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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • eNews
    Vol. 10, No. 31
    Whole #385
    July 30, 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.

    * Genealogy and the Idaho Russet Potato
    * Online Exhibit: Petition to Pave Atkinson Street, March 1746
    * Research Recommendations: Cuil
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Cook Memorial Public Library District, Illinois
    * Stories of Interest
    * Sale on 5 Carl Boyer Titles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    Genealogy and the Idaho Russet Potato

    Eric Schultz became chairman of the board of NEHGS at the annual meeting in April 2008. During his first address to those attending the meeting, Eric told an interesting story about Genealogy, the Idaho Russet and Innovation. Those present will not soon forget his interesting comparison between genealogy and a potato, especially when he pulled one out of his pocket. Eric recently posted this address on his blog. You can read this interesting story on The Occasional Ceo.

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    Online Exhibit: Petition to Pave Atkinson Street, March 1746

    Handwritten petition "to the freeholders & other inhabitants of the town of Boston in town meeting regularly assembled" by sundry inhabitants of Boston requesting the paving of Atkinson Street. The petition contains the original signatures of 93 residents of the town of Boston.

    Atkinson Street in 1746 extended from Milk Street to Cow Lane (High Street). The street name was eventually changed to Congress Street in 1854. The original petition is in the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, call no. Mss C 88. A full transcription of this petition can be found in the 1863 volume of the Register, 13:148-149.

    You can see the online exhibit at

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    Research Recommendations: Cuil
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    There is a new kid on the block in internet search engines. You may have heard this week about (pronounced Cool), a new search engine launched on Monday. Designed by former employees of Google, the search engine claims to have millions more pages indexed. Their search algorithm works differently than Google also, thus providing different search results.

    The interface is simple, like Google’s, with a search box on a black screen. According to their privacy policy, Cuil does not track information on users. This is very different from Google and other search engines, which track searches and results.

    Cuil’s web crawler is called Twiceler. If you maintain your own website, you can contact Cuil to request that Twiceler crawl across your site. You can also request to not have Twiceler crawl your site.

    The search results are displayed in an easy-to-read manner, in your choice of two or three columns. I learned through trial and error that one should not include punctuation when searching. For professional purposes I always go by Michael J. Leclerc as opposed to Michael Leclerc. I did a search on Cuil for Michael J. Leclerc and received the message “We didn’t find any results for ‘Michael J. Leclerc.’” I tried this both with and without quotes, and received the same message. Removing the period from after the letter J, however, returned 517 results. The first ten results were all about me.

    In addition to the expected page title, brief text abstract, and url, Cuil returns an image from the page as well. While this is pleasing to the eye, they can be misleading. For example, the images included two different astronauts, a naval officer, a family having a picnic, and a man brushing his teeth. Having never served in the armed forces, nor gone for a trip on the space shuttle, I was suspicious as to how these images could be linked to me. Clicking on the links did little to illuminate things for me. None of the images that I saw appeared on the pages that I clicked. The text was correct, and the pages did show my name. But the images displayed on Cuil were nowhere to be seen.

    On some results pages you may see a panel on the right labeled “Explore by Category.” These categories have lists of subjects related to your search. These suggestions may help you find what you are looking for. The one time I had the box open up, unfortunately, the suggested subjects did nothing to advance my search.

    On some results you may see tabs display at the top. These tabs categorize search results by subject matter (such as cars, animals, etc.) Each tab will show results only for that subject.

    Cuil has a preferences section that gives you the ability to turn on and off two features. The first is Safe Search, which will filter out pornography from your search results. The other is Typing Suggestions. When this feature is enabled, you may see a list of possible terms display as you are typing. If your term pops up, simply select it from the list and you will not have to type the entire word.

    The site is very simple, and does not have the many extra features I have come to depend on from Google. And in the initial days after launching, they are experiencing many technical difficulties affecting search results. Their servers are set up to be dedicated to a single subject matter, such as sports, for example, or books. Unfortunately, that means that when a particular server gets overloaded and shuts down, your search results will lack anything from that subject.

