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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 11, No. 23
    Whole #430
    June 10, 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.

    * New Online Exhibit
    * Holiday Closure
    * Research Recommendations: FamilySearch Record Search
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Obituary and Newspaper Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Question of the Day
    * Used and Remaindered Book Sale
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    New Online Exhibit

    The publication in March of 2008 of a rare photograph of Helen Keller with her teacher Miss Annie Sullivan generated worldwide interest. To this day, we continue to receive inquiries from all over the world.

    In January of this year, David Lambert, our online genealogist, was contacted by a woman in Canada whose Pakistani friend met Helen Keller when Helen visited her school in Karachi in 1961. Our archivist, Tim Salls, contacted the Pakistani woman, Ms. Asma Ahmed, who was visiting family in Toronto at the time. She has kindly donated a photograph along with her account of meeting Helen.

    View the photograph of Asma Ahmed and Helen Keller, and read Asma's story, at

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    Holiday Closure

    The Society's office will be closed in celebration of the Independance Day holiday. The administrative offices will be closed on Friday, July 3. The research library will be open on Friday, July 3, and closed on Saturday, July 4.

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    Research Recommendations: FamilySearch Record Search
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Have you checked out the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot Site recently? This site is quickly becoming a major resource for research. Taking the millions of reels of microfilm in the Family History Library and making them available online is a daunting task, but the staff is working diligently to make that happen. The Record Search site is the latest iteration of accessing the vast collections.

    As of today there are 115 collections from around the world available online in one way or another. In addition to the United States and Canada, you will find collections from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Some of these collections have images only. Others have indexes only. Some have a combination of the two, and still others have both searchable indexes and images.

    Navigation of the site is quite easy, with plentiful dropdown boxes as well as text-entry boxes. Each collection has a brief description on the first page, with more detailed information available under an About This Collection link. The About This Collection information includes sections like:

    • How to Use This Record
    • Why the Record Was Created
    • Record History
    • Record Description
    • Record Coverage
    • Record Content
    • Record Reliability

    The viewer on this site is without a doubt the best viewer I’ve seen on a genealogy website. It requires no additional software, although you may be asked to download the most recent version of Adobe Flash player. This flash-based viewer works infinitely better than viewers on commercial websites, making it a snap to view, print, or download an image.

    The site is still considered a pilot project, as they continue to tweak the software. That said, it work quite well and I have rarely encountered a problem using the collections. The only downtime I have experienced so far is when they are adding new data and images.

    You can get to the site from by selecting Record Search Pilot under the Search Records tab. You can also go there directly by visiting

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    VITRUVIUS (m): The great Roman architect.

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    New On

    New England Ancestors Magazine, Volumes 4-6

    New England Ancestors magazine, published four times per year, is a benefit of NEHGS membership. It is the successor to the longtime NEHGS newsletter, NEXUS. We are now happy to provide access to this magazine in searchable database form. The database may be searched by first and/or last name, or by article title keywords, including author names. In this second installment, we provide access to volumes 4-6, published in 2003–2005. We will add additional volumes in the future.

    This second installment of the database indexes 16,104 names and 554 article titles. The magazine pages may be viewed from the search results pages and may also be directly accessed by volume, issue, and page number.

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    Spotlight: Obituary and Newspaper Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Highland Park Public Library, Illinois, Obituary Index

    Highland Park is located in Lake County, in the northeast corner of Illinois, along the shores of Lake Michigan.

    The staff of the Highland Park Public Library has compiled an obituary index, which has been uploaded to the library’s website. The index covers the period from 1874 through 2002, and comprises the following newspapers: Highland Park Herald, Highland Park Mail Advertiser, Highland Park News, Highland Park Newsletter, Highland Park Press, Sheridan Road Newsletter, and North Shore Newsletter. To search for an obituary, click on the first letter of the deceased’s last name. The library will provide you with a copy of the obituary for a fee. Please be advised that they only provide copies of obituaries for individuals with a citation in the index. The index gives the full name of the deceased, date of the newspaper, page number, and the newspaper’s database abbreviation.

    Vevay Newspapers, Switzerland County, Indiana

    Switzerland County is located in the southeast corner of the state of Indiana. The county seat is Vevay, which is located on the Ohio River.

