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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 12
    Whole #366
    March 19, 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.

    * NEHGS Benefit Dinner
    * Rogers Bruce Johnson Books Now Available Online
    * John Adams: The Letters Behind the HBO Miniseries
    * Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Meeting and Seminar
    * Name Origins
    * New Beekman Patent Volume
    * Research Recommendations: Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea
    * Spotlight: Wyoming Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    NEHGS Benefit Dinner

    New England Historic Genealogical Society invites you to attend our Annual Benefit Dinner to support the Society's Bringing Your Heritage Home Campaign on Sunday, April 27, 2008, at the Algonquin Club, in Boston, Massachusetts. Guest speaker Mary Beth Norton, distinguished scholar and author of In The Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, will discuss how her own genealogical research on her family informed her work on the Salem Witch Trials.

    Ticket prices are $250 for Donor ($150 tax-deductible) or $500 for Patron ($350 tax-deductible), and include cocktails, lecture, and dinner. At the Patron level, you are invited to attend a pre-dinner reception with Professor Norton at a private Back Bay residence.

    Contact the Development Office for more information at (617) 226-1217. We hope to have the pleasure of your company.

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    Rogers Bruce Johnson Books Now Available Online

    NEHGS is pleased to announce that several volumes of two titles authored by Rogers Bruce Johnson are now freely accessible online through our library catalog: Ancestors of Rogers Bruce Johnson and Ancestors of Margery Ruth Howe. To use these online books, simply click on one of the titles given in this announcement (or search for it in the library catalog as you normally would) to retrieve the catalog record for the title. Then use one of the “Click here to view” links which can be found in each record. The books are in PDF format and may be viewed with Adobe Reader software. To look at other e-books available through our library catalog, please visit and click on e-books.

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    John Adams: The Letters Behind the HBO Miniseries

    HBO Films has started airing a seven-part miniseries on the life of John Adams. The miniseries, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams, is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by David McCullough. McCullough’s biography was based in part on correspondence between John and Abigail during their marriage. The original letters are part of the Adams Papers collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society. MHS is making some of these letters available online at You can find more about the miniseries at

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    Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Meeting and Seminar

    Director of special projects Michael J. Leclerc and research services coordinator D. Joshua Taylor will be the main track speakers at the 2008 Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Meeting and Seminar, which will be held at Bentley College in Waltham on Saturday, April 26. This year’s conference theme: "Bringing Your Genealogy into the 21st Century." Highlights include: how to use the latest technology to augment your research, the latest updates on the Massachusetts legislation surrounding public records access, researching a variety of ethnic groups at home and abroad, and a workshop on how to turn your list of facts into an enjoyable, readable story for your family and for publication.

    To learn more or to register, please visit

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ISSACHAR (m): From the Bible, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (by Leah, his unloved first wife). With thanks to my colleague Christopher Challender Child.

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    New Beekman Patent Volume

    NEHGS Sales is happy to announce the release of Volume IX of The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York (An Historical and Genealogical Study of all the 18th Century Settlers in the Patent) by Frank J. Doherty. Volume IX of this award winning series on the 18th Century settlement of an important part of Dutchess County contains 1,104 pages, fully indexed, and includes 44 family surnames, from MILLS TO PAGE. The book is priced at $85.00 and includes free shipping.

    To see a full listing of Beekman Patent books or to order this volume or any other Beekman Patent book or CD, please visit the NEHGS Store at call 1-617-226-1212.

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    Research Recommendations: Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    For those who grew up in southern New England, Mystic Seaport brings back memories of school trips to the museum, spending a day on a school bus travelling down to visit the tall ships and take a ride on the Mystic River. Founded in 1929 as the Marine Historical Association, it is now called Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea and is the leading maritime museum in the United States. They are in the midst of a $35 million renovation to improve not only the exhibit halls but the collections research center as well. Their website,, contains a vast amount of information valuable to genealogists.