    Time will tell whether this will be a valuable tool or not. The black-and-blue-themed interface is very appealing. Perhaps the user spike that comes from an initial launch will even out, and their server problems will dissipate. It is well worth checking with them on a regular basis when you are doing web searches, to see how their results differ from Google, Yahoo, and other established search engines.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    RHYS (m): A very common Welsh given name, often anglicized to RICE. The surname PRICE is derived from ap Rhys, the patrymonic form of RHYS.

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    New On

    Stonington, Connecticut, First Congregational Church Records, 1674-1874

    These Stonington church records were published in 1875 as part of the History of the First Congregational Church, Stonginton, Conn., 1674–1874, by Richard Anson Wheeler (Norwich, Conn.: T.H. Davis & Co., 1875).
    This database contains 2,678 baptisms, 2,081 marriages, and 1,415 other church records. The images of the original book pages may be viewed from the search results page. The original book is in our collection, call number F104.S85 W4 1875.

    Windham, Connecticut, Congregational Church Records, 1700-1851
    This database comes from Records of the Congregational Church in Windham, Conn. (except church votes), 1700–1851 (Hartford, Conn.: Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Connecticut, 1943). From the introduction:

    “In May, 1699, the Connecticut General Assembly confirmed the agreement of the inhabitants of Windham concerning public worship. This permitted them to build two churches and hold meetings, summer and fall at the north end, and winter and spring at the south end. The first minister, Rev. Samuel Whiting, was ordained December 4, 1700. The records here printed are all that exist today of the Windham First Church. Mr. Whiting's records were so fragile even by 1726 that the Rev. Thomas Clap was unable to copy all of them. The style and spelling of the original records have been followed in so far as it was possible. Where the editor has supplied information of any kind, brackets have been used to distinguish between that which is original and what he supplied. The Church Votes are omitted except when information of value, such as admission or dismission, was given. In these cases, the text has been abstracted.”

    This database contains 3,762 church records, including 391 births and baptisms, 489 marriages, and 782 deaths. The images of the published book pages may be viewed from the search results page. The published book is available in our library, call number F104.W65 W5 1943.

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    Spotlight: Cook Memorial Public Library District, Illinois
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Cook Memorial Library is located in Libertyville, Illinois, a northern suburb of the city of Chicago. Libertyville is located Lake County, about five miles from Lake Michigan.

    The library’s website contains a variety of online resources for the family history researcher. Click on the “Research a topic” button to open the page with links to the genealogy and local history resources.

    The library has a number of resources available onsite. It has uploaded an obituary index to its website. Click on the “Obituaries” link on the Genealogy main page to access the database. The online database indexes obituaries taken from the library’s microfilm collection of the Independent Register, the local newspaper. The index covers the period from 1894 through March 10, 1988. Only about a dozen issues are missing. Codes have been added to identify early settlers, war veterans, and victims of the influenza epidemic. Click on the first letter of the deceased’s surname to access an alphabetical listing. The data fields include full name of the deceased, date of the obituary and newspaper page information. You can obtain copies of obituaries for a fee of $5.00 per obituary. Library contact information may be found on the Obituary Index home page.

    Local History
    You can access the library’s local history resources by clicking on the Local History link on the main “Research a topic” page. If you are planning a visit to the library you might want to check out the list of topic headings for clippings related to Libertyville and Vernon Hills history found in the Local History File. Click on the Local History File link to access the list.

    A number of links to online exhibits can be accessed here. They include looks at Libertyville in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, Mail Order Houses in Libertyville, and the Lake County Fair through a postcard exhibit from the early 1900s. The Mail Order House exhibit gives viewers a look at the homes built from house plans and kits sold by Sears, Roebuck and Company in the early part of the twentieth century. Additional Online Projects include historical essays written by C. E. Carroll, a local historian, and a collection of over 200 historical images from the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. The collection can be searched by topic or you can browse through the images.

