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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 11, No. 11
    Whole #418
    March 18, 2009
    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.

    * Irish Immigrant Bible Records
    * The Pioneer Valley in the California Gold Rush
    * Research Recommendations: Library of Virginia
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Cemetery Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Question of the Day
    * A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, Second Edition, Now Available
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Irish Immigrant Bible Records

    The primary goal in Irish-American genealogical research is finding the exact place of origin in Ireland. Searching for our ancestors begins on this side of the Atlantic in U.S. records. If family papers have  been preserved they can offer valuable clues to our ancestor's origins. Over the next few weeks we will feature three bible records  belonging to Irish immigrant families. This week we are featuring the Bible record for the John Gough Family, 1822-1878, which you can view at

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    The Pioneer Valley in the California Gold Rush

    The Pioneer Valley History Network (PVHN) has received a grant from Mass Humanities, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to fund “California Dreamin’: The Pioneer Valley in the California Gold Rush,” a research inventory project to identify artifacts and documents in the Pioneer Valley related to the California Gold Rush.

    Beginning 160 years ago, the Gold Rush was an important event in American history. It had an enormous impact on migration, land development, the slavery debate, and the nation’s economy. Many pioneers from western Massachusetts played important roles in the development of California, and many of those who returned to New England built on their western adventures to achieve positions of stature and importance in our communities.

    As part of this project, PVHN seeks information about any objects or documents in the three counties of the Pioneer Valley (Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin) that relate to the California Gold Rush. They are also compiling an online database of known pioneers from this area. To view the database, or for more information on the project, visit the PVHN website at

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    Research Recommendations: Library of Virginia
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The Library of Virginia (LVA) was founded by the General Assembly in 1823 to manage the books and official records of the Commonwealth dating back to the early colonial period. The library was housed in the Capitol in Richmond until a new library and office building was constructed in 1895. In 1940 it outgrew this space and moved to a new building adjacent to City Hall. In 1997 the library moved to its current six-story building. The library has always worked diligently to provide access to the materials in its collections, and has taken advantage of recent technological developments, such as the internet, to make it easier to access information.

    The LVA website includes a sophisticated search page that allows you to search many different catalogs at once, or limit your search to a specific area. You can also search a number of different online record collections. Among the valuable collections available are several newspaper marriage and obituary notice indexes, WPA Life Histories Collection, photograph collections, historic building surveys, and biographical sketches.

    A large number of military records have been digitized, including Revolutionary War bounty warrants, land office military certificates, public service claims, and state pensions; Index to War of 1812 Pay Rolls and Muster Rolls; and World War I History Commission Questionnaires. Also available are Confederate Disability Applications and Receipts, Confederate Pensions Rolls for veterans and widows, Index to Virginia Confederate Rosters, and Index to Confederate Veteran Magazine. The pension files are filled with valuable information about births, marriages, and deaths as well as other family details. You can also find more details about an ancestor’s military service as well.

    LVA also operates the Virginia Memory website at In addition to the searchable databases also available on the main LVA site, you can find general information about Virginia history, a chronology of the Commonwealth, online exhibitions from the collections, and an online classroom for use by educators.

    The main LVA website is at, but they have also just launched a beta version of their new website, which you can view at If you have Virginia ancestors, LVA is a must-visit place.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    CLEMENT (m): Derived from the Latin clemens (“mild, merciful”), this name is seen from the classical period on. When it does occur here in the Colonial period, particularly in Connecticut, CLEMENT is often a marker for the Minor/Miner family.

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    New On

    New Netherland Connections, Volume 10

    This week, we are adding the contents of New Netherland Connections, Volume 10, from 2005. This represents an additional 2,889 names. The remaining issues of New Netherland Connections will be added in the future.

    Begun in 1996, New Netherland Connections is a genealogical quarterly that aims to help people trying to identify and document their New Netherland ancestors and their descendants. It focuses on New York and New Jersey in the Dutch colonial period (1624–1664). Each issue runs to about 28 pages, and includes feature articles, items of Dutch colonial interest, queries (of any length), and replies to queries. Images of the original journal pages are available from the search results pages. The remaining volumes will be added to the database in the future.

    Subscriptions to the printed journal may be ordered from Dorothy A. Koenig, Editor, 1232 Carlotta Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707.  She may also be contacted by email at

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    Spotlight: Cemetery Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Sanbornton Historical Society, New Hampshire
    Sanbornton is a central New Hampshire town located in Belknap County at the fork of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers. One purpose of the Sanbornton Historical Society is to organize and preserve historical material, and to make it available for study. To that end the Society has made burial ground information available on its website. One hundred thirty-six Sanbornton burial grounds have been catalogued. The cemetery-related information has been organized in three different ways. There are alphabetical ‘by surname’ lists of individuals buried in the cemeteries. The data fields in this index are last name, first name, middle initial, maiden name, title/rank (M.D., GAR, Reverend, WWI), spouse, parents, year of birth, year of death, age, grave number, graveyard name, and cemetery number. You will also find two databases of burial grounds located in Sanbornton. One has been organized by burial ground surname. Click on the Burial Ground Surname link to access the alphabetical list of cemeteries. The data fields include the surname of the burial ground, the number of graves, and location information including GSP coordinates. The third database containing the Burial Ground List is sorted by the numbers/names used in Runnel’s 1882 History of Sanbornton. The data fields for this index are the same as those of the database described above.

