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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 12, No. 51
    Whole #458
    December 23, 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.

    * Happy Holidays from NEHGS
    * Holiday Closures
    * Research Recommendations: Happy Holidays
    * Name Origins
    * New On
    * Spotlight: Belmont, N.H., Heritage Through the Years
    * Stories of Interest
    * Holiday Bundles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Happy Holidays from NEHGS

    The staff of the Society extends heartfelt wishes for the happiest of holiday seasons to all of our members. Whether your December tradition includes Ashura, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or another holiday, we wish you a joyous holiday, and all the best in 2010.

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    Holiday Closures

    The Society will have limited hours over the last two weeks in December to allow the staff to enjoy the holidays. The hours for the administrative offices and research library will be:

    Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), Close at 1:00 p.m.
    Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day), Closed
    Saturday, December 26, Research Library Open, Administrative Offices Closed
    Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) Close at 3:00 p.m.
    Friday, January 1 (New Year’s Day), Closed
    Saturday, January 2, Research Library Open, Administrative Offices Closed

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    Research Recommendations: Happy Holidays
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The holidays are upon us. Another year has come and gone. Where did it go? Soon the house will be filled with good food, good friends, and good cheer. Last year marked the start of new traditions for me, as my family of birth is now spread from Boston to Florida. We are no longer all together.

    But this year I will have more traditions to think about. During the past year my parents decided to sell their home in Massachusetts and stay full-time at their home in Florida, to which they retired a couple of years ago. During the process, many of their furnishings and possessions were distributed to my siblings and me, as my parents do not have room for two homes' worth of stuff.

    Christmas dinner at my house this year will include friends of many years who are now a part of my family. But it will also include memories of many Christmases past. Among the items I “inherited” from my parents are their dining room set and the family china. My mother also gave me many of her silver serving pieces. Much of this is now stored in a cabinet built by my grandfather, a carpenter who spent his retirement years crafting beautiful pieces of furniture.

    Those gathered around the table this year come from many different backgrounds, each with his own family traditions. I look forward to hearing about them as we spend the day sharing. For myself, I will be remembering back more than three decades to the first time I ate Christmas dinner at that table. As I raise my glass, I will remember the first time I drank wine for the holiday, from that very crystal. And as I am polishing the silver tomorrow night, I will most certainly remember the many times I sat helping my mother do the very same thing in preparation for the holiday. Although my family of birth will not be with me physically, I will be surrounded by them in spirit.

    No matter what holidays you celebrate, I hope you have (or had, for those whose celebrations occurred over the past few weeks) a festive time. Enjoy the stories your family shares, and remember to record them or write them down as quickly as you can, so you can add them to your family history. Happy Holidays!

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MARY (f): From Hebrew (sometimes transliterated as mara, Hebrew ‘bitter’). Regardless of what some say on the Internet, the use of MOLLY and POLLY (q.q.v.) as nicknames for MARY (the name borne by the Mother of Jesus) does not indicate the bearer’s virginity or lack thereof. Colonial New England, which teemed with Marys, Pollys, and Mollys, was almost universally Protestant, and the Protestant churches of those VERY unecumenical days heavily downplayed the Virgin Mary’s role due to suspicion of anything deemed Catholic. The name MARY was thus used in much of English North America more because it was a traditional English name than to honor the Mother of Jesus.

    MARIE (f): French form of MARY. In French Canada, many families use MARIE as a first element in the name of every female member, in tribute to the Christ's mother.

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    New On

    The Virginia Genealogist, Volumes 21–25
    Edited and published by John Fredrick Dorman from 1957 to 2007, The Virginia Genealogist has a reputation for quality research and genealogical information not available elsewhere. Topics include compiled genealogies, personal property tax lists (which serve as useful substitutes for non-existent census records), and other local record abstracts, including court orders, deeds, wills, marriage registers, and other county sources. Also included are a wide variety of transcriptions and abstracts of Bible, church, military, and mercantile records.
    Our Virginia Genealogist database currently contains Volumes 1–25. This update adds 48,896 names, 13,024 subject and article titles, and 1,975 browseable page images.

