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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 14, No. 16
    Whole #527
    April 20, 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 Annual Dinner Honors Ken Burns
    * Research Recommendations: More Genealogy Lessons from George
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Miscellaneous Cemetery Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Now Available: Torrey's New England Marriages
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Annual Dinner Honors Ken Burns

    The 2011 NEHGS Annual Dinner will be held on April 29 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Among other special guests and events planned for the occasion, we will honor Emmy award winning filmmaker Ken Burns with a lifetime achievement award. Burns is best known for his series The Civil War, Baseball, and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. A brief retrospective of his past work and a preview of his new documentary on Prohibition will be shown at the dinner, along with the premiere of a special film on American genealogy and NEHGS, “A Farseeing Vision: Connecting Families, Advancing History.” As has been the tradition in the last few years, we will present Ken Burns with a fully researched, custom-bound family history.

    To sign up for the dinner, kindly register by April 21 at or call 617-226-1215 for more information. Benefits of the dinner will support the New Façade and Entryway at NEHGS.

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    Research Recommendations: More Genealogy Lessons from George
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    I spent part of my holiday weekend a few days ago enjoying another trip to western Massachusetts. I went to a memorial concert for my college band director. It was a great opportunity to hear good music, see good friends, and get a sneak peak at the new George N. Parks Minuteman Marching Band in the final phases of construction. Of course, as a genealogist, a cemetery visit was also in order, to visit George's grave. One of my friends joined me, along with her husband. Our excursion turned into a learning experience for friends, and a gentle reminder to this genealogist.

    Neither of us had been to the cemetery before. Although a Baptist, George was buried in St. Brigid’s Catholic Cemetery because of its location on the edge of the UMass campus, about a quarter-mile from the football stadium. It is a small cemetery, with about 1,500-1,750 plots in 10 sections (you can see a map on the St. Brigid website), so I was confident about locating the grave, even without an exact location. This is where George's reminders to me kicked in.

    Reminder Number 1: How Reliable is Your Information?
    Both my friend Dawn and I remembered another friend posting an image of a dark gravestone (either dark grey or black) on Facebook. She also remembered having been told that he was near the gate to the cemetery. Besides the main entrance, there were two other gates. We drove in and started looking out the car windows for a dark stone near one of the entrances. There were only a few, but none belonged to George.

    We drove out and back in to make another loop. At this point I jumped out of the car to examine some stones in the middle of the sections. Still nothing. Dawn joined me on the ground while her husband continued driving. We started at the first rows of stones in the front sections. Her section (St. Patrick on the map) had a few new burials with no markers before the first row of stones. We walked from the front of the cemetery all the way to the back, reading every stone. We also checked the sections on the side. No stones bore the name Parks.

    I explained to her that I would be in big trouble back at work when I told them I couldn’t find a grave marker in such a small cemetery and she laughed. At this point I admitted defeat. We climbed back into the car and went to join friends for dinner.

    Sometimes the information you are confident about may not be quite accurate.

    Reminder Number 2: Verify Your Information With Multiple Sources
    We met a group at the restaurant and the conversation quickly turned to war stories about our days in the band. At one point, Dawn turned to Kerstin and told her about our cemetery adventure, to which Kerstin responded “I can show you where he is. He doesn’t have a stone yet. It just has a small marker the funeral home put in when he was buried.” The stone Dawn and I both remembered seeing in a post was not the actual marker for George’s grave.

    One consultation with a second source told us that our previous information was incorrect, which is why we had so much difficulty.

    Reminder 3: Never Assume
    After dinner we piled into the cars and drove back to the cemetery, our group having grown by a few more people. We pulled into the main entrance and drove around the U-shaped drive up the second entrance (where Dawn and I had started walking). Kerstin led us right past the first row of monuments to one of the newer graves. There he was. The small white marker, in the shape of a cross, had his name, birth date, and death date, and was surrounded with fresh flowers. It was amazing to me that it had survived the winter.

    Our assumption that the grave had to be marked caused us to miss the actual grave, which both Dawn and I walked past. When you hit a brick wall, always go back and double-check your assumptions.

    Other visitors had been there, leaving mementos such as poker chips (which George used to teach us our formations in band). I suggested that for homecoming we place a line of poker chips from the gate to the grave, so visitors would be able to easily find him. I also wondered if the gravestone, when it went in, would be one of those large round reddish ones. That would be like a giant poker chip, and any bando visiting the cemetery would find him in an instant.

    Our small group stood around the grave. They watched me take photographs (in some pretty interesting positions). I explained that George was buried backwards from the rest of the burials in that row. He was buried with his feet at the end where the gravestone will go, so that he would face the stadium and always be watching his band. We stood around, laughed and told stories of getting arrested (and almost getting arrested) for band performances — when planning to bring several hundred musicians to play for the public, don't forget to get your performance permit from the city of Boston.

