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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 11, No. 39
    Whole #446
    September 30, 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.

    * An Evening with Dr. Bryan Sykes
    * Columbus Day Holiday Closure
    * Research Recommendations: Historical Markers Database
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Archives of Wiregrass History & Culture, Alabama, Florida and Georgia
    * Stories of Interest
    * New Books from the NEHGS Sales Department
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    An Evening with Dr. Bryan Sykes

    World-renowned, UK-based geneticist Dr. Bryan Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters of Eve and other popular books, will be the featured speaker at a dinner in Boston for our members to discuss his current American DNA studies and research collaboration with NEHGS members. Dr. Sykes received several hundred responses to his request to NEHGS members to participate in his study and the group filled immediately. Our dinner will give you the opportunity to meet Dr. Sykes, hear about his current travels in America studying DNA patterns, and hear his remarks on "The Golden Age of Genetics" in which we find ourselves today.

    Dr. Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, is very grateful to those who responded to his appeal, and asked us to convey the following message:

    Dear NEHGS Members,
    Thank you very much indeed for volunteering to help with my New England DNA project through NEHGS. I have been literally overwhelmed by hundreds of kind offers to take part and, much as I would like to, am simply unable to accept them all, or indeed to reply to you all individually. I hope you understand and, once again, thank you very much for responding.
    Yours sincerely,
    Bryan Sykes

    Everyone is invited to join us at a restaurant near the Society on Tuesday, November 3. The evening will start at 5:30 with a reception followed by a talk from Dr. Sykes and dinner.

    To reserve a place, contact Kelly McCoulf at or 617-226-1220. Cost: $75, includes a three-course dinner with wine.

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    Columbus Day Holiday Closure

    The Society's administrative office will be closed on Monday, October 12, 2009, in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. The research library will be open for the regular hours of 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, October 10.

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    Research Recommendations: Historical Markers Database
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    As genealogists we know the importance of studying history. An understanding of a location’s history is critical to researching ancestors’ lives. Many of our ancestors participated in major historical events. Many of these events have been commemorated with markers placed by historical societies as well as by local, state, and federal governments, and other organizations.

    The Historical Marker Database attempts to document these markers. Each marker has its own page, and includes a photograph of the marker; a transcription of the words on the marker; date and by whom the marker was erected; the marker’s location, including latitude and longitude; other markers in the area; cross references to related markers; and a Credits section for information on the individual who submitted the marker. Anyone is free to add markers within certain guidelines. Users can also add information to existing marker pages.

    Markers are grouped by categories, such as Abolition and the Underground Railroad; Arts, Letters, and Music; Charity and Public Work; Entertainment; Hispanic Americans; Labor Unions; Military; Patriots and Patriotism, etc. There are also Marker Series, such as those for the Ohio and Erie Canal; Battlefield Markers Association; Bergen County, New Jersey, Historical Society; National Historic Landmarks; The Historic National Road, and the St. Augustine, Florida, Freedom Trail, among others. In addition to the United States, there are markers from Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands Antilles, and the United Kingdom.

    In addition to the markers on this site, there are a number of links to other websites with historical markers. As I looked around the Historical Markers Database, I saw markers commemorating the following:

    • First Performance of Handel’s Messiah (Leinster, County Dublin, Ireland)
    • First Successful Cotton Mill in America (Pawtucket, Rhode Island)
    • Birthplace of Insulin (London, Ontario, Canada)
    • Edward Wightman Memorial Marker (Litchfield, Staffordshire, England) [the last person in England to be burned at the stake for heresy]
    • “Old Ironsides” in Dry Dock 1 (Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts)

    The publisher of the site is J.J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. With the assistance of a number of editors, he keeps the site up and running and free to all. This website is a great place to find historical markers that might commemorate your ancestors, or events in which they participated. You can search the database, or find out more about contributing to it, at Many thanks to Jack MacKeen for telling me about this site.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    DIANA/DIANE (f): Diana was originally an obscure Italian goddess whose cult was equated with that of the Greek Artemis, goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, etc.; both goddesses were also associated with the moon.

    DINAH (f): Daughter of Jacob the patriarch (her mother was his first, unloved wife Leah).

