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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 30
    Whole #541
    July 27, 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.

    * Coming Soon in the Summer 2011 Issue of American Ancestors
    * Research Recommendations: All Good Things
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Monroe County, Michigan, Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * 10% Off Settlers of the Beekman Patent Titles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Coming Soon in the Summer 2011 Issue of American Ancestors

    Take 2: Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NEHGS
    by D. Joshua Taylor

    It’s All About the Ancestors: Researching Ashley Judd’s Genealogy
    by Rhonda R. McClure

    “The Wild the Lawless and the Savage Irish”
    by Jim Boulden

    “An Invitation to the Land”: Reconstructing James and Eliza Conlon’s Migration to Minnesota
    by Eileen Curley

    Joseph Weeden, A Long-Neglected Son of a Great Migration Immigrant
    by Robert Charles Anderson

    The New and Improved Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700
    by Martin E. Hollick

    Researching Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts: 1650–1865
    by Joseph Carvalho III

    An 1877 Same-Sex Marriage in Nevada: An Episode in the Unconventional Life of Sarah Pollard
    by J. Homer Thiel

    Also in this issue

    • Genetics & Genealogy: Adventures with a DNA Study: “What? I’m Not Related to George Washington!”
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: The Adams, Cate, and Witherle Collection Finds a Safe Harbor at NEHGS
    • Diaries at NEHGS: From John Hoyt’s 1849 Diary: Impressions of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • Tales from the Courthouse: Waiting for Ichabod: A Revolutionary War Wife’s Tale
    • Focus on New York: Seen Elsewhere: New York-Related Articles in 2009–2010 Issues of Some Non-New York Journals

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.

    Subscription to American Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447.

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    Research Recommendations: All Good Things
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Those who know me well know how much I have loved Star Trek since I watched the original series as a child. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was the final movie with the original cast. It was about remembering the past, but also looking forward to what comes next. Where else can you find a movie that starts with a quote from Hamlet and ends with one from Peter Pan? The subtitle of the movie is from Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 3); The Undiscovered Country is the future.

    It is difficult to believe that I first crossed the threshold of 101 Newbury Street more than two decades ago. At the time I was a novice genealogist, having been researching for less than five years. The first librarian I met was Gary Boyd Roberts, sitting behind the old sixth floor desk, who, upon discovering my French-Canadian heritage, quickly turned me over to George Sanborn. In 1995, I was laid off from Fidelity Investments, and Maureen Taylor, then head of the library, asked me if I would be interested in doing some contract research work for the Society. Sixteen years later, I have decided that it is time for new adventures. All good things must come to an end, and I will be leaving the Society in a few days.

    I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to work side by side with my colleagues at NEHGS, who are some of the best genealogists in the country, and probably the world. And these incredibly talented individuals would not be able to do what they do without the equally talented and hard-working staff in the supporting departments, from the accounting department that pays the bills (and our salaries) to technical services, without whom we would have no materials for the library to help us solve your problems (materials that eventually go on our website as well, to help those of you researching at a distance). I am so grateful to each of them for what they have taught me, and for the support they all have given me through the years.

    Regular readers have heard me discuss my old band director, George Parks, and the lessons he taught me that have helped me in genealogy. He instructed us in the three stages of Santa Claus: “You believe in Santa Claus; You don’t believe in Santa Claus; You become Santa Claus.” As performers, the most important of these is the third stage, creating the excitement and joy for other people.

    I like to think that this also applies to those of us who are genealogy educators. I have lost track of the number of conferences, seminars, workshops, tours, and other educational events I have spoken at through the years. But, even after all this time, there is no greater gift than seeing the joy in someone’s eyes when they use resources or methodology you have taught them to finally solve a genealogical puzzle. And make no mistake, we as professionals learn from you as well. I thank you for all that I have learned from you through the years.

    I leave you with one last research recommendation. I encourage you to please take what you have learned and share it with others. I ask that you become Santa Claus for other genealogists and help them along their way. The feeling you get inside when you see them get results will be well worth it. And you will certainly learn things from them in return.

