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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  •  Vol. 12, No. 47
    Whole #454
    November 25, 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.

    * Research Library Holiday Closure
    * 2009 Jacobus Award Goes to Forgotten Patriots
    * Research Recommendations: Happy Thanksgiving
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: The Hudson County Genealogical Society (HCGS), New Jersey
    * Stories of Interest
    * Holiday Bundles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Research Library Holiday Closure

    The NEHGS Research Library will close at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, November 25, and will be closed all day on Thanksgiving Day, November 26. The Library will be open regular hours, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. on Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28. The administrative offices will be open with a skeleton staff on Friday, November 27.

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    2009 Jacobus Award Goes to Forgotten Patriots

    At its meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 10 October 2009, the American Society of Genealogists voted to give their annual Donald Lines Jacobus Award to Forgotten Patriots, African American and African Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources, and Studies, edited by Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and published by the DAR in 2008.

    Researched by Briana L. Diaz, Hollis L. Gentry, and Jean D. Strahan, as well as by the editor, this substantial reference work has a general introduction, state-by-state introductions, sources, and bibliography, an alphabetical list of names with source codes, maps, photographs, and a glossary of obscure words found in the original records. Many appendices deal with topics such as documenting the color of soldiers and using names as clues to finding them. It is not a collection of biographies but a compilation of source references for individual soldiers that will greatly improve the breadth and accuracy of research. Since Revolutionary War service is often the starting point for research on families of color, this book opens new doors in an increasingly compelling field of genealogy.

    The Donald Lines Jacobus Award was established in 1972 to encourage sound scholarship in genealogical writing. It is presented to a model genealogical work published within the previous five years. A list of the books receiving the award in previous years appears on the American Society of Genealogists website ( Anyone planning to publish their own research, especially as a compiled genealogy or family history, would do well to study the format and style of these books.

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    Research Recommendations: Happy Thanksgiving
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The holidays are upon us. Each year seems to fly by faster and faster, even though I know that 525,600 minutes have passed since last Thanksgiving, the same amount of time as it was between the 2007 and 2008 holidays.

    Several years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner at Plimoth Plantation, a meal similar to the original Thanksgiving banquet. The dinner was served as it would have been in 1627. These meals are offered regularly each fall by the Plantation, and are always sell-outs. It does give one pause, however, when one is in the middle of the experience.

    Greens were plentiful, as were root vegetables and squash. Meat was rare, although a variety was served. In addition to the expected turkey, there was pork and fish. This year’s meal menu was:

    Bill of Fare

    • Ciderkin
    • Cheate Bread and Butter

    First Course

    • A Sallet
    • Mussels Seeth'd with Parsley and Beer
    • A Dish of Turkey, Sauc'd
    • A Pottage of Cabbage, Leeks & Onions
    • A Sweet Pudding of Native Corn

    Second Course

    • Stewed Pompion
    • A Chine of Pork, Roast'd
    • Fricassee of Fish
    • Cheesecake made with spice and dried fruit
    • A Charger of Holland Cheese & Fruit

    When it comes to seasoning, pepper was never put on the table. It was used in the preparation of the food. Sweets were part of the meal, not saved until the end. And far less sugar was available then, so “sweet” is a relative term.

    One uses the table manners of the time as well. Food is brought in large, communal bowls and serving platters, and everyone around the table helps themselves. And did I mention that forks were not used at the dinner table until the end of the seventeenth-century? Spoons, knives, and fingers are the eating utensils of the day.

    And imagine the stress of those preparing the meal for the original Thanksgiving banquet. Picture them running around saying “What time did you ask the Indians to come?” and “How many friends are they bringing?” and “Do we have enough chairs for all of them?”

    As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to listen to the family stories. We recently gave introduction to genealogy talks to about 100 Boston University students getting started in genealogy. One of the things I told them to do was to ask questions about the family to their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, “then step back and watch them argue about where or when someone was born and other details.”

    Thanksgiving is crazy and hectic, but it is a great time to get more information about the family. Just turn on your digital voice recorder, toss out a question, and leave the room to go mash the potatoes.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    P.S. You can find out more information about those Thanksgiving dinners at Plimoth Plantation by visiting

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JEMMY (m): Nickname (often Scottish or northern English) for JAMES.

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    New On

    Dedham Births and Deaths, 1844–1890

    This database is based on two volumes compiled by Don Gleason Hill: An Alphabetical Abstract of the Records of Births in the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts, 1844-1890, published in 1894, and An Alphabetical Abstract of the Records of Births in the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts, 1844-1890, published in 1895. The database contains records of 7,578 births and 5,030 deaths. Images of the original book pages may be viewed from the search results page.

