO(W)/SCOTTOWAY (m): Use of this given name after ca. 1700 suggests Cape Cod origins or connections – generally traceable to Harwich, Mass. – deriving from the marriage (ca. 1671) of Andrew Clarke and Mehitable Scottow of Boston and Harwich. Scotto[way] Clarke (b. 1680), son of Andrew and Mehitable, was an ancestor of Register editor Henry Edwards Scott (NEXUS 11 [1994]: 200-207). This Scotto[way] Clark’s grandson, a later Scotto Clark, m. Stephen Hopkins descendant Sarah Griffith and himself served as a sergeant in the Revolution (Hopkins silver 6:372). Scotto Cobb (b. Harwich 2 May 1743), son of Jonathan and Sarah (Clarke) Cobb, was another grandson of Scotto[way] Clark; Harwich minuteman Scottow Berry (1745-1832) was doubtless also related. Mehitable (Scottow) Clarke (1648-1712), wife of Andrew Clarke and mother of the first-named Scotto[way] Clarke, was a daughter of Thomas Scottow (d. 1661) of Boston and first wife Joan (Harwood), and a niece of the well-known Capt. Joshua Scottow (ca. 1615?-1698) of Boston (NEXUS 11 [194]: 200-207), whose daughter Elizabeth (Scottow) Savage (1647-1714) of Boston bore the apparently short-lived Scottow Savage (b. 4 Feb. 1670/1).

Spotlight: Laclede County, Missouri, Resources

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Laclede County Genealogical Society, Lebanon Missouri

 

Laclede County is located in central Missouri. Lebanon is the county seat. The Laclede County Genealogical Society has made a number of databases available on its website. Click on the Databases link on the homepage to access them.

 

Civil Court Cases in Laclede County


This index covers the period from 1993 to 1996. The data fields in the database include the year, case number, the petitioner’s last, first, and middle name, and the respondent’s last, first, and middle name. A full transcript of the case can be ordered from the society for a fee.

 

Palmer Funeral Home Records


These databases contain the indexes to two volumes of funeral home records published by the society. They cover 1919 to 1926 and 1926 to 1934. The society offers the two books for sale via its website.

 

Colonial Funeral Home Records

This database contains an index to the Colonial Funeral Home records, which covers the period from 1955 to 1990. The data fields in the index include full name and year of death. A full transcript of each case can be ordered from the society for a fee.

 

Colonial-Shadel Funeral Home Records

This database is an index to the Colonial-Shadel Funeral Home records for 1970 to 1973. The data fields in the index include first, middle and last name and day, month, and year of death. Copies of records can be ordered from the society for a fee.

 

Decedent Names from Wills in Laclede County

This database contains names of deceased individuals that were extracted from wills filed in Laclede County. It covers the period from 1869 to 1978. The data fields in the index include shelf number, book and page numbers, surname, given name and date. You may request a copy of the will from the society for a fee. They will provide photocopies or burn images of the document to a CD.

 

Decedent Names from Probate Books in Laclede County

Two databases containing names of deceased individuals have been extracted from probate files recorded in Laclede County. They cover the periods from 1849 to 1859 and from 1862 to 1869. The data fields in the index include shelf number, page number, surname, and given name. You may request a copy of the probate from the society for a fee.

 

Business Directory

The 1934 Business Directory for Lebanon, Missouri, has been scanned and uploaded to the website in PDF file format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the directory. There are two versions of the directory on the website. One has been divided into four sections and the other contains the entire directory in a single file.

 

You will also find a brief history of the county’s establishment, a description of populated places in the county, and the society’s latest newsletter.


A Note from the Editor: Preserving Family Collections before a Disaster

(Stories of Interest, A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

Like many people on the East Coast, I spent a good part of the last weekend of August waiting for the impact of Hurricane Irene. I worried about the two enormous trees in my front yard, bought batteries, and adjusted the drain spouts. More significantly, I was finally properly motivated to move many of my precious family possessions that long been in my basement — but shouldn’t have been. I certainly knew better, but when we moved into our house a lack of time and space upstairs led me to “temporarily” store many boxes of papers and photographs in the basement. A couple of years passed and the day-to-day demands of family and work life conspired to keep my boxes untouched.

