American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 24
    Whole #535
    June 15, 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.

    * MGC Annual Meeting and Seminar
    * Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Foreign Words
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Greenville County Library System, South Carolina
    * Stories of Interest
    * Discount on Great Migration Titles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    MGC Annual Meeting and Seminar

    The annual meeting and seminar of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the LaCava Center at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Among the presenters are NEHGS staff members David Allen Lambert and David Curtis Dearborn.

    The MGC was founded in 1980 and is the umbrella organization representing Massachusetts genealogy and historical societies as well as genealogists throughout the U.S. who are concerned about free and unfettered access to civil records and records preservation.You can find out more about the program, and the organization, at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Foreign Words
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    When writing your family history, it is important to understand how to properly use foreign words. These will often crop up when writing about your immigrant ancestor who came from a non-English-speaking background.

    Foreign words that are not commonly understood or familiar should be set off in italics. For example:

    The official motto of the province of Quebec is Je Me Souviens.

    Foreign words familiar to English speakers, such as uno or mis en scène are not italicized. If you use both familiar and unfamiliar terms in the same context, you should either italicize both or keep both in Roman type for consistency. Proper nouns, such as person names or place names, are not italicized.

    When using foreign words or phrases, a translation that follows should be set off in parentheses or quotation marks. For example:

    Church records show that my great-great-grandfather was a cordonnier (shoemaker).

    The importance of the proper use of diacritical marks in spelling foreign words cannot be overstated. Imagine what would happen if instead of describing your ancestor as a pêcheur (fisherman), you accidentally call him a pécheur (sinner)!

    For more information about properly using foreign words, see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MAHERSHALLALHASHBAZ (m): “Hebrew, occurring only in the first three verses of Isaiah 8. Translated, it is "hasten the spoil, rush upon the prey." Early generations of the Gorton family of Rhode Island were so devoted to radical theology as to believe not only that the sexes were equal, but that the same names could be used for males and females – hence the example of Mahershallalhashbaz (Gorton) Cole, wife of Daniel Cole (d. 1692; m. ca. 1662) of Providence and Pawtucket, R.I. (John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island [Albany, 1887; repr. Baltimore, 1969], p. 304), whose mouthful of a name was normally inflicted on boys.

    Return to Table of Contents


    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about Mayflower ancestry. 50% of respondents had proven Mayflower lineages. 38% had no known Mayflower ancestry, while 12% have family stories of Mayflower ancestries but have not yet found or proven the lines.

    This week's survey asks about your genealogical plans for this summer. Take the survey now!

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Greenville County Library System, South Carolina
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Greenville County is located in northwestern South Carolina. The Greenville County Library System has made a number of resources available through its website.

    Click on the Newspaper Index and Vital Record Information link on the library’s South Carolina Room: Genealogy & History page to access the following resources.

    Obituary Index
    The Greenville County Library System Obituary Index to the Greenville News covers the period from 1911 through 1993. The database can be searched using two sets of criteria. The Primary Search Criteria fields are last name, first name, year, and location. The Secondary Search Criteria fields are month, day, age, and alternate name. There are check boxes next to each field. Checking the box allows you to widen your search. For example, if you check the box next to the year field, your search results will include any matches for an additional two years before and two years after the year you entered. With name fields it allows an approximate search using the first few letters of the name. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, alternate name, year, month, day, page number, age, location, source, and war. Click on the print button above the search results to print out your search results. You can order copies of obituaries and other types of records from the library for a fee.

    Online Death Index
    South Carolina began keeping birth and death certificates in 1915. The birth certificates have not been released because there is a one hundred year delay before they become public records. The death certificates for 1915–1960 have been released. There are online indexes to these records on the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website. Click on the ‘online index’ link to access them.

    Greenville County Marriage Licenses
    There is a link from the Greenville County Library System website to the Greenville County Marriage License Index, which is located on the county government website. The index covers the period from 1911 through the present. The most recent entry I saw in my search for brides with the surname of Smith was May 28, 2011. Enter the bride’s or groom’s name (last, first, middle) and year the license was issued, if known, in the search boxes. The data fields in the results returned are license number, bride’s name, groom’s name and date married. The library has microfilm of marriage licenses for the period from 1911 through 1995. You can order a copy of a marriage license from the library for a fee.

    Click on the Digital Collections link in the library’s contents list to access other Greenville County government historical resources.