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    Spotlight: Belmont, N.H., Heritage Through the Years
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Belmont is located in central New Hampshire, in Belknap County. The Belmont, N.H., Heritage website offers a number of online resources of use to the family history researchers. Please be advised that Adobe Acrobat Reader is required for a majority of the pages contained within this website. The resources include the following:

    Local Histories
    You will find a transcription from a nineteenth-century local history of the area and the History of Belmont compiled by Wallace P. Rhodes, historian of the Belmont Historical Society. The nineteenth century local history volume is Reverend Daniel Lancaster 's The History of Gilmanton, N.H., which was published in 1845, and the other is a continuation of Lancaster’s work by William Badger. Within the files there are many links to other narratives about Belmont and photographic images.

    Vital Statistics
    The records in these databases all come from the annual town reports. Births and marriages cover the period from 1887 through 1938, while deaths cover the period from 1887 through 2008. For many of the individuals who died between 1999 and 2008, you will also find a link to an obituary. Two glossaries of terms have been provided to help researchers interpret the information in the records. One is a glossary of “Jobs of the Past” and the other covers “Past Illnesses.”

    In this section you will find links to a few contemporary newspaper articles about Belmont cemeteries. There is also an Alphabetical List link that will open a page with a list of cemetery “occupants.” You will also find a list of the burial grounds and cemeteries on the webpage. Many parts of the listing for each cemetery are active links. You can click on the number, the cemetery name and the street address to open pages with additional information about the cemetery. This information includes cemetery history, maps, photographs, lists of the occupants, and, in some cases, the epitaphs on the gravestones or other notes. There is a key for these links.

    There are a number of resources related to the local schools. Click on the History of Schools link to access a page related to the history of Belmont Schools with Reminiscences of a New Hampshire Town — The Belmont Centennial 1869–1969, compiled by Wallace P. Rhodes with the assistance and guidance of the Centennial Book Committee. Clicking on the BHS Graduates link will open a page with graduation lists and class photographs from various years between 1928 through the present. The captions for some photos contain the names of the students. Most do not. Click on the School District Reports link to open a page with digitized images of Town of Belmont Annual Town Reports & Shaker Regional School District Annual Reports for the period from 1874 through 2009, with most from the period between 1946 and 2001.

    New Hampshire War Rosters
    Researchers will find published lists from the New Hampshire State Archives showing the names of individuals from the area who fought in the French and Indian War and Revolutionary Wars; a digitized version of A History of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion 1861–1865, by Martin A. Haynes, Company I., Lakeport, New Hampshire, 1896; and a PDF file containing the pages from the 1948 Belmont town report showing World War II Veterans from the town.

    There are entries from the diaries of three area women in this section. Biographical information about the authors of these diaries has been provided, to the extent that this information is known.

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    Stories of Interest

    Olde Time: Iconic Colonial Clock is Ticking Again
    The clock at the Old South Meeting House in Boston was removed from the building two years ago for the first time since it was installed in 1770. This week it was finally returned and started telling time again.

    Family History Decorates Christmas Tree Boughs
    Lisa Petsche talks about family traditions passed down, and their presence on her tree.

    Roots & Branches: Pittsburgh City Directories Now Online
    James Beidler discusses “residential genealogy,” and a new online resource for valuable city directories.

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    Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

    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:

    • Charles Bancroft of Montreal: His Ancestors Thomas of England and Reading, Massachusetts; John of Lynnfield, Massachusetts; His Father James of Boston and His Descendants,1640-1943 (Item P4-H01578)
    • History of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts,, from the Year 1734 to the Year 1800 (Item P5-MA0322H)
    • Binghamton, New York: Settlement, Growth & Development & the Factors in its History, 1800-1900, Together with a History of the Villages & Towns of the County (Item P5-NY0056H)
    • History of the Castle Family, from 1635 to 1900. with 1903 Appendix, 1997 Addendum and Index (Item P4-H05358)
    • Dover Farms, Massachusetts, in which is Traced the Development of the Territory from the First Settlement in 1640 to 1900 (Item P5-MA0132H)

    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:


    New Visitor Welcome & Library Orientation
    Saturday, January 2, 10:00 A.M.
    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, January 13, 2010, 10:00 A.M.
    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.

    Lafayette: Symbol of Franco-American Friendship
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 6:00 PM
    Join members of the Massachusetts Lafayette Society and the New England Historic Genealogical Society for Lafayette: Symbol of Franco-American Friendship, presented by Alan R. Hoffman. A book signing will follow the lecture.

    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 a 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
    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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