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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 40
    Whole #394
    October 1, 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.

    New NEHGS Videos

    NEHGS is pleased to have two new videos posted on Using our new RootsTelevision video player, NEHGS has posted video interviews with NEHGS archivist Judy Lucey and Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert. Judy discusses her work with the vast collection housed in the NEHGS archives. Numbering more than 12 million objects, the collections located at the 99 Newbury Street library are as impressive as any in the country. David discusses his role as the Online Genealogist for NEHGS, where he fields dozens of questions and requests for assistance every day from all over the world. The Online Genealogist is a free service for anyone visiting
    View videos now

    Address Change Reminder

    Many of our members have seasonal addresses. As we head into the fall, many of you will be moving to warmer climates. Don’t forget to notify the membership department of your change of address so that you will still receive timely delivery of the Register, New England Ancestors magazine, and other materials from the Society.

    You can reach the membership department at or toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time.

    Research Recommendations: English Handwriting 1500–1700: An Online Course

    by Michael J. Leclerc

    English Handwriting 1500–1700: An Online Course is a CERES COPIA project. The Cambridge English Renaissance Service (CERES) was started in 1996 to assist those working in the field of English Renaissance literature in getting the most use out of the developing internet. A few years ago the group launched CERES Online Publications Interactive (COPIA). The goal of COPIA is to publish new material online. The CERES websites are hosted by the faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. The handwriting course is their most recent offering.

    This course was designed for both beginning and advanced researchers. The project overview provides an excellent introduction to the course, explaining which materials are best suited for beginners and which for experienced researchers. They even provide information on how to configure your computer for the best experience for the course. I was particularly pleased to see the following notice:

    “Further, we have for the present been forced to restrict proper functioning of the site to pc machines running Microsoft's Internet Explorer. This restriction is particularly odious to the site editor, and we hope to lift it very soon. (If by any chance you are a skilled programmer and would like to donate a rich-text-editing solution for a Macintosh platform running Netscape, we would be very glad to hear from you.)”

    The good news for Mac users is they seem to have found a Mac programmer. The program works well on Safari operating with Leopard. Whether you are a Mac user or one of that other kind, make sure you have the most recent version of Flash installed on your machine.

    The site is divided into several sections: Welcome, Project Overview, Acknowledgements; Course Lessons, Historical Introduction, Handwriting Manual (1618), Transcription Conventions, Dating and Describing Hands, Bibliography and Research Resources, Alphabets, Index of Manuscript Images, and Sample Transcriptions.

    The Historical Introduction provides an excellent background to early handwriting as well as to the materials used in writing. The producers of this site clearly enjoy their work, and their sense of humor shines through with lines like “Different writing surfaces might also call for inks of different viscosity. School desks and privy walls presented their own problems, but the commonest writing surfaces were paper and vellum, or parchment.”

    The Handwriting Manual is one that was published in 1618, and will help greatly in understanding writing. The pages are loaded individually. For those unfamiliar with the terms f. 3r stands for folio 3 recto, or the front side of page three. f. 3v stands for folio 3 verso, or the reverse side of page 3.

    The Basic Conventions for Transcription should be required reading for everyone who is attempting to even read early documents, let alone transcribe them. Here you will learn the significance of superscript characters, brevigraphs, tildes, and other abbreviations. You will find excellent information on letter forms, including one of my pet peeves, the inappropriate substitution of the letter y for the ancient letter (known as ‘thorn’). The thorn represented a ‘th’ sound, so when you see words like “yat” or “ye,” you should transcribe them as “that” or “the.”

    A discussion of the various hands used in writing will be helpful to you, as well as the Alphabets section, which provides images of letters written in different hands. A bibliography provides many additional resources for you.

    The sample transcriptions in the lessons come from early documents in the collections of Cambridge College. Because the site is designed to promote English Renaissance literature, many of the documents are from literature as opposed to records. That said, being able to read early handwriting in different hands is very beneficial, and will assist you greatly in interpreting colonial-era American documents.

    This website is a must-visit for anyone working with early documents, whether in colonial America or the British Isles. Take the course now.


    Name Origins

    by Julie Helen Otto

    ROBERT (m): Norman French. One of the most popular male given names in English and many other languages.

    ROBERTA (f): Feminine form of ROBERT.

    ROBERTINA (f): Diminutive feminine form of ROBERT, not often seen.