    On the road back to Boston, I thought about George and how he is still teaching me lessons (as well as reminding me of those lessons I seem to forget from time to time). I was also very grateful to Kerstin for saving me from going home and telling my colleagues how I couldn’t find a new gravestone in such a small cemetery! Good times with good friends, and a bit of genealogy thrown in, who could ask for a better day? Thanks, George.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    CATHERINE/CATHARINE/KATHERINE/KATHARINE (f): from Greek katharos, meaning pure. Often nicknamed KITTY or KATE.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about iPad ownership and its use in genealogical research. 5% of respondents own an iPad, which they use in genealogical research. Another 2% own an iPad, but do not use it for genealogical research. 92% of respondents do not own an iPad, although there was a tremendous amount of email asking for the category "I don't own an iPad, but desperately want to have one!"

    This week’s survey asks about lineage societies. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Miscellaneous Cemetery Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Diocese of Wilmington Cemeteries, Delaware
    Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware, is the seat of New Castle County, located in the northern part of the state. The records for three cemeteries comprise this database: All Saints, Cathedral, and Gate of Heaven. This database can be searched by first name and last name. You can search one cemetery at a time or all of them at the same time. The data fields in the search results are name, death date, birth date, cemetery name, and grave location.

    GAR Cemetery, Miami, Oklahoma
    The GAR Cemetery database is accessible from the city of Miami, Oklahoma, website. Click on the Departments link on the homepage. Scroll down the dropdown list and select the GAR Cemetery Records link to open a PDF file containing an alphabetical list of the individuals with surnames beginning with the letters A through P, who are buried in the cemetery. The data fields in the database are last name, first name, middle name, suffix, date of birth, age, and interment date. The burials cover the period from 1894 to 2002. You will need free Adobe Acrobat Reader to download this list.

    Jewish Cemeteries, Bergen County, New Jersey
    Hackensack is the seat of Bergen County, located in the northeast corner of New Jersey.

    Riverside Cemetery
    Riverside Cemetery is located in Saddle Brook. It is a garden cemetery, established in the early part of the twentieth century. The first burial took place in 1910 and by the 1930s more than 70,000 gravesites in the cemetery had been sold. Click on the Genealogy Search button in the contents list to open the search page. The database can be searched by first name and last name and can be limited by approximate year of death. The data fields in the search results are name and date of death. There is a Record Locator link through which you can email the cemetery administration for additional information.

    Mount Moriah Cemetery
    Mount Moriah Cemetery is located in the city of Fairview. The cemetery website contains a searchable burial database. Click on the Grave Locator link in the contents to access it. The database can be searched by individual (last name, first name) or by organization. The data fields in the search results for individuals are last name & first name, date buried, organization, and section. There is also a “Map It” link. Click on that link to open a new page with a cemetery map.

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    Stories of Interest

    Google's Map Maker Enables U.S. Users to Edit Google Maps Worldwide
    Google added another tool to its arsenal on Tuesday. Map Maker, previously open in 183 other countries, is now available to American users, allowing them to make comments and add information to maps. The software has interesting possibilities for genealogists.

    Kate Middleton's Coat of Arms Blends In-jokes, Symbolism and History
    For those interested in heraldry, the Guardian reports on the creation of the Middleton crest by the College of Arms in London in consultation with the family.

    Teach Your Kids Through Your Family History and Photos
    ABC affiliate Channel 15 in Phoenix reports on how to get even young children involved in genealogy.

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    Now Available: Torrey's New England Marriages

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is happy to announce the arrival of New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey.

    Torrey’s New England Marriages is an essential reference for any genealogist with New England ancestors. Owned by NEHGS, Torrey’s twelve-volume manuscript enumerates an estimated 99% of all pre-1700 marriages of New Englanders and is now published for the first time in a three-volume set. These records also include those individuals married in Europe before migrating, as well as those couples for whom no marriage record exists but whose marriage can be inferred from other evidence.

    This new three-volume set includes Torrey’s complete text, listing all his sources, and for the first time a comprehensive every-name index.
    The price for this three-volume set is $124.95 for the hardcover version or $84.95 for the soft bound edition. Price does not include shipping. NEHGS members will get a 10% discount on these sets. To receive your discount online, NEHGS members can email for a coupon code.

    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:

    • Collins Family Record of Descendants of William Collins and Esther Morris from 1760 to 1897 (Item P4-S06339, $26.50)
    • Genealogy of the Splawn and Collins Family 1600-1960 (Item P4-S24222, $17.00)
    • Kings Mountain, its Heroes & History of the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, Oct. 7 1780 and the Events which Led to It. (Item P5-NC1500H, $57.50)
    • Family History in the Line of Lt. Benjamin Ogden of New York (1735-1780) and His Wife Rachel Westervelt (Item P4-H20421, $30.00)
    • List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in Massachusetts 1780-1892 (Item P5-MA0148H, $49.50)

    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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