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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 13, No. 20
    Whole #479
    May 19, 2010
    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.

    * Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Meeting
    * The Meaning of Mozingo
    * Research Recommendations: A Century of Population Growth
    * Name Origins
    * Spotlight: Various Newspaper Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * New Titles from NEHGS
    * Family Tree Magazine and NEHGS Online Genealogist Webinar
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information




    Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Meeting

    The Massachusetts Genealogical Council annual seminar and meeting will be held on June26, 2010 at the LaCava Center at Bentley University in Waltham MA. Records and Repositories: Exploring the Treasures of Massachusetts will highlight collections useful for genealogists in a variety of record repositories. The day will feature MGC Program Director Joshua Taylor who will provide insights on his experience in filming NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? — focusing on research for Sarah Jessica Parker and the process of developing materials for the hit television show.

    Our main track will be sponsored by the National Archives and Records Administration. The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) sponsors Online Websites for Irish Research, Treasures of the NEHGS Manuscript Collection, and Diaries and Letters at NEHGS. Judith A. Lucey, Assistant Archivist at NEHGS, will present her expertise of these unique and priceless resources available at NEHGS. Another highlight of the seminar will be updates on legislation affecting genealogists’ access to records on a national and state level.

    For more information, or to register, visit

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    The Meaning of Mozingo

    Reporter Joe Mozingo of the Los Angeles Times became interested in family history and found his father’s ancestors shrouded in mystery. Some family members claimed Italian ancestry, while others purported French or Swiss origins. As his research progressed, Joe discovered that he, “the blue-eyed surfing son of a dentist” had a last name that traced back to a Bantu warrior from the Congo who was an indentured servant in seventeenth-century Virginia. His fascinating three-part story tracing his family back through Indiana and Kentucky to rural northern neck of Virginia to discover the “Meaning of Mozingo” was recently published in the Times.

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    Research Recommendations: A Century of Population Growth
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    All of the discussion around the 2010 U.S. Census has reminded me of the importance of reviewing resources on the basics of genealogical research, like the federal census. Never has this been more important than it is now in the age of technology, when we so often type search terms into a computer and up will pop images of census records. When was the last time you read an actual book about the history of the census? And why should anyone bother?

    As genealogists, not only is it important for us to find names in records, it is critical to understand the nature of the record itself. Understanding why it was created and how it was created will help you weigh the value of the information included (or not included) in the record. And you may discover information you never knew you never knew.

    In 1909 the Bureau of the Census published A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the United States to the Twelfth, 1790–1900. This three-hundred-page tome is chock full of valuable information to genealogists, yet my guess is that fewer and fewer genealogists are discovering (or remembering) this, and never use the information in it.

    The book has 15 sections:

    1. Population in the Colonial and Continental Periods
    2. The United States in 1790
    3. The First Census of the United States
    4. Area and Total Population
    5. Population of Counties and Their Subdivisions
    6. White and Negro Population
    7. Sex and Age of the White Population
    8. Analysis of the Family
    9. Proportion of Children in White Population
    10. Surnames of the White Population in 1790
    11. Nationality as Indicated by Names of Families Reported At the First Census
    12. Interstate Migration
    13. Foreign born Population
    14. Statistics of Slaves
    15. Occupations and Wealth

    The aggregate data and discussions included in these pages is invaluable for understanding your ancestors. You can also find information that will provide other insights into your family. The part on surnames in section ten, for example, includes a discussion of the origins of surnames, from household and domestic affairs (Mustard, Corn), human characteristics ( Dancer, Hands), nature (Black, Meadows), the ocean and maritime (Shoals, Mariner), etc. You will also find a listing of interesting names (Truelove Sparks, Constant Gallneck, Hardy Baptist).

    You may also find clues to the existence of other records. In the very first section you will discover that “Most of the enumerations of the Colonial Period were made at the instance of the British Board of Trade.” So now you know that the federal census of 1790 was not the first census in taken in America, and that additional information might be found in the records of the Board of Trade at the National Archives of England, Wales, and the United Kingdom.

