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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 11, No. 7
    Whole #414
    February 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.

    * NERGC Discount Registration Deadline
    * Life Memberships
    * Research Recommendations:
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Pennington County Historical Society, Minnesota
    * Stories of Interest
    * Question of the Day
    * Ancestors of American Presidents and Other Titles by Gary Boyd Roberts
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information



      NERGC Discount Registration Deadline

    The Tenth New England Regional Genealogical Conference will be held April 22 through 26 at the Expo Center of New Hampshire and Radisson Hotel in Manchester. The deadline to receive the early-bird registration of $115 is Saturday, February 28. Registrations postmarked or received online after that date will be $135.

    The Society will once again have a booth in the exhibit hall. Staff members David Allen Lambert, Michael J. Leclerc, Judy Lucey, and D. Joshua Taylor will be making presentations at the conference.

    For more information, visit

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    Life Memberships

    Life memberships are an excellent way of supporting the Society while increasing the number of member benefits you receive. The Society has two levels of life membership: Life and Life Benefactor. Life members receive all of the regular benefits of an individual member, as well as a 3.5 hour consultation with a staff genealogist (by telephone or in person) and a one-year subscription to both the print and online versions of the Great Migration Newsletter.

    Life members are also honored with a sterling silver membership pin, and a personalized membership certificate on 11”x18” archival paper, designed by legendary engravers S. L. Smith and George Moore. They also receive special recognition in the Society’s Annual Report.

    Life Membership is restricted to those who are age sixty-two and over, and $1,625 of the $3,000 membership fee is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Life Benefactor carries no age restriction, and $4,625 of the $6,000 fee is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Life members make a tremendous contribution to the Society's efforts to preserve and promote access to records of families in America.

    Join this prestigious group of members by contacting the membership department at 1-888-296-3447, or online at

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    Research Recommendations:
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Noted genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has once again created a new forum for genealogists to give back. is a group of volunteers donating their time to help medical examiners, coroners, and investigators to locate the next of kin of deceased individuals. Like most government organizations, these agencies are often overworked and understaffed. Enter a group of volunteer genealogists. These dedicated individuals donate their time to assist in locating relatives of the deceased.

    First the coroner’s office submits a case to A case manager assigns it a case number. Case managers then send it to a case administrator, who uses Facebook to create a discussion thread and post a photo. Volunteers work together to discuss the case and locate the next of kin. The case administrator then submits the group’s findings to the case manager, who prepares a report for the coroner’s office. Volunteers never contact the next of kin directly. This is done solely by the contracting agency. encourages the offices to report back on the ultimate resolution of the case, which they often do to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, privacy and other legal restrictions often prevent them giving out many details.

    I reviewed a couple of the cases posted to the Facebook group. One of them was solved in 16 hours. The other, however, was first posted on December 30 and is still open. It is interesting to see how each person builds on the work of another, and easy to see how the excitement builds when they finally come to a conclusion on identity.

    More than 500 people now belong to the group, which is growing quickly. If you have some free time, consider volunteering a bit with this worthwhile cause. Reuniting deceased individuals with family members is very rewarding, and can save families from a lifetime of wondering what happened to their loved one. Fine out more and learn how to volunteer at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MESHACH (m): one of the men in the Fiery Furnace (MESHACH, SHADRACH, and ABEDNEGO) in the book of Daniel.

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    New On

    Vital Records of Norwich, Connecticut, 1659-1848

    From the introduction to the original work:

    "Norwich was settled in 1659, under the name of Mohegan, and received its present name in 1662. The original township was much larger than its present extent. Beside the portion now known as Norwich, it embraced a part of Preston, including the present township of Griswold, till set off in 1687. Till 1786, it embraced the present townships of Bozrah, Franklin, and Lisbon; and, till 1861, the present township of Sprague.