    DIAMAH/DIME (f): This name, borne by numerous girls in the Danbury/Newtown, Conn. area, is unrelated to the similarly-spelled DIANA and is probably instead an abbreviation of PHEDIME, itself uncommon elsewhere.

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    New On

    The American Genealogist, Volumes 29–33

    This week, we continue our presentation of The American Genealogist, with the addition of volumes 29–33. Additional volumes will continue to be added every few weeks. The material added this week includes 25,808 name records, 717 title/author records, and 1,444 page images.

    The database may be searched by first and last name. It may also be searched by “article title keyword(s).” This option is an “any match” search that includes article titles and authors. Finally, entering a specific year or volume number, and page number, will provide access to that portion of the journal. When search results are displayed, links to the corresponding TAG pages are provided. Once within a TAG page, additional links allow viewing of the previous or next search result, or the previous or next TAG page.

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    Spotlight: Archives of Wiregrass History & Culture, Alabama, Florida and Georgia
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Wiregrass Region comprises parts of southern Georgia, southeastern Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. In Alabama, the region includes Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike counties. In Florida it is Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Walton, and Washington counties and in Georgia the region comprises Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, and Seminole counties. It is named for a native plant, Aristida stricta, commonly known as wiregrass due to its texture.

    The Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture (AWHC) was created by Troy University-Dothan Campus “to identify, preserve, and make available to researchers the records and papers of enduring value that document the history and development of the Wiregrass region of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.” According to the website the history of the Wiregrass Region has been little studied or written about.

    With regard to historic manuscripts, AWHC collects records that document the following areas of the life in the Wiregrass Region: economic life, government and politics, non-governmental civic life, folkways and high culture, impact of the military on the region, research findings of scholars and researchers who have compiled materials on the history and life in the wiregrass, and the individual lives of community leaders and ordinary citizens. There are more than 50 collections in the archives holdings.

    The Online Collection Guides and Inventories of the AWHC comprise finding aids for various manuscript collections in its holdings. Most are simply indexes to the collections. A number of the image collections include digitized images with descriptions. And in some cases documents from collections have been transcribed and are presented in full. A few examples follow:

    The image collections include photographs related to railroading in the Dothan, AL, area and images of the Weems Family of Columbia, AL, a family of African-American farmers and landowners. The Irene and J. R. Godwin Collection contains correspondence collected by Ms. Nellie Irene Pierce of Tallassee, Alabama, who corresponded with a number of soldiers during World War I. The collection contains digitized images of letters, postcards, photographs, and some miscellaneous items.

    There is also a nineteen-page history of the Christ the King Lutheran Church of Enterprise, Alabama, written by a church member as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The file is in PDF format. “The Guide to the Dominecker/Dominicker Settlement Collection” consists of photocopies of microfilmed typescripts of information about the "Dominecker" or "Dominicker" settlement of Holmes County, Florida. The materials were originally produced by Federal Writers' Project of Florida’s WPA. Visit the website to learn more about the Domineckers/Dominickers and their community.

    Another collection is the Jerrie Watson Bass Collection (1849–2000), which contains Civil War letters of Hardie Scarborough of Oswichee, Alabama; family photographs from the 1860s-1970s; a Civil War uniform cuff; and a World War 1 helmet. Jerrie Watson Bass is a family historian and resident of Dothan, Alabama. Ms. Bass provided these materials as part of the Veterans History Project (sponsored by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress). The collection contains “antebellum and Civil War correspondence and bills of Hardy and Malvina Scarborough of Mt. Anthony, Barbour County, Alabama (Ms. Bass's great-great-grandparents), photographs of a number of generations of both the Watson and Collier families (her father's and mother's respectively), and two wartime artifacts.” The digitized images of the photographs and artifacts have been uploaded to the website. Most of the documents in the collection have been transcribed.

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    Stories of Interest

    Information Sought on Hand-written Documents
    A few weeks ago, a reader from Terre Haute brought two hand-written genealogy documents into the Tribune-Star office. She is hoping to find readers interested the handwritten genealogies of the Tiffin family.