    The second part of the book includes dozens of tables of information. The first tables detail pre-1790 censuses, such as one taken in New York City in 1703, a 1754 census of Massachusetts, and so on. Table 111 is one that would be especially useful to genealogists. This table, entitled “Nomenclature, Dealing with Names Represented by at Least 100 White Persons, By States and Territories, at the First Census:1790,” contains a long list of surnames with multiple spelling variants for that name abstracted from the census, and showing the number of heads of families with that surname in each of the states. Many of these spelling variants would not be caught by a soundex search, as the variations often include spellings that would change the soundex code, as the following entry illustrates: Rinehart, Rainhart, Raneheart, Reenhart, Reihart, Reinard, Reinhard, Reinhart, Rhinehart, Rhineheart, Rienhart, Rignhart, Rinard, Rinehard, Rinehast, Rineheart, Rinehot, RInert, Rinhart, Rynehart, Rynhot.

    The book has some wonderful maps, charts, and other illustrations as well. The book was reproduced by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1989, but is currently out of print. The good news, however, is that the original is available on both Google Books and the Internet Archive. I know you will find this to be a valuable addition to your electronic research library.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MARSILVA (f): This name may come either a mangling of the Roman MARCELLUS (diminutive of the personal name MARCUS) or from MARSILIUS (a Saracen king who plotted the attack upon Roland, under ‘the tree on which Judas hanged himself).

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    Spotlight: Various Newspaper Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    California Digital Newspaper Collection

    The California Digital Newspaper Collection covers the years 1846 through 1922, plus a few months in 2006 and 2008. The collection includes the following newspapers: Daily Alta California, 1849–1891; San Francisco Call, 1890–1912; Amador Ledger, 1900–1911; Imperial Valley Press, 1901–1911; Sacramento Daily Union, 1851–1895; the Los Angeles Herald, 1905–1910; the Californian, 1846–1848; the California Star, 1847–1848; California Star and Californian, 1848; Sacramento Transcript, 1850–1851; Placer Times, 1849–1850; Pacific Rural Press, 1871–1922; Marinscope, November 2008; Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2008; Sausalito News, 1885–1922; and Black Voice News, March, April, and June 2006.

    Database users may search the collection by entering keywords in the search box. Searches may be limited to a specific newspaper. You can also browse the collection by newspaper title or by publication date. When browsing by title or date click on the month in the desired year. This will open a new page with a calendar for the month you’ve chosen. Newspaper title links will appear on the dates on which issues were published. Click on the title link to access the issue for the specific date.

    Newspaper Websites with Searchable Archives
    In some cases researchers will find that a newspaper’s website will allow them to search its archives and view the full text or an article for free. Two such newspapers are the Times Union of Troy, New York, and the Nashua Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire.

    This is useful, if you are seeking obituaries and death notices for individuals who died more recently or, if your family lived in that area, you might find articles about their activities reported in the newspaper. These might include birth and marriage announcements and participation in the PTA, veteran’s organizations, or local politics. Or, as was the case with my family, I found an article in the Nashua Telegraph, under the title, Expensive Dog Food. I had been searching for articles containing my grandmother’s surname and I found that a dog stole a 15-pound piece of pork from the shed behind my grandmother’s house in March 1949! The game warden and police chief search for the dog, but it “apparently vanished”. My mother had never heard about this before I showed the article to her.

    The Times Union, Troy, New York
    The Times Union database contains most “staff-written” stories published in the newspaper since March 1986. It contains obituaries for the period from 1993 to the present. They note that the archives do not include stories that have been published online-only. Enter your search terms in the search box. You may limit your searches by publication date.

    The Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire
    With the Nashua Telegraph you can search the current news offerings, the archives back to 1994, and a microfilm archive going back to 1944. The search box is located on the website’s homepage. Click one of the three buttons to choose your type of search.