    “Ecclesiastically the First Society was that of Norwich Town which was the earliest portion of the territory to be settled. The Second Society was in the district known as West Farms or Franklin. The Third Society was in what was successively known as Newent and Lisbon. The Fourth Society was approximately in the territory called New Concord and afterwards Bozrah. The Fifth Society was that denominated the 'Long' or 'East' Society in Preston. The Sixth Society was in that part of Norwich known as Chelsea and is now called the Second Society. The Seventh Society, formerly known as Pautipaug, is now extinct. The Eighth Society was formerly called Hanover, now the town of Sprague.”

    This database contains records of 11,109 births, 9,204 marriages, and 2,140 deaths. Images of the original book pages may be viewed from the search results page.

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    Spotlight: Pennington County Historical Society, Minnesota
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Pennington County is located in the northwest corner of Minnesota. Thief River Falls is the county seat. The Pennington County Historical Society has made a number of materials available on their website.

    Photograph Archive
    The Society has an online collection of nearly 4,000 photographs of scenes in and around the Thief River Falls area and the people who lived there. You can search the database by artifact number, donor name, and description keyword. The data fields in the database are number, donor and description.

    You will also find a collection of historic maps, including township-scale rural maps and city-scale maps. The collection includes General Inspection Bureau 1923 Maps for Hazel, Mavie, Wildwood and Wylie; Thief River Falls Fire Maps (1899, 1906, 1912, and 1916); and Plat Maps for a large number of townships in Pennington and Red Lake Counties for 1909 and 1911, and Marshall County for 1909. Other maps are available for viewing at the historical society.

    Cemetery and Obituary Records
    The records in the cemetery and obituary records databases are for individuals who lived in Pennington, Red Lake and Marshall Counties. There are nearly 20,000 cemetery records and more than 115,000 obituary records in these databases. There are separate search functions for each of the databases. The cemetery database can be searched by last name, first name, date of birth and date of death. Search all of the cemeteries at once, or one cemetery at a time. The data fields in the search results are surname, first name, birth date, death date, age and cemetery where the individual is buried. The obituary database can be searched by last name, first name, date the obituary was published, and cemetery. The data fields in the search results are surname, first name, date published, age, cemetery’s name and newspaper title.

    Landowner Records
    The source documents for the records in the Landowner Records index are the 1911 Pennington / Red Lake County atlas and the 1896 Polk County atlas. Pennington and Red Lake counties were part of Polk County in 1896. The database can be searched by landowner name. The data fields in the search result are landowner’s name, sections, township, county, year and comment. Click on the Plat maps link to view the maps from these atlases. Please note that you can also find landowner information for other years by clicking on the Plat maps link.

    City Directory Listings
    The Thief River Falls city directory for 1910 has been transcribed and uploaded to the website. You can browse the directory by clicking letters in the alphabetical list or searching the directory by the name of an individual or a business. The data fields in the search results are full name of the individual or business, address, wife’s name, and widow to.

    Document Index
    Other indexes on the website include Thief River Falls Government Officer History listing all mayors and other city officials since 1890, Lincoln High School Commencement Names, gathered from commencement programs from 1904 on, and Pioneers. The Pioneers database lists individuals who lived in or near Thief River Falls at the time when the Great Northern Railway came to town.

    There is a General Search feature on the website. It can be used to search the following indexes at the same time: Photograph Archive, Cemetery and Obituary Records, Landowner Records, City Directory Listings, and Document Index.

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    Stories of Interest

    Tourist Steps Into History at Hallowed Boston Cemetery
    On the last day of January a woman touring the Granary Burying Ground in Boston literally took a fateful step, the ground gave way, and she fell hip-deep into a hidden granite stairwell leading into an unmarked crypt.

    Leaks at the Highest Levels of Providence City Hall
    The Providence Journal reportst that the dome at the top of Providence City Hall is leaking, potentially threatening records house in the City Archives dating back to the seventeenth century.

    Movie Maker Changes Family’s History in Story
    New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire creating Moving Midway, a documentary about the move of his family’s ancestral home in North Carolina to a site three miles away from where it was originally built. The move was necessary to preserve the buildings from “asphalt, shopping centers and traffic.”