    Greenville County Historical Records
    Click on the Greenville Historical Records link to access digitized county records. These include the following records: Minute Books of the Council Commissioners, Court of Common Pleas records (includes both the Washington District and Greenville District), Court of General Session records, Probate Court records, Register of Deeds records, and Sheriff’s Office records for various years during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Click on the Search link to open the page containing links to the individual collections. In reality the search feature is a browse function. To find the image of a particular will in the probate records first click on the Probate Court link and then on the Will Books link. Next choose the link to the Book for the appropriate period and a new page will open with images of wills for that period. Move through the book by clicking on the forward arrow. All of the collections can be viewed in this manner.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    Crowds Peer into Addams Family History
    "Their house is a museum; Where people come to see 'em; They really are a scream; The Addams Family." Although not a museum, the sale of the childhood home of cartoonist Charles Addams in Westfield, New Jersey, has generated lots of curiousity from those interested in sneaking a peek into the past of the creator of The Addams Family.

    Abigail Adams Letter Discovered
    A heretofore undiscovered letter from Abigail Adams in London to her friend Dr. Cotton Tufts in Weymouth, Massachusetts, was recently acquired by the Massachusetts Historical Society. It was written in June 1788, just months before her husband John was elected Vice-President of the United States.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Discount on Great Migration Titles

    Due to popular demand, The Bookstore at NEHGS is happy to extend a 20% discount on all Great Migration titles through June 22.

    The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633 (Normally $99.00, Now $79.20)

    The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635
    Volume I, A-B (Normally $59.95, Now $47.96)
    Volume II, C-F (Normally $59.95, Now $47.96)
    Volume III, G-H (Normally $59.95, Now $47.96)
    Volume IV, I-L (Normally $59.95, Now $47.96)
    Volume V, M-P (Normally $59.95, Now $47.96)
    Volume VI, R-S (Normally $64.95, Now $51.96)

    The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633 (Normally $29.95, Now $23.96)

    The Complete Great Migration Newsletters:
    Volumes 1-15 (Normally $24.95, Now $19.96)
    Volumes 11-15 (Normally $11.95, Now $9.56)

    Prices do not include shipping. Offer good through 12 noon EST, June 22, 2011. You can also order by telephone by calling Rick Park at (617) 226-1212.

    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:

    • Records of the Town of Tisbury, Massachusetts, Beginning June 29 1669 and Ending May 16 1864 (Item P5-MA0500H, $87.00)
    • Records of the First Church at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in New England 1636-1734. (Item P5-MA0526S, $27.50)
    • Richmond Co., Virginia, Wills. 1699-1800. (Item P5-VA0034S, $22.00)
    • Probate Records of Lincoln County, Maine, 1760-1800 (Item P5-ME0256H, $47.00)
    • Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, Connecticut, 1660-1800. with Maps (item P5-CT0105H, $67.00)

    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

    Return to Table of Contents


    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

    Public Lectures

    Talking Back To Your Ancestors: Reweaving the Family Narrative
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 6:00PM
    Using as a case history her own experience with her father’s papers, Dr. Barbara B. Reitt will describe what she learned in a four-year search for truths long hidden by the family and what compelled her to respond to her late father’s memoirs by researching and writing a biography of his grandmother. Her talk will be followed by discussion among audience members of their own approaches to problems lurking in their family papers.

    Dr. Reitt, who has a doctorate in American Studies, recently retired after more than 40 years as an editor of academic and scientific books. She has been researching her family history for more than 20 years and is currently teaching a course in beginning genealogy as part of the Five College Learning in Retirement association in the Pioneer Valley.

    July New Visitor and Welcome Tour
    Wednesday, June 6, 2011, 10:00AM
    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 99–101 Newbury Street in Boston. Free and open to the public (no registration necessary).

    Using American
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 10:00AM
    NEHGS recently launched its new website, It is full of new features, tools, resources, and content that highlight NEHGS’ growing national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 135 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620. We invite you to attend this free lecture to learn more about this incredible online resource.

    Seminars and Tours

    London Research Tour
    September 25 – October 2, 2011
    Discover the wealth of information available in London's repositories as NEHGS returns to London in 2011. Participants will take part in two group dinners, consultations, and guided research through the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and the National Archives (UK). Daily educational activities include lectures and tours by the experts at the National Archives (UK), SOG, and NEHGS. Featured NEHGS experts include David C. Dearborn and Christopher C. Child.

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    October 30 – November 6, 2011
    You won't want to miss our thirty-third annual research tour to the world-renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Following a continued tradition of excellence, NEHGS staff will guide you through a week of research, consultations, lectures, group meals, and other activities as you explore the collections of the largest genealogical library in the world.

    Return to Table of Contents


    NEHGS Contact Information

    We encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. To subscribe or view back issues of eNews, please visit

    Visit the Society on Facebook at The Weekly Genealogist, like all of our programs, is made possible through the generous contributions of our members. For more information about giving to NEHGS visit

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    Copyright 2011, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Return to Table of Contents

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society