    The Cook Memorial Library has a collection of historical local telephone books in its holding. Images of the phone books have been scanned and uploaded to the website. Currently 33 telephone books have been uploaded to the site. They include one from 1913. The rest are from various years between 1924 and 1959. Additional books are being added as they become available.

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    Stories of Interest

    Sound of Music Returns to von Trapp Salzburg Villa
    The former Salzburg home of the von Trapp family, whose story was imortalized by Rodgers and Hammerstein in The Sound of Music, opened to the public for the first time this weekend. The house where Georg von Trapp met “Fraulein Maria” Kutschera met and married has become a hotel. In attendance was 93-year-old Maria von Trapp, who had not seen the house since the family fled 70 years ago to escape the Nazis.

    History Keeper
    Dr. Paul A. Levengood was recently appointed to replace Charles F. Bryan as leader of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.

    Stitching Together Genealogy
    The York Daily Record reports on Dawn Gerber’s family album, which isn’t like others.’ Gerber sewed her family story into a quilt and is heading to the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Expo in Nashville to compete for a $10,000 prize.

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    Sale on 5 Carl Boyer Titles

    NEHGS members save 35% on 5 titles by Carl Boyer III. Not a member? You can still save 20% on these titles.

    Ancestral Lines from Maine to Virginia
    Medieval English Ancestors of Certain Americans
    Medieval Welsh Ancestors of Certain American
    Medieval English Ancestors of Robert Abell
    Ancestral Lines, Third Edition, 206 Families in England, Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

    Prices good until August 6th, 2008. Prices do not include shipping. NEHGS members must be signed in for 30% discount to show.


    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:

    Desc. of Reinold & Matthew Marvin of Hartford, CT,1638 & 1635, sons of Edw. Marvin of Gt. Bentley, England (Item P4-S18696)
    Ancestry of Mary Isaac, c.1549-1613, wife of Thomas Appleton of Little Waldinfield, co. Suffolk, & mother of Samuel Appleton of Ipswich, MA (Item P4-S15837)
    Hist & Gen of the Desc of John Lawrence Hester & Godfrey Stough, 1752-1905 (Item P4-S14271)
    History of Keokuk County, Iowa (Item P5-IA0034H)
    Chronicles of New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1667-1931 (Item P5-NJ0125H)

    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

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

    Come Home to New England
    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

    Getting Started in Genealogy
    Saturday, September 13, 2008
    Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT
    Join NEHGS and Historic New England for a day-long seminar that will teach you basic techniques for exploring your family history. Getting Started in Genealogy will teach you strategies for using libraries, repositories and genealogical websites to locate vital record information, census records, immigration documents, and more. You will also learn how to organize a pedigree chart and document your discoveries for future generations. If you have an interest in becoming your family’s historian, this program is not to be missed.

    Registration fee: $45 for members; $55 for non-members.

    Massachusetts Archives Research Day
    Thursday, September 18, 2008
    Spend a day with NEHGS staff amidst the rich collection of the Massachusetts State Archives at Columbia Point, Boston. Archive resources include Massachusetts vital records, 1841–1915; Alien Port Arrivals, 1848–1891; State censuses, 1855 and 1865; and the Felt Collection containing Colonial-era and Revolutionary War land grant, military, tax, legislative, estate and early divorce records. Registration also includes a one-on-one consultation with an NEHGS genealogist.
    Registration fee: $55.

    Families of Western Massachusetts in 1790
    Saturday, September 20, 2008
    University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
    Western Massachusetts was a crossroads of migration. In 1790 the population of Berkshire County was 30,291, and that of Hampshire County 59,681, making a total of just under 90,000 — slightly larger than Vermont’s 85,425, and slightly less than Maine’s 96,540. New Hampshire was significantly larger, with a population of 141,855. Join Michael J. Leclerc and Christopher C. Child, editors of the upcoming NEHGS publication Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 for a day-long program examining the history of Western Massachusetts and hear how you can participate in this exciting new book series.
    Registration fee: $75