    The Vevay Newspapers database is located at the Switzerland School Corporation’s website. The newspapers include The Vevay Times and Switzerland County Democrat, and The Vevay Reveille. Actual newspaper images, for the period from 1840 through 1901, have been uploaded to the site. Each page is a TIF image file. Click on the image to enlarge it to readable size. There is no index for this database.

    West Warwick Public Library, Rhode Island

    Kent County stretches across the central section of the state of Rhode Island.

    The Kent County Daily Times has been published for more than 100 years. It was first published as The Pawtuxet Daily Times on July 20, 1892. The West Warwick Public Library has created and uploaded to its website a personal name index for the first three years of publication covering the period from July 20, 1892 to September 9, 1895. This project is a work in progress. It should be noted that the library has in its collection the entire run of the Times on microfilm, from the first issue to the present.

    Enter a name in the search box to begin. Click on the Times Name Index in the search results to access a list of individuals with that name as a surname, first name, middle name or maiden name. Birth, death and marriage information has an event code following the entry. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, middle initial, year, month, day, page number and event code.

    Click on the West Warwick Public Library link in the index to go to the library’s home page. Once on the homepage you can click on the vintage photographs link under announcements to view photographs of local scenes.

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    Stories of Interest

    Utah Genealogy Firm Digs Up Obama’s German Roots
    Researchers at discovered the origins of Obama’s Pennsylvania ancestor Johann Conrad Wolflin in Besigheim, Wuerttemberg, Germany.

    Hawaii State Archives Holds Lincoln Document But No One Sure How it Got There
    A Civil War-era memo bearing the signature of Abraham Lincoln was discovered in the Hawaii archives, but Hawaii was still a kingdom in that era and staff is uncertain how they came to posess the document.

    Through Songs and Artifacts, Tribe Revives a Long-Lost Culture
    Members of the Nipmuc tribe in Massachusetts are looking to restore the remnants of their culture that have survived the ravages of time.

    Fractured Family Tree
    Danzy Senna, daughter of a black man born in the South and a Boston Brahmin mother descended from the Quincy and Adams families, has written a book about a scandal involving her paternal grandmother, causing more problems in the family.

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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 http:/// to share with you. We hope these questions will be valuable and beneficial in your research. Check back daily for new questions and answers or read through our archives. What follows is a 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

    Where can I find the Connecticut 1798 Direct Tax?

    The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, Connecticut has the files you need. They have the Direct Tax for Connecticut in 1798 for the counties of Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland and Windham. Records for the counties of Fairfield and Litchfield are missing. To contact the Connecticut Historical Society, go to

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    Used and Remaindered Book Sale

    The NEHGS Sales department will be having a sale on used and remaindered books starting Thursday, June 11, 2009. Used book titles cover a wide variety of subjects, and remaindered books have had prices slashed up to 80%.

    To receive a copy of titles, prices and ordering instructions, please send an email with the word “SUMMER” in the subject line to Please note that this list will NOT be available until 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, June 11. This sale will run through Tuesday, June 16th. 2009, while supplies last.

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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:


    From Family Bibles to Birth Certificates, 1840–1940
    Saturday, June 13, 2009 10AM–11 AM
    Join doctoral candidate and NEHGS researcher Shane Landrum, for discussion of 19th-century U.S. family registers and Bible records and their most common uses, with examples from the NEHGS collections. Mr. Landrum will also explain why increasing numbers of early-20th-century Americans relied on government-made birth certificates instead of privately-kept records.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    Seminars and Tours
    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.

    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 week-long program, "Come Home to New England." Research your roots with expert assistance at the extensive NEHGS library, one of the premier genealogical facilities 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.

    Newfoundland Research Tour
    Sunday, July 12–Sunday, July 19, 2009
    Discover your Newfoundland family history with NEHGS in the provincial capital of St. John's. 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; 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 Newfoundland newspapers.

    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 week-long program, "Come Home to New England." Research your roots with expert assistance at the extensive NEHGS library, one of the premier genealogical facilities 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.

    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 week-long 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 history. The main holdings of NAS include records created by the government of Scotland beginning in the twelfth century, including records of the crown and parliament; legal registers; court documents; and records of the Church of Scotland. Vital records, including births, marriages, and deaths 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.

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    Sunday, October 25–Sunday, November 1, 2009
    Join NEHGS for our thirty-first 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 about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2009, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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