 

With Irene on the way, I began to picture my things ruined by a flooded basement. Not only would I suffer the loss of many irreplaceable items, I would know it would all be due to my willful neglect and lack of care. So I finally took action. I first removed a family tree quilt from its resting place in a garbage bag on the floor of the basement. (Note to all: never store a treasured object in a dark green contractor garbage bag. I don’t deserve to still have that quilt but I’m glad I do!) I ferried boxes of nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs upstairs, and removed cartons of documents, yearbooks, and keepsakes. In the end, Irene spared our house, and I was left with a cleaner basement — and a cleaner conscience.

 

Back at work on Monday morning, I exchanged emails with Carol Purinton, who wrote an article for last week’s enewsletter. I mentioned that I had cleaned my basement over the weekend and she replied that I was the fifth person she knew who had cleaned their basement during the hurricane weekend! She had spent her time scanning her father’s World War II photos. This impending disaster allowed some of us to make time that can’t seem to be found in our everyday lives to protect our family collections. (Of course, Irene did wreak havoc with some homes and communities, and people obviously suffered terrible losses, no matter their state of preparedness.) 

 

Even so, my family papers and possessions could still use more organizing and protecting. I have resolved not to wait for the next hurricane to come barreling up the East Coast before I take action again.

 

Web resources:

 

NEDCC Offers Hints for Preserving Family Collections
The Northeast Document Conservation Center provides preservation guidelines and a list of archival suppliers.

 

Preserving Treasures after a Disaster” and “Saving Family Treasures Guidelines
These web pages from the Library of Congress and the National Archives offer useful advice for dealing with materials affected by a disaster — plenty of incentive for protecting family collections from harm.

 

Readers may view Wendy Dellery Hills’s account of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the fall 2006 issue of New England Ancestors magazine.


Teresa Foley's Research Solves 80-year Family Mystery

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

Teresa Foley of Winters, California, set out to solve a family mystery – and provide her father with the name of the father he’d never known.

The Case Of The Baseball Painting Mystery

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

A reporter for Boston’s WBUR radio station examines an eighteenth-century portrait that might be one of the earliest depictions of baseball.

This Week's Survey: DNA Testing Companies

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

Last week’s survey asked if you’ve participated in DNA testing for genealogy. 62% have not participated in DNA testing for genealogy. 8% have done an autosomal test.

 

62%, No

27%, Yes; I've had my Y-DNA analyzed (or, if female, had a male relative analyzed)

20%, Yes; I've had my mitochondrial DNA analyzed

14%, Yes; I've participated in a DNA study group

8%, Yes; I have done an autosomal test (continental origins, relative finder, family finder, etc.)

 

This week's survey asks what companies you've used for DNA testing. Take the survey now!


Name Origins: JOSEPH WARREN

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

JOSEPH WARREN (m): Many patriotic American parents named sons for Gen. Dr. Joseph Warren (1741–1775), a Patriot leader who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Paul Revere named a son Joseph Warren Revere (1777–1868), and father and son founded the Revere Copper Company in 1801 in Canton, Massachusetts. The company, now known as Revere Copper Products, produces Revere Ware. A search of the 1850 census for men with the first and middle names of Joseph Warren produced Joseph Warren Homer (born in New Hampshire in 1776), Joseph Warren Day (born in Maine in 1817), and Joseph Warren Royer (born in Pennsylvania in 1821), among others. If your Canadian ancestor was named “Joseph Warren” Smith, chances are his family had not been north of the border long.

Spotlight: Nebraska Resources

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project

 

The mission of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project is to “capture digital images of all the tombstones in the state of Nebraska.” Since over time many grave markers have become difficult to read, this project intends to help document and save these records for posterity. Currently there are more than 71,000 tombstone photo records from throughout the state in the database.

 

You can run a Quick Search for a surname from the main webpage and limit the search by county. If you click on the Search Tombstones link it will open a new page from which you can search by surname or first name and limit your search by county.

 

You can also browse the tombstone images by cemetery. Click on the Tombstones by Cemetery link to begin your search. Select a county to open a new page with links to that county’s cemeteries with photographs in the database. Then click on the name link to open a page containing a photograph of the tombstone and, in some cases, a transcription of the information on the stone. While most photographs are very clear and readable, others are not and the information on some of those has not been transcribed.

 

If you click on the Surnames link in the banner above the search boxes and then select a county, you can create lists of surnames which include every individual buried in the county represented in the collection.