    For genealogists with seafaring ancestors, nothing can replace a visit to the museum. After all, how many research repositories can you visit by taking a boat up the river and docking? Their collections are composed of many different parts. The Art & Objects Collection, for example, holds more than 7,000 paintings and prints, 1,600 nautical instruments, 1,150 ship models, 1,700 pieces of scrimshaw, and 100 figureheads. Some of these items date back to the sixteenth century.

    The book collection contains 70,000 volumes, 2,000 rolls of microfilm, and 1,000 ship registers. Titles dating back to 1784 are among the 700 periodicals in the collection. There are more than 9,000 nautical charts and maps dating from 1650 to the present. The manuscripts collection contains hundreds of distinct collections of ships’ logs, ledgers, diaries, documents, business and personal papers, correspondence, and design data. The collection documents the whaling, fishing, and shipping industries from the early eighteenth century to the present. More than 100,000 naval architectural drawings from 1827 to the present document the development of different types of vessels. These are complemented by more then 1.3 million photographs from 1840 to the present, the largest single collection of maritime photography in the world.

    Like other institutions, Mystic Seaport is making parts of its collections available online to researchers. They have made available finding aids for manuscript and ship plans collections. Indexes to microfilms, oral histories, and their publication, Log of Mystic Seaport, can be viewed online as well.

    They have several digital exhibits taken from various parts of their collections. For example, the 19th Century American Merchant Marine Digital Library makes more than 120,000 pages of material available online in image format. The exhibit starts with an introduction to maritime activities in American history and an explanation of the significance of this digital collection. This is followed by several bibliographies, including American Maritime Documents, American Maritime History, Forty-Niners 'Round the Horn, Nautical Instruments, and Sea Chanteys. There is also an FAQ list about maritime history, such as “How can I do vessel research at the G.W. Blunt White Library?” and “Where can I find print sources about scrimshaw?”

    The next section has timelines of American Maritime History and U.S. Statutes relating to the regulation of American shipping between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The Digital Collection section allows you to browse by subject, title or by ship/yacht register. You can also search by ship/yacht register or by keyword. Finally, there are four essays: “A Forty Niner Fourth of July,” by Charles R. Schultz; “More Decency and Order: Women and Whalemen in the Pacific,” by Joan Druett; “On Shore in a Foreign Land: Mary Stark in the Kingdom of Hawaii,” by Richard C. Malley; and “Scenes in Honolulu – No. 9 Sad Accident,” by Mark Twain.

    Most valuable for genealogists is the E-Reference section, with several online databases. The Ship and Yacht Register Lists cover registers from 1857 through 1900 and is searchable by vessel name or shipmaster. The Connecticut Ship Database, 1789–1939, comes from a WPA transcription of U.S. Customs Service records and is searchable by vessel name and type or by person/company name. There are two crew list databases: one for New London, 1803–1878, and a second for Salem, Mass., 1799–1879. There is also the Seamen’s Protection Certificate Register Database, with information on 31,047 certificates issued between 1796 and 1871 at the Customs Houses in Fall River, Gloucester, New Haven, New London, Newport, Marblehead, and Salem.

    Finally, the E-Reference section also contains two browseable databases. The first contains images of many vessels used by immigrants to come to the United States, as well as general information on the ships themselves. You can order high-quality reproductions of the ship images directly from the site for a modest fee. The second is a list of items from the collections that have been digitized and are available to view online.

    If your ancestors were involved in the sea through maritime service or through migration by sea in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth centuries, this organization will be very helpful to you. Visit their website, and if possible, schedule a visit this summer to the seaport itself. You will not be disappointed.

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    Spotlight: Wyoming Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Albany County Obituary Index, Wyoming

    Laramie is the seat for Albany County, located southeastern part of the state of Wyoming. The Albany County Genealogical Society has made an index to Albany County, Wyoming, obituaries available on the USGenWeb site for the county.

    The index, covering the period from 1868 to 1964, is presented in four sections. The first covers the period from 1868 to 1899, the second from 1900 to 1940, the third from 1941 to 1957, and the fourth from 1958 to 1964. The death notices and obituaries in the index were extracted from Laramie newspapers. The events extracted from the newspapers for this index include“deaths occurring in Albany County, deaths of former residents of Albany County, and [deaths of] individuals who were buried in Albany County.” Some years are missing from the index. For other years the information has not yet been abstracted.

