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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 10, No. 46
    Whole #400
    November 12, 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 October 2008 Issue of the Register
    Research Recommendations:
    Name Origins
    New On
    Spotlight: Canadian Patents Database
    Stories of Interest
    Ask the Webmaster
    Boston Beheld
    Upcoming Education Programs
    NEHGS Contact Information 

    Coming Soon in the October 2008 Issue of the Register

    The English Background of Richard Kent Sr. and Stephen Kent of Newbury, Massachusetts, and Mary, Wife of Nicholas Easton of Newport, Rhode Island
    by Jane Fletcher Fiske

    The Correct Parents of Thankful Stearns, Wife of Cyrus Knapp of Wardsborough South District (Dover), Windham County, Vermont
    by Helen A. Shaw and Barbara (Shaw) Hanno

    Identifying the Family of Rev. Leonard Frost (1782–1859) of Massachusetts,New Hampshire, and Vermont
    by Joan A. Hunter

    Genealogical Material on the Willet and Saffin Families from the Notebook of John Saffin
    by Robert Wayne Hart

    Richard1 Godfrey of Taunton, Massachusetts, and His Children and Grandchildren
    by Helen Schatvet Ullmann (continued from 162:198)

    Richard Scarritt of New London and Branford, Connecticut
    by Diane LeBlanc Delbridge (concluded from 162:211)

    Gowen1 Wilson of Hingham, Exeter, and Kittery (concluded from 162:180)
    by Ken Stevens

    Additions and Corrections

    Reviews of Books and CD-ROMs

    Index of Subjects in Volume 162

    Index of Persons in Volume 162


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    Research Recommendations:

    by Michael J. Leclerc

    It is easier than ever to publish your family history, thanks to technological advances and the World Wide Web. In the past I have discussed print-on-demand websites like This time I would like to talk about another major player — The Cafepress motto is “Shop, sell or create what’s on your mind.”

    It is easy to publish a book on Cafepress, and the costs are easy to calculate. You create a PDF file based on their specifications, upload it, along with cover art, select a binding, choose a price, and you are ready to go. One drawback to Cafepress over other sites (such as is that they offer only softcover binding. Even that binding is only offered as spiral bound (with a wire), saddle stitch (like a comic book or magazine), or perfect bound (like a regular paperback book). Not all bindings are available in all sizes.

    Cafepress has a learning section that walks you through the process in simple, easy-to-read English. The help section is easy to navigate, and customer service is available for those questions to which you still cannot find an answer.

    I found numerous genealogical books on, from compiled genealogies — such as The O’Neills, Volume I — to how-to books — such as The Desperate Genealogist’s Idea Book from Dead Fred. For each book, I got a description of the title, a synopsis, an image of the front and back cover, and publication details.

    One great thing about Cafepress is that you can create many things other than books. CDs, signs, bumper stickers, magnets, coffee mugs, cards, stationery, t-shirts, ornaments, and more, can all be created. I saw a mug that said “Genealogy: where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.” You can even buy a flip camcorder for under $200 that has your own design on it.

    If you are not interested in publishing, you should still visit You may find a little-known genealogy of your family on there, as well as a magnet that will look perfect on your refrigerator.

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    Name Origins

    by Julie Helen Otto

    HELEN (f): This name has come down from Mycenaean Greece as the name of one of the great beauties: Helen of Troy, married to Menelaus, King of Sparta, but given by the goddess Aphrodite to Paris, Prince of Troy. The name was particularly popular in the Christian Middle Ages, as well as in the Romantic period, when several literary heroines bore the name.

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    New On

    Index to Massachusetts Births, 1911–1915

    We are pleased to release the index to 1911–1915 Massachusetts births in five parts over five weeks. This week, we present the index to the 103,600 births recorded in 1914. At this time, our database contains the index to these records. We do not yet have digital versions of the record pages. We plan to make these record images available in the future.

    Until the digital images are available, you may view the records on microfilm at the NEHGS Boston research library, or you may order photocopies from Research Services.

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    Spotlight: Canadian Patents Database

    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Canadian Patents Database is housed on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website. The database has an interactive search designed to help researchers perform searches on Canadian patent information. It contains patent documents for the period from 1869 to the present. It is indexed and updated on a daily basis. The website is available in both English and French. You can toggle back and forth between both languages on every page.

    The electronic patent data available through the database consists of patent document images as well as bibliographic and text data. The text for “abstracts and claims” granted prior to August 15, 1978 is not available online. You can only search the earlier patents by patent number, titles, owner or inventor names, or classification.

    Researchers can search the database by the invention’s 8-digit patent number, or they can run a text-based search. You can search for text in the following fields: Inventor, Inventor Country, Owners, Applicant, Title, Abstract, Claims, IPC — International Patent Code, CPC — Canadian Patent Code, PCT Filing Number, and International Publication Number. The Basic Search allows you to search by keywords. Using the Boolean Text Search you can enter text for up to three of the text fields in the database and one of the date fields. With Advanced Text Search you can enter text for all of the text fields in your search and for one of the date fields. The images are not searchable.

