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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  •  Vol. 10, No. 1
    Whole #355
    January 2, 2008
    Edited by Michael J. Leclerc and Valerie Beaudrault

    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This newsletter has been sent to people who asked to receive it. If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions provided.

    * Happy New Year from NEHGS
    * New on
    * New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog
    * Name Origins
    * New Great Migration Newsletter Books Available
    * Research Recommendations: The Home Reference Shelf
    * Spotlight: Newspaper Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    Happy New Year from NEHGS

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society would like to wish all of our members, supporters, and subscribers a Happy New Year. May 2008 bring you much joy, and the answers to your brick wall problems.

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    New on

    Vital Records of Coventry, Connecticut 1711-1844

    From the introduction:

    “Prior to 1675, the Indians used the land of what is now the Town of Coventry, as a hunting ground. It was annually burned over to give fresh feeding place for wild animals, thus furnishing food for the Mohegans. The land in this way was denuded of timber, so that, it is said, when the town was first settled, an ox-cart could be driven over most of the young timber lands, which had sprung up since the yearly fires of the Indians had ceased. In the early part of the year 1676 — Joshua, third son of Uncas, chief of the Mohegans, made a will in which he bequeathed to Captain Joseph Fitch, of Windsor, and to fifteen others, all the tract of land which includes the present towns of South Windsor, Bolton, Vernon, Andover, Hebron, Coventry, Mansfield, Hampton, and Chaplin. This donation was approved by the General Assembly. The legatees conveyed their rights, so far as the town of Coventry was concerned, to William Pitkin, Joseph Talcott, William Whiting, and Richard Lord, to be a committee to lay out the township and settle on the lands. This committee was appointed by the General Assembly on May 9, 1706. On October 11, 1711, this committee was reappointed, and Nathaniel Rust, who had already settled on the lands, was added to the committee, to carry into execution the designs of the former appointment. At the same session of the General Assembly the township was named Coventry.

    "Nathaniel Rust and some others settled in the town about the year 1700. In the spring of 1709 there came a number of good householders from Northampton, Essex County, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Reading and Lancaster, Mass., Stonington, Killingworth, Windham, Conn., and some other towns. The region was then a pasture ground for the horses of Hartford. These horses were branded and turned loose into the wilderness to the east. The town was laid off 6 miles square, October 11, 1705. The first survey of land was made April 8, 1708, by Mr. Caleb Stanley, Colony Surveyor. The town was laid off into 78 allotments by the committee above named. The first proprietors, 15 in number, each received 5 allotments, and 3 allotments were reserved for the support of religion and schools. The town was incorporated at the May session of the General Assembly, in 1712.

    "The settlement of the town is usually dated from 1709, when, as before said, there arrived quite a number of families from the towns above named. At that time there were but two towns in what is now the County of Tolland, viz., Mansfield, settled in 1703, and Hebron, settled in 1704. The first house in the town seems to have been built by Samuel Birchard, on the south side of Wangaumbaug Lake — near the house now owned by Henry F. Dimock, formerly occupied by his father, the late Dr. Timothy Dimock. In the valley of the Hop River, near the house known as the Cyril Parker place, there was a village of savages. The religious community was for about 30 years embraced in what is known as 'The first Church and Society in Coventry.' This is in what is known as South Coventry. Rev. Joseph Meacham, of Enfield, commenced preaching here as early as 1713. The church was formed and he was ordained its pastor October 8, 1714. The first settler in the Parish of North Coventry was John Bissell, who came from Lebanon, Conn., in 1716. A church was organized in the North Parish October 8, 1745, and the following day the first pastor, Nathan Strong, was ordained. The records of the first church, prior to the year 1766, have either been lost or destroyed. No records of the Second (North Parish) Church seem to have been kept until about 1800.”

    This database contains 4,063 births, 816 baptisms, 2,648 marriages, and 2,084 deaths.
    This volume is also available in our Boston research library, call number F104.C75 D5 1897.

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    New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog

    NEHGS has posted the most recent list of new titles added to the library collections. To see if there is something relevant to your research on this October to November 2007 list, go directly to the New Books page at You can also access the list by going to the catalog’s main search page,, and clicking the “New Books” link beneath the search box. To view more details about any title on the list, simply click the title, which is hyperlinked (underlined), and you will be taken to the full catalog record. The list is sorted in call number order. If you would like to use any of these new resources, you may do so by visiting our Research Library in Boston or by contacting our Research Services department at to have a researcher consult the resource for you.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    SUKEY (f) – Nickname for SUSANNAH.

