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  • #8 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: Major New England Genealogical Periodicals

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Published Date : August 8, 1986
    In the last two columns I listed some "classic" New England genealogies and "town" genealogies or town histories with genealogical sections. This week I’d like to consider the 20 major New England genealogical periodicals. Once again I offer a few comments about each that I hope the reader will find helpful. 
    1. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR) – now at volume 152, the oldest continuously published such journal in America. Articles reflect the standards of their time; most are accurate and authoritative, but many of the first 100 years lack will or deed abstraction and have sometimes been superseded. I identified all articles on certain topics (Conn. and R.I. families, Mayflower families and source records, and the English origins of many Great Migration and later families) through the early 1980s, and these were published 1983-89. A full every-name index to volumes 51-148 appeared in 4 volumes in 1995 (the first 50 volumes had been indexed early in this century). A CD-ROM version of the entire Register, plus both sets of indexes, appeared in 1996 and is still available from the NEHGS Sales Department. The variety of Register articles is astounding – comprehensive 5-generation monographs, long or short English-origins articles, solutions to 18th-century and older "problems," revisions of earlier work and unpublished source material now predominate. Older volumes contain obituaries, biographies, letters, diaries, and other historical documents; Bible, vital, church and cemetery records; lists of acquisitions to the NEHGS library, etc. Almost all families long in New England appear in the Register’s indexes, which become among the first sources to check for any ancestor from this region.
    2. The American Genealogist (TAG) – national, but with a preponderance of New England articles. TAG was the major organ of the "Jacobus revolution" in standards of documentation and of the "back-to-primary-sources" school of early twentieth-century genealogists. Shorter articles predominate, but there are some long genealogies (Spencer), and probably as much English-origins material as in the Register. Jacobus and McCracken concentrated on Connecticut; note especially Jacobus’s Connecticut Smith issue in vol. 25 and McCracken’s series in the 1970s and early 1980s on families of Simsbury (Holcomb, Buell, etc.). Recent editors Bob and Ruth Sherman and David L. Greene have been specialists in Mayflower families and the witchcraft victims of 1692 Salem, respectively. A subject index to vols. 1-60 very usefully divides articles into American families and the origins abroad of mostly colonial immigrants.
    3. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (NYGBR) – many New England articles, especially under the editorship of John R. Totten. Of special interest is the enormous Thacher genealogy, later published separately, and the best material in print on the ancestry and descendants of Jonathan Edwards. Recent and current editors (Henry Hoff and Harry Macy) are Long Island specialists and frequent contributors. Around vol. 50 (-55) are several articles on New London families (Christophers, Mainwaring, etc.).
    4. National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) – many New England articles, especially under the editorship of George Ely Russell. Note several 1980s articles on Plymouth Colony families (Howland, Holmes, Weston).
    5. The Genealogist (TG) (1980-; 11-1/2 vols. to date) – edited by Neil D. Thompson, Charles M. Hansen, and Gale I. Harris. TG publishes articles of any length (up to almost a whole issue) on any century or area, and is especially known for long English-origins articles with hundreds of footnotes. New England families extensively treated include Macomber and Tripp of R.I., Grinnell (mostly of Conn.) and Negus, Shaw, and Wood of Mass., plus ancient ancestry for Robert Abell, Henry Sampson of the Mayflower, Thomas Trowbridge, and the Lawrences, Giddingses, and Burnhams of L.I. and Ipswich, Mass.
    6. Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine (DSGRM) – many New England articles, especially by Frederick C. Warner and Frances D. McTeer. Note especially the Trumbulls of Conn. and long Millard (as in Fillmore) of Rehoboth genealogies.
    7. Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC) – over 100 vols., well indexed cumulatively, with enormous quantities of Essex County, Mass. source records and shipping data.
    8. Mayflower Descendant (MD) – 34 vols. edited by George Ernest Bowman, 11+ vols. ed by Alicia Crane Williams. The Bowman vols. contain much Mayflower source material and Cape Cod VRs. Alicia has added further source material, including Mayflower Society Documentation Files; the longest genealogies to date cover Atwoods and Caswells.
    9. Mayflower Quarterly (MQ) – recent editors have included Ruth Wilder Sherman and Elizabeth Pearson White, under the latter of whom were published various Howland and Billington articles especially.
    10. The Essex Genealogist (TEG) – ed. by Marcia Wiswall Lindberg, compiler of a series therein on early families of Lynn, Mass.; also included are many local source records.
    11. The Essex Antiquarian (EA) – 13 vols. (extinct) – includes much source material and genealogies of Essex County, Mass. families whose surnames begin with A or B (through Brown).
    12. The Connecticut Nutmegger (TCN) – largely source records (esp. the Barbour Collection of pre-1850, civically recorded Conn. VRs) and a large query section.
    13. Connecticut Ancestry (formerly Bulletin of the Stamford Genealogical Society) – source records and some genealogies, mostly of Fairfield Co., Conn.
    14. Rhode Island Genealogical Record (RIGR) – ed. by the late Alden Beaman and now by his daughter Nellie; contains much abstracted R.I. source material plus many single-line genealogies (subject-indexed in vol. 10).
    15. Rhode Island Roots (RIR) – most recently edited by Jane Fletcher Fiske, now by Jonathan D. Galli; also contains much R.I. source material plus a variety of genealogical articles (a good example covers the Easton family).
    16. New Hampshire Genealogical Record (NHGR) – revived in 1990 and ed. by George F. Sanborn Jr. and Ann Chaplin. It contains some long and detailed genealogies (Dow, Edgerly, Harper, Winkley) as well as source records, book reviews, etc.
    17. The Maine Genealogist (formerly Maine Seine) – ed. by Joseph C. Anderson II and Lois Ware Thurston; contains Maine source material and much compiled genealogy (now in vol. 20).
    18. Vermont Genealogy (since 1996) – ed. by Robert H. Rodgers and modelled to some extent on #16; contains Vermont source records, compiled genealogies (e.g. Mix, Wood), book reviews, etc.
    19. NEXUS (bimonthly newsmagazine of NEHGS, divided into events, news, features, and columns, 15 vols. to date) – features include some colonial genealogies, ethnic or 19th century topics, name studies, etc.; columns include "Notable Kin," notes on NEHGS manuscript collections, queries, etc. NEHGS programs, major new acquisitions, and fundraising activities are first announced in NEXUS.
    20. The Great Migration Newsletter (published by NEHGS) -- includes studies of various early records and towns, news about The Great Migration Study Project, "Editor’s Effusions" and descriptions of Great Migration English origins and other articles of interest in the major periodicals above, plus several historical journals.
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