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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 14, No. 14
    Whole #525
    April 6, 2011
    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.


    * NEHGS Seeks Stories
    * Research Recommendations: How Digital Technology Threatens Family History
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Michigan Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Seeks Stories

    We are in search of your amazing stories! Please send us an interesting, fascinating, or incredible story from your family’s history. Stories can (but don’t need to) relate to larger events in American history, ethnic discoveries, immigrant successes, geographic migrations, overcoming severe situations, or anything else you think is incredible about someone in your family. We are especially interested in surprises you may have uncovered during your research that gave you reason to rethink your family history.

    You can add your story to our website at

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    Research Recommendations: How Digital Technology Threatens Family History
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    One of the most contentious conversations one can have around records at the moment is the issue of digital preservation. When it comes to electronic images, one thing is certain: there is currently no complete consensus. Archivists have long discussed issues surrounding the types of images that should be used for archival preservation. Consensus has formed around high-quality TIFF images (and some is building for the new JPEG 200 image, although not previous versions of JPEG). Unfortunately, there are still major concerns.

    Electronic images will need to be migrated from machine to machine to ensure their continued preservation. Software compatibility issues may arise. Future budgetary problems may force governments to choose to lose records that they cannot afford to upgrade. And what happens in the event of a crash? Images can be lost forever.

    An article by Sharifa Kalokola published on Sunday in The Citizen (in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) shows that this concern is global. In the article, entitle “How Digital Technology Threatens Family History.” Kalokola discusses how digital photography and social networking sites have impacted genealogy. She says “Admittedly, the digital technology has made it a lot easier to take photos of family and process them within seconds. But with the fragility of the digital equipment most of us use to preserve important information and family photos, is family history not under threat?”

    Kalokola also quoted Makarius Peter, a historian and archivist at the University of Dar es Sallam, who states that “Some day this generation will appear like it never existed. With no photo albums to pass family history it is very easy to fade away from the memories of the future generation.” He goes on to discuss how technology has made people lazy.

    In my own world, I try to make paper prints of photographs that I want to ensure will be around in the future. As for the images on Facebook, many of them I will not mind losing when Facebook disappears.

    The city of Lowell, Massachusetts, has started on a project to scan original records. Vital records, tax lists, and other valuable records will be scanned. While applauding the efforts to create a paperless office with easier access, the next step in the process is heart-wrenching for any historian or archivist to hear. After scanning, the original records are set to be destroyed. A recent article in the Lowell Sun, “No ‘Magic Solution’ for Lowell’s Paper Trail,” discusses the issues facing the city. Remarkably, it seems that no historical societies or archives have been approached about preserving the originals once they have been scanned. Legal requirements may prevent some materials from being turned over to private hands, but certainly if an original is facing destruction it would be better to have the originals preserved elsewhere if possible.

    Electronic images serve a valuable purpose, but when organizations exist specifically to preserve original documents, one would think that they should be utilized. That goes for individuals and private organizations as well as governments. Descendants of Irish immigrants are greatly benefitting from the preservation of nineteenth-century bank records that include locations of origin in Ireland. And how many researchers have leaped for joy when discovering a photograph of their ancestor in a historical or genealogical society? Go through your photographs and make sure to print off some for the future. You might even consider donating a copy to your local historical or genealogical society.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    SUFFERANA/SUFFERANCE (f): A Puritan value name. Sufferance (Haynes) Treadway, wife of [Nathaniel] Treadway of Sudbury, Mass., is mentioned in the will of her father Walter Haynes.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week we asked about your use of land records in genealogical research. The largest number of respondents, 57%, have researched original land records in county courthouses, town halls, and other repositories. In today’s age of microfilm and electronic publications, it is heartening to see so many people using original records. Only 17% of respondents have not used land records for research at all. Full results are:

    • 57%, I have researched original land records in county courthouses, town halls, and other repositories.
    • 50%, I have used online indexes of land records.
    • 50%, I have used microfilm copies of land records.
    • 44%, I have used online images of original land records.
    • 42%, I have used published versions of land records.
    • 17%, I have not used land records in my research.

    This week’s survey asks about your genealogical interests in the South Central states. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Michigan Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Stockbridge Area Genealogical / Historical Society

    The town of Stockbridge, Ingham County, is located in the central part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Greater Stockbridge covers a larger geographic area, which includes portions of four counties: Ingham, Livingston, Jackson, and Washtenaw.

    The Society has made a number of resources available online. Click on the links in the contents list on the left side of the page to access them. The resources include:

    The Stockbridge Area Genealogical/Historical Society has been indexing death notices recorded in Stockbridge newspapers. They cover the period from 1886 through 1966 and 1968 through 1999. The years 1956 through 1959 are missing. The alphabetical indexes are organized primarily in ten-year groups. There are only two data fields in each index: last name and first name. Any additional missing issues are noted on the index pages. Copies of death notices may be ordered from the Society for a fee. There is a link to the order form on each index page.

