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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 15
    Whole #369
    April 9, 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.

    Staff Speaking Engagements

    lease join NEHGS staff members at one of our upcoming speaking engagements around the country.


    David Allen Lambert, The Online Genealogist, will be speaking April 17, 2008 at the Rochester Genealogical Society ( in Rochester, New York, on “Researching New England and the Canadian Provinces.” On April 19, assistant archivist Judy Lucey will discuss the Irish in Newfoundland and using U.S. records to find Irish ancestors at the Irish Family History Forum in Bethpage, Long Island, N.Y. (

    Director of special projects Michael J. Leclerc and research services coordinator D. Joshua Taylor will be speaking at the Massachusetts Genealogical Council’s annual meeting and seminar on April 26, 2008 at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. Michael will be presenting “Online Resources for New England Research.” Josh will be discussing “Essential Technology for Genealogists: What to Buy and How to Buy it” and “Genealogical Networking in Today’s World.”

    Staff genealogist Rhonda R. McClure will be giving four talks on April 26 at the Sonoma County Genealogical Society ( all-day seminar in Santa Rosa, California. On May 3, she will present “Old and New: Combining the Best of the Internet and Traditional Research” at the Westport Historical Society ( in Westport, Mass. Library director Marie Daly will be speaking at the Waltham [Mass.] Historical Society ( on May 13 at 7 p.m. on Irish immigration to the Waltham, Watertown, and Belmont area.

    D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, Christopher C. Child, Newbury Street Press genealogist, and Gary Boyd Roberts, research scholar emeritus, will be participating in the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree 2008 in Burbank, California, June 27–29 ( Brenton will discuss “Witch’s Brew: Researching Witchcraft in New England.” Chris will be talk about “Researching New England and New York Records.” Finally, Chris and Gary will give a breakfast talk on “Presidential Genealogy.”

    Michael J. Leclerc will also be speaking at the Genealogy Seminar at Sea October 25–November 1, 2008 ( Other presenters include nationally-known speakers like John Philip Colletta, Paul Milner, George G. Morgan, and Laura G. Prescott. He will also be presenting on the Irish Genealogy Seminar and Cruise, January 10–18, 2009, sponsored by The Irish Ancestral Research Association ( Other presenters include Valerie Adams from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Gregory O’Connor from the National Archives of Ireland, and Eileen and Sean O’Duill from Dublin.

    Research Recommendations:

    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Although not very popular when originally published, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” is now one of the most famous American short stories. is named for this humble scrivener, and is an extremely valuable reference tool. publishes classic reference works, as well as literature and nonfiction, and makes them available for free on the Internet.

    The site was started as a personal research experiment in 1993. Within a year it published the first classic book on the web, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. incorporated in 1999, and since has built one of the most comprehensive reference websites available.

    To help your research, reference works include the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition (2001); The Encyclopedia of World History, 6th edition (2001); The Columbia Gazetteer of North America (2000); The World Factbook (2003); and American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition (2000).

    Writers will find a vast number of resources, including Roget’s International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1922); Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, 3d edition (1995); American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996); Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s On the Art of Writing and On the Art of Reading; and Strunk’s Elements of Style.

    You may also be interested in The Oxford Shakespeare, the complete 37 plays and 154 sonnets and verse written by the Bard; Fannie Farmer’s The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1918); and Emily Post’s Etiquette (1922). You can even check out Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the Unitesd States, which containes illustrations and annotations of all Inaugural addresses from George Washington through George W. Bush.

    Other significant collections are The Harvard Classics and the Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. The Harvard Classics was comprised of 50 volumes of historically significant material, including Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography; Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral; John Milton, Areopagitica; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English Traits; Robert Burns, Poems and Songs; Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound; Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species; Plutarch, Lives; The Oath of Hyppocrates (taken by medical doctors); and Beowolf among many other items.

    The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction includes works by Jane Austen, Samuel Clemens, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Victor Marie Hugo, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Leo Tolstoy, among others. All of this barely touches the scope of information available online. Dozens of works of fiction and verse are also available.

    You can purchase hard copies of the books on, or download free e-book copies of many titles from their partnership with This is definitely one website that should be added to your bookmarks folder.

    Name Origins

    by Julie Helen Otto

    ALKMENA/ALCMENA (F): The mother of Heracles (Hercules). Alkmena (Lyon) Wallis, b. Woodstock, Conn. 17 Nov. 1746, was daughter of Moses Lyon (1712-1778) and Grace Child (b. 1715) of Woodstock and Brimfield, Mass. The spelling of Alkmena’s name may well be a subtle message that her father (Yale College, 1735) had named her from the original Greek (whose alphabet does not contain the letter “C”), rather than the later, presumably more accessible Latin.

    Seen Elsewhere

    The following articles may be of interest to you as a family historian. They appeared in recent genealogical and historical periodicals, all available in the NEHGS research library. If you do not have ready access to these publications, you may order copies from the NEHGS Photocopy Service.

    Volume XXIIII, No. 4, Winter 2007
    Edward David Luft and Bruce Abrams, "Three Manhattan Databases: Using Newspapers to Find Bankruptcy Cases Leading to Court Cases" (17–19).
    The authors discuss three valuable databases for finding court records in Manhattan. Some of the records deal with many different kinds of court cases, not just bankruptcies.

    Famiy Tree Magazine [UK]
    May 2008
    Alan Stewart, "Irish Roots: Irish BMD Databases Online" (74–76).
    Stewart discusses a number of websites providing access to vital records in the Emerald Isle.

