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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 36
    Whole #390
    September 3, 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.

    * Now Available at NEHGS Research Library: Digital Sanborn Maps
    * Massachusetts Archives Offers Free Seminars
    * Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Quotations
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: The Digital Library at Middleborough Public Library, Massachusetts
    * Stories of Interest
    * Research Library Holiday Closure
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Now Available at NEGS Research Library: Digital Sanborn Maps

    NEHGS is pleased to announce that we are once again offering access at our Boston library to the online collection of Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867–1970, for the six New England states. Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries, and they are valuable tools for genealogists. They are large-scale plans containing data that was used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, and location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, and house and block numbers. Extensive information on building use is given, ranging from symbols for generic terms such as stable, garage, and warehouse to names of owners of factories and details on what was manufactured in them. Unfortunately the maps are not availabe by remote access at this time.

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    Massachusetts Archives Offers Free Seminars

    The Massachusetts State Archives is offering a series of workshops throughout the fall and winter. For more information, visit The sessions are free, but you must reserve a space in advance. You can make a reservation by calling the archives at 617-727-2816. All sessions are held from 10:00 AM to noon.

    Wednesday, September 17, Advanced Genealogy
    Wednesday, November 19, Court Records
    Tuesday, December 16, Introductory Genealogy
    Saturday, January 24, Introductory Genealogy
    Wednesday, February 18, Military Records

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    Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Quotations
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The Chicago Manual of Style sets easy guidelines for quotations. When quoting material in your writing, there are three ways of introducing the quote. When using a formal introductory phrase, ending in words such as thus or the following, it is proper to use a colon.

    John Smith summarized migration to upstate New York thus: “An abundance of available farmland in western New York stirred many to leave New England for new pastures.”

    A comma should be used when you are using a verb to introduce a quote (e.g. said, answered, responded, etc.).

    Jones responds, “Many people left New England for New York because of the crowded conditions in the thickly-settled areas where the first colonists settled.”

    Long stretches of text should be set as block quotes, indented on both left and right margins with no quotation marks used. One may use either a period or a colon to introduce a block quotation. Be certain that whichever style you use is applied consistently throughout your document.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    HARRIET NEWELL: An American evangelistic heroine whose name was borne by many American girls of the early nineteenth century.

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    New On

    Dexter’s Memoranda of the Town of Boston

    These notes on 18th and 19th century Boston were originally published by NEHGS in 1997.

    From the introduction to the book:

    “Among the collections at The New England Historic Genealogical Society are several manuscripts by John Haven Dexter, donated to the Society by his estate. John Haven Dexter was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts, 15 September 1791 and died in Boston 31 December 1876, the son of John and Mary (Woods) Dexter. He received little formal education, and was only about twelve years old when he was apprenticed to the editor of the Columbian Centinel, a Boston newspaper. Leaving the Centinel after about seven years, he worked in the dry goods store of Amos Lawrence for about ten years, then went into business on his own. In 1821 he formed a partnership with William Almy in a dry goods business which continued until 1833, when Dexter retired from active business life. He spent his later years collecting facts about persons and localities in Boston.”

    “The accuracy of Dexter's entries has not been verified in every case and discrepancies do exist. For instance, under the entry for David Sears, Dexter states that [his daughter] Harriet died unmarried, while the Sears Genealogy gives Harriet as wife of George Crowinshield, and Cordelia (un-named by Dexter) died unmarried.

    Dexter should be consulted as a secondary source and not used as an absolute authority. Much of his information came from the newspapers and directories of the time, but he knew personally many of the people upon whom he reported. Among those persons he consulted, as specifically noted in the text, were George Bumstead, Henry Burroughs, Thomas Tileston, Joseph W. Homer, and William Foster. Considering the scarcity of published vital records for Boston for the time period covered by Dexter's manuscripts, this volume is of tremendous value in providing clues. It is especially useful in that it names the fathers of brides. Clearly, not all of the residents of Boston are mentioned in these volumes, but for those it does include, much social and economic information may be gleaned.”

    This database contains 14,234 records.

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    Spotlight: The Digital Library at Middleborough Public Library, Massachusetts
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The town of Middleborough is located in southeastern Massachusetts, in Plymouth County. The library has made a number of online resources available through its Digital Library. Click on the Digital Library link in the menu bar to access them.

    The Digital Library has in its holdings an index to the Middleborough Gazette and a vital records index. Please note that you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these materials.

    Middleborough Gazette Index
    The Gazette index covers the years from 1852 to 1868 and 1905 to 1924. The alphabetical, PDF-file index can be searched by entering keywords in the search box. Or, you can browse through it page by page. Please be advised that no copies of the Middleborough Gazette are available for the years between 1868 and 1905. The majority of the entries in the index are the names of individuals mentioned in the newspaper. There is also a brief description of the context in which that individual is mentioned, the date on which the article appeared and a page number. There are also subject-based entries in the index, such as Accidents (see also Explosions; Firearms Accidents; Hunting Accidents; Industrial Accidents; Marine Accidents; Railroad Accidents; Traffic Accidents). Under Accidents, you will find a list that includes the name of the injured with an explanation of how that person was injured, plus the date and page information.