    National Archives Research Day
    Thursday, October 9, 2008
    The National Archives (NARA), Northeast Region facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, holds a treasure trove of genealogical material. NARA holds both microfilm and original records of the Federal Government dating back to 1790. Highlights of the collection include census records 1790–1930, Revolutionary War records, and an extensive collection of passenger arrival records for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. NEHGS staff will be on hand to provide consultations and assist you with your research. Registration includes lunch.
    Registration fee: $75

    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:

    Getting Started in Genealogy
    Saturday, November 15, 2008
    Gov. John Langdon House, Portsmouth, NH
    Join NEHGS and Historic New England for a day-long seminar that will teach you basic techniques for exploring your family history. Learn strategies for using repositories and websites to locate vital record information, organizing a pedigree chart, and documenting your discoveries. If you have interested in becoming your family’s historian, this program is not to be missed.
    Registration fee: $45 for members; $55 for non-members.

    Washington, D.C. Research Tour
    March 8-15, 2009
    NEHGS returns to the nation’s capital to explore it’s wealth of genealogical resources. Staff will be providing daily consultations at three repositories throughout the city: the Library of Congress, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Library and the National Archives and Records Administration. Orientations will be offered at each repository at the beginning of the week. Program registration includes two group dinners to socialize and share research. Registration fees (includes seven nights’ lodging at the State Plaza Hotel): Single, $2,700; Double, $2,300 per person; Double with non-participant, $2,950; Commuter, $850 (no lodging).

    English Family History Tour
    May 17-24, 2009
    The English Family History Tour to London is an essential research trip for genealogists with British Ancestry. Based at the Society of Genealogists (SoG), researchers will be offered daily classes providing historical context and research methodology tips for working with the extensive record collection of the SoG. The library’s holdings include more than 120,000 books and microforms featuring census indexes; family histories; biographies; service, professional, and trade directories; an apprenticeship index (1770-1774), school and university lists, will and marriage license indexes; runs of Burke’s Peerage and Landed Gentry; a large number of manuscripts arranged by surname; and a miscellaneous card index of 3 million references. Registration fees: (includes seven nights’ lodging at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury) Single, $4,850; Double, $4,550 per person; Double with non-participant, $5,550; Commuter, $2,300 (no lodging).

    Newfoundland Research Tour
    July 12—19, 2009
    Discover your Atlantic Canada family history with NEHGS in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Join expert genealogists at St. John’s premier facilities, including the Provincial Archives – “The Rooms,” the Maritime History Archive at Memorial University, the Registry of Deeds, and A.C. Hunter Library. Together these repositories hold vital records, church records, all census records, voter lists, probate, and land grants the Keith Matthews collection (list of all people who worked in fishery from 16th century to 1850), ship lists, crew lists, logbooks, Irish and English parish records and original newspapers of Newfoundland.
    Registration fees: (includes seven nights’ lodging at the Fairmont Hotel) Single ocean view room, $3,250; Single city view room, $3,100;Double, $2,700 per person; Double with non-participant, $3,550; Commuter, $850 (no lodging).

    Scottish Family History Research Tour
    September 20—27, 2009
    Discover the origins of your Scottish ancestors with the inaugural NEHGS research tour to Edinburgh. This weeklong intensive research program will be based out of Scotland’s two premier genealogical repositories, The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS). Together these neighboring repositories house the major collections of government and vital records for more than 700 years of Scottish ancestry. The main holdings of NAS include records created by the government of Scotland beginning in the twelfth century, including records of the crown, parliament, legal registers, courts documents, and records of the Church of Scotland. Vital records including birth, marriage, and death from 1855 and parish registers from 1553 to 1854 are maintained by the GROS. Program registration includes lodging at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and opening and closing dinners. Registration fees: (includes seven nights’ lodging at the Sheraton Grand Hotel) Single, $4,750; Double, $4,450 per person; Double with non-participant, $5,350; Commuter, $2,300 (no lodging).


    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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

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