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    Stories of Interest

    On the Trail of the Pony Express
    Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Reynolds retraces the route of the Pony Express, reporting from Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and St. Joseph, Missouri, discovering the intriguing glimpse into history the journey revealed.

    That’s Weird: 10 Strange Facts About the Census
    The occasion of the 2010 census has generated a great deal of interest in the media. USA Today reports on some interesting census stories, including the 1.2 million census takers in 2010.

    Frankenwords: How We Came to Love Our Unholy Creations
    Jan Freeman reports in the Boston Globe about changes in the process of words entering into English, and the reaction of language scholars to words. As Jan puts it “Who cares where the parts of octomom, cybersquat, or Coolatta come from, or whether their ancestry is harmonious?”

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    New Titles from NEHGS

    NEHGS is happy to offer the following new titles, with a 20% discount for one week only! Discount is available through May 26th, 2010.

    Twenty Families of Color in Massachusetts (Soft cover) by Frank Dorman
    Normally $29.95, On Sale $23.96


    Descendants of Nathan Brown (c1731–1779) of Newberry County, South Carolina, Preble County, Ohio, Coweta County, Georgia, and Warren County, Illinois: A Presbyterian Family by Marsha Hoffman Rising
    Normally $49.95, On Sale $39.96


    A Leader By Example: Harry Hoagland and the Dawn of American Venture Capital
    Normally $17.95. On Sale $14.36


    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:

    • A Twentieth Century History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: a Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People, & its Principal Interests (Item P5-PA0018H)
    • Descendants of Capt. Thomas Carter of "Barford", Lancaster Co, Virginia, with Allied Families (Item P4-H05217)
    • History of Ryegate, Vermont, from its Settlement by Scotch-American Farmers to 1912 (Item P5-VT0004H)
    • Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907; Descendants of William Brewster of the Mayflower, 2 vols (Item P4-S03936)
    • Thomas Jones, Ft. Neck, Queens Co. Long Island, 1695, and His Descendants: the Floyd-Jones Family, with Connecticut from the Year 1066 (Item P4-H1596)

    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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    Family Tree Magazine and NEHGS Online Genealogist Webinar

    Family Tree Magazine publisher/editorial director Allison Stacy will be joined David Lambert, the NEHGS Online Genealogist, for a live webinar on Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Brick Wall Busters: Solutions to Real-Life Stumpers will present you with strategies for getting around major research obstacles. The one-hour live webinar will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). You can register for the webinar 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 D. Joshua Taylor at 617-226-1226 or

    You can view a full listing of upcoming programs:


    Applying to Lineage Societies
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 10:00 AM
    Join expert genealogist Christopher C. Child as he shares techniques for applying to lineage societies including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars, Society of Mayflower Descendants, and other. Discover acceptable documentation and other important information for preparing your application.

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Orientation
    Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 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.

    Seminars and Tours

    Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research (Intensive Summer Program)
    Weekdays, July 12–July 29, 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. This intensive summer program is offered Monday through Friday over a 14-day 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

    Come Home to New England
    June 14 – June 20, 2010
    August 9 – August 15, 2010
    Experience NEHGS first-hand during a week of guided research at our library in Boston during Come Home to New England. Daily lectures including a tour of the research library, technology topics, and general methodologies provide a unique research experience for any genealogist. Group dining events, one-on-one consultations and extended library hours ensure you a successful and meaningful week of research at NEHGS.

    Quebec Family History Tour
    September 26 – October 3, 2010
    Discover the records of Quebec during a week of research in Montreal Researchers will explore the Société Généalogique Canadienne-Française (SGCF) and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). Daily consultations with expert genealogists, lectures, and group meals will provide you with the tools and resources necessary for a successful and beneficial week in Montreal.

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    October 31 – November 7, 2010
    Join NEHGS for our annual research tour to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. You are invited to join fellow researchers and NEHGS members for as week of intensive research aided by expert staff. Lectures relating to organizing your materials, accessing the library catalog, and other research tips and techniques are included along with group dining events and personal consultations.

    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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