    I will be continuing to work in the field of genealogy, and my affiliation with NEHGS will not end completely. I will be staying on as a consulting editor for the Register, and a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine. And with the wonders of twenty-first century technology, any other activities will just be a Google search away. I hope that you will say hello when you see me at genealogy programs and repositories in the future.

    Starting with next week’s issue, Lynn Betlock will succeed me as editor of The Weekly Genealogist, assisted by Jean Powers, Ginevra Morse, and, of course, Valerie Beaudrault. I wish them tremendous success. I’m certain they will do a wonderful job.

    And so, dear readers, it is “time for us to say So Long.” I am off to follow Captain Kirk’s lead and explore The Undiscovered Country; “Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning.”

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MICHAEL (m): Hebrew, "who is like God" [sometimes interpreted as a statement, sometimes as a question]. In the Bible, Michael the Archangel, at the head of the hosts of Heaven, cast Satan into Hell, and will sort souls at the Day of Judgment. The given name MICHAEL has also given rise to the surnames MITCHELL, MIGHELL, etc.

    MICHEL (m): French form of MICHAEL.
    MICHÈLE/MICHELLE (f): French feminine forms of MICHAEL.
    MICHELE (m): Italian form of MICHAEL.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about how you spend your genealogical volunteer time. 56% of respondents provide one-on-one assistance through sites such as Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness and FindaGrave. Only 5% volunteer for commercial projects, such as’s World Archives Project. Complete results are:

    • 56%, One-on-one assistance (e.g. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, FindaGrave)
    • 46%, Other genealogical volunteerism
    • 37%, Local genealogical society
    • 24%, Historical society
    • 24%, Other non-profit organizations (e.g.,, US GenWeb)
    • 10%, State genealogical society
    • 6%, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    • 5%, Commercial organizations (e.g. World Archives Project)

    NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator Helen Herzer reports that in 2010, more than 250 volunteers assisted at the Newbury Street library or worked at home on NEHGS database projects. Volunteers contributed nearly 18,800 hours of work—the equivalent of 10 staff years. If you are interested in helping with database projects, please email Helen Herzer, NEHGS volunteer coordinator, or contact her by phone at 617-226-1276.

    This week's survey asks about your missionary ancestors. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Monroe County, Michigan, Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Monroe in History, Michigan

    The city of Monroe is the seat of Monroe County, located in the southeast corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The Monroe in History website is the result of a collaborative effort among three entities: Monroe County Community College, the Monroe County Museum/Historical Commission, and the Monroe County Historical Society. Its purpose is to be a resource “students and researchers can use in their studies, and to foster interest in local history.”

    Historical Photographs
    The photographs in this collection are from the Monroe County Historical Museum Archives. They are organized into categories: agriculture, bridges, churches and church buildings, clubs and teams, commercial buildings, government services, industry, lake and river, military, monuments, newspaper specials, people, residences, schools, streets, and transportation. To view a photograph, first click on the category link to open a new page with links to the individual photographs. Click the "Back" link to return to the page with links to the photographs. The large jpeg image may be downloaded to your computer, if you are not able to view the PDF files by clicking on the link. You must have a photo-editing program to print the images.

    Civil War Letters
    The letters and other written materials in this collection are from the Monroe County Historical Museum Archives. The writings of thirteen individuals are represented here. Sometimes there are several letters authored by a single individual, other times there is only a single letter. The letters are available in two formats. They may be opened as PDF or as jpeg image files. The documents may be downloaded and printed.

    Index to Images and Letters
    An index to the complete collection of images and letters has been provided on the website to enable you to quickly find items. Click on the links in the index list to open them.

    Genealogy Collection, Monroe County Public Library, Michigan

    A number of resources are available on the library’s website. In addition to Monroe County resources, there are a couple from the bordering area of Ohio. Scroll down to the section titled ‘Resources Available @ MCPL’ to access them.