    Internet Genealogy
    May 2008
    Donna Pointkouski, "20 Best Sites for Italian Genealogy" (120–41).
    Valuable online resources for Italian research.

    David A. Norris, "Finding Confederate Pension Papers" (31–35).
    Learn about these pension files and how they can be accessed, plus how to find additional information on each of the Confederate states.

    Spotlight: Davidson County, Tennessee, Cemetery Survey

    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Nashville is the seat of Davidson County, located in central Tennessee. According to information found on the Cemetery Survey website, Nashville was settled in 1780. The City Cemetery did not open until 1822.

    In 1999 twelve Colonial Dames initiated the Davidson County Cemetery Survey. Over the years the volunteer force has grown from these 12 individuals to more than 500 community volunteers. They have made efforts to locate and visit all of the cemeteries listed in the county’s “Metro Planning Commission Map & Parcel ID system.”

    A total of 590 cemeteries have been surveyed. They include family cemeteries, church graveyards, “Removed” cemeteries, “Lost” cemeteries, and “Destroyed” cemeteries. New cemeteries have been added as they have been reported and surveyed.

    The Cemeteries
    Click on the Cemeteries link to access the list of cemeteries that have been surveyed; then click on the cemetery name link to view the tombstone inscriptions. In addition to the inscriptions the information included in the cemetery record is as follows: location of the cemetery, number of tombstones found in the cemetery with and/or without inscriptions, last name of the deceased, inscription on the tombstone, and the date on which the cemetery was surveyed. In some cases there are photographs of the cemetery. Click on the camera icon to access them. For “Removed” cemeteries you will also find a brief description of why the cemeteries were relocated and where the remains were re-interred.

    Percy Priest Cemetery Listing
    Percy Priest Lake and Dam were built on the Stones River in the Cumberland River Basin. It was a federal project, which was completed in 1968. They acquired land in Davidson, Wilson and Rutherford counties for the project. Ninety-seven family cemeteries were located within the 20,000-acre area. The cemeteries were relocated in 1966 before work was done on the dam. The Relocation Project involved the relocation of 2,243 graves to Mt. Juliet Cemetery in Wilson County or a cemetery designated by family descendants.

    There is a Completion Report, written by the U. S. Corps of Engineers, for the Percy Priest Reservoir Project. The report includes, among other items, photographs of the individual cemeteries prior to removal and after they were relocated; a list of property owners where the cemeteries were originally located; and detailed information about each cemetery: the name, number of each cemetery, names and death dates of individuals buried there, and which burials had grave markers. It also includes plat maps of graves in each cemetery prior to removal, maps showing the locations of the original cemeteries, a list of the cemeteries, the number of reburials, and locations of the reburials in Mt. Juliet Cemetery.

    This website contains the listings for the 53 cemeteries removed from locations in Davidson County sites during the Percy Priest Cemetery Relocation Project. To access the files click on the “Percy Priest Cemetery Listing” link. Please note that the cemeteries have been listed with the name that was assigned by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Click on the cemetery name to access the tombstone inscriptions. The information in the files includes names of the deceased and year of death, as well as the locations where the individuals were re-interred.

    Those of you who have Davidson County ancestry should click on the Metropolitan Archives link and explore the resources found on the website of the Friends of Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County, a nonprofit chapter of The Friends of the Public Library of Nashville and Davidson County. The contents of this website include censuses, tax lists, and the like, church records, city directories, court records, death records and obituaries, education records, marriage records, military records, probate records, and property records. In addition, there are more than twenty documents detailing Davidson County and Nashville history.

    Stories of Interest

    Genealogy: History of Dutch Surnames Can Be a Tangled Web
    Terre Haute Tribune-Star correspondent Tamie Dehler discusses the complicated history of the development of Dutch surnames, and their genealogical significance.

    Is This a Genealogy of Biblical Proportions?
    Tampa Bay Tribune correspondent discusses the reliability of online information, such as the ability to find ancestors born in Arkansas in A.D. 200 or ancestral lines tracing back directly to Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus.

    Antebellum History and a Message of Healing
    The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Mississippi, recently ran this article about a black man taking part the Pilgrimage at Temple Heights in Henderson.

    Family Tree That Can Grow Money
    The Manchester Evening News reports that researchers are attempting to raise £1 million by September in order to release £5.1 million in additional funds to preserve the ancient Ordsall Hall in Salford, Lancashire. Retired Buckinghamshire stockbroker Nicholas Radclyffe, a descendant of Sir Alexander Radclyffe who once controlled the manor house, is offering to make a donation for every ancestor traced of families who lived in the hall.

    From the Online Genealogist

    One of my ancestors died at the Chelsea Old Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts in 1910. Can you tell me if the records for this organization still survive?

    Yes, this facility is still active and you can contact the Adjutant’s Office for records of the former inmates. I once went there in person to obtain a record on a distant cousin. They were protective of his records, even though he died in 1904. Prepare a letter with your request stating your relationship to the deceased, and send a SASE.

    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.

    Classic Reprints

    Did you know that the NEHGS Sales Department offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Recent customers have ordered some of the following titles:

    • History of Fairfield County, CT, 1639-1928, 3-volume set (Item P5-CT0205-6H)
    • History of Swan’s Island, ME (Item P5-ME0228BH)
    • Gravestone Inscriptions of Greene Co., NY (Item P5-NY0438H)
    • Pardee Genealogy (Item P4-H20688)
    • Anc. & Desc. of Ephraim Forbes & Amy Fitch (Item P4-H10686)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online at


    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:

    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 forbears.
    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

    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 view the brochure.

    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 view

    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

    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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