    The marriage index covers the period from 1838 through 1867. The marriages included in this database took place in the counties of Ingham, Livingston, Jackson, and Washtenaw. There are separate indexes for brides and grooms, organized alphabetically by last name. The data fields in both indexes include bride's last name, bride's first name, bride's residence, groom's last name, groom's first name, groom's residence, date of marriage, place of marriage, county, and record number. This index is a work in progress.

    Military Project
    The Society currently has one military record database on its website. It is made up of the World War I veterans identified by the society to date. The records have been organized alphabetically by county. The World War II veterans’ index is under construction.

    Ingham County Genealogical Society

    Resource available on the Ingham County Historical Society's website include:

    Ingham County Democrat Newspaper Index 1876–1915
    This database indexes names of individuals found in death, burial, funeral notices, obituaries, notices of postmortems, murder trials and insurance payoffs. The index has been organized alphabetically by the first letter of the surname. The data fields include surname, given name, maiden name, newspaper date, and page and column numbers. The indexes are in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. Copies of articles may be ordered from the Society for a fee.

    Maple Grove Cemetery, City of Mason, Ingham County
    This database indexes burial permits, burial transit permits, disinterment and re-interment records for Maple Grove Cemetery from 1932 through 2005. There are 4,517 records in the database. The index has been organized alphabetically by the first letter of the surname. The data fields include last name and first name of the deceased, year the permit was issued (not a date of death), and the sequence number of permit. The indexes are in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. Copies of articles may be ordered from the Society for a fee.

    Dobie Road Cemetery, Ingham County
    As noted on the website, this cemetery is referred to as "Ingham County Home Cemetery (Ingham County Poor Farm)" in the "Michigan Cemetery Atlas," which was produced by the Library of Michigan. The data fields include two fields for grave location, first name, last name, birth year, death year and age at death (year, month, day).

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    Stories of Interest

    The Belated Books of 2010: The First English Dictionary of Slang, 1699
    Los Angeles Times reporter Carolyn Kellogg reviews a new edition of The First English Dictionary of Slang, 1699. Ever wonder what crap, fork, funk, or nazie mean? This book can help you.

    How the Century Old Junior League is Looking to Change With the Times
    The Boston Globe reports on efforts by the Boston chapter of the Junior League to stay relevant and attract new members, an issue that is facing many social organizations founded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    166 Years Late, A Bid to Right Anti-Immigrant Wrong
    Rhode Island attorney Michael DiLaurio recently testified before the state’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on legislation that would call for Governor Chaffee to pardon John Gordon, an Irish-Catholic immigrant whose hanging on Valentine’s Day in 1845 spurred the state to do away with the death penalty.

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    Classic Reprints

    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:

    • John Rockwell of Stamford Connecticut 1641 and Ralph Keeler of Hartford Connecticut 1639 (Item P35010000, $96.00)
    • Newberry Family of Windsor Connecticut in the Line of Clarinda (Newberry) Goodwin of Hartford Connecticut 1634-1866 (Item P4-H20148, $25.50)
    • Vital Records of Norwich Connecticut 1659-1848 (Item P26520700, $175.00)
    • Ye Ancient Buriall Place of New London Connecticut (Item P26520400, $37.00)
    • Thomas Barnes (C.1615-1689/90) of Hartford and Farmington Connecticut (Item P4-H01755, $29.00)


    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 99–101 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 at

    Seminars and Tours

    Embracing the Power of Technology for Family History
    May 1, 2011
    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is proud to present, “Embracing the Power of Technology for Family History,” a special seminar with The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith.

    Allen County Public Library Research Tour
    May 22–28, 2011
    Join NEHGS on our inaugural visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana as we discover one of the world’s largest genealogical collections at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL). With more than 350,000 printed volumes and over 513,000 items of microfilm and microfiche, ACPL is a destination for every genealogist. Includes individual consultations, group meals, lectures, and other events. Featured consultants include Christopher Child, Judy Lucey, and Rhonda McClure.

    Come Home to New England
    June 13–17, 2011 and August 14–20, 2011
    Uncover the treasures at 99-101 Newbury Street and "Come Home" to the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical society. As one of the Society’s most popular programs, Come Home to New England features an intensive week of research, lectures, individual consultations, group meals, and other activities.

    Weekend Research Trip to Albany
    July 14–16, 2011
    Searching for ancestors from New York state? Join NEHGS as we explore the vast resources of the New York State Archives in July 2011. The weekend includes individual consultations, lectures, and a group dinner. Featured consultants include Henry B. Hoff, editor of the Register, and Christopher C. Child, Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press.

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     NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2011, 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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