    New On

    Families of Ancient New Haven, Volumes 5–8

    Families of Ancient New Havenis an eight-volume work created by Donald Lines Jacobus between 1923 and 1932. These volumes were originally published as New Haven Genealogical Magazine, predecessor of The American Genealogist. This work contains over 65,000 names of early Connecticut settlers and their descendants. In the second and final installment, we present volumes 5–8. From the introduction to Volume 1:

    “The following compilation includes the families of the ancient town of New Haven, covering the present towns of New Haven, East Haven, North Haven, Hamden, Bethany, Woodbridge and West Haven. These families are brought down to the heads of families in the First Census (1790), and include the generation born about 1790 to 1800. Descendants in the male line who removed from this region are also given, if obtainable, to about 1800, unless they have been adequately set forth in published genealogies.

    "It is intended to give every record of birth or baptism to 1800, every record of marriage to 1810, and every record of death of individuals born prior to 1800 in the above towns. All dates derived from the public records are followed by an abbreviated reference in italics, indicating their source. A key to these abbreviations is provided. The vital records of six towns, the registers of seven churches, and the inscriptions in twenty-seven graveyards have been copied. The probate, land and court records have been searched, as far as they relate to families that settled in this region prior to 1750. Much material has also been gathered from probate and town records of districts and towns outside of this region. Dates not followed by symbols are usually from printed authorities which, although unverified, are considered trustworthy.”

    Spotlight: Georgia Historical and Genealogical Resources Online

    by Valerie Beaudrault

    University of Georgia Libraries/Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library

    The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Georgia Libraries has an online collection of rare maps. Click on the Rare Map Collection link to access the collection’s main page. The collection contains more than 800 historic maps from the sixteenth century to the early twentieth century. The majority of these maps are of the state of Georgia and the surrounding area. The online collection is organized around several themes, many of which relate to time periods in the discovery and development of the region. They include early maps of the New World, Colonial America, Revolutionary America, Revolutionary Georgia, Union & Expansion, American Civil War, and the transformation of the state from Frontier to New South. There are two additional sets of maps that deal with the importance of Savannah and the Coast in Georgia’s development and the role of transportation in “getting the crops to the market, Sherman to the sea, and, nowadays, everybody to Disney World.” Website users are advised to heed the warning that the maps were scanned at high resolution and, therefore, are large files that may take a long time to download.

    The Gwinnett Historical Society

    Gwinnett County is located in north central Georgia. Its county seat is Lawrenceville. The Gwinnett Historical Society has a database that contains an alphabetical listing of the cemeteries located in Gwinnett County. The information provided includes cemetery name, code and location. The location field sometimes includes information on when the cemetery was established and details about removals. Even cemeteries containing a single grave have been included. To access the list, click on the Cemetery link in the index on the society’s homepage.

    Live Oak Public Libraries

    The Live Oak Public Libraries serve Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties in eastern Georgia. Among the resources on the libraries’ website is the Savannah Morning News obituary database. To access this resource, click on the Research link at the top of the website’s homepage. The link to the database is in the contents list under Genealogy. The obituary index covers the years 1916–1926 and 1987–1996. The database can be searched by last name and limited by city and date of publication. The data fields include full name of the deceased, city, date of the obituary, and section, page and column information.

    Stories of Interest

    Election Quandary for Hermosa Woman
    82-year-old Louise Mohler has always voted Republican, but this year she is seriously considering changing her vote. The biggest reason: genealogy.

    Politics Drive DeLand Woman’s Family History
    Annie Lee (Cherry) Ladd was born in Dothan, Alabama in 1905. She recently spoke to Daytona News-Journal correspondent Ralph Epifanio about her life, and how politics affected it.

    Case of the Lost Family History
    Reporter Laura Kitching of the Dorset Echo in England writes about Caroline Kelly, owner of a Victorian home in Weymouth. Kelly recently discovered a suitcase full of letters, photographs, and invitations dating back to World War I.

    Ask the Webmaster

    Q. Why does my web browser close after viewing a few images in the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841–1910 database?

    A. Some users are experiencing a problem where their browser closes after viewing 5 or 6 images with the MrSID plug-in. We suggest that you make sure that both your browser and PC are updated with the most recent Microsoft patches and updates. It has been our experience that these updates and patches help to resolve the issue.