    New College Will Offer History-only Curriculum
    Local students pursuing history and law degrees will have a new option for earning a bachelor’s degree when the nation’s first college dedicated exclusively to studying history opens its doors next summer in Salem, N.H.

    Presidents Get Own Pathway
    Bev Meyers of North Bend, Ohio, has joined forces with area history buffs to create the new Presidential Pathways. The route traces the histories of WIlliam Henry Harrison — a founder of the Hamilton County Fair and 9th president of the United States — and his grandson, Benjamin, a North Bend native, Miami University alumnus and the 23rd president of the United States.

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    New Books from the NEHGS Sales Department

    The NEHGS Sales Department is happy to offer the following titles for sale. Simply click on the link (or cut and paste into your browser) to order or find out more information.

    A Family Becoming American, Volume 1: Krüger by David W. Kruger

    The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VI, R-S by Robert Charles Anderson

    Minutes of the Connecticut Court of Assistants, 1669–1711, by Helen Schatvet Ullmann

    Opening the Ozarks: First Families in Southwest Missouri, 1835–1839, by Marsha Hoffman Rising

    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:

    Story of Primrose, Wisconsin, 1831-1895 (Item P5-WI0055H)
    Marriage Records of Cabell County, West Virginia, 1809-1851 (Item P5-WV0027H)
    Winchester, Virginia, and its Beginnings, 1743-1814 (Item P5-VA0046H)
    History of the Town of Johnson, Vermont, 1784-1907 (Item P5-VT0095H)
    History of Royalston, Vermont, with Family Genealogies, 1769-1911
    (Item P5-VT0014H)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online at If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, simply send an email with "Classic Reprints" in the subject line to

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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:


    Getting Started in Genealogy –Greenwich, Conn.
    Saturday, October 3, 2009 10 AM to 2 PM
    Learn strategies for using libraries, repositories and genealogical websites to locate vital record information, census records, immigration documents and more. Learn how to organize a pedigree chart and document your discoveries for future generations. This lecture/lunch program is in conjunction with the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich. The program includes tours of the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House
    To register, please email or call 617-226-1226.

    Walking Tour of King's Chapel and Granary Burial Grounds
    Saturday, October 3, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM
    Join David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Online Genealogist and author of A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, for a guided tour of the historical figures and 17th century history of Boston found in King's Chapel and the Granary Burial Grounds. The free tour starts from King's Chapel Burial Ground, 78 Tremont Street, Boston, at 11 AM.
    To register, email

    New Visitor Welcome and Library Orientation
    Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 10:00 AM
    Starting your family genealogy can seem a little daunting at first. There is so much information found in a variety of locations. Let NEHGS help you make sense of it all by attending this Free lecture for both members and non-members. This talk introduces you to the NEHGS research library, located at 99 Newbury Street in Boston. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country?s oldest and largest non-profit genealogy library and archive. With more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs, records, and other items, NEHGS can provide researchers of every level some of the most important sources of information.

    Seminars and Tours

    The Gods of Copley Square: Dawn of the Modern American Experience
    Wednesdays, October 7–October 28, 2009, 6–7:30 PM
    Back Bay Historical/The Global Boston Perspective has asked the New England Historic Genealogical Society to partner with it in presenting a series of historical lectures by Douglass Shand-Tucci in which Victorian Copley Square will be detailed for the first time through the exploding worlds of art and science, religion and architecture, medicine and psychology.
    Visit for more information.

    NEHGS Weekend Seminar—Oakland, Calif.
    Friday, October 23—Saturday, October 24, 2009
    Join NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons and California Genealogical Society President Jane Lindsey along with other NEHGS staff on Friday, October 23 for a seminar and dinner program in Oakland, California, devoted to helping you find your New England Ancestors. Michael J. Leclerc and Christopher Child, NEHGS genealogists will present talks on Researching Your New England Ancestors online; Western Massachusetts Families in 1790; and more. Capping off the day will be a dinner and presentation "The Lighter Side of Genealogy." On Saturday, October 24, NEHGS genealogists will hold research consultations for New England genealogy at the California Genealogical Society library.

    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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New England Historic Genealogical Society
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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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