    Early Maine Deeds & Wills — Just added: Volumes 11–18

    This database is based on the CD-ROM of the same title issued by NEHGS in 2006. From the introduction to the CD-ROM:

    “This database includes the contents of William M. Sargent's Maine Wills 1640–1760, published in 1887, and York Deeds, published between 1887 and 1910. These two sources constitute a vast amount of primary genealogical and biographical data on Maine's earliest settlers. Until it achieved statehood in 1820, Maine wills and probate records were filed in the office of the county Registrar of Probate — a practice derived from Massachusetts. In 1687 York County began to record wills and other probate documents in a separate set of books apart from the court records and deeds. The York County Deeds include land conveyances recorded between 1647 and 1737 and mention not only people who lived in what is now Maine but many others who were either moving in or out. This database contains alphabetical lists of the grantors and grantees, and names of other persons mentioned. The transcription and publication of the original volumes of Maine wills and York deeds was made possible by acts of the Maine State Legislature, and for this all genealogists with ancestors in colonial Maine owe a debt of thanks.”

    This database installment includes Volumes 11–18 of York deeds, consisting of 43,274 names and 5,011 pages. The ‘deeds’ portion of this database is now complete. The ‘wills’ portion will be added in the future.

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    Spotlight: The Hudson County Genealogical Society (HCGS), New Jersey
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Hudson County is located in northeastern New Jersey. Its county seat is Jersey City. Both Liberty and Ellis Islands are located in the waters of Hudson County.

    The Hudson County Genealogical Society was formed in October 2007 to promote the study of genealogy and the history of Hudson County. A number of resources have been made available on its website. Hudson County Genealogical Society members and volunteers have compiled many of the databases.

    Bayonne High School Alumni 1916–1955
    An alphabetical list of Bayonne High School alumni from the February and June classes from 1916 to 1955. You can search the database or browse the alphabetical listings.

    Graduates of Jersey City, New Jersey, Public School No. 12, 1899–1907
    Individuals who graduated from PS 12 in Jersey City between 1899 and 1907. The school was located on Astor Place in Jersey City. The information in the database comes from the class "journal," which was put together by the students. You can search, browse and download this database.

    Holy Family Academy Alumni 1928–1955
    This alphabetical database comprises the names and graduation years of Holy Family Academy Alumni between 1928 and 1955. There is a link to a history of the academy.

    Vital Records Databases
    The Bayonne Times Death Notices 1915–1945
    This database is a name-only index to more than 13,000 death notices from The Bayonne Times newspaper from 1915 to 1945, compiled by a member of HCGS. The society has provided contact information for this individual so that you can request a copy of the death notice or obituary via email. You can search or browse this index. A history of the newspaper has also been provided.

    The Hudson Observer Death Notices
    The indexing of death notices from The Hudson Observer newspaper is being done in partnership with the Jersey City Free Public Library. It is a work in progress. Currently the searchable index contains notices from several months in 1904 and 1905.

    The Jersey Journal Death Notices
    The indexing of death notices from The Jersey Journal is being done in partnership with the Jersey City Free Public Library. It is a work in progress. The searchable index currently contains notices from several months in 1907, 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1927.

    Old Bergen Reformed Church Deaths, Old Bergen Reformed Church Marriages, and Old Bergen Reformed Church Births (Coming soon)
    Old Bergen Church was founded in 1660. It is the oldest continuous congregation in the state. Marriage, birth and death records from the church were included in The History of Land Titles in Hudson County, NJ, written by Charles H. Winfield and published in 1872. The records in these databases begin in 1664 and contain marriages down to 1830, births to 1825, and deaths to 1850. You can search the database or browse the alphabetical listings. They contain 1,200 death records and 674 marriage records.

    Veterans: Civil War and World War I
    Hudson County Civil War Veterans
    The records in this database were extracted from the 1890 Special Census for Civil War veterans. You can search, browse and download this database.

    World War I Casualties from Bayonne and World War I Casualties from Hudson City
    These databases contain lists of servicemen from Bayonne and Hudson City who were killed or died in service during World War I

    Cemetery Databases
    Civil War Veterans Buried in Jersey City / Harsimus Cemetery
    Civil War Veterans Buried in Speer Cemetery
    These databases contain listings of Civil War veterans buried in the above named cemeteries. You can search, browse and download this database.