    Contact the Friends of the Middleborough Public Library for copies of Gazette articles. Contact information is available on the library’s website. The first three copies are provided free of charge. There is a charge of $1.00 for each additional article.

    Middleborough Vital Records Index
    This database is a searchable index to the town's birth, marriage, and death records. The index covers the period 1649–1945. There are four alphabetical index files. The data fields in the Births index include child’s name (last, first, middle), father’s name (last, first, middle/title), mother’s name (first, middle/title, maiden name), and the month, day and year of birth. For Deaths the data fields include last name, first name, middle name or title, death year, month and day, spouse’s name and parents names, if known. The marriages have been organized into two alphabetical files, one by the groom’s last name and the other by the bride’s last name. The data fields in the files include the last, first and middle names or titles of both the husband and the wife, and the month, day and year on which the marriage took place.

    Other Local Resources
    Click on the links under Other Local Resources on the Digital Library homepage to access these resources and more. The Middleborough History Resources link will bring you to a page with an overview of the local history resources available through the Library.

    Another resource is Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts, A compilation of records by Charles M. Thatcher in the late 1880s, which was published by the library in 1995. This is a “record of the burials in 214 cemeteries located in 5 towns of Plymouth and Bristol Counties, Massachusetts, up to the mid-19th century, with over 16,000 listings." The source of the material in this volume is Mr. Thatcher’s handwritten manuscript.

    There is a section in the Digital Library titled Middleborough in Pictures. There are two volumes in this collection. The picture files are extremely large and will take a long time to download.

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    Stories of Interest

    The Roots of Madness: Exploring a Family’s Illness Leads to Ireland
    Patrick Tracey, author of Stalking Irish Madness, learned from a doctor of the recent discovery of the first genetic link to schizophrenia in County Roscommon. After watching several family members suffer from the disease, he began a journey to discover the roots of his family’s afflictions.

    Tomb of the Unknowns Caught in Battle
    In a case of preservationists vs. cemetery officials, the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery is in the crosshairs of a battle. The resting place of four unknown soldiers from World War I to Vietnam is developing cracks and other blemishes from the weather. Cemetery officials want to spend $2.2 million to replace it. Preservationists want to repair the existing monument at a cost of $65,000.

    Tracing My Jewish Roots in Cuba
    CNN reporter Steve Kastenbaum visited Cuba and learned about his grandparents’ lives on the Caribbean island.

    Courthouse Renovation to Protect Genealogy Trove
    The Daily News in Memphis reports on efforts to preserve the old Roane County Courthouse, now owned by the Roane County Heritage Commission and home to the Roane County Archives Library.

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    Question: I receive eNews every week but I cannot log into How do I log in to the website?

    Answer: eNews is available for free to all genealogists and is not tied to a membership in NEHGS. While many sections of are free to the public, some areas (such as the searchable databases) are restricted to current members. If you cannot log into our website, chances are that your membership has expired or you are not a NEHGS Member. You can join NEHGS (or renew your existing membership) by contacting our Membership Department at 1-888-296-3447 or visit to renew or join online.

    Each week our IT department answer questions about the NEHGS family of websites:,,,, and Questions can be submitted to

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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:

    History of Keokuk County, Iowa (Item P5-IA0034H)
    Early Days in Newington, Connecticut, 1833-1836 (Item P5-CT0271H)
    History of the Shinn Family in Europe & America (Item P4-H23631)
    English Ancestors of Peter Talbot of Dorchester, Massachusetts (Item P4-H25104)
    Genealogy of the Cortland County, NY, Branch of the Sanders Family (Item P4-H22953)

    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

    New Visitor Welcome Tour and Orientation
    Saturday, September 6, 2008, 10:00 am
    New members and the general public are invited to participate in an introduction and orientation to NEHGS, which includes the opportunity to describe your 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. After completing the tour, participants may enjoy a day of research.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008, 10:00 am
    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.

    Searching the NEHGS Online Library Catalog
    Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 10:00 AM
    Discover tips and techniques for effectively searching NEHGS holdings. Jean Maguire, NEHGS Technical Services and Serials Librarian, will offer expert advice for searching Online Library Catalog.

    Making the Most of Torrey’s New England Marriages
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 10:00 AM
    NEHGS genealogist, David C. Dearborn, FASG, will discuss methodology for effectively using Clarence Almon Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700.

    One Bowl More and Then: Punch Drinking in Colonial America
    Monday, September 29, 2008, 6:00 PM
    Donald Friary, president of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and director emeritus of Historic Deerfield, will present an entertaining and informative talk on the history of punch drinking in Colonial America.

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

    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 its 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. An orientation 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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