    Bygones of Monroe
    This section contains transcriptions of articles from Monroe County area newspapers. The ange of subjects covered by the articles include social gatherings, such as the Annual Muskrat Banquet (where nearly 1,800 muskrats were eaten), obituaries, reports of Civil War era activities and actions, and Circuit Court reports.

    Laurent Durocher Account Books
    This resource is the alphabetical index to the account books of Laurent Durocher, who was active in the founding of Frenchtown, which became known as Monroe. It covers a thirty year period, from May 1, 1812, to February 24, 1842. The volume begins with family vital statistics information. The remainder covers Durocher’s “merchant business, banker, postage, tavern business and legal work.”

    War of 1812 Veterans Buried in Monroe County
    The list of fifty veterans of the War of 1812 buried throughout Monroe County was published in the April 17, 1951, edition of the Monroe Evening News. It was prepared from cemetery and war records and local histories.

    There are a number of indexes on the website, including:

    Itemizer Surname Index; a surname index to the Itemizer, a Monroe newspaper that covered the societal happenings of the area, for the years 1877 and 1878.

    Marion Child’s Interviews: Monroe resident Marion Child conducted interviews with elderly county residents during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The index is organized by topic and copies of the information may be ordered from the library.

    There are two obituary indexes. One is an alphabetical index to the Monroe Commercial for the period from 1870 through 1873, plus 1878. It contains the name of the deceased, date of the obituary and page and column numbers. The other is an alphabetical index to the Wood County Sentinel newspaper, which was published in Bowling Green, Ohio. It covers the period from 1867 through 1876. The data fields include name, city, death date, age, obituary date, and page and column numbers.

    There is an index to St. Mary’s Catholic Church baptism records for the period 1830 – 1839. The data fields in this index include the name of the individual being baptized, both parents’ full names, date of birth, and page number.

    The Mount Carmel Cemetery is located in Toledo, Ohio. It is one of Toledo’s oldest Catholic Cemeteries, dating back to 1845. This database is an alphabetical surname index, which contains the section and lot number as well. The cemetery records have been microfilmed.

    In addition you will find a list of Monroe County cemeteries and local newspapers, as well as information on tombstone carvings and their meanings.

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    Stories of Interest

    Why Do Some Americanisms Irritate People?
    An interesting article from the BBC news magazine about Americanisms entering the English language. It resulted in so much response from their readers that a week later 50 examples from readers were published by the magazine in a companion piece.

    Storied Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington to Close After 102 Years
    The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Army’s flagship hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, is soon closing. Hundreds of thousands of wounded have been treated there. President Eisenhower, among others, passed away there.

    WWII Hero Honored by Daughter He Never Knew
    The Frederic C. Murphy Federal Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, is home to the Boston NARA Northeast branch. Last week Murphy’s daughter placed his Medal of Honor on indefinite loan at the archives.

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    10% Off Settlers of the Beekman Patent Titles

    The NEHGS Bookstore is happy to offer 10% off on all Settlers of the Beekman Patent titles. Volumes 1 through 10 are available for $76.50 (normally $85.00) each. CDs of all 10 volumes are available for $162.00 (normally $180.00) or just volume 10 for $31.46 (normally $34.95). Prices do not include shipping. Prices good through August 3rd, 2011.

    To see a full listing of Beekman Patent books, please visit the NEHGS store at or call (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:

    • Descendants of John Wirebaugh (1821-96) (Item P4-H27846)
    • Kissam Family in America, from 1644-1825 (Item P4-H16938)
    • Alphabetical Index of Revolutionary Pensioners Living in Maine (Item P5-ME0120H)
    • Record of Will in Woodford County, Kentucky, for the Period of Years 1788-1851 (Item P5-KY0040H)
    • Records of the Swedish Lutheran Churches at Raccoon and Penns Neck, New Jersey, 1712-1786 (Item P5-NJ0136H)

    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

    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.
    Get more details at

    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 Tour541
    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 continuing 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.

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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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