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    New Great Migration Newsletter Books Available

    Two new compilations of the Robert Charles Anderson’s Great Migration Newsletter are now available. The Complete Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1–15 contains every volume of the newsletter, indexed by both first names and surnames. More than 500 pages of focus articles on early New England towns, descriptions of church and land records, literature surveys, descriptions of seventeenth-century passenger ships and lists, discussions of migration patterns, and more, will now be at your fingertips for $24.95.

    For those who own earlier compilations, we also have The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 11–15 to round out your collection. This book is available for $11.95.

    You can purchase these books at

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    Research Recommendations: The Home Reference Shelf
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Every genealogist should have a well-stocked home library of reference works available at their fingertips to help them with their research. For many of us, our home libraries are bursting, with books on every available surface. But there are always those that you consult most often, the reference you can’t live without. Here is an alphabetical list of books that I consult at least weekly, and many of them are opened daily.

    Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition
    (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 956 pp., hardcover, $55.00
    First published in 1906, this book is a must-have for anyone who writes or plans to write blogs, books, journal articles, magazine articles, newsletters, newspaper articles, websites, or more. The 15th edition includes many conventions for non-print publications. It will answer everything from your most basic question to your most complex. I consult this one so often that it is one of the very select few books that actually sits on my desk so I can consult it more easily.

    Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
    (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007), 885 pp., hardcover, $49.95
    In September I wrote a review of this new reference by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Years in the making, this book will help you create proper source citations for almost anything you can think of, and then some. I have not run across a source type that is not covered in the book, and I actually challenge you to. This is indispensable for any proper genealogist. Another one of the select few on my desk.

    Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Second Edition
    (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006), 156 pp., $11.95
    [Disclaimer: Although I am the lead editor on this book, I receive no financial remuneration from sales.]
    This book includes chapters from many award-winning authors in the field, including Sharon DeBartolo Carmack; Patricia Law Hatcher, FASG; Register editor Henry B. Hoff, FASG; Alvy Ray Smith; and Register associate editor Helen Schatvet Ullmann, FASG. I consult the appendixes with abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols very frequently, as well as the sections on style. This is the third book that sits on my desk so I can consult it frequently.

    Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, Fourth Edition
    (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999), 224 pp., $19.95
    This book is a must-have for any genealogist researching ancestors in New England. Every state has a chapter, listing the names and dates of formation for each town and county, as well as the parent towns and counties from which they were formed. Address and contact information for probate and land registries, as well as major repositories with large genealogical collections is also included. Copies of this book are at every desk in the Society’s library, and are often replaced because they get so dog-eared from use.

    Professional Genealogy
    (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001), 654 pp., $44.95
    This massive work, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, is an excellent resource for anyone interested in producing quality work, not just professional genealogists. While the first three and last sections (Professional Preparation, Ethics and Legalities, Career Management, and Educational Services) are most useful for those making a living at genealogy, the remaining three sections (Professional Research Skills, Writing and Compiling, and Editing and Publishing) are valuable for any researcher.

    Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third Edition
    (Provo, Ut.: Ancestry Publishing, 2004) 900 pp., $44.95
    This good contains general reference information on records for each of the fifty states. It includes maps for each state drawn by William Dollarhide, along with basic information for each state on major record groups and their availability.

    The Complete Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-15
    (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007) 561 pp., $24.95
    The Great Migration Study Project, headed by Robert Charles Anderson, is one of the greatest contributions ever made to the field of genealogy. Many are familiar with the black-and-gold tomes containing the most definitive knowledge currently available on this group of individuals. The Great Migration Newsletter is published quarterly. Each issue contains background information on a particular issue in researching these individuals (e.g. finding English origins, absentee landlords, town offices, etc.), a focus on one particular location, and a list of recently published literature pertinent to the area. This new book contains all sixty issues published between 1990 and 2006 — along with a comprehensive index to both first and last names.

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    Spotlight: Newspaper Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Many public libraries around the country have placed newspaper databases on their websites. I will profile these databases in eNews, as I come across them.

