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I'm trying to trace my lineage back to Ebenezer Severance, b. 8 Sept 1752 in
New Hampshire. His son, Stevens S. Severance was born 14 July, 1798, I assume
in New Hampshire. I have two possibilities for Stephen's son, Alonzo Clark
Severance, born 1827. One source says born in Ossipee, Carroll, New Hampshire;
the other source says born in Brockton, MA. The Alonzo Clark Severance I am
looking for is the father of my great-grandfather, William Herbert Severance,
born 11 Aug 1858 in Brockton, MA.
Answer: The birth record for the
community you mention in 1827 is now Brockton, Massachusetts. However previous
to 1874 it was known as North Bridgewater. The vital records for North
Bridgewater are published as part of the Vital Records of Brockton,
Massachusetts to 1850. A birth from that era will simply give the name and date
or birth of the child, with the names of the parents. The birthplace of the
parents cannot be confirmed through a birth from that era. You may wish to look
for the death record of the man born in 1827, it has a greater likelihood of
confirming where his parents were from. This also depends on the reliability of
the informant at his time of death. NEHGS also has a microfilm of the Town
Records of Ossipee, N.H. which includes ear markings, inventories, tax lists,
town minutes, marriages 1805-1808, 1812-1814, 1819-1820 and family records
1778-1814. Since this birth did not occur until 1827 it may not be covered in
this microfilm. If you interested in viewing it at NEHGS the call number is:
F33/N458, the LDS Microfilm number for this is 0015272.
I am researching families in the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Can you
recommend 20th century newspapers on microfilm?
Answer: The Boston Public Library
Microtext Library has one of the largest collections of Massachusetts
newspapers. Among the collections you will find the following Newburyport
papers from the 20th century:
Newburyport Item (1900-1915)
Newburyport Morning Herald (1900-1915)
Newburyport Leader (1908-1911)
The Newburyport Daily News & Newburyport Herald (1900-1952)
The Newburyport Daily News (1952-1962) The Daily News (1962-present)
Merrimack Valley Sunday (1997-present)
To find out more about the Boston Public Library and their hours go to http://www.bpl.org/You may also
wish to contact the Newburyport Public Library as to their holdings on
microfilm as well. They can be reached online at: http://www.newburyportpl.org/
I am looking for microfilms of the East Boston District Court records from the
1910's and 1920's. Does NEHGS have these for researchers?
Answer: These district court records are
not on microfilm at NEHGS. They have not been microfilmed or digitized yet. In
fact only a partial sampling of the surviving case dockets records exist.
If you would like to consult about a certain case that may survive contact the
Supreme Judicial Court Archivist - Elizabeth Bouvier at the following address:
Elizabeth Bouvier, Head of Archives
Suffolk County Courthouse
Three Pemberton Square
Boston, MA 02108
Can you tell me what the occupation “Hog reaver” is?
Answer: This occupation is generally
spelled “Hog reeve” and can also be referred to as field driver or a Hayward.
This occupation was the job of rounding up the stray livestock in the town. If
you for instance lost an animal it was generally taken to the town pound. You
would pay the costs involved for the catching and feeding of the animal. Though
the “Hog reeve” is not generally seen in New England anymore, you do have a
“Dog Catcher” in most communities who puts the stray dogs in the town pound.
While visiting relatives in Maine over the Fourth of July weekend. I was given
a pin that may have belonged to my great-grandfather. This is a small star
shaped pin with “Baptist S.S.” on it. Is this named for a ship called the
Baptist or a branch of the church?
Answer: I believe what you have is a
child’s pin that simply means Baptist Sunday School. However for the sake of
curiosity I will see if my readers have any other thoughts.
I am looking for old Boston school records for a relative. During my last trip
to Boston I used census records and found a photograph of all of the homes she
had lived in until she was 18. I am hoping to find school records based on
addresses that I have collected in hopes of finding a school photo.
Answer: If she attended schools in Boston
that were closed you can acquire the records from the Boston City Archives. If
the school is still open many of these schools maintain their earlier records.
There are occasionally school photos attached to the records but not very often
before the early 20th century. You can reach the Boston City Archives at:
Boston City Archives
201 Rivermoor Street,
West Roxbury, MA 02132
Web Site: http://www.cityofboston.gov/archivesandrecords/directions.asp
One of my great-grandfathers played bass violin in the Boston Symphony
Orchestra (BSO) for some years in the 1880s and 1890s. Our unpublished family
story concerning his departure from the orchestra has to do with a musicians'
union. Who might have records about the early history of the musicians' union
that organized (or tried to organize) the BSO in the 1890s?
Answer: I spoke with the BSO on your
behalf. Their Archives team would be happy to assist you with your question.
They have extensive records regarding performers, and no doubt could clarify
your Union question as well. BSO 617-266-1492/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask for the education and archives department.
My ancestors attended the Anglican Church in St. John's Newfoundland. I am
looking for records from the 18th century. Can you tell me what is available
and where? Is there a cemetery located nearby?