    The sections are organized alphabetically by surname. The data fields in the 1868 to 1899 index include full name, newspaper abbreviation and the full date on which the obituary appeared. For all other periods a page and column number field has been added. In some cases the individual’s age, cause of death, maiden name, spouse’s name, and residence are shown.

    It should be noted that the Coe Library at the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming State Archives in Cheyenne have microfilm copies of Laramie newspapers from 1868 to 1998. Some years are missing from the microfilm.

    Other resources on the Albany County, Wyoming GenWeb website include wills, pensions, deeds, Bible records, biographies, marriage records, and queries. They can be accessed by going to

    Campbell County Public Library, Wyoming

    Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages as published in Campbell County, Wyoming Newspapers
    The seat for Campbell County, located in northeastern Wyoming, is Gillette. Staff of the Campbell County Public Library began indexing the Gillette News-Record in 1989, with a focus on news stories and announcements of births, deaths, and marriages. They have also indexed births, marriages and deaths from earlier Campbell County papers, which is quite a useful tool for genealogists.

    The Campbell County newspapers indexed in these databases are: Campbell County Record (June 1918–April 1925), Gillette News (January 1892–November 1926), and Gillette News-Record (April 1926–2005). The indexes include births (1905–1909, 1912–1934, and 1987–2006), divorces (1920–1922 and 1992–2006), marriages (1904–1909, 1913–1917, 1920–1925, 1928, and 1988–2006), and obituaries (1892, 1905–1909, and 1913–2006).

    The birth, divorce and obituary indexes are sorted by last name within a specific date range. The marriage index is sorted by date only. The data fields in the birth and divorce indexes are date of paper, headline, page number, subject, and newspaper abbreviation. For the marriages, they are date of paper, headline, illustration, page number, subject, and newspaper abbreviation. The fields for the obituaries are date of paper, headline, illustration, page number, subject, notes, interment place, and newspaper abbreviation. The notes field contains information such as cause of death (killed in dynamite explosion, shot by husband, died of measles and pneumonia), community status (mayor of Sundance, WY), and place of birth and/or death (born Sigourney, IA, died south of Gillette). Copies of birth and marriage announcements and of obituaries can be requested by calling the Campbell County Public Library or by filling out their online request form.

    Another database on the Campbell County Public Library website is an alphabetical index to burials in the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, in Gillette. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the records. The data fields in this index include the name of the deceased, plot numbers, date of birth, date of burial (not the date of death), age, sex, veteran status, and other plot information. Copies of obituaries may be requested from the library.

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    Stories of Interest

    This American Life: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
    The Association of Professional Genealogists list has been discussing this interesting story of four-year-old Bobby Dunbar’s kidnapping in 1912 and the effect it has had on three families. Bobby’s granddaughter, a genealogist, researched the events to determine the truth behind a secret underneath the kidnapping. (You can download the podcast for free through this weekend. After that it will be available for download through iTunes for $1.99.)

    Dusting Off the Archive for the Web
    Member Jim Boulden forwarded this interesting New York Times story of magazines and newspapers making their back issues available for free on the internet. (You must be a registered user to view the story, but registering is easy and free.)

    This South Boston Map Won’t Help on St. Patrick’s Day
    Every March 17 all government offices in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, close for the day. Not for St. Patrick’s Day (which “coincidentally” falls on the same date) but to honor Evacuation Day, the day in 1776 that the Continental Army positioned 50 cannon on Dorchester Heights, forcing the British Army to evacuate Boston without a major battle. Boston Globe reporter Andrew Ryan discusses this "coincidence."

    Out Of Slavery, Into Personal History For 'Mr. And Mrs. Prince'; Author's Discovery Brings 'amazement' And A Sense Of Guilt
    Dartmouth College professor Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina is the first black woman to chair an English department at an Ivy League school. In researching the lives of an influential 18th-century African-American couple, she discovered that one of her ancestors was related to the man who owned the husband. USA Today reporter Jason Millman interviewed Gerzina about her story.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I wonder if you are familiar with the following acronyms found on gravestones. I would love to know what they represent. The gravestone images had the initials B. of L. E. and the other H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S. in a keystone written in a circle.