    The Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, New York

    While researching a second cousin five times removed, Helen Jewett, who was murdered in Manhattan on April 10, 1836, I came across this website. I had found her death record and it stated that she was buried at Trinity. I wondered exactly what that meant and where it was. There was the Trinity Churchyard at Wall Street, but that seemed unlikely. I began to search the web and came up The Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum website, which has searchable database of registers of the Parish of Trinity Church. To access the search page for the database, click on the Registers & Churchyards link. The baptismal records date from 1769 to June 1885, the marriage records from 1746 to 1886, and the burial records from 1777 to 2003. The registers cover the baptisms, marriages and burials performed at Trinity Church, Wall Street, as well as those performed at separate chapels in Manhattan previously run by the Parish of Trinity. The database can be searched by name and type of record, and limited by date.

    There are links to the Trinity Churchyard and St. Paul’s Churchyard burying grounds on the Registers & Churchyards page, as well. Clicking on either of these links opens a new page where you can read selected stories of colorful figures buried in these churchyards, browse the churchyard by section, or search the burials by name. To browse by churchyard click on the link to open a cemetery map. Next click on a section of the map to bring up and enlargement of the section showing headstone icons. Then click on a headstone to access information about the individual(s) buried in the plot.

    I found the burial record I was looking for in the Parish Register database. It was indexed under “Ellen” Jewett and the record stated that she was buried at St. John’s Cemetery on April 11, 1836. It took me a bit of searching to find the cemetery, but I finally did. As it turns out, St. John's Burying Ground was located at Clarkson, Le Roy, and Hudson Streets in Lower Manhattan. The burying ground was used from 1802 to the 1850s. In 1896 the property was conveyed to the City of New York and then was turned into a playground. Some of the remains and stones were removed from the cemetery while others are still buried beneath the playground.

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    Stories of Interest

    A Tour of Irish Boston celebrates St. Patrick's Day with a Tour of Irish Boston. From the Rose Fitgerald Kennedy Greenway to the Irish Famine Memorial, you can walk parts of the city's Irish Heritage Trail in this video.

    World War I Records Rediscovered (The World)
    In the Red Cross War Dead Archive (BBC News)
    British historian Peter Barton recently rediscovered a trove of records of the British Red Cross during WWI. Listen to the podcast story by The World's Matthew Bell. You can also watch a BBC News video of Barton exploring the archives.

    Moneygall, Ireland: A Village of Obama Family-Tree Huggers
    Residents of this small Irish town are quite proud of their connection to President Obama through his great-great-great-grandfather, who emigrated from here.

    From Deeds of Yore, a Window to History
    Plymouth County, Massachusetts, register of deeds John R. Buckley, Jr., explains how the registry has pulled historically significant documents from Plymouth Colony and put them on display for all to see at the registry in this Boston Globe story.

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    Question of the Day

    Each day (M-F), David Lambert, the NEHGS Online Genealogist, will post an interesting "Question of the Day" on to share with you. We hope these questions are valuable and beneficial in your research. Check back daily for new questions and answers or read through our archives. Following is one question asked this week. You are invited to submit research questions to David Allen Lambert at Please note that he will make every effort to reply to each message, but will respond on a first come, first-served basis. In some cases he may need to refer individuals to the NEHGS Research Service for more in-depth research services for a fee. You can view more questions of the day at

    My ancestor is listed in the U.S. censuses of 1910 and 1920 as residing in the Foxborough State Hospital, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. I believe that his wife divorced him around 1920. Where could I see the record of commitment with his diagnosis? What medical and legal records might be available on him?

    Mental health records in Massachusetts are not open for inspection. Even when you are a family member, there is considerable red tape. For instance, my own grandfather was committed to the Rutland [Massachusetts] State Sanatorium in the 1940s. Even though this was a state tuberculosis hospital, the records are still closed.

    I contacted the Massachusetts State Archives to see if they had records for state hospitals. In most cases the answer is yes; however, the archives informed me that the Foxboro records are now under the custody of the Taunton State Hospital. The latter’s phone number, 508-822-7551, is connected to an answering machine. The mailing address is Taunton State Hospital, 60 Hodges Ave. Ext., Taunton, MA 02780.