    Cranbury Public Library

    Cranbury Township is a small town in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The Cranbury Public Library has a number of databases on its website. Of particular interest to genealogists and family history researchers is The Cranbury Press newspaper database, which covers the period 1886–1926.

    Searching and viewing the newspaper is done through Active Paper by Olive software. There is a separate link for MAC browsers and Netscape. Database users can browse through the individual issues or search for keywords. Searches can be limited by date range or by article type — articles, pictures, and ads. You can also choose a sort order. Click on the thumbnail images to read the articles in the search results.

    The Green Free Public Library Newspaper Archive

    The Green Free Public Library is located in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Wellsboro is a borough in Tioga County, which is in the north central part of the Commonwealth. It is the county seat. The library has made an online newspaper archive available to its website visitors.

    There are 146,037 pages from six Wellsboro newspapers in this database. It covers a 150-year period. The newspaper titles included here are Agitator (1854–1986), Bedford County Republican (1899), Tioga Republican (1865–1873), Tioga Eagle (1838–1919), Wellsboro Agitator (1867–1999), and Wellsboro Gazette (1874–2006).

    Researchers can browse through the newspapers by title or by date. You can also search the database by keywords. Searches can be narrowed by publication title or by date. The newspaper images are in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. To view the page images click on the Adobe Acrobat icons in the search results list.

    The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project

    The newspapers being digitized for The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project are The Jewish Criterion, The American Jewish Outlook, and The Jewish Chronicle. The Jewish Criterion was the first English-language Jewish newspaper in Pittsburgh. It was a weekly newspaper that “published articles related to national and international political and entertainment news, along with information concerning local social and life-cycle events.” The American Jewish Outlook, a similar newspaper, began publication in 1934. They ended publication in 1962 and were replaced by The Jewish Chronicle, which is still published today.

    Newspapers for the period from 1895 through 1979 have been digitized for the database. Click on the Browse Collection link to view individual issues. Click on the Search Collection link to begin a search by keyword or phrase (such as author, title, subject, and date). Click on page link to view a newspaper page image. You can change the page image size by clicking on the small, medium, or large image link in the upper right hand corner of the webpage.

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    Stories of Interest

    9.1 Million US Visitors a Month
    That is the number of visitors genealogy-related websites receive according to ComScore. This statistic was quoted in a Forbes article discussing new genealogy-related websites. You can read Rachel Rosmarin’s article at

    Armenian Cemetery Transcriber
    60-year-old Major Harutyunyan found a new occupation after his retirement. He is now a student of the six cemeteries in the Armenian town of Shushi. He is working to decipher the inscriptions of gravestones, written in different dialects. You can read more about this story at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    Hello Mr. Lambert! I love the "Online Genealogist" segment of the NEHGS eNews. I have a partial list of my ancestor Joseph Williston Jr's estate inventory (of Springfield, MA) submitted on 10 Nov 1749 [actual death date 1747; wife Hannah Stebbins Williston was administrator]. Many of the items in the inventory are listed with values given. The settlement of the estate was apprised at Pound Sterling - 6,500, with about 5,000 in real estate. Any idea what the value of that estate would be in terms of today's dollars?

    Thank you so much for your kind words. The following amounts reflect the 2006 value of the British Pound from 1749.

    £6,500 in 1749 is £861,477.29 (U.S. $1,723,988.93) in 2006 using the retail price index.
    £5000 in 1749 is £662,674.84 (U.S. $1,325,712.90) in 2006 using the retail price index.

    I was able to do these calculation for you on I have often used this website to calculate values of the British pound in 21st century amounts.

    David Allen Lambert is the Society’s Online Genealogist. If you would like to ask him a question, contact him at or visit his blog at For more information about the Online Genealogist visit Please note that he will make every effort to reply to each message, but will respond on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society presents a number of dynamic lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists and the general public. Programs are held at 101 Newbury Street unless otherwise indicated. For more information, please contact Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or

    The following programs will be held January 2008:

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Tour
    Saturday, January 5, 2008, 10:00 a.m.
    New visitors will participate in an introduction and orientation to the Society, including the opportunity to describe their research and have staff genealogists offer general advice on how to proceed. The free thirty-minute introductory lecture will be followed by a tour of the library.

    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    Wednesday, January 9, 2008 10:00 a.m.
    With over 110 million names in 2,200 databases, is the primary internet resource for New England genealogy. This free lecture will offer an overview of the Society’s website and online databases.