Answer: The Cathedral of St. John the
Baptist has been in existence since 1699. The records of Births, Marriages and
Death survive as early as 1752. According to the church history there was an
earlier book stolen in 1812 and never recovered. The records are at the
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador called "The Rooms". The
cemetery is located on a slope below the cemetery. The cemetery was closed in
1849 and now there are very few gravestones that survive. There is one
gravestone from the 18th century that was unearthed and is now inside the
While visiting a cemetery in Brooklyn, New York I came across a small bronze
flag holder with the initials AUSWV. Do you know what fraternal organization
that might be associated with? I thought it may be Australian War Veterans
perhaps, but it had an American flag.
Answer: The AUSWV is an American
organization. This acronym stood for the American Union Spanish-America War
Veterans. This was a fraternal organizations established for Spanish-American
While at the "The Rooms" the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and
Labrador we discovered that it is not allowed to print microfilm of church
records, or photocopy original or photocopied church records. This policy is
also true with digital cameras.
Answer: If your ancestors attended a
Methodist Church in Newfoundland it is very possible those records are now in
the custody of the Archives of The United Church of Canada Newfoundland and
Labrador Conference. For the cost of $1.00 per page you can make a request for
a baptism, marriage or burial to be copied. Make sure you have consulted the
records before at "The Rooms" to confirm it does exist. There is also
a small postal fee involved. Make your inquiries to:
The United Church of Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Conference
320 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, Newfoundland
They are located near Memorial University and have limited volunteer hours so
call ahead before a visit.
How I can find where in New York City my father’s family is buried? The family
name was Scotto, and they came from Procida, Italy.
Answer: First, obtain official death
records for family members; these records should name the cemetery in which
they were interred. If you lack death dates, there are over nine pages of
Scottos in the New York City death index for 1891 to 1948. You can search these
To order a certified copy of a death certificate, contact the Department of
Records and Information Services, 31 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007;
212-788-8580. You can also download an order form at www.italiangen.org/NYC_Death_Form.htm.
My grandmother lived near John Garand who was inventor of firearms in the 20th
century. Do you know how I can find out where he is buried? Apparently in his
plot is a child from her sister's family.
Answer: According to Findagrave.com the firearms inventor John Garand was buried
at Hillcrest Park Cemetery in Springfield, Massachusetts. To contact the
Hillcrest Park Cemetery you can call 413-782-2311. They are located on 895
Parker Street in Springfield.
I believe that my ancestor’s cousin was on the battleship Maine when it sunk in
1898, is there a listing of those who perished? Also where would he be buried?
Answer: There is a listing of the crew of
the battleship USS
Maine and those who perished
online at: http://www.spanamwar.com/mainecrw.htm
The names of those who perished are indicated with an asterisk on this website.
In February of 1899 approximately 150 of the 266 sailors who perished on the
Maine were laid to rest in Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba. Their remains would
be disinterred in December of that year and reinterred at Arlington National
Cemetery. Those who survived the explosion but would later die at hospitals
were buried in Key West, Florida.
I am looking for 18th Century City Directories for Massachusetts town and
cities. Does the New England Historic Genealogical Society have these online?
Answer: The only community in
Massachusetts with directories from the 18th century in Boston appeared in
1789. This was followed by directories in 1796, 1798, and 1800 which was still
technically the 18th century not the 19th century. In 1989 NEHGS published First Boston City
Directory (1789) including extensive annotations by John Haven Dexter
(1791-1876) which was edited
by Ann Smith Lainhart. This publication added genealogical material that was
not included in the original volume, making this periodical easier to determine
the identity of a resident.
I believe that my great-aunt was divorced from her first husband in Maine
sometime around World War I. Can I confirm this when I visit NEHGS next week?
Answer: NEHGS does have a microfilm index
to divorces on the fourth floor Microtext Library that occurred by county
between 1893-1982. The indexes can be found under call number F18/M344. These
are only an index; you will need to contact the individual county for the
docket for the divorce. If you have a specific county you locate please ask our
genealogists on the reference desk.
Can you tell me if I have a fraternal connection with an item I located? While
going through my great-grandfather's trunk I came across a small gold pin with
what appears to be three owls sitting on a wreath. I would think nothing of it
but I also found a piece of stationery with the same emblem, but not describing
Answer: What I believe you have is a
membership pin for the International Order of Owls. This fraternal organization
was formed in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1890. Some historians consider it
another offshoot of the Freemasons; however it was not affiliated with the
Masons. A short history of the "OOO" can be found with an image of
the pin you described online at: www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/owls.htm
I understand that President John Adams' brother lived and died in Holbrook,
Massachusetts. Apparently he is also buried there, but I find it hard to
believe because Holbrook came about later in the 19th century.