    Prior to 1922, Massachusetts divorces were handled on the Superior Court level. If you know the county and the year you suspect the divorce occurred, you can contact Elizabeth Bouvier, Archivist, Judicial Archives, 16th Floor, High Rise Courthouse, 3 Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02109.

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    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, Second Edition, Now Available

    NEHGS is happy to announce the arrival of the long-awaited A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, Second Edition, by NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert. For each known cemetery in the state, this newly revised guidebook gives the year of consecration or oldest stone or burial, location, printed and manuscript sources for the records, and contact information. Includes citations to published transcriptions of gravestones listings and a full index of cemeteries. David has spent years accumulating corrections and additions to this work, and extends his tremendous gratitude to the many individuals, such as Marsha Hoffman Rising, Penny Straton, and Judy Lucey, who assisted him so greatly in the process.

    The book is priced at $17.95 plus shipping. NEHGS members can take 10% off by logging into the NEHGS website using their membership number.

    To order, visit or call us toll free at 1-888-296-3447.

    Price does not include shipping

    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:

    Genealogical Data from Bristol, Connecticut Cemeteries (Item P5-CT0339H)
    Descendants of Richard Woody of England and Massachusetts (Item P4-H28026)
    Descendants of Robert Taylor of Pennsylvania (Item P4-H25209)
    Records of the First Church of Rowley, Massachusetts (Item P5-MA0088H)
    Centennial History of Kutztown, Pennsylvania (Item P5-PA0208H)

    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 99 Newbury Street unless otherwise indicated. For more information, please contact Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or

    You can view a full listing of upcoming programs:


    Digging Your Ancestors Out of American State Papers & The U.S. Serial Set
    Saturday, March 21, 2009, 10:00 AM
    You have probably heard of the American State Papers and its private claims, but have you heard of the great treasures you can find in The U.S. Serial Set? What is the Serial Set and what will you find there? Join Connie Reik, M.S.L., M.A., Government Publications Coordinator and Reference Librarian at Tisch Library, Tufts University to learn how to search these resources efficiently for maximum results.

    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.

    NEHGS Weekend Seminar—Phoenix, Arizona
    Saturday, March 21, 2009, 9:30 AM–4:00 PM
    Join expert genealogists from the New England Historic Genealogical Society for a one-day seminar devoted to best practices in family history research and presentations to help you find your New England ancestors.

    The conference will be held at The Foothills Golf Club, 2201 East Clubhouse Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85048. Registration includes a continental breakfast and deli lunch buffet. For directions, please visit

    The featured speakers will be Michael J. Leclerc, NEHGS director of special projects, and Christopher C. Child, genealogist of the Newbury Street Press. Topics will include, Internet research methodology, DNA and its uses in genealogy, migrations from Western Massachusetts in 1790 and local resources for Arizona genealogists. Registration is $55 for members, $65 for non-members. To register, please call 617-226-1226.

    Massachusetts Archives Research Day
    Thursday, March 26, 2009
    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. Please call 617-226-1226 or email to register.

    Spring Research Getaway
    Thursday, April 16–Saturday, April 18, 2009
    Weekend Research Getaways in Boston are among the most popular NEHGS programs in recent years. Escape to 99 Newbury Street and experience a guided research program with one-on-one consultations and special access to the collections. Whether you are new to genealogy or have participated in an NEHGS research program before, a visit to our Boston library to experience our expert staff and vast collections will surely further your research.
    Since 1845 the NEHGS library has collected a vast number of compiled genealogies, local histories, census records, vital records, deeds, probates, and military records. The library has the latest in print, microtext, CD-ROM, and Internet resources. NEHGS also provides a highly trained research staff of professional genealogists who are eager to help you in your genealogical endeavors. While the strength of our collection is in American, English, Irish, Scottish, and Canadian records, with documents spanning seven centuries and covering more than 110 million names, we are able to provide important and essential information on more than just early American families. In addition to our rich archive, we have more than a dozen full-time professional genealogists who have significant experience and knowledge of German, Italian, African-American, Caribbean, French, Native-American, Jewish and Latin American records.
    Registration fees: $300 per registrant for full three-day program; $110 per registrant for single-day program. Registration includes a continental breakfast daily and two group meals.

    English Family History Tour
    Sunday, May 17–Sunday, May 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).

    Come Home to New England
    Monday, June 22–Saturday, June 27, 2009
    The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society invites you to participate in our classic intensive weeklong 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 fees: $750 per registrant; $125 per non-researching guest.

    Newfoundland Research Tour
    Sunday, July 12–Sunday, July 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).

    Come Home to New England
    Monday, August 10–Saturday, August 15, 2009
    The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society invites you to participate in our classic intensive weeklong 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 fees: $750 per registrant; $125 per non-researching guest.

    Scottish Family History Research Tour
    Sunday, September 20–Sunday, September 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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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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