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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 37
    Whole #391
    September 10, 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.

    * Coming Soon in the Fall 2008 Issue of New England Ancestors
    * New Exhibit on Train Trip West
    * Research Recommendations: Estimating Dates
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Corpus Christi Public Libraries, Texas
    * Stories of Interest
    * Ask the Webmaster
    * Save on Books by Gary Boyd Roberts
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Coming Soon in the Fall 2008 Issue of New England Ancestors

    An Interview with Eric B. Schultz, New NEHGS Chairman of the Board
    by Lynn Betlock

    A Tale of Two Women: Seventeenth-Century Coffin and Starbuck Matriarchs
    by Alison M. Gavin

    Researching Nantucketers: Using the Barney Genealogical Record and Other Resources
    by Georgen Gilliam Charnes and Lynn Betlock

    Notes on Nantucket Families
    by Gary Boyd Roberts

    Franklin’s Nantucket Connection
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    A Starbuck Surname Study
    by George Redmonds

    Suggestions for Researching Colonial New England Women
    by Marjorie Hubbell Gibson

    The Search for Sebastian Trabold’s Home in Germany
    by James R. Miller

    Using Passenger Lists to Trace Twentieth-Century British Immigrants to Canada
    by David Allen Lambert and Lynn Betlock

    “When traveling conditions permit”: The U.S. Passport Applications Database
    by Scott C. Steward

    How Did Great-Grandfather Vote? Uncovering Your Ancestors’ Political Affiliations
    by D. Joshua Taylor

    Notes on the 2008 Presidential Candidates
    by Gary Boyd Roberts and Christopher Challender Child

    Also in this issue:
    • Computer Genealogist: Communication Options for Genealogists
    • Genetics & Genealogy: Revised Conclusions from the Rice-Royce Y-DNA Study
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: The Hardinge Family Collection
    • Diaries at NEHGS: Selected Excerpts from John B. Dale’s Journal of the U.S. Barque Consort
    • Tales from the Courthouse: Native Americans and Africans in Nantucket Court Records

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.
    Subscription to New England Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

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    New Exhibit on Train Trip West

    The R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department presents a series of photographs documenting a train trip through the Southwest and West in the 1880s. These photographs are part of the John Hutchinson Cook Papers (Mss 318).

    The photograph album contains 90 pictures beginning with an unidentified group photograph in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The photographs record the trip south to New Orleans where they likely boarded the Southern Pacific Railroad’s “Sunset Limited,” which provided service from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The group of travelers then headed north to San Francisco and then onto Ogden, Utah, via the Overland Route, with stops at Cheyenne, Wyoming; Omaha, Nebraska; and Chicago.

    As recreational travel became popular in the 19th century, many railway lines had begun to advertise train trips west , often attracting upper class passengers who could afford the high price of tickets. Many, such as the Sunset Limited, offered Pullman sleeping cars and private cars for large groups.

    You can view the exhibit at

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    Research Recommendations: Estimating Dates
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    When you are researching and compiling your family history, you will often come across people for whom you have no exact date of birth, marriage, or death. When you cannot find documentation of the exact date, it is best to estimate the date from the information you do have.

    One can often calculate a year of birth from the age at death. Remember that there is a difference between someone who dies “ae 66 years” (which makes them born 66 years earlier) and someone who dies “in their 66th year” (which makes them born 65 years earlier). Dates of birth can also be estimated from census records, remembering that they can be off by a decade or more. The date of first marriage is helpful, estimating an average age of 25 for men and 21 for women. Dates of marriage can also be estimated by the ages of the children, being mindful that large gaps in the ages of children may indicate multiple marriages.

    When there is a will, one can place the death between the date of the will and the date it was entered into probate. When there is an administration, one can estimate the death prior to the date when administration of the estate was granted. If you are familiar with the probate laws of the area, you may be able to narrow down the date of death even further. The birth of a posthumous child to a father places his date of death within nine months of the birth.