Answer: You are correct about Holbrook
becoming a town in 1872 from the town of Randolph. Randolph was incorporated as
a town in 1793 from Braintree. When John Adams' brother Elihu Adams died while
serving in the Continental Army in 1776 his body was interred at what is now
the Union Cemetery at 199 Union Street, Holbrook, Massachusetts. The Union
Cemetery has burials which date back to at least 1754, and is still an active
I have copies of pages from the Presbyterian Witness Vital Statistics. There
are two abbreviations which I do not understand. They are “inst.” which occurs
in HILTZ Caroline D. 22nd inst. at Lawrencetown, w/o Samuel Hiltz. P.W. Sat 31
May 1873, Vol. XXVI No. 22, p. 176 and “ult.” which occurs in HILTZ Elizabeth
M. 29th ult. Thomas Merson, by Rev. Alexr. Stuart at Lawrencetown, P.W. Sat 9
Feb 1861, Vol. XIV No. 6, p. 23. Could you please tell me what these
abbreviations mean in the context in which they were used? The abbreviations
listed with these volumes does not include these particular abbreviations.
Answer: In regards to your question on
“inst.” and “ult.” I hope my description below will be of some help.
- HILTZ Caroline D. 22nd inst. at Lawrencetown, w/o Samuel Hiltz. P.W. Sat 31
“Inst.” is abbreviated for “instant” referring to something occurring within
the same time frame.
Therefore Caroline died on the 22nd of the same month the obituary was dated
the in May 1873.
- HILTZ Elizabeth M. 29th ult. Thomas Merson, by Rev. Alexr. Stuart at
Lawrencetown, P.W. Sat 9 Feb 1861.
“Ult” is the abbreviation for the Latin word “ultimo” which means last.
Therefore Elizabeth died the previous month of when her obituary was published.
Some of my family resided in Everett, Massachusetts, from around 1912 until the
1940's. Some of them are buried there at the Woodlawn Cemetery. Can
you recommend a newspaper for Everett, and where I can find it online?
I am unaware of any Everett newspapers for that time frame being available
online. You can search The Boston Globe for the years 1872-1925 online
from the Boston Public Library (BPL) at www.bpl.org. Any resident of
Massachusetts can obtain a BPL card free of charge. Death notices for residents
of surrounding communities are published in this paper.
The following Everett newspapers are
available on microfilm in the Microtext Library at the Central Branch of the
BPL in Copley Square:
Everett Herald and Republican
(1885 to 1940)
Everett Gazette (1913 to
Everett Daily Tribune (1927
Everett News Gazette (1928 to
Everett Leader and News Gazette
(1941 to 1949)
I am searching for the father of my father-in-law, Alexander Steuart-Menzies or
perhaps Alexander Stuart Menzies, who fought in the Zulu War and was wounded by
an assagai (Zulu spear). He never married my father-in-law´s mother, Ethel
Jessie Fraser, and she was disinherited on this account. I am told he (mezies)
served in the Seaforth Highlanders, but I do not find them listed as a company serving
in the Zulu War. Menzies died in a bicycle accident in Ireland about 1895. When
I was in Edinburgh, I asked in the War Museum in Edinburgh Castle for an
address where I could find listed the soldiers who fought in that War and was
given two e-mail addresses on a slip of paper. This paper had disappeared
before I could get to a computer. Can you give me an address where I can obtain
the names and information about soldiers (I believe he was an officer) in the
Answer: Those records for the Anglo-Zulu
War would be under the custody of the Public Record Office in London, England.
A good place to find about which soldier’s records survive from the British War
Office Records is online at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=14If
you are having trouble locating records on his specific regiment the Public
Record Office can also be of use in this capacity. They should be able to tell
you the location of the regiment from the time it was formed until it was
disbanded. If you believe he was an Officer you may wish to examine the record
holdings available in this collection: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=14
I am looking for a probate that occurred in Dutchess County New York in 1755
that I have located in your index. Can you advise me on what has been
microfilmed and what address I can write to for my own examination of this
Answer: Dutchess County, New York was
formed November 1, 1683 and retains their original records. These probates are kept
at the Dutchess County Surrogate's Court, 10 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New
York 12601, or by telephone (914) 486-2235. The Family History Library in Salt
Lake City, Utah has a roll of microfilm for Wills 1751-1796 under microfilm
call number # 913659. This microfilm can be borrowed and used at NEHGS or any
Family History Center nearest you.
Military headstones for the Civil War seem to have two styles I have noticed.
Some have “Comrade” on the back with full name and dates, and then others have
a military shield with just the name and regiment or vessel. Why are they
Answer: I have spent a lot of time
visiting cemeteries in the northeast. What I have found is the stones with
“Comrade” on the back and names and dates were erected by the Grand Army of the
Republic chapter in that community. This was confirmed with local newspaper
stories relating to the same. These were generally erected for members who
could not afford a marker, or were buried in a G.A.R. plot. After the early
1870’s it appears to be more common to have a U.S. government issued headstone.
These marble stones of the same dimension usually have a federal shield with
just the name and dates upon it. There are applications for Federal headstones
covering the years 1879 to 1903 on National Archives microfilm series M1845 (22
rolls of microfilm). They are arranged alphabetically by the name of the
veteran the stone was being ordered for. This database and images of these
cards are now on Ancestry.com under their military records section.