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  • Question of the Day Archive
    November 2009

  • November 5, 2009

    I am a member of the SAR, Robert Treat Paine Chapter. I am looking for information on the names and location of cemeteries of patriots from the Bridgewater parish in Brockton, Massachusetts.

    You will find a variety of cemeteries to search for the 18th and 19th centuries. Brockton (formerly North Bridgewater until 1874) has many small cemeteries. You may want to try Union and Melrose Cemeteries which are the largest from that era. A good website for cemeteries in Brockton can be found online at: You may also wish to contact the Veterans Agent at Brockton City Hall; it is possible there exists a list of known Brockton Revolutionary War graves.

    November 9, 2009

    I found an Alien Registration Card from 1940 belonging to my great-grandfather recently. Is there any information I can obtain with this number?

    The first step of obtaining information on your relative is to have a search of the Alien Registration forms that were produced between 1940-1944. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security holds these forms (now on microfilm) and they are accessible by requesting one using form G-1041.

    The following description comes from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website:

    Alien Registration (as opposed to enemy alien registration) began in August 1940 as a program intended to fingerprint and create a record of every non-citizen within the United States. The original Alien Registration Act of 1940 was a national security measure, and directed the Service to fingerprint and register every alien age 14 and older living within and entering the United States. The 1940 Act directed that a specific form be developed for the Alien Registration program. INS then introduced the Alien Registration Form (AR-2), a form individually stamped with a unique Alien Registration Number. Forms AR-2 date from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944.

    My own grandfather had an Alien Registration Form which I later used to obtain his 90 page file from the same department. You will find a wealth of information in his registration materials. Included in these will be addresses, places of employment, and any criminal activity that was reported on him or her.

    November 10, 2009

    I am looking for information on my great-uncle who served for Canada during the First World War

    All of the Attestation papers for those who served in WWI from Canada can be searched and viewed online at:

    If you find a record and want to order the entire file you need to contact the Library and Archives of Canada.
    You can request documents online by going to:

    November 11, 2009

    What city directories can I find online for Fitchburg, Massachusetts for the 19th and 20th centuries?

    The only online directories currently for Fitchburg are 1887-1890 from NEHGS has microfiche in our library for Fitchburg from 1848 to 1965 for various years. You may also notice that other communities will be included, for example the late 1890’s include both Fitchburg and Leominster in the same publication. These microfiche can be used in person at the NEHGS Microtext Library (4th floor), or copies can be ordered from our NEHGS Research Services.

    November 13, 2009

    Can you tell me when communities in Massachusetts stopped publishing births, marriages and deaths in town reports?

    It varies from community to community as to when the town clerks stopped the practice. For some smaller communities the information is still listed. However using my home town in Norfolk County the records ceased to be published annually in the early 1950’s. Each town library should have a complete set of the Annual Town Reports, which contain a wealth of information on community history reaching back into the 19th century.

    November 16, 2009

    Recently I visited the gravestone of an ancestor who died during the Spanish American War. He has a typical white marble military stone which is now toppled and broken. Since this is a small town cemetery I had no office to visit. Can you tell me what I can do to replace this gravestone of my relative?

    The U.S. Government will replace veteran gravestones that have been damaged. You can download a PDF file of the application online. In most cases the cost to install the monument lies with the applicant unless the town’s veterans' agent or cemetery committee agrees to front the expense. I had a stone erected in one cemetery at no charge, where another town cemetery charged me $200.

    November 17, 2009

    One of my ancestors was involved in starting a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. During a conversation with a fellow historian they mentioned there was an organization for relatives of textile factory workers and owners alike. Can you assist me with finding this organization?

    The organization you mentioned was recently established in 2007 under the name of the National Society of Descendants of Textile Workers of America, Inc. The website for this organization is  and they can be reached at:

    NSDTWA (National Society of Descendants of Textile Workers)
    218 Green Hollow Rd.
    Danielson, CT 06239

    Their membership fee is $10 annually, which does not include the $10 initiation fee when you submit your application.

    November 18, 2009

    The Vital Records of Newbury, Volume II (Marriages and Deaths), page 26, lists the marriage intentions of one Abigail Bailey and Jonathan Hills, October 10, 1748. A parenthetic notation states that “Abigail Bayle forbids proceeding”. Does this just mean she changed her mind?

    The intention of marriage was apparently published with the town clerk without the intended spouse’s knowledge. On occasion you will find marriage intentions that did not eventually lead to the actually wedding. Often the intention is nullified by the bride to be, her parents, or even on the rare occasion the current spouse of one of the parties involved.


    November 19, 2009

    I am having difficulty finding information on my Great great grandmother. Her death certificate says her father [C.N.B.L] Daniels, mother just says [C.N.B.L.]. Do you know what that stands for?

    The death record abbreviation of C.N.B.L. stands for "Can Not Be Learned". This question does arise from time to time. The informant on that death record was not aware of the parentage for the deceased.

    November 23, 2009

    A couple of my great-grandfather’s cousins served in the Spanish American War from Massachusetts. These records are not published, nor can I find them at the Massachusetts State Archives. Can you advise as to their location, and what I might find?

    Recently I have made an inquiry for the very same subject. You will want to send a letter or email to Co. Leonid Kondratiuk, Director of Historical Services of the Military Division of the Office of the Adjutant General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    Adjutant General
    44 Salisbury Street
    Worcester, MA 01609-3126
    Tel: 508-797-0334

    A typical service card will include: Name of veteran; regiment and company he served; rank; age; height; complexion; eye color; hair color; where born; occupation; enlistment date and location; residence; date mustered into the regiment; date mustered out of the regiment; and a remarks field.

    November 24, 2009

    In the 1830 census in Deerfield, New York a relative was listed having a male child under the age of five. How can I find the name of this child?

    Names of additional household members were not required until the enumeration of the 1850 U.S. Census. The exception of this was pensioners or their widows listed on the 1840 Census. You would need to search vital records, church records, and probate records to determine who that child was. Keep in mind that a child from the census of 1790-1840 could also be a nephew/niece or an unrelated child residing in that household.

    November 27, 2009

    The 1705 ancestor I am researching is described as a (coaster). What does that mean?

    According to The Oxford English Dictionary a “coaster” as a profession was “one who sails along the coast; the master or pilot of a coasting vessel”. This ancestor’s probate inventory may indicate items of this profession.

    November 30, 2009


    I have recently acquired a book describing the genealogy of my mother's family: "The Fancher Family". Assuming that the book has long been out of print, I wondered if you had any suggestions as to how I might try to find additional copies for my family.

    We do still carry this book in our “Classic Reprints Catalog”. NEHGS has many of our previously published titles, as well as out of print titles that you may find available only from NEHGS. “This is a library-quality custom bound photo duplication of the original publication, printed on acid free paper. Hardcover books will take 8-10 weeks for production and softcover will take 4-8 weeks. Please take delivery time into account when estimating the delivery of your order.” Please visit the NEHGS Store

    "The Fancher Family" was authored by William Hoyt Fancer and published in 1947. It was edited and compiled by William Carrol Hill and distributed by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Fancher Family, by W. H. Fancher. (1947), pg. 144 pp. - List Price: $36.00

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