    One final database of importance to anyone researching ancestors in Jersey City during the late-nineteenth century is "Jersey City, NJ Street Name Changes 1871–1899." Changes to street names were necessitated when the towns of Jersey City, Hudson City, Bergen and Greenville were merged into the present day Jersey City. The database contains the old and new names and the year of change. The database can be browsed in files with street names sorted by Old Name and Street names sorted by New Name. Excel files can be downloaded from the website. Researchers can also run a search of the database.

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    Stories of Interest

    On This Rock, A Myth Was Built
    This Thursday, families across America will join in a feast to celebrate the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock and took their first steps in what would become our nation. It is all true — except the first-steps-in-the-New-World part.

    Group Tries to Preserve 2 Historic Conn. Homes
    The oldest remaining houses built by free blacks in Connecticut, considered irreplaceable by national historians, sit boarded and weather-beaten on a dispirited stretch of Bridgeport’s Main Street.

    Damon “Delighted” With Cousin Affleck
    Matt Damon comments on the recent discovery by NEHGS researchers that he and Ben Affleck are distant cousins.

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    Holiday Bundles

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is happy to announce the return of our popular Holiday Bundles. We have taken some of your favorite NEHGS books, bundled them together and slashed the prices to help you save money on your holiday gift giving. We even have a list of exciting gifts for under $15 that make great stocking stuffers.

    For the entire list of holiday bundles and gifts, visit

    Did you know that the NEHGS Book Store offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

    Memorial of the Family of Thomas and Dorothy Burgess who were Settled at Sandwich, Plymouth Col., 1637 (Item P4-H04608)
    History of Augusta, from Earliest Settlement to the Present Time [1870], with Notes on the Plymouth Company & Settlements on the Kennebec, with Biographical Sketches & Genealogical Register. (Item P5-ME0136H))
    History of Brockton, Plymouth Co., 1656-1894.(Item P5-MA0384H)
    Records of Plymouth Colony: Births, Marriages, Deaths, Burials & Other Records from 1633-1689. with Plymouth Colony Vital Records, a Supp. from Mayflower Desc. by G. E. Bowman. (Item P5-MA0344H)
    Town Register of Ashland, Plymouth, Sandwich, Campton, Holderness, Center Harbor, Moultonboro, 1908. [Town Histories & Censuses]. (Item P5-NH0146H)

    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 D. Joshua Taylor at 617-226-1226 or

    You can view a full listing of upcoming programs:

    Seminars and Tours

    Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research
    Saturdays, January 9–April 17, 2010.
    Developed in collaboration with nationally-recognized experts, the Certificate in Genealogical Research is ideal for those who wish to develop the knowledge and skills essential to conducting quality genealogical assignments. Offered on Saturdays over a 14-week period, the program provides hands-on training in basic genealogical principles, techniques, and core competencies, and leads to a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University.
    NEHGS members receive a 10% tuition discount. For more information, visit

    Online Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research
    Boston University’s Online Certificate in Genealogical Research will help you reach the next level of professionalism. Whether you are a serious amateur, a budding professional, or an expert with their CG®, this rigorous 14-week program will help you take your genealogical work to the next level. NEHGS members get a 10% tuition discount.

    Winter Research Weekend Getaway
    February 4-6, 2010
    NEHGS’ “Weekend Research Getaways” are among the most popular programs we offer. Escape to 99 Newbury Street in downtown Boston and experience a guided program with one-on-one consultations and expert reviews of your research. Whether you are a new genealogist or a longtime member, this three-day onsite visit to NEHGS is certain to advance your research — and you make new friends too. Registration includes breakfast, daily lectures, and group dinners to share your progress. For more information visit

    Technology Seminar
    March 26–27, 2010
    Explore the important relationship between technology and genealogy with NEHGS experts. You will have hands-on training learning how to customize your internet experience, build your own electronic databases, and gain valuable insight into using genealogical software for the preservation and sharing of your family history. For more information visit

    Irish Genealogy Research Tour
    May 23–30, 2010
    Discover your Irish heritage with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This weeklong guided research tour will give you access to a treasure trove of records in Dublin and the benefit of consultations with some of the foremost experts in Irish genealogy. Your tour features guided research at various repositories in central Dublin, including the General Register Office, National Library, National Archives, and Registry of Deeds, among others. Daily programming includes tutorials, research tips and techniques lectures, personalized consultations and group dinning events. For more information visit

    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2010, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 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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