    In all cases, it is preferable to have an estimated date than none at all. This will help you research more accurately, and make your compiled work easier to understand for the reader. Always clearly indicate that you are estimating the date, and how you arrived at that estimate.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ALICE (f) Norman French, derived by contraction from Germanic root adel- ‘noble’ via Latinized forms such as ADELICIA and Norman-French ALIS.

    Researchers in New England should note that under the spelling ‘Alis’/‘Allis’ and ‘Elis’/‘Ellis’ this name is often confused with abbreviations of the unrelated, Hebrew-derived ELIZABETH (sometimes abbreviated Ellis) so that a seventeenth-century colonist may be given two wives, Alice and Elizabeth, when in reality he was married only once. Diminutives ALISON and ALYSON date from medieval England; I have only rarely seen them in colonial New England, but they have revived with a vengeance in recent years.

    In August 2006, I was advised by Peter Murphy of Saint John, New Brunswick — an Irish-immigration historian — that often, particularly in families from the Irish-speaking West of Ireland, ALICE is used as an English equivalent of Irish EILIS (pronounced EYE-lish), the Irish equivalent of ELIZABETH.

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    New On

    Vital Records of Belchertown, Massachusetts

    These Belchertown vital records were copied from the originals by Walter E. Corbin. In 2003, Robert J. Dunkle transcribed Corbin’s records for publication on CD-ROM.

    Images of the records as compiled for the CD are available from the search results pages. Because this database is presented as an index to the records, it is necessary to view those record pages to understand the relationships between individuals mentioned.

    The numbers in brackets refer to the page number given to Corbin’s page number. The page number from the original record as given by Corbin appears in brackets preceded by the letter "P." In his transcription, Mr. Corbin compared the copy made in 1794 with the original and, where the original was lacking information due to wear and tear, supplied it, noting its use with red pen. We have shown these additions with the use of a smaller font size. There are also cases wherein Mr. Corbin used brackets that contained missing words or letters. These have been transcribed as he inserted them. In the case of twins, or two entries for the same parents or entry, Mr. Corbin would tie both entries together with the use of a large "{" surrounding both entries. The transcribers, not being able to use such a character, have placed single "{" before such entries signifying that they should be tied together. In the transcription, Mr. Corbin has inserted, with green ink, certain numbers which have not been transcribed. It would appear that these numbers were used to identify certain family vital statistics which were then used when he compiled his family genealogies.

    In many cases Mr. Corbin used ditto marks to show a repeat of the surname. For purposes of this transcription, the surname is shown on each line, replacing the ditto marks.

    This database includes 3,762 births, 2,516 marriage intentions, 2,793 marriages, 2,001 deaths, and 772 other records.

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    Spotlight: Corpus Christi Public Libraries, Texas
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The city of Corpus Christi located on the South Texas coast. It is the seat of Nueces County. The Corpus Christi Public Libraries has an archive of materials related to genealogy and local history. A number of these resources are available online. They include obituary databases, postcards, and four of the collections in Special Collections and Archives.

    Obituary Index
    The Obituary Index contains more than 200,000 obituaries for the period from January 1950 through April 2008. The obituaries were printed in the following newspapers: the Corpus Christi Caller, Corpus Christi Times, and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Researchers can choose to view the records or run a search of the database. Selecting “View” records will bring up an alphabetical list of records by decade. The data fields include last name, first name, date on which the obituary appeared, and page number. To search the database, enter a last name and/or first name in the search box. The data fields here include notice type in addition to last name, first name, date on which the obituary appeared, and page number. Patrons can request to five (5) photocopies per month. A self addressed stamped envelope must be included with your request.

    1883–1903 Select Index, Corpus Christi Caller and "Early Black History" Databases
    The records in this index of vital events and early “Black History” have been drawn from early issues of the Corpus Christi Caller. It covers the twenty-year period from 1883 to 1903. The vital events include births, deaths, marriage reports, and divorces. The data fields vary from database to database, but each one includes a description or comments field that provides detailed information about the event and its participants. The “Black History” database contains abstractions of all articles about the early history of Corpus Christi’s African-American community appearing in the Corpus Christi Caller between 1883 and 1903.