 

The data fields in the database include the full name of the deceased, cemetery name, county, and the date on which the file was updated. When you click on the surname it opens the page with the photograph of the tombstone. If there is more than one person with the same surname buried in the cemetery or plot, a list of links to the photographs of those individuals will be listed under the heading Similar County Records.

 

The Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project is currently seeking volunteers to help photograph and upload tombstone images to the database.

 

Cemetery Database, Lincoln, Nebraska

 

The city of Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Lancaster County. It is located in the southeastern part of the state.

 

Wyuka and Fairview Cemeteries


Wyuka Cemetery was established in 1869, to provide a “Lincoln State Cemetery” for the new state’s capital city. Over the years the cemetery has grown to 140 acres. The Fairview Cemetery was established in 1894 by the city of Havelock. Havelock was annexed to the city of Lincoln in 1930. In 1996, Wyuka Cemetery assumed ownership of Fairview, which is a small fifteen acre cemetery. The website contains maps in PDF format of both cemeteries, including overview maps and section maps with lot locations marked. You will need free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.

 

To search the database, enter the last name or the last name and first name of the person whose burial record you are seeking, and click on the Submit Query button. The data fields include full name of the deceased, lot, section and space, birth date (if known), death date and cemetery name.


A Member’s Perspective on Writing Articles

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 

Carol A. Purinton


The last two “Note from the Editor” columns focused on writing articles. This week we will close out the topic — for now — with a letter I received from member Carol A. Purinton of Clinton, Massachusetts. Carol wrote in response to my first column, and her experiences reinforce how valuable the writing process can be. — Lynn Betlock, Managing Editor

 

 

In the latest Weekly Genealogist, your column about writing articles stated, “When writing, you are forced to be rigorous, to recheck sources, and make sure your claims can be verified.”

 

I totally agree. This was a great benefit that I got out of submitting an article to a writing contest held last year by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MSOG). When I wrote the article last summer, I did not consider myself a writer, but I wanted to explore the process of writing, dealing with a deadline, and (hopefully) receiving feedback. Imagine my surprise when I won the contest! After all, I had been hooked on genealogy for only a year before the contest so, at best, I was a newbie genealogist and newbie genealogical writer.

 

Sara Costa, a member of MSOG, had volunteered to form a writing group, which was part mechanics and part support group. This kind of structure and encouragement was invaluable — I’m not sure I would have completed the article in a vacuum. And working with Helen Ullmann, a wonderful editor, was an enriching experience, too.

 

When writing for the contest, I drew upon my experience of submitting an application to DAR, when I had to ask myself, “Now how do I know this?” for every fact. Having good source citations makes the writing so much easier.

 

My winning article was about how I got hooked on genealogy, coupled with a genealogical sketch going back to my DAR patriot. I wrote about that “Aha!” moment when feeling connected to family history really clicks in. And I discussed people from five generations of my family who are buried in Sleepy Hollow, in Concord, Mass. — whose stones I had walked past many times on the way to visiting my parents’ graves, oblivious to their impact upon my life and DNA.

 

I mention these things because you also write that a successful article “Tells a good story that engages readers.” One of the greatest compliments that I received was that people felt like they were actually there in Sleepy Hollow. One person even went to the cemetery because she was so intrigued!

 

I would add one other benefit of writing to those you list in your article: the joy of seeing one’s name in print! Winning the writing contest was such a thrill and confidence booster that I subsequently wrote another article for a completely different genre and that was published a few months ago, in June. I doubt I ever would have had the confidence to submit anything for publication had it not been for the writing contest.

 

Having an article published is a lot of work — much more than I had ever thought — but the benefits are incredible! I would highly recommend the process.

 

 

  

Carol A. Purinton’s prize-winning essay, “Moment of Awareness: Discovering Grindall Reynolds’ Descendants Are My Ancestors,” can be read here. The article was originally published in the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists’ MASSOG magazine, 34, no. 3 (winter 2010):87–97. For more information about the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, please visit www.massog.org.


Happy ending for search for ancestor’s uniform

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

After searching far and wide for her maternal grandfather’s long lost World War I uniform, Mary Wheeler found it at the New Brunswick Military History Museum, just twenty miles from her home.

Temblors in region are rare, but shook Boston centuries ago

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Jean Powers

Jean Powers
Production Editor

The earthquake that shook the East Coast — including the NEHGS building — on August 23rd reminds us that earthquakes can happen in Massachusetts. This Boston Globe article reviews some of the area’s earthquake history and tries to assess current risks.

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