    New Royal Descents and Notable Kin
    Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 10:00 am
    To celebrate the 2008 edition of Royals Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies, NEHGS senior research scholar emeritus Gary Boyd Roberts will offer a free lecture about the various new discoveries over the last several years of royally descended immigrants to New England.

    Lafayette in America 1824 and 1825
    Monday, January 28, 2008, 6:30 pm
    In conjunction with members of the French Heritage Society, Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut, and the Consulate General of France in Boston, NEHGS will co-host a talk by author Alan Hoffman on his new unabridged English translation of Auguste Levasseur’s Lafayette en Amérique en 1824 et 1825. A book signing and reception will follow. A minimum $25 donation is requested. Please RSVP at 617-226-1226.

    By Faith Alone
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 6:30 pm
    Join NEHGS for a special evening with distinguished journalist and CNBC anchor Bill Griffeth as he discuses his new book, By Faith Alone: One Family’s Epic Journey Through American Protestantism. The lecture will be followed by a book signing and reception. A minimum $15 donation is requested. Please RSVP at 617-226-1226.

    Seminars and Tours
    For more information or to register for any of these events, please contact Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or

    Weekend Research Getaway
    #1 Thursday, February 7–Saturday, February 9, 2008
    #2 Thursday, April 10–Saturday, April 12, 2008
    Weekend Research Getaways in Boston are among the most popular NEHGS programs in recent years. Escape to 101 Newbury Street and experience a guided research program, with one-on-one consultations and special access to the collections. Whether you are a first-time participant or have participated in a guided research program before, an on-site visit to NEHGS with our expert staff is sure to further your research. Bring your charts and expect some breakthroughs!
    Registration fees: $300 for the three-day program; $100 for a single day.
    For more information visit 

    Technology and Genealogy Seminar
    Friday, February 22–Saturday, February 23, 2008
    NEHGS is proud to offer a two-day in-depth seminar exploring the important relationship between technology and genealogy. NEHGS staff experts will provide lectures, demonstrations, and discussions focusing on key aspects of technology in family history research. Topics will include internet search techniques, evaluations of genealogical software, use of PDAs in genealogical research, how scanning can improve your data collection, organizing your research with Microsoft, and digital assistance in the publishing age. Participants will also have an opportunity to enter a drawing for software packages, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and ACDSee PhotoManager.
    Registration fee: $150
    For more information visit


    Quebec Research Tour
    Sunday, June 15–Sunday, June 22, 2008
    Celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec by joining NEHGS staff experts Michael J. Leclerc and Pauline Cusson for a research week in Montreal, Quebec. This unique opportunity will allow participants to take advantage of two premier Canadian repositories, the Société Généalogique Canadienne-Française (SGCF) and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). These archives hold documents from the earliest settlement of Quebec through the English period, down to the twentieth century. Participants will receive one-on-one consultations, providing guidance and suggestions for research. Whether your ancestors spoke French or English, the archival records will help you to break through your brick walls and discover where they came from.
    Registration Fees (includes seven nights lodging at the Hôtel Les Suites Labelle): Single, $1,550; Double, $1,350; Double with non-participant, $1,850; Commuter, $775 (no lodging).
    For more information visit


    Great Migration Tour to England
    Tuesday, August 5–Friday, August 15, 2008
    Based in Chelmsford, England, this inaugural Great Migration tour with Robert Charles Anderson will visit the historically significant locations in Essex and Hertfordshire associated with the families who migrated to New England in 1631, 1632, and 1633. The primary focus of the tour will be the migrations and activities connected to four influential ministers of the period: Thomas Hooker, John Eliot, Thomas Weld, and Roger Williams.
    Registration fees: Registration is full. To be added to the wait-list, please contact Ryan Woods at

    Other 2008 Tours
    Massachusetts Archives Research Day

    Thursday, March 27, 2008
    For more information visit

    National Archives Research Day
    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Come Home to New England
    #1 Monday, June 23–Saturday, June 28, 2008
    #2 Monday, August 11–Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    Sunday, November 2–Sunday, November 9, 2008

    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

    We encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. To subscribe or view back issues of eNews, please visit

    NEHGS eNews, like all of our programs, is made possible through the generous contributions of our members. For more information about giving to NEHGS visit

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    Copyright 2007, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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