    Each week our IT department answer questions about the NEHGS family of websites:,,,, and Questions can be submitted to For more information feel free to contact the IT department at or Member Services is open from 9am to 5pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday at 1-888-296-3447.

    Pre-Publication Sale on Indian Deeds

    The NEHGS Sales Department is now taking pre-orders for the new softcover edition of Indian Deeds: Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony, 1620-1692 by Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs. First published in hardcover in 2002, Indian Deeds makes accessible to researchers more than four hundred Native American land references from Plymouth Colony Court records. David Allen Lambert, tribal historian of the Massachuset-Punkapoag Indians, says, “Research in these land deeds will offer greater insight into the genealogical identity of Wampanoag, Nauset, and Massachuset families.”

    We are offering free book rate/economy shipping for orders placed between now and October 17th, 2008 (UPS/standard shipping will be charged at the discounted rate of $5.00). NEHGS members can also take 10% off the retail price of $29.95 for orders placed by October 17th, 2008. We expext to ship books by the end of October.

    To order, please go to or call us toll free at 1-888-296-3447.

    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:

    Gen. of the Descendants of Rev. Jacob Price, Evangelist-Pioneer(Item P4-H21729)
    Genealogy of the Santee Family in America (Item P4-H22992)
    Rev. Peter Prudden & His Decendants in America: Two Volumes (Item P4-H21804)
    Dedham, MA, Historical Register, Volumes I-XIV (Item P5-MA0342H)
    History of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska (Item P5-NE0004H)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online at

    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 Descendants of Thomas Brigham

    Thursday, October 2, 2008, 6:00 PM–7:00 PM
    Join award-winning author and NEHGS genealogist of the Newbury Street Press Rhonda R. McClure for a discussion of her forthcoming book on the descendants of Thomas Brigham. This new genealogy of the Brigham family is a comprehensive update to the century old History of the Brigham Family: a record of several thousand descendants of Thomas Brigham the emigrant, 1603–1653.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    Native and Newcomer: Genealogical Perspectives on Native Americans in Colonial Massachusetts
    Saturday, October 4, 2008, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
    Join New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Partnership of Historic Bostons for a day-long seminar examining genealogical topics in the relationship between Native Americans and early immigrants to Boston and the surrounding the communities. In a three-part program, David Allen Lambert, NEHGS online genealogist, Ramona Peters, a former member of the Mashpee Tribal Council Board of Directors, and R. Andrew Pierce, professional genealogist, will present case studies and histories of the Massachuset Ponkapoag, the Mashpee, and the Wampanoag of Martha's Vineyard.
    Program Schedule:
    10:00am Welcome
    10:15am–11:15am A Genealogical Case Study of the Massachuset Ponkapoag, David Allen Lambert
    11:30am–12:30pm Tribal Family, Gifts and Burdens of Inheritance, Ramona Peters
    12:45pm Lunch (provided)
    1:15pm–2:15pm The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha's Vineyard, MA, R. Andrew Pierce
    2:15pm–2:45pm Panel Question and Answer Session.
    This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required. Please RSVP at or call 617-226-1226.

    Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom & Fortune in the American Revolution
    Monday, October 6, 2008, 6:00 PM
    Robert H. Patton, grandson of famed General George S. Patton, will present an illuminating look at an underappreciated chapter of the Revolutionary War: the daring, and faintly disreputable, privateer war on British maritime interests; ''a pleasing mixture of high-seas adventure and shrewd analysis" (Kirkus Reviews).
    Join NEHGS for Mr. Patton's presentation followed by book signing and reception.
    Donations of twenty-dollars per reservation will kindly be accepted to support the NEHGS distinguished author series.
    R.S.V.P. by Wednesday, October 1 at 617-226-1226 or

    Searching the NEHGS Online Library Catalog
    Wednesday, October 15, 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.

    Untapped Resources: Your Ancestors' Political Affiliations
    Wednesday, October 29, 6:00 PM
    Political parties have shaped the history of America, and all political parties had members! Come discover how to find those party records; including voting, fundraising, and meeting records from the early 1800s to the late 1950s. Find your ancestors' political records with D. Joshua Taylor.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    Seminars and Tours

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

    Correction: The dates of Come Home to New England are incorrectly stated in the recently mailed Education Programs and Research Tours brochure. The program dates are June 22-27, 2009 and August 10-15, 2009.

    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.

    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 (1710-1774), 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).

    More information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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