    The Local History Department’s postcard collection comprises more than 250 postcards of the people and places in Corpus Christi, dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Researchers can use the Finding Guide to view brief descriptions of individual postcards or run a keyword search using the Searchable Index to view more detailed descriptions of the postcards. The detailed description includes such information as the subject of the photo on the card, the approximate date, and any message written on the reverse of the card. Access a page of sample postcard images by clicking on the “postcard page” link.

    Special Collections
    Special Collections and Archives contain historical materials such as manuscripts, letters, photographs, maps and other documents. Currently, There are currently over 50,000 items in 160 collections. Using the search functions, researchers can search across all collections and view the contents of an individual collection or a collection. A separate search can be made of the photograph collection to locate for photographs not part of the collections listed above.

    Items from some of the collections have been uploaded to the website. There is La Retama Club, a women’s organization in Corpus Christi. The collection contains club histories, minutes, photographs, programs, and scrapbooks.

    Old Bayview Cemetery, which dates from 1845, is the oldest federal military cemetery in Texas. The online collections contain a history of the cemetery and an alphabetical listing of the burials by surname. Click on the name link to view information about the interment source (if there is no headstone), and items such as obituaries, as well as other information about public figures. If there is a headstone, the information may include the inscription and a photograph of the stone. There are links to events that affected the lives of people in Corpus Christi and caused many of them to take up residence in the cemetery — Mexican War 1845–1848; Civil War/Bombardment of Corpus Christi, 1862; Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1867; 1871 Storm; and 1874 Storm.

    The Women’s Monday Club collection contains programs, scrapbooks, minutes, and other historic documents. The club’s first meeting was held in 1897 and the club's members still meets today.

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    Stories of Interest

    Google to Digitize Newspaper Archives
    The leading internet search engine is starting a project similar to Google Books, only for newspapers. In addition to making the papers available on Google, they will provide newspapers with copies of the digitized material for access on their own websites.

    Cary Man Turned Over New Leaf to Dig Up Roots
    The News and Observer tells the story of Don Maynard, an only child who didn’t much keep in touch with relatives who was bitten by the genealogy bug and began tracing his family history.

    Skeleton in Britney Spears’ Family Closet
    This story in the Times about the London Metropolitan Archives breaks “scandalous” news about the great-grandparents of Britney Spears, George Anthony Portell and Lillian Esther Lewis.

    Display Marks Library’s 400-Year History
    A Fairfax, Virginia couple, including a fifteenth-generation descendant of the library’s founder, recently travelled to Norwich, England, to view the exhibit, which includes a Bible that belonged to the Boleyn family. Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII.

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    Ask the Webmaster

    Question: How do I find out the expiration date for my membership?

    Answer: Annual memberships must be renewed one year from joining. The month of renewal is indicated on your Permanent Membership Card. Your dues expiration also appears above your name next to your member number on the cover sheet used for mailing the Register and on the back of New England Ancestors magazine in the address block.

    You can renew your membership by contacting our Membership Department at 1-888-296-3447 or visiting

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

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    Save on Books by Gary Boyd Roberts

    The sales department is happy to offer NEHGS members a 15% discount on three titles by NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emritus Gary Boyd Roberts: Notable Kin, Volume 1; Notable Kin, Volume 2; and The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants will be on sale at a 15% discount to NEHGS members through September 17th, 2008. Not an NEHGS member? You can still save 10% on these titles.

    NEHGS members must be logged in to get the 15% discount. Orders can be placed online or by calling toll-free 1-888-296-3447.

    Notable Kin, Volume 1:

    Notable Kin, Volume 2:

    Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants (2008 edition):

    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:

    Scotch-Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America (Item P5-C0002BH)
    History of Queens County, Nova Scotia (Item P5-NS0001H)
    Thomas Youngs of Oyster Bay and His Descendants (Item P4-H28248)
    Roger Williams of Providence, RI and Descendants (Item P4-H27645)
    Nicholas White Family, 1643-1900 (Item P4-H27249)

    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

    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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