    The first acronym stands for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. They have a website at The other is a Masonic slogan associated with the Royal Arch Degree of Freemasonry and stands for Hiram the Widows Son Sent to King Solomon. The keystone reflects the final piece in the arch and is also key in Royal Arch degree work.

    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 in April 2008:

    New Hampshire Genealogy Seminar
    New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, N.H.
    Saturday, April 5, 2008
    Jointly sponsored by NEHGS and the New Hampshire Historical Society, this one-day seminar in Concord, N.H. will teach genealogical techniques. It will cover strategies for using repositories and websites for vital record information, offer tips on how to organize a pedigree chart, and provide the methodology for documenting your discoveries. NEHGS staff genealogist David C. Dearborn will speak on “Getting Started,” “Researching in New England,” and “The Influence of the Internet on Genealogy.” NEHGS director of member services Pauline Cusson will present “New England-Canada research,” and NHHS librarian Bill Copeley will discuss “Research in New Hampshire: NHHS, the State Library, State Vital Records and Archives.”
    For more information visit:

    Salem Witch Judge
    Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 6:00 PM
    Join renowned author of "American Jezebel" Eve Laplante for a reading of her critically acclaimed new book "Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall." A book signing will follow.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    Researching Your Union Civil War Ancestors
    Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 10:00 AM
    David Allen Lambert, The Online Genealogist, will present a free lecture on researching your Union soldier ancestors in the Civil War. Highlights will include tips on using pension records to locate your forbearers.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    Families of the Old North Church
    Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 6 p.m.
    Discover the congregation of the Old North Church in 1775 on the eve of the American Revolution. NEHGS research services coordinator D. Joshua Taylor and staff genealogist Rhonda R. McClure will present the findings of a months'-long research collaboration with historians and educators showing the changing historiography of the church and its families as a revolution dawned in the colonies.
    This program is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at 617-226-1226 or


    Family History in England, Scotland, and Ireland
    Saturday, April 26, 2008
    Discover your ancestors of England, Scotland, and Ireland with three leading genealogists, Else Churchill, Marie Daly, and David Dearborn. This one-day seminar will identify and demystify the best record sources for finding your 17th, 18th, and 19th century forebears. The seminar will conclude with a roundtable discussion where you can pose your specific genealogical problems.
    Early Registration: $95. Standard Registration: $110.
    For more information visit


    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
    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

    National Archives Research Day
    Thursday, May 22, 2008
    The National Archives Northeast Region in Waltham, Massachusetts, holds a treasure trove of genealogical material. Join NEHGS staff experts for a day of guided research and consultations at NARA. Highlights of the collection include federal census records 1790-1930, Revolutionary War records and extensive passenger lists.
    Registration fee: $75 per person (includes lunch).
    For more information or to register, please call Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or 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

    Come Home to New England
    #1 Monday, June 23–Saturday, June 28, 2008
    #2 Monday, August 11–Saturday, August 16, 2008
    The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society invites you to participate in our classic intensive week-long program, Come Home to New England. Research your roots with expert assistance at the extensive NEHGS library, one of the premier facilities for genealogical records in the world. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to benefit from a visit to our library and extended time with our staff of professional genealogists as they welcome you “home” to New England. Throughout the week of guided research, you will have the opportunity for one-on-one consultations, daily lectures and special extended library hours. Registration fee $750, $125 for non-participating guest.
    For more information, visit or

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    Sunday, November 2–Sunday, November 9, 2008
    November 2-9, 2008
    Join NEHGS for our thirtieth annual research tour to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Along with over 70 other participants you are invited to take part in an intensive week of research where you will be aided by expert staff. Daily programming also includes computer tutorials for accessing the library card catalog, research tips and techniques lectures, personalized consultations and group dinning events.
    For more information visit:

    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 2008, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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