    D.C. Everest Students’ Research Unearths Family History
    The Wasau Daily Herald visits History Day at D.C. Everest Junior High and discusses the students’ projects, including one young man who hopes to prove that his great-grandfather invented the snowmobile.

    100 Years Later, Geronimo May Return to New Mexico
    The 100th anniversary of the death of legendary Chiricahua Apache leader and warrior Geronimo will be marked with an attempt to "bring him home" from his current resting place in Fort Sills, Oklahoma.

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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.

    I understand you are knowledgeable about military history. This really is not a genealogical question but you might know the answer. I have an old U.S. Army dog tag that I dug up with a metal detector. The name is a little hard to read, but I am puzzled there is no serial number. How old might this dog tag be?

    Thank you for your note. Without inspecting the actual item I can not give a one hundred percent answer, but I can tell you that it was probably issued before February 12, 1918. That is when the U.S. Army implemented adding an Army serial number to solve the problem of identifying the many different men with names like John Smith, John Brown, etc.

    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

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    Ancestors of American Presidents and Other Titles by Gary Boyd Roberts

    NEHGS is happy to announce the availability of the 2009 edition of Ancestors of American Presidents by NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emeritus Gary Boyd Roberts. This new revised edition of Roberts's popular title has been updated to include information about the newly elected 44th president, Barack Obama, as well as new information about previous presidents. Building on the comprehensive research conducted for the previous edition, Roberts has exhaustively investigated the most reliable genealogical sources. Includes 160 charts and comprehensive index. On sale for $34.95 plus shipping.

    Also, you can save 20% on these other titles by Gary Boyd Roberts (special prices on the following titles have been extended until February 28, 2009, while supplies last):

    Notable Kin, Volume 1, Normally $30.00 now $24.00

    Notable Kin, Volume 2, Normally $30.00, now $24.00

    Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, Normally $75.00, now $60.00

    To order any of the titles by phone, please call toll free at 1-888-296-3447. Prices do 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:

    Descendants of Robarde Traywick (Item P4-H25718)
    Early Days in Newington, CT, 1833-1836 (Item P5-CT0271H)
    History of Danbury, CT, 1684-1896 (Item P5-CT0109H)
    The Bridgeton, ME, Town Register, 1905 (Item P5-ME0144H)
    History of Medway, MA, 1713-1885 (Item P5-MA0448H)

    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:


    Researching Your Police Ancestors
    Saturday, February 28, 2009, 10:00 AM
    Do you have a law enforcement officer in your ancestry? Join Margaret R. Sullivan, Records Manager & Archivist for the Boston Police Department to learn more about discovering your police ancestors.

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Orientation
    Saturday, March 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.

    You will also have an opportunity to describe your research interests to one of our expert genealogists on staff, who can offer some advice on how to proceed. The program starts with a thirty-minute introductory lecture and will be followed by a tour of the library and its vast holdings. Make plans to start your genealogy with this great tour.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 10:00 AM
    With over 110 million names in 2,200 databases, is the primary internet resource for New England genealogy. This free lecture will offer an overview of the Society’s website and online databases.

    NEHGS and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) St. Patrick’s Day Seminar
    Saturday, March 14, 2009, 9:30 AM—12:30 PM
    This second annual jointly sponsored half-day seminar will feature two presentations, Irish Archives, Libraries and Genealogy Centres by Robert O'Neill, Ph.D and Public Health Records in Massachusetts: a Resource for Irish Family History Marie Daly. Robert K. O'Neill is the Burns Librarian at Boston College. He is the editor of Irish Libraries: Archives, Museums & Genealogical Centres, Marie Daly is Director of Library Services at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She is the past president and co-founder of TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) and has been researching, lecturing, and writing about Irish genealogy since 1976.
    This event is free and open to TIARA and NEHGS members.

    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.

    Washington, D.C. Research Tour
    Sunday, March 8–Sunday, March 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).

    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 Days
    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

    We encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. To subscribe or view back issues of eNews, please visit

    NEHGS eNews, like all of our programs, is made possible through the generous contributions of our members. For more information about giving to NEHGS visit

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    Copyright 2010, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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