    Click on the patent document number on the search results screen to view the details of an individual patent document, including bibliographic information, abstract, and claim. To view a document image, click on the hyperlink of the document. Images can be downloaded in Adobe PDF format by clicking on the hyperlink of the document. Not all of the patents in the database have images. You can order copies of patent documents by emailing

    I ran a basic search for inventions by my second cousin four times removed, William Streeter Richardson. He held three U.S. patents for snap fasteners that he invented, including a snap designed to fasten kid gloves. I was surprised and pleased to find the database contained two matches in the 1,968,054 records searched. William Streeter Richardson filed patents in Canada for two of his inventions. Unfortunately there are no images for these patents, as images are not available for patents registered before prior to 1920.

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    Stories of Interest

    U. of Virginia Will Create Virtual Tours of 5 Colonial Williamsburg Sites
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the university will create digital recreations of these historic sites.

    Hurlburt Airman’s Family History of Service Traces From Civil War
    This story of a father and son, both serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, discusses the family’s ancestor Theodore Davis, an artist and war correspondent in the Civil War.

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    Ask the Webmaster

    Q. NEHGS offers such wonderful lectures in your building, but I live too far away to attend a lecture or seminar in Boston. Do you offer any online lectures or seminars?

    A. You can find a complete listing of NEHGS online seminars presented by our staff of genealogists at New seminars are added on a regular basis.

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    Boston Beheld

    The NEHGS Sales Department is proud to offer the new book by NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons, Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views. Offering a unique collection of more than sixty original works of art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Boston Beheld depicts scenes from a bygone era not immediately recognizable to the modern eye. In this stunning and informative volume of full-color period images by professional and amateur artists alike, you will discover sweeping vistas, lively street scenes, and elegant edifices that reveal Boston as a youthful and vibrant town. Selected from both public and private collections by D. Brenton Simons and ranging from fine art to folk art, these works capture the multifaceted character of a sometimes quaint place that has given way to a modern metropolis with the attendant urban sprawl.

    Boston Beheld offers a portfolio of rarely seen views of the town John Winthrop famously called a “city upon a hill.” Bostonians are seen engaged in everyday commerce, strolling along tree-lined streets, parading on the Common, navigating the harbor, and fomenting historic events. Each image is accompanied by descriptive text highlighting famous landmarks, points of interest, and quotes from famous residents and travelers. From the North End to the South Bay, Boston Beheld offers an ever fascinating and occasionally poignant portrait of a beloved city known now only through these images and the historical record.

    Boston Beheld is $35.00. We are offering free book rate/economy shipping for orders placed between before December 1st, 2008. (UPS/standard shipping will be charged at the discounted rate of $5.00). Please note that book rate shipping can take 10-20 business days to arrive.

    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:

    Chronicles of New Brunsick, NJ, 1667–1931(Item P5-NJ0125H)
    Dover, NH, Marriages, 1623–1823 (Item P5-NH0159H)
    History of Harrison County, Mississippi (Item P5-MS0008AH)
    History of Wabasha County, Minnesota (Item P5-MN0030H)
    Military History of Wayne County, NY, in the Civil War (Item P5-NY0395H)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online.

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    Upcoming Education Programs


    The Muse of the Revolution: Mercy Otis Warren
    Monday, November 17, 2008, 6:00 PM
    Join NEHGS and award-winning author Nancy Rubin Stuart for the “story of how Mercy Otis Warren’s dedication to original patriotic ideals of the Revolution contributed to its eventual success and then critically informed the creation of American state.” Drawn from the correspondence of Mercy Otis Warren and the letters of colonial patriots, including John and Abigail Adams, George and Martha Washington and Henry Knox, The Muse of the Revolution: The Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation is a tale not to be missed.
    Advanced registration is required. $10 admission. To RSVP please call 617-226-1226 or email

    Living in the Past: Esther Williams and Her Relics
    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 , 6:00 PM
    Donald Friary, president of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and director emeritus of Historic Deerfield will present the interesting case of a woman who seemed to have added nothing to her household after the American Revolution. Based on the 1800 probate inventory of Esther Williams, widow of a Deerfield Tory, who was surrounded by old forms of furniture and French and Indian War heroes. There are no card tables or sideboards or maps of the new nation or images of Washington. She was living in the past.

    Uncovering Your Family History in Federal Documents & Publications
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 , 10:00 AM
    U.S. government publications are valuable resources for family history and historical research. But which ones are of use to family historians? Learn how to use and find U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Serial Set, and other publications in designated library collections around the country. Join Connie Reik, M.S.L., M.A., Government Publications Coordinator and Reference Librarian at Tisch Library, Tufts University to discover your family in federal documents.

    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.

    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).

    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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