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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 20
    Whole #374
    May 14, 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 collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.

    * NEHGS Announces New York Web Portal
    * New Online Seminar
    * Research Recommendations: The Omohundro Institute
    * Name Origins
    * Spotlight: South Carolina Death Indexes
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    NEHGS Announces New York Web Portal

    NEHGS is pleased to announce a new Web portal that highlights the tremendous New York resources available to our members.

    Visitors to access a wide range of important resources specific to New York state research, including a series of articles by Marian Henry published in book form 2007 as New York Essays. Visitors can also find for sale a variety of publications helpful to the New York researcher. A wide range of databases, including vital records, probate records, census, tax, and voter lists, cemetery records, church records, court records, and published genealogies and biographies, are available to members of the Society.

    The Society has seen a tremendous increase in our members’ interest in New York State research over the past few years. In fact, today New York represents the second-most popular state for member research, behind Massachusetts, and we are working to increase our online resources in this area. While the portal has a different address, all NEHGS members have full access to the materials. part of the growing NEHGS family of web portals, including,, and

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    New Online Seminar

    An Overview of the NEHGS Manuscript Collection

    “An Overview of the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Manuscript Collection” by Archivist Timothy Salls provides a brief definition of what a manuscript is, an explanation of how patrons determine what is in our collection, and a note concerning access to manuscripts held by our Society. Most of the lecture consists of images that illustrate the range of documents may be found within the Society’s manuscript collection accompanied by a few comments about the genealogical and historical value of certain types of manuscripts, thus explaining why NEHGS collects such items.

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    Research Recommendations: The Omohundro Institute
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture was founded in 1943 by the College of William and Mary and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to foster “study, research, and publications bearing on American history approximately to the year 1815.” In 1996, the name was changed in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Malvern H. Omohundro, Jr., in recognition of a generous endowment. The Institute has a wide variety of activities.

    One of the biggest activities is publication of The William and Mary Quarterly. The journal, which commenced publication in 1892, is one of the oldest scholarly journals in the country. Published in January, April, July, and October of each year, it is the leading journal for the study of early American culture and society. The chronological focus ranges from the early contacts between the Old and New Worlds to about 1820. Geographically the focus is on North America (including New France, Spanish-American territories, British North America, and the Caribbean), as well as Europe and western Africa. While it is primarily a historical journal, the content represents many disciplines, including archaeology, cultural studies, law, literature, material culture, and politics.

    The Institute also has an active book publications program, releasing four to five new titles each year. The Institute’s books are co-published with The University of North Carolina Press. Among the prize-winning titles are Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society, 1727–1834; Town House: Architectural and Material Life in the Early American City, 1780–1830; and Sex Among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730–1830.

    The Institute also conducts a number of colloquia, workshops, and conferences around the country. The major program each year is the annual Institute Conference. The 14th Annual Conference, hosted by Suffolk University in cooperation with the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, will be held June 6–8, 2008 in Boston. Each two-hour block includes multiple sessions, with several presentations in each session. Among the sessions this year will be:

    Women and Trade in New France and New York
    Creolization and Cultural Adaption
    Material Perspectives of Communities Created by Commerce
    All the King’s Men: New Perspectives on the Loyalists
    People in Motion in the Eighteenth Century
    Law and Rights in the Seveneenth-and Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic

    Among the presenters are some of the leading history professors in the country, such as David Hackett Fisher of Brandeis University. There is no charge to attend the conference, but tax-deductible donations help greatly to defray the costs.

    For more information about the 14th Annual Conference or the Institute in general, visit NEHGS will have a sales presence at the conference.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ORESTES (m): The original Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, killed his adulterous mother in revenge for her part in the murder of his father by her lover Aegisthus—a bloody tale that inspired the Oresteia, a cycle of plays by Sophocles. The name occurs in the Forbush family of Westborough, Mass.

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    Spotlight: South Carolina Death Indexes
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Greenwood County Library Obituary Index

    Greenwood County is located in western South Carolina. The city of Greenwood serves as its county seat. The Greenwood County Library maintains an Obituary Index on its website. The local newspapers from which the information comes are The Greenwood Journal (September 12, 1895–April 12, 1917) and The Greenwood Index (March 7, 1901–February 5, 1919), which became known as the Greenwood Index-Journal (February 6, 1919–present). The data in the index was abstracted from both obituaries and death notices.

    The obituary index is a work in progress. It includes data for about 30 years between 1895 and 2005. The years currently available are 1895–1907, 1917– 1918, 1920, 1945–1947, 1970–1973, 1976–1977, 2002, and 2004–2005. According to the website, no newspapers are available for 1906. Click on the year link to view the records. The records are in alphabetical order by last name. The data in individual records can include the following: full name of the deceased, age, dateline of the obituary, names of spouse(s) or other family members, and the dates of the newspaper issues in which the information appears. The lists are relatively short for the early years. For the larger files of later years, researchers can use the "Find" function under the Edit menu of the Internet browser to search the list by last name.

    Photocopies of obituaries and death notices can be ordered from the library for a small fee. If you do not have a complete death date, library staff will search through its microfilm for the information. The research fee is $25 per hour.

    South Carolina Department of Health

    Birth and death certificates were first required in South Carolina on January 1, 1915. South Carolina Death Indexes 1915-1957 are available from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. To view the alphabetical indexes for the years 1915 through 1949 you must download the DjVu Image Viewer plug in and use Internet Explorer. Instructions are provided on the Death Indexes homepage. It should also be noted that the Death Indexes have special numeric codes to indicate sex, race, and age of the deceased. A key to these codes has been provided.

    The index is in digital format for the years 1950–1957. There are more than 2,000 records in this portion of the database. The data fields include the state code, certificate number, surname, first name, middle initial, suffix, sex, date of death, race, age, and county. Click on the green question mark to read the age code key.

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    Stories of Interest

    Utah’s Catholic Bishop Responds to Vatican Letter Banning Help with LDS Genealogy
    ABC 4 News in Salt Lake City interviewed Bishop John C. Wester about the erupting controversy between the Catholic church and the LDS church about access to records.

    In a German Pub, Genealogy Takes Living, Breathing Form
    The Seattle Times recently ran this article by Jan Burak Schwert about a trip she made with her husband to visit his ancestors’ home town of Konstanz, Germany. The last line of Schwert’s article is one of the best summations of family history I’ve ever seen: “When a name on a document came to life, I finally understood the magic of genealogy.”

    Trying to Flesh Out the History of a Family That Was Minus One
    Petter Applebome reports in the New York Times on Jean Moore and her family, and how HIPPA regulations have gone so far as to cause problems for her and other families in obtaining information about siblings deceased more than half a century ago.

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    Classic Reprints

    Did you know that the NEHGS Sales Department offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

    Early Records of the Town of Warwick, RI (Item P5-RI0029H)
    Vital Records of Wilton, NH, 1718-1853 (Item P5-NH0214H)
    Genealogy of the Tapley Family (Item P4-H25161)
    Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream, Grove, Clem and Denniston Families (Item P4-H24885)
    Ancestry of Anne Marbury Hutchinson & Katherine Marbury Scott (Item P32815000)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online at

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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 May 2008:

    The Boston Italians
    May 17, 2008, 10:00 AM
    Stephen Puleo, author of Dark Tide and Due to Enemy Action, will offer a free talk on his new book The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to Present Day. Mr. Puleo will offer a book signing following his lecture.


    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 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

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    Sunday, November 2–Sunday, November 9, 2008
    Join NEHGS for our thirtieth annual research tour